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Sunday, March 23, 2014

CHAPTER 25 OF "JACK HYLES-The Communicator"

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

Communicating With Humor

(Chapter 25 of "JACK HYLES-The Communicator"-384 pages in a hardback book with 33 chapters in total-Go to SOLVECHURCHPROBLEMS.COM to order)

"Situations or conversations can become so intense that the focus or solutions can be lost

in the polarizing of ideas."

Comedy is a poor substitute for humor. 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 life.

There are different methods of humor: farce, 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 taken literally.

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which it is not literally applicable. A pun is a joke 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.

The use of humor comes from the spirit of a 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.

I begin this chapter in this way because I feel it 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.

Dr. Hyles found humor in everything. Wherever 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.

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

Dr. Hyles knew when to insert a release valve 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.

1. Humor was something to share. If you 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 jokes.

He loved to cheer people up and sometimes it 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.

2. Humor was something to relate. Many 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. 

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

The word relate, has more to do with commonality than 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.

The commonality of laughter brought all 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.

Dr. Hyles served in the U.S. Army, yet he had 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.

If you ever attended his National Pastors' 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."

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

3. Humor was something to bring cheer. When Dr. Hyles walked into a room full of people he 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 to end.

He never took it lightly, but he helped them to 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.

4. Humor was something to bring a relaxed 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."

He had a way, even at the door of death, to 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.

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

5. Humor was a way to illustrateDr. Hyles was not big on telling a lot of jokes, but if he thought a 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.”

To Dr. Hyles the most important thing was not 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.

6. Humor was a way to restore. At times, Dr. 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.

In counseling, Dr. Hyles taught me to use a “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.

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

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.

The child was born and adopted out to a young 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 to restore!

7. Humor was a way to disarm. Many people 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 lives.

He often disarmed me when I was a bit too 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. 

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

would often hear Dr. Hyles say, “If your decision 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.

8. Humor was a way to release. Many people 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.

That was the thing that was foremost on his 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.

9. Humor was a way to bond. I loved him. I 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. 

Jack Hyles
The Communicator

You could be in the next room and hear that laugh and you knew 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.

10. Humor was a way to love. Somehow he 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.

One time we were in the Philippines and he 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 it."

I remember one time a man observing Dr. 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.”


Jack Hyles
The Communicator

Dr. Jack Hyles was a great man mainly because he yielded himself to his God. He gave his 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 them.

His humor was a tool that he used, not to build 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 God.


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