Welcome to the Clown Ministry Department
Clown Ministry Approach
By Janet “Jelly Bean” Tucker & Randy “Simon” Christensen
Clowning has always been a growing and changing art form . Early clowning was often theatrical, later it was more about circus clowning, and today we have the majority of clowns in a variety of venues doing birthday parties, corporate shows, selling hamburgers, performing in the circus, and regularly visiting hospitals and prisons. Clowns enjoy sharing this experiential art for varied reasons. Some clown because of their love of laughter. Some clown because of the new relationships they forge. Some enjoy entering this “different world” than their normal everyday life—it becomes stress-relief for themselves personally. Some have found clowning to be a great communication method that holds the attention of an audience as they share an important message. Some of the messages shared include fire prevention, stranger danger, cancer awareness, safety and also spiritual growth messages.
In the United States, this sharing of spiritual message became more widespread in the late 1970’s. Rev.Floyd Shaffer and several others took the clown into the church to do skits and services and develop a new way to look at religious truths. They also then took “Christian clowns” to visit nursing homes and hospitals. Clown Ministry was done in Christian churches then and today is still primarily a Christian concept although the antics and perceptions of the clown character can lend an interpretation to many different religious concepts. This web site may primarily give you ideas from a Christian base mainly because the vast majority of those doing clown ministry are doing it from a Christian foundation. This approach is not intended to offend or disclude anyone that may have a different religious vantage point. Simply, the current officers and participants can only teach what they know from their own experience and studies.
Please understand that the process of preparing a skit or bit with a moral or message can be used in a variety of religious settings and belief systems. Clowns doing ministry may serve in a Jewish tabernacle for special occasions. Some have added a clown character to both weddings and funerals, and many are blessed when someone in the audience gets the “great AHA!” and finally understands the simplicity of the message through the clown character.
Ministry is motivated by love and care for others. Clown ministry may happen in a hospital, nursing care facility, hospice center, synagogue, parade, festival – really anywhere that an interaction happens. The clown may nurture another’s soul by bringing comic relief to a stress-filled person, whether that happens in a one-to-one situation or in a large group. That is ministry. We in the World Clown Association are committed to help each clown grow in their effectiveness in their avenue of clowning—including those who desire to “minister” through this incredible art form.