I lurk on a yahoo mail group dedicated to clown ministry. I’ve felt that I’ve had this calling for years to do something with clowning, and just haven’t managed to do more than sketch out some ideas and do some research. But, that aside, a guy by the name of Bob Smith expressed an idea today that just seemed to be worth sharing and expounding upon.
He was giving his advice to a woman who was asked to teach public school kids about clowning. Given the concept of ‘separation of church and state’, she wasn’t sure that she would be able to use her Christian clowning in a public school setting, and yet she wanted to use her clowning gifts in a way that ministers to others.
Mr. Smith’s response differentiated between doing things with a CHURCH focus and doing things with a CHRISTIAN focus. He pointed out that by interacting with the kids, she’d be ministering to them, whether or not she was presenting the Christian gospel message directly. Spending time with the kids, treating them as folks with value, praying for them, and using the gifts God gave her to spread smiles, whether or not God is an explicitly mentioned player in the clown troupe, ministers to and potentially through the kids as they clown to others.
When we work to explicitly spread the Word, by quoting scripture or giving out Bibles, then we’re working with something of a church focus. Our aim is to show folks the truth about the Gospel so that they may accept it and join the body of believers, who are the church. When we work to show the Word’s effect in our lives, and use that effect to minister to others, then we’re working with a Christian focus. God may or may not use that particular instance of ministering to bring someone into His kingdom, but we are still showing some tiny sliver of the impact that the Gospel makes in our lives.
As we look at our lives, and how we use the gifts we are given to minister to others, we should be careful to not focus solely on a CHURCHianity focus to our efforts. New folks whose posteriors are plopped into pews are wonderful to see on Sunday mornings, but they’re not the sole evidence of the impact we’re called to make. We are called to spread the Word, ’tis true, and more explicitly to be able to give an answer for the hope that is within us. But the pop quizzes are few, and the practicums are many.