that the focus or solutions can be lost
Comedy is an act. Humor is an attitude. Comedy has
as its purpose to make people laugh. Humor is the
spontaneous ability to bring laughter in a situation.
Comedy is this generation’s effort to divert our minds
from reality. Humor is the ability to insert laughter into
hyperbole, metaphor, pun, reframing, and timing. A
farce is a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and
horseplay with improbable situations. A hyperbole is
exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be
exploiting the different possible meanings of a word,
or the fact that there are words that sound alike but
have different meanings. Reframing is to express
words or a concept or a plan differently. Finally, timing
is the judgment, or choice, or control of when
something is said or done.
man. The spirit of a man is often exposed with the
humor. The spiritual person’s use of humor is likened
to an illustration or example to clarify a point, not to
ridicule or debase. It is used to relieve the pressure of
the moment and to also bring the listener’s mind back
to the subject at hand. A person’s attention span is
anywhere from three to five minutes. Humor will help
bring the listener back to the matter at hand with
enthusiasm and optimism.
is important to point out that laughter is scriptural, and
we are not told that we cannot laugh even in “spiritual”
situations. The children of Israel laughed at a time
when God delivered them from captivity. In fact,
whenever God is working the most, God’s people
should be laughing the most.
he was, there was laughter. If you speak to those who
were closest to him, they will tell you that he enjoyed
life and found humor in many things. He loved to
laugh and he knew how to share laughter with others.
It is here that I want to open up a part of his
communication skills to be considered. Situations or
conversations can become so intense that the focus
on solutions can be lost in the polarizing of ideas.
of humor, like a hot water heater has, to keep the
situation from exploding. Many a solution has been
mired in deep dramatic emotion. His spirit was a
refreshing thing to be around. He collected humor and
kept it on his mental shelf like an apothecary. He
removed it from the shelf and opened the bottle and
offered it as a medicine to the spirit of those in need.
enjoy something you want to share it with others. If
you enjoy a good meal you want to share it with
someone you love. Dr. Hyles loved to laugh. He was
able to notice humor in a way most people did not.
Rather than hoarding it to himself, he shared it with
those around him. He rarely told jokes in the pulpit,
but he was always ready to tell jokes and collect
was self-deprecating, sometimes it was satirical,
sometimes it was situational, sometimes it was
sarcastic, sometimes it was ironic, and sometimes
parodied. It was not humor for his sake, but always
humor for someone else’s sake.
times I heard him use humor to win someone to
himself. On Sunday mornings he would joke with the
sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Station who were
visiting in the services one moment, the truck drivers
in the next moment, and then with the men from the
rescue mission. By using humor he made friends with
them. Humor made them feel his humanity. It made
them feel he was like them. When they laughed with
him, there was a relationship being built.
similarity. Let me explain. Dr. Hyles never drove a truck so there was no
similarity. There was, however, commonality in
laughter. He could tell a joke about truck drivers and
suddenly they had laughter in common. Laughter
brings us all to a common level. The one with whom
we can laugh becomes a friend. He knew that and he
used it with people.
segments of the congregation, to which he was able
to preach, into one. The humor was not always in the
form of a joke, necessarily, but rather the humor was
brought to the forefront to display Dr. Hyles’ own
humanity. He was about to preach to other human
beings who needed to know that Dr. Hyles had the
same qualities that they did. The diverseness of this
huge congregation could not be ignored, but sharing
laughter brought them into the moment.
fun with the sailors who attended his church services.
He would kid with them, and using his wit he made
them feel like his insults were a badge of honor. He
used situational humor more than any other type of
humor. His keen sense of who he was interacting
with, and what he could say to bring them into his
world for the next 30 minutes was exceptional.
School you could not miss his quick witted statements
and barbs aimed towards me. One day a delegate
said to me during a break, “Aren’t you a little upset
about what he said?” “No,” I replied, “I think maybe
you’re upset because he didn’t notice you.”
knew that there were burdens, and his ability to bring
humor to any situation caused many a heavy heart to
be lightened. I have seen him appropriately bring
laughter to people who thought their world was about
know there would be life after tragedy. He had the
ability to bring cheer to a grieving family by telling a
sweet humorous story about the loved one who had
passed away. He had a way of recalling special
moments of joy in the life of a person who had just
stepped into Heaven. He did not take advantage of
heartache to be the main event, but he did with
delicacy offer humorous events to bring cheer. No
one doubted his love for them because he saw the
best in the worst of events and communicated such.
atmosphere. I cannot tell you the number of times I
have been around Dr. Hyles when there were people
present who were meeting him for the very first time.
Perhaps it was a layman coming to pick him up at the
motel to drive him to preach. Within minutes of
meeting him he would start teasing and I could almost
see the person start to relax. The young male nurse
who took care of Dr. Hyles just before his death said,
“I felt like we had known each other my whole life.”
bring joy to others. In his presence you felt relaxed,
because he did not come off as a big shot, but rather
a little shot who made you feel at ease with him.
joke would illustrate a point, he would use one.
However he loved to tell stories about himself that
would make people laugh. Time and time again he
would use humor to make a point easier to digest
then had he just crammed it down our throats. He
called it putting the awful tasting medicine in the
orange juice. The truth may sting, but the humor used
to illustrate the truth would bring about a sense of, “I
can make it.”
the greatness of a sermon, but the greatness of a
truth. If humor was necessary to deliver this truth,
then so be it. Many critics have said that he built his
ministry on humor. Obviously they are casual
observers and have never been a part of his ministry.
His ministry was built on truth in action: Soul winning,
Separation, Spirit-fullness, Holy Scriptures (KJV),
Sunday school, Bus Ministry, etc. These actions
captured God’s attention and God blessed.
Hyles would counsel with someone who had made a
tragic mistake or fallen into a deep sin. He could talk
with this person and maybe even scold them, but
often, before it was all over, he would find a way to
interject humor, and use it to bring laughter. He knew
the healing power of laughter even when the situation
was not pleasant.
“plus-negative-negative-plus” approach in dealing with
a crisis. Always greet them with hope and send them
away with hope. Using a little humor in between helps
them to swallow the negative or bad tasting medicine, a little easier.
A teenage girl became with child outside of marriage. She and her parents came to their pastor,
Dr. Hyles, and sought his counsel. He set up weekly
counseling appointments with them. When the girl
began to show physically that she was with child,
Brother Hyles would greet her by saying, “The
Chicago Bears are looking for a right tackle. Do you
want me to call them?” The young lady would laugh
and felt that her pastor was not condemning her, but
attempting to encourage her.
couple who were not able to have children of their
own. Her pastor continued to encourage her
throughout the years. Eventually, this young teenage
girl became an adult and found her husband with the
help of her parents and her pastor. Humor was used
who had preconceived ideas of Dr. Hyles would come
to hear him preach having already chosen to dislike
him. They heard all about this dynamic and straight
shooting man and knew they were not going to like
him. With humor he would disarm them and cause
them to second guess their opinion of him. That often
gave him the opportunity to have an influence in their
serious about something. His humor would reveal his
humanity, and his humanity would open the door to
give a truth from God to the humanity at hand. Too
often, we are too serious about situations, and a little
humor will disarm and allow us to think more clearly.
maker is broken, then borrow someone else’s
decision maker.” He did not require his members to
seek only his advice necessarily, but he did want
them to seek the right counselor.
are bottled up with emotions and when they do
release them, it is in a damaging way. I often felt that
he released much of the emotional things of life with a
laugh. Rather than exploding or imploding, he found
something to make him laugh. Again, his concern was
not of being successful and making it about him. He
studied people and knew people like few men I have
ever known in my 68 years of life. He quickly
evaluated people, and I believe through the Holy
Spirit was given an insight into their needs.
mind. Just what exactly do these people or this
person need? He was all about filling needs. It was
his primary appeal to the Holy Spirit before the day
would begin. Certainly this was a spiritual medicine he
took for himself and gave to others who crossed his
path. In his preaching you would laugh one minute
and cry the next minute. He was an emotional man
and attracted emotional people.
miss him. Being close to Dr. Hyles was being close to
a man who shared special moments of humor with
those with whom he was closest. I laughed with him
so often. All of us, who were privileged to travel and
speak with him, or those who worked on staff with
him, enjoyed that marvelous sense of humor. His
laugh was as unique as he was unique.
immediately it was him. Once he was in a men’s clothing store in
downtown Hammond, IN, when a lady heard him
laugh and she found him and said, “You are Pastor
Jack Hyles aren’t you? I would know that laugh
anywhere. I listen to your radio broadcast every day
and I love your humor.” His deacon board meetings
were his night out with the boys. It was a time of
laughter, friendship, comradery, and partnership in
the work of God.
could tease me and I would walk away feeling more
loved. He never used me as an object of hurtful
humor, but loving humor. All tools can be used
against or for another person. Humor can say, “I love
you,” as much as words can. He teased me regularly,
but I never felt ridiculed; I felt loved.
had been teasing me. On our way back to the motel
he put his arm around me, hugged me, and said,
“Brother Gray, you have a great spirit, don’t ever lose
Hyles when he began to tease another preacher. Dr.
Hyles had the entire table laughing at something that
preacher had done. Afterwards, the man who had not
known Dr. Hyles before and did not know how much
he liked to kid around, commented to the one who
had been teased, “Dr. Hyles sure loves to tease you,
doesn’t he?” The preacher replied, “Yes, that’s
because he loves me.”
body a living sacrifice to God as few men have ever
done in history. He was an accumulation of all the
great men of God who were his mentors. He
absorbed their good traits and never exploited their
bad traits to try and make himself look better than
himself up, but to help lift up others. He was as
unselfish a man as I have ever met in my 56 years of
being in the family of God. He loved like few, he
thought like few, he served like few, he yielded to God
like few, he proclaimed truth like few, he befriended
like few, he pastored like few, he preached like few,
and his humor was like few. God magnified Jack
Frasure Hyles because Jack Frasure Hyles magnified