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Christian Leaders Having Fun?

By Pam Morton with Kathy Jingling

Business partners Pam Morton and Kathy Jingling produce Creative Friendzy, a women’s Bible study curriculum. With a Bible in one hand and a Diet Coke® in the other, Pam brings a fresh approach to Bible study and friendships. Kathy makes friends around the world as a missionary. Her busy life as a teacher, writer, auntie and mother to a young, energetic Chihuahua adds spice to the whole Creative Friendzy concept.


Morton


Jingling

Learn more about their partnership in ministry by visiting creativefriendzy.com

Deadlines, meetings, carpool, church services, writing, studying, and planning leave little time for a Christian leader to have fun. In fact, fun is considered something that can be put off as unimportant. No one ever said, “I’m sorry. I can’t make that meeting. I’ve got an appointment to do something fun.” You don’t see awards being given out for “The Person Who Had the Most Fun the Past Year.” So why address this issue?

In moments of fun we allow ourselves to be, well … ourselves. We aren’t just the minister, missionary, worship leader, or women’s ministries director. We are simply Christian women experiencing the joy of the Lord.

A cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).

So, how do you have fun in a busy, demanding, scheduled world? The same way you accomplish other tasks. You plan it. That’s right. Plan your fun. Don’t wait until you need fun like medicine to recover from life. Make it a regular part of your lifestyle.

How do you encourage someone else to have fun? The best way might be for Kathy and me to share ways we have fun, and hope you’ll catch the idea.

Every couple of months or so, Kathy announces, “Block off Friday night. We’re going on another adventure with Kathy’s Travel Tours!” So Kathy and I with two of our friends clear our calendars, hop in her car, and wait for the mystery evening to unfold. One time, we were given red bandanas to wear. One hour and forty-five minutes later (we took several wrong turns) we arrived in a town that boasted a dinner rodeo. Proudly displaying our newly-clad bandanas, we looked around at an empty corral. One of the cowboys announced, “Ya missed it. We just finished.” By then, our bladders were full, our stomachs empty, and our patience worn thin. Kathy looked at us for our response to the cowboy’s news. Bursting into laughter, we asked if we could at least visit the little cowgirls’ room before being turned away.

Give yourself permission to plan fun.

We didn’t see the rodeo, but we did laugh a lot, discuss what was going on with our lives, and thoroughly allowed our brains to disengage from anything important. Enjoying a hearty meal near the aromatic arena and spending time lost on country roads were just the right things to help us take life’s heavy schedule less seriously for a few hours.

Give yourself permission to plan fun. Don’t wait until you’re “at the end of your rope.” Allow little moments of letting off steam consistently. You’ll notice your approach to the rest of your life is much healthier.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful (Proverbs 15:13, NIV).

I’ve been guilty of thinking that money equals fun. Therefore, if I don’t have any money, I can’t have fun. Being in ministry can sometimes mean limited finances, but not limited creativity. God is the true Creator. He spoke the world into existence. If we are created in His image, then we share some of His characteristics, which means the ability to be creative with few resources.

My two daughters, (Emileigh 16 and Aria 14), and I will take an afternoon with only a $10 bill to spend. We look online for any free exhibits or shows in our town and check them out. Sometimes, we get movies from the library and spend the money on “movie snacks” to eat while we’re watching. Other times, we’ll go to a tearoom just for dessert. It’s there our best fun kicks in.

“Would y’ like a spot o’ tea, my dear?” I say in my best British accent.

“Why, thank you! That would be jus’ lovely!” replies Emileigh.

A waiter approaches our table and asks if we would like drink refills. Continuing our British tea theme, I reply, “Mah-velous, my good fellow. Pip! Pip! And be quick about it!”

He looks at us and we begin to laugh as I explain to him that we sometimes for no reason at all like to pretend we’re British while we’re out in public.

Why would we do that? Well, I have no better reason than to say, “Because it’s fun.” Something about using an accent and having people respond to you as if you were new to the country makes our family laugh. The desserts cost a few dollars, but taking time to laugh with my daughters is in the words of MasterCard … priceless.

I can already hear some of you say, “That may be fun for you, but that’s not my idea of a good time.” I know. We’re all different, but you do like to laugh and we have that in common. The idea is to look at fun in new ways. Don’t wait for the lake house and Jet Ski or the European vacation. Putting off down time due to finances is frustrating and unhealthy.

The cheerful heart has a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15, NIV)

Fun can be a daily part of our lives, but we have to make room for it and sometimes act spontaneously

Fun can be a daily part of our lives, but we have to make room for it and sometimes act spontaneously

“Stop!” I yelled.

“Here?” Kathy asked.

“Yes, yes. Right here alongside the road.”

Before the car came to a complete stop, I threw open the door and began running on the shoulder of the highway, grabbing the white puffs and putting them into a Wal-mart bag.

Cotton? Yes, cotton. You see, Kathy (from Washington) and I (from Missouri) hadn’t seen a cotton patch before. We were returning from a speaking engagement in the South when we came upon acres and acres of cotton. Mesmerized, we began to chat about how cool it would be to actually have some to look at. After several miles, we noticed that pieces of cotton had blown near the highway.

“Why not?” Kathy asked.

“You’re right. Why not?”

So Kathy slammed on the brakes, pulled onto the side of the road and our new cotton collection began. Was it silly? Yes. Was it fun? Absolutely.

Now every time I look at the cotton pods on my shelf, I chuckle and remember what a fun moment that was. It didn’t cost anything, but our spirits built up treasure that day.

Kathy and I have also tried to help those around us who need fun in their lives. For Kathy, that means bringing fun into her office. The monthly calendar includes those funny national special days like “Popcorn Day,” “Measure Your Feet Day,” “Eat Chocolate Day” and “Festival of Sleep Day.”

One warm spring day Kathy loaded her entire staff into a large van for an afternoon at the local nature center. She warned everyone on the previous day to dress casual and bring comfy shoes. She brought a bag of snacks which they shared as they walked the trails slowly, just enjoying all that God created. A digital camera provided photos of the 2-hour adventure that everyone still enjoy.

Some would question how much work was accomplished that day, but there is no doubt that it increased productivity for a much longer time. An office full of people that work and laugh together can accomplish much.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones (Proverbs 15:30, NIV).

My duty as the superhero of fun sometimes means rescuing my seriously working husband from himself. This requires finesse and the ability to know when the superhero should make an appearance. Usually, I’ll check his calendar at work to see what’s ahead. Very carefully I’ll use the same official pen that he does to write in “Meeting at 5 p.m. with PJ” on the Friday column. Since it’s in pen, it’s a done deal.

Friday comes and he checks his schedule. “Oh,” he says, “I’ve got a meeting at 5 with PJ. I’ll be late for dinner.” I smile and tell him that his mystery meeting is with me and we’re going out for the night. You should see the smile on his face when he realizes he has an evening free to dine with a beautiful babe.

The Book of Proverbs provides quick life lessons that remind us to live wisely. It should not surprise us that joy, laughter, smiles, and a cheerful heart are all part of living a wise life in God’s plan. Stop today and make some plans for fun. Yes, pull out the calendar and schedule some laughs with friends and family.

Surprise those around you with an appointment with hilarity. You too can be creative enough to plan something that cheers your heart. Who knows, we may just start giving an award for Christian leaders who have fun in the life God has called them to live.