by Erin Bird 

Hang out with a kid for more than 2.7 seconds, and you’ll realize they want to have fun. Humans desire happiness, and one thing that brings us a smile to our face is when we are having fun. Fun can be found in the company of friends or family, in a game, in a movie, on a walk, in the mountains, at an amusement park…

…and even at church.

Fun in Church

Today, we finish our series discussing The Riverwood Way. I’ve personally enjoyed revisiting the ideas behind the type of culture we want to have in our church family. And this week we get to end our series reminding ourselves and others that following Jesus is full of opportunities to find joy and fun.

One of the websites I use for images for Riverwood is called Unsplash. The photos are high quality and completely free for any purpose.

But when I typed in “church” in the search field at Unsplash, many of the photos are very subdued and serious, even a bit somber. Which is very understandable – we follow and serve a very holy God. He deserves our reverent worship. We aren’t to be flippant toward Him in any way.

However, many people mistakenly believe that this reserved approach is the only way to approach God. Yet when you read passages like Psalm 105:1-3…

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

…you see that we can rejoice in God and actually enjoy a relationship with Him. It seems that Fun and Reverence aren’t opposites. Which means, knowing Jesus and following Him can and should be fun!

Even Jesus Had Fun
I love the passage where Jesus is talking about John the Baptist to the crowds. John was famous for living in the wilderness, wearing camel hide, and eating honey and locusts. (John was a bit crazy and hard core). So when Jesus says to his listeners,

“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palace.”

The people would have laughed! They would have thought, “John like a reed or wearing a king’s robes? That’s hilarious!” Jesus was using comedy to set up his point, which was to honor the work of God through John. Jesus was having fun with the crowd.

And I think He still wants to have fun with us.

This is why there are moments on Sundays when we laugh (sorry I’m not funnier when I preach!). This is why we have “fun” language on our website. And it’s why we often include a silly “Just for Fun” link in the News & Notes email. We recognize that there is still a little kid in each of us that likes to laugh and have fun.

So it’s okay to smile sometimes when you sing to God on Sunday. It’s okay to laugh in God’s presence at your Growth Group. It’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy Jesus and His gospel. After all, I think God wants His Church to have fun in Him.