Clown Ministry is “scary” irrelevant


I have always disliked clowns. And it didn’t help when Stephen King introduced the “clown” Pennywise in his novel “It”, which gave me subsequent nightmares. I am currently reading the book, “Unchristian” which discusses the many barriers and the unfortunate perspectives that those outside of the church have of Christians. That book has got me thinking about a lot of issues concerning myself personally and for the church. I know this issue of clown ministry may seem as a bit of a rabbit trail, but actually I think that it is pertinent. This subject spoke to me as a metaphor concerning the lack of relevancy and effectiveness that the church often faces, especially in how it does ministry and reaches out to the community.

Children’s ministers and missionaries have been using clown ministry for years, but University of Sheffield researchers discovered that most children ages 4 to 16 dislike clown images. The research was an effort to find ways to improve healthcare environments for children and young people but it has interesting implications for the church. What we, inside the church think as being “effective”, fun, and entertaining actually is scaring people.

As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable. – Dr. Penny Curtis :: Researcher :: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth

Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd. Children are much more happy with things stuck on the wall that have some sort of personal relevance for them, not some images that are foisted upon them by adults. – Patricia Doorbar :: Child Psychologist

I particularly find Patricia Doorbar’s comments interesting because she suggests that clowns are from an era that is no longer relevant to today’s children.
[via BBC News]

What else does the church do that continues to lack relevancy to the culture around it? Are we even aware?

By the way, I guess the idea of Clown Communion should be reconsidered as well.

(this article originally posted on Provocative Church)

Bill Reichart is a pastor at Big Creek Church in Forsyth County, GA. He blogs at his personal blog, Provocative Church and his ministry blog, First Impressions .

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