Always Say YES – An Improv Lesson For Christians


Improv rule number one: ALWAYS SAY “YES.”

If your partner says, “I’m rowing my boat across a sea of elephants,” you never say, “That’s ridiculous… it’s actually a regular sea. Of water.”


You said, “NO.” Where are you supposed to go from there?

Instead, no matter how crazy it sounds, it’s always a “YES, AND…” answer: “Yeah! And you’re rowing SUPER fast for someone with no arms! How are you doing that?”

Spontaneity adds a wonderful spark of fun and inclusion and lets people know you’re on their side.

The “Um… ACTUALLY” person always has a rebuttal. A correction.

The “Um… ACTUALLY” crowd always has a reason to share, has a correction to make, or has a one-up comment to prove.

The “Um… ACTUALLY” Karen wants to make sure everyone has the facts, the right facts, and only the facts that make her look good. Any joke, sarcasm, or lightheartedness must never be a “YES, AND…” but an “UUGH… No.”

The “YES, AND…” people can roll with the punches. Someone throws a joke their way, and they laugh with it. They don’t take themselves too seriously.

The “YES, AND…” people always agree. They’re always on your side. They’re always playing along. They love what you have to say.

The “YES, AND…” people include everyone, because no matter how weird or “outsider” you are, you’re accepted and included. You’re loved, biblically. Unconditionally. Even if you’re a weirdo.

I’ve seen people try to break into a “NO” crowd, and it’s almost impossible. No matter what you say to the “NO” crowd, you’re never funny, never cool, never included. I’ve seen someone tell a hilarious joke, a cool story, or an interesting fact to a “NO” crowd and be deflated by the response: *crickets. “That’s nice. Now shut up and let someone cool tell that joke so we can actually laugh at it, cuz it’s actually pretty funny… just not from you.”

Not in so many words, but that’s the sentiment.

I’ve seen an outsider try to fit in by interjecting himself, only to be joked about, laughed at, and never told, “YES.”

On the flip side, though, I’ve been watching people—especially recently—be a “YES” crowd. An easy group to break into. An inclusive, biblically loving, unconditionally accepting crowd of “YES, AND…” people.

They acknowledge others, value their input in a conversation, and bolster the outsiders’ suggestions. They sit with strangers, listen to facts outside their knowledge, and ask lots of questions.

No matter the topic, no matter the person they’re talking to, the “YES, AND…” person responds in love.

There’s a difference between laughing WITH someone and laughing AT someone. Laughing WITH is from a basis of “YES, AND…” Laughing AT is from a basis of “NO.”

Don’t be an “UM… ACTUALLY.” Learn to read when others have a good heart so you don’t shut down a chance to laugh with people.

Don’t be a “NO.”

Be a “YES, AND…” kind of person and biblically love others. Always.

And I’m still wondering… how DO you row with no arms?!

Our Sunday lunches with Rooted always include “outsiders,” and it’s a blessing to watch these young adults include everyone. It would be easy for the long-timers who’ve grown up at our church to form a clique, but last week we had about 12 people over with the majority of them coming to church within the past couple years or so.

I love that our class purposely shows love to others.

We got an amazing text message from a new person recently who said it’s actually GREAT to see the longevity of the members at our church, but also appreciated that they include what I’ve been calling “outsiders.”

I think that’s a biblical kind of love, and I love it.