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Laughing for the Kingdom 

Baptist comedian and evangelist Tom Elliott on using your gifts creatively for God

Some of the best communicators in our country are comedians. Comedy has gone from small events in local pubs to arenas filled with people ready to laugh. Laughter is an essential tool in communication. When people laugh with us, psychologists say that it is a sign that the person likes us.

Tom ElliottAs a comedian, magician and evangelist, it’s my aim to both entertain and cause laughter in order that I gain the rapport, like-ability and respect from my audience before I am able to share the Gospel with them.

My evening show blends silly jokes and props with audience participative tricks that have people laughing and enjoying themselves in churches across the UK. Throughout the show, I share my faith and the promise of Jesus to bring ‘life in all it’s fullness’.

A church recently emailed me following a gig saying that many faith conversations had taken place during the evening of my show in a local pub they had hired out. Not only that, but the church was recognised by the community to be having a laugh and having fun.

I am always humbled (and a little surprised!) that God can draw people to himself through my show. Comments left at the end often speak of people connecting with God and discovering the fun he has in his plan for them.

When people laugh, they relax, when they relax, barriers are broken down and they are open to hearing something of the Gospel. Laughter enables me to get alongside my audience and show them that I am a friendly, ‘normal’ person. It bridges the gap between ‘the church’ and ‘the world’.

I believe that we all have God given skills and abilities that God can use to bring people to him. I once heard a story of a lady who simply made bread and invited homeless people to make bread with her. Years on and they now meet regularly as a church, each making two loaves, one to keep and one to give away. As they make bread, they talk about the Gospel and people meet with Jesus.

In Luke 5:18 we read of four men who bought their friend to Jesus and lowered him through a hole in the roof. It strikes me that they used what they had available. What tools do we have that could have Kingdom potential?

They were creative. They thought outside the box. I wonder whether many of us have gifts and skills that we’ve ignored, thinking that God could never use it? Perhaps we’ve lost confidence or the belief that God chooses to use us.

They overcame obstacles. The house being rammed with people didn’t stop them. They may not have been able to enter through the door, but they could enter through the roof! In what ways might we need to think outside the box and approach things a little differently to overcome obstacles?

Whatever your tool is, get alongside people, build the bridges and break down barriers. It doesn’t have to be laughter, it can be a common interest or an act of kindness. Use whatever God has given you for the glory and extension of his Kingdom.

God is a creative God. We live in a creative world. It’s time to get creative about mission. 

Tom Elliott is a comedian, magician and evangelist, and a youth leader at Minchinhampton Baptist Church. For more about Tom visit https://tom-elliott.org/

Baptist Times, 04/09/2014
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