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Christian Clowning

Dorene Taylor

My husband, Kirk, fell into clowning naturally. Finding humor in every situation and being the brunt of people's jokes was what he lived for. When he discovered clowning, it didn't surprise anyone.

He tried to get me in costume as well.

"I'm not funny," I'd say.

But I did accompany my clown husband to church. I was the straight person who kept Checkers on track.

He'd act like he knew all the scriptures, but he knew them all wrong. I'd correct him. That was my job and I liked it.

The children were enthralled by his antics. They politely listened to me, but their eyes were always on Checkers.

Later I added makeup and a costume also. Once I discovered the right clown character for me, it was easy and fun to develop it.

I saw a difference immediately. Children crowded around me and eagerly listened to anything I said. They'd offer hugs-lots of hugs. The love I was able to share was the best part. It made all the work of applying the makeup and donning a costume worthwhile.

Christian clowns are funny-sometimes sad, sometimes silly-but they always touch children with God's love and further his Word.

Clowns not only capture the undivided attention of children, they also see the world through a child's eyes. Christian clowns can take a scripture verse and shed humorous light on it that provides new insight for kids. For example, a Christian clown can take John 3:3 and try to figure out how to be born again.

There are four basic types of clown characters. I'm a White Face clown, Kirk is an Auguste clown, and the other clown types are a Tramp and a Character clowns. After choosing the type of clown character you want to be, visit your own closet or a thrift store to create your costume. Look for pants and jackets that are too big, too short, too baggy or simply bright and colorful. Jazz up clothes with big buttons, colorful patches or pockets, puff paint, glitter, ribbons or bows. You can buy an inexpensive clown wig or spray your natural hair with washout color.

Check out the "Clowning Resources" box for other costuming and makeup tips.

Try out basic clowning at church camp, vacation Bible school, church dinners or celebrations. Use a few of these "kid-tested" clown props:

  • Carry a giant foam sandwich. Tell kids you're "feasting on the Word of God. You put it inside, and it'll make you grow."
  • Conceal a horn from sight in a pocket. Gently push a child's nose and at the same time honk the horn. Tell the child he or she is making a joyful noise unto the Lord.
  • Take a feather duster and prepare the kids for children's church by dusting them off. Say, "Create in me, O God, a clean heart." (Avoid eyes and mouth areas.)
  • Carry a box that opens up, such as a pencil case or school lunch box. The outside reads "Parting of the Red Seas." Open to reveal several red letter C's that have been partially torn.
  • Place red circle stickers on the kids' noses to make them official clowns.

When you're comfortable with basic clowning, add a skit or two that teaches a spiritual message and apply it during a Sunday school program or children's church. Arrange to take over a children's sermon during the service. Or open a regular Sunday morning service with a skit relating to the pastor's message.

If you've always wanted to be a Christian clown, get started! Kids will love you, and you'll be able to reach them as you never have before.

Dorene Taylor and her husband are Christian clowns in Iowa.

For more information, check out:
*Strutter's Complete Guide to Clown Makeup, by Jim Roberts, Piccadilly Books, Box 25203, Colorado Springs, CO 80936, (719) 548-1844.

*Clown Ministry by Floyd Shaffer and Penne Sewall, Group Books, Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539, 800-447-1070.

*Christian Clowning Association, 10410 LaPlaze Drive, Louisville, KY 40272, (502) 937-9846.

Copyright© Group Publishing, Inc. / Children's Ministry Magazine

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