Dealing with “Entertaining John”

273173_10150303060547790_608952789_9174384_2700980_oI will never forget the day in High School when “entertaining John” made himself known to the world.  In all honesty I was shocked myself when it happened, we were starting an elective class during seventh period on public speaking and the teacher had asked me to share a ten minute devotional.

Until that time I had been a quiet and introverted student with the social life of a large rock (people  think I am kidding when I tell them this but I’m not).  Being introverted isn’t the end of the world, but that’s what made it so shocking when “entertaining John” made his appearance.

During that devotional I became confident, funny, outgoing, and energetic…all the things that I hadn’t been before.  Once it ended everyone in the class (myself included) had the same look of shock and surprise on their faces.  That day as a sophomore in High School the Lord revealed I was an entertainer.

Since not everyone is aware of what entertainers are allow me to explain it to you.  We are people who love doing things in front of large crowds, and in many cases show more confidence performing in front of people than in simple face-to-face conversations.  This doesn’t come from arrogance or pride, the Lord has simply blessed us with ability to connect with large crowds, and we love doing it.

My favorite part about being an entertainer is it allows me to make people laugh and forget their struggles.  My friends also love having an entertainer in their group and always invite me to games nights at their houses, I never really win the game (always come last) but that’s okay because my presence is for entertainment purposes only.  They have even given me the nickname JB (short for Johnny Boy) when referring to my entertaining side.

In my opinion everyone should have a JB side which enjoys being goofy or silly as long as they don’t act that way all the time.  However JB has created some challenges for ministry, particularly the ministry presentation that I share at Churches.

While preparing for furlough the Lord led me to create a presentation that was centered on the ministries in Melbourne, but also shared specific stories about people the Gospel had touched.  God has used those stories greatly because Believers were able to see pictures of individuals I minister to, and learn more about their lives, but those stories also provided a great temptation for my entertaining side.

As with most entertainers I am also a storyteller, anyone who has heard me tell my spooky story taileybone (it isn’t scary at all) with all the lights out and shining a flashlight on my face will agree.  So there was a desire to share the testimonies of those in Melbourne in an emotional, over the top way that was sure to touch hearts; in other words, part of me wanted to entertain them.

The problem is that would place the focus on me with my tear jerking stories and those are what would be burned into their mind instead of Melbourne’s great spiritual need.  So I did something that is very hard for any entertainer to do…I left JB at home.  Oh there are still jokes (or at least attempts at humor) in my presentation but the emphasis is on what the Gospel has done in the lives of people in Australia instead of my stories.

Yes, there is a great need for more entertainers in this world; people who use God given talents to encourage those who are struggling with the challenges of life, and help them forget that paralyzing fear or anxiety for a few moments.  Yet there comes a time when it’s far better for us to put the cane and top hat down and focus the eyes of others on the one who can truly give them peace

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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