Improv is a shortened version of the word improvisation. It refers to acting or creating in the moment rather than planning one’s words and actions ahead of time. It can be thought of as “on the spur of the moment” or “off the cuff” activity.
Probably the most familiar use of improv is in comedy. Comedians often create humor by spontaneously interacting with each other.
One of the places you are least likely to see improv is the church where services are often planned and controlled to the smallest detail. So could improv work in church?
Picture this: A group of people gather on a Sunday morning in a church building. Someone says, “Who has something to share today?” People begin to testify about what God is doing in their lives. They proclaim their love for Jesus. They pray for one another. They share Scriptures. They exercise gifts of the Spirit. They give short teachings and share encouraging words.
What one person shares triggers something in another person’s heart. The whole group is encouraged and built up. They grow in love for one another. God becomes more real to them because they see him working in and through many other people each Sunday.
Is improv on Sunday morning just a theory? No.
It is happening every Sunday morning in Nashville, Tennessee at The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center — 10:45 am, 225 Berry St., 37207. Come see for yourself.
If you enjoy improv in comedy, you will love it in church! Last Sunday at Berry Street a woman took notes and showed them to me afterwards. I was amazed at how all that was shared fit together as if it had be presented by one person. Why? Because the person of the Holy Spirit did put it all together. Spirit-led improv — not that’s a great concept!
Here’s a quotation from Yehudi Menuhin: “Improvisation is the expression of the accumulated yearnings, dreams, and wisdom of the soul.” Liz Allen said: “Improv cures what ails Americans.” Come visit Berry Street and see if Spirit-led improv can cure what ails you.
Mark Batterson said: “Part of us wants Got to take us to a three act play with a clearly defined plot that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But Jesus takes us to the Improv instead. We want the entire script up front, but that would undermine our dependence on the Holy Spirit. Following Jesus and keeping in step with the Spirit require the art of improvisation.”