Holy Humor! Recovering the Positive Power of Humor in the Pulpit

by Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence on Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Holy Humor! Recovering the Positive Power of Humor

in the Pulpit

2023-24 Preaching Peer Group

The Roberts Center for Clergy Excellence of the Central Texas Conference is partnering with the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU on “Next Level Preaching” - a series of workshops and webinars designed to support and strengthen the preaching ministries of pastors in the Central Texas Conference.

This fall’s offering will be “Holy Humor! Recovering the Positive Power of Humor in the Pulpit” - a preaching peer group for clergy who want to learn strategies for using the positive power of humor and joy in their preaching.

Location: Zoom

Dates and Times:

9:15 – Noon 5 Wednesday mornings:

  • October 11
  • November 1
  • December 6
  • January 17
  • February 7

The Roberts Center is subsidizing this opportunity, so the cost to participate is only $100 per person. CEU certification will be available. Registration is on a first come basis and will be limited to 15 to allow maximum benefit to participants. Limited Scholarships are available. It is strongly recommended that participants have at least 3-5 years of preaching experience.

The study will focus on the newly released book Humor Us! Preaching and the Power of the Comic Spirit, (Westminster John Knox Press, 2023) by Alyce McKenzie, a professor of preaching at Perkins School of Theology and Owen Lynch, a Professor of communications at SMU specializing in how humor functions in classroom and workplace. Each session includes a discussion of portions of the book with discussion and contributions by group members.


·        Session I (October 11, 2023): Holiness doesn’t Mean Humorlessness! Humor as a Gift from God (Chapters 1-3)


·        Session II (November 1, 2023): Humor that Heals: The Positive Potential of Humor in the Pulpit (Chapter 6,7 and 8)


·        Session III (December 6, 2023): Specific Strategies for Using Humor in Our Sermons (Chapters 4 and 5)


·        Session IV (January 17, 2024): Humor, Humor Everywhere! Noticing Humor in Life and even in the Bible! (Chapters 11, 12)


·        Session V (February 7, 2024): We May Not Be Stand- Up Comedians, but We Can Still Be Funny! How to Craft Original Comedy (Chapters 9,10, 13)


The group will be led by Drs. McKenzie and Lynch and will be convened by Rev. Beth Evers, University United Methodist Church, Fort Worth

A tentative schedule for each session is as follows...

·        9:15-9:30 Check-In  

·        9:30-10:15 Discussion of readings and the subject of the day

·        10:15-10:25 Break

·        10:25-10:45 Further issues

·        10:45-11:15 Discuss participants’ contributions

·        11:15-11:25 Break

·        11:25- 11:55 Discuss participants’ contributions  

·        11:55 Q and A; Wrap up 

Workshop Leaders:

Alyce M. McKenzie, Ph.D

Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship

Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor

Director, The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU


Owen Hadley Lynch, Ph.D

Associate Professor of Corporate Communication, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University

Humor scholar, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Senior Research Fellow at the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, Lyle School of Engineering, SMU

Executive Director and Co-founder, Restorative Farms


Rev. Beth Evers

Pastor at University United Methodist Church, Fort Worth. 

Beth Evers is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology and has served as the pastor of University United Methodist Church in Fort Worth since 2012. Her passion is to help people experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ through worship, relationships, and mission. She loves trying new things and isn’t afraid of change. Beth is one of those people who actually likes meetings (but not coffee), planning and order, yet appreciates the beautiful chaos of church. 


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