Ministering With Clowns

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Clowns make children laugh. Smile. Snicker. Clowns can captivate
a child without saying a word. And a clown can teach a lesson a
child will never forget.

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Clowning involves more than donning a clown costume and putting
on clown makeup. Develop a purpose for your character. The clown
should demonstrate a child-like faith and act with God-like
acceptance of everyone. This character should give away love and
share joy when interacting with children.

Floyd Shaffer, the authority in Christian clown ministry, has
written the best resources available for clown ministry. To use
clowns in your ministry, be sensitive to the developmental
differences of children of different ages.

· Preschoolers-Maintain a distance from young
children and gesture your greeting. If you see a favorable
response, you may move closer, but be prepared to move away if your
clown frightens a child. Preschool children often fear a
white-faced or highly animated clown.

Don’t think you always have to wear the entire clowning garb
with children this age. Consider doing a skit with just a clown hat
or red nose. Large clown props such as a comb, toothbrush or fluffy
bath towel will capture children’s attention.

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· K-3-Clowns make good greeters to shake hands
or pat heads of children coming to class. Have a clown create
interest in a subject. For example, give the clown a treasure chest
labeled “World’s Greatest Treasure.” As a child comes close to
peek, have the clown open the lid to show a picture of Jesus
inside.

Children at this age may enjoy face painting. Paint different
faces that reflect different moods such as happiness, sadness,
worry or fear. Have an entire group of children express actions and
show feelings with their faces and bodies as you tell a story.

Children also love parades. Create a parade of children with
clowns to promote an upcoming event such as vacation Bible school.
Have children parade into a worship service with the clowns to make
an announcement. Or have children parade through a neighborhood,
local mall or the church’s Sunday school classes.

· Grades 4-6-By the time children become
fourth- to sixth-graders, they enjoy watching clown skits,
especially if they don’t have to become too involved in the
skits.

Children may antagonize a clown by stepping on his toes, pulling
his nose or stealing his props. A clown must be prepared with
clever visual tools such as magic objects. Remember, a clown
shouldn’t retaliate with evil but with kindness.

Sixth-graders may enjoy becoming part of a clown ministry team.
If you have interested kids, teach them how to correctly put on
clown makeup, to develop a clown character and to do skits to be
presented to their peers or younger children.

A team of sixth-grade clowns can also provide an important
ministry by visiting children in the hospital. Have clowns minister
by waving, blowing kisses, giving away cheery get-well cards. Or
have clowns visit local retirement communities or nursing
homes.

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