“God Uses Comedy for Ministry” – Carl Crispin from 321 Improv
I’ve been performing improv comedy for 20 years now. It started out as a way to get on stage and have fun. Then it became a part time job to make some extra money. Then it became my profession and a ministry God called me to be part of.
I never dreamed I could make a living making people laugh. I certainly wouldn’t have made the connection back then that what I was doing could minister to people. But in a way only God can, He showed me how a comedy show could be a ministry.
Early on, I had a friend tell me she wouldn’t come back to one of my shows because Jesus wasn’t mentioned. That really started me thinking. Then I had several conversations after shows with people that went something similar to this: “Something bad happened in my life and I haven’t been able to laugh since. Tonight at this comedy show, God brought laughter back to my life.”
I also had the privilege of meeting a woman after a show who brought her elderly father that night. She told me how she hadn’t seen her father laugh since her mother passed away, but that night at our show she looked over and he was laughing. She shared this with tears in her eyes of how God used comedy that night to impact her family.
We talk often about how we know people like these are in the audience every night at our show. Sometimes we get to meet them. Sometimes we don’t. But we know they’re there.
We’re convinced that’s why God brings us to certain places. I believe God loves us so much that He will put together an entire evening (event planners, sound technicians, volunteers, flying us in for the show and hundreds of people in the audience) all to bless one person who just needs to laugh and be reminded that God is there and He loves them.
In the last month, we’ve seen God work in the following ways:
We performed at a couple of school assemblies in Louisiana during the day and then a local church at night. That night several students accepted Jesus Christ into their lives for the first time. Two of them had never been to the church before, but came because they saw us at their school.
We performed in a small town in southern Iowa where God is clearly at work. One of the churches that participated in the night has grown from 8 people to 80 people in 18 months. God has sent a church planter to that area to reopen a church that closed a couple years ago. That night about 200 people came to our show, laughed together and heard that church planter share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And we performed for a company in Texas that feels like a church family. They pray together, they worship together, they go on mission trips, they serve their communities, and they’re not ashamed of proclaiming their love for Jesus.
Those experiences, along with so many others over the last 20 years, continue to show me that God cannot be put in a box. He will work whenever and wherever He wants in whatever way He wants. My job is to be obedient to where He sends me and what He asks me to do.
For a long time I have shared a message at every show that compares happiness to joy. I believe happiness is a temporary feeling that comes from things around us. Our world today tries to convince us that money or things or the approval of other people will satisfy us. But those things still just bring temporary happiness.
I believe joy is completely different. I believe joy comes from God. He created us and completely understands what will fulfill us. And His joy lasts for eternity.
Every night we get on stage we encourage people to stop getting distracted by the temporary happiness of this world and instead focus on the one true joy that can only come from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.