Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

How to Deal with the “Heckler” Part 2

The Heckler Part 2

Stealing Thunder

Let’s face it, the only kind of person that thrives on a heckling audience is a professional wrestling villain. If you missed last Wednesday’s blog on the introduction to the Heckler series, then check it out here.


Stealing Thunder

The heckler in question today is the Thunder Stealer. As a minister, it is of utmost importance to keep your “thunder,” which keeps your command of the room.

My show is very deliberate. Everything I do is planned. Tomorrow, I will show you how you can be deliberate in everything you do.

Sometimes though, even the most deliberate movement can be challenged. Recently I did a show in which the audience member helping me on stage would verbally chime in and make comments or jokes right before I would make them myself. This was a 500+ person show, so this could have been an embarrassment for me. This person would interrupt my patter, just to make a comment about what I was wearing, something about the lights, anything she could think of. She had never seen my show, but she had the type of personality, where she wanted the attention on herself.  The only saving grace in the situation was that she didn’t have a mic so a lot of people didn’t hear her.

The jokes and points I have scripted have been worked out over the last few years in this one routine to cause a certain reaction from my audience.  I like this routine. It’s my favorite to perform because of the way it leads the audience down the garden path, only to pull the rug out from under them.  The problem is, when punchlines or even reveals are made prematurely by the person on stage, the effect loses the amazement factor. I had to work very hard during this instance to control my stage. Thankfully, audience members only get a mic in my show when I want them to say something. There are times in youth ministry where this type of heckler can be detrimental to your service.

The Danger

Think about your ministry. Let’s say you have an illustration  you want to use.  You are super-pumped about it, and you know it will kill.  Then, you unknowingly pick the “Thunder Stealer” Heckler. You bring the Thunder Stealer on stage (whom you totally think you can trust) who completely derails you by directing the audience focus to his/herself.  It’s annoying.  It can throw you off, but worst of all…

It can distract someone who needs to hear the Gospel.  Let’s face it, the reason I do what I do, and the reason you do what you do is so that people will hear the Gospel.  Last week I talked about owning the stage to cut down on distractions from those in the crowd, but to have someone on stage with you who seems trustworthy that wrecks what your trying to accomplish, can have drastic results.

Situations like this are invariably going to happen (rarely). However, you are not going to let your thunder be stolen. It would be easy to get distracted by the Thunder Stealer’s comments, but remember, you are in your charge. This is your house, your stage, your message that God wants you to share. You don’t laugh at the Thunder Stealer. Instead, you draw the focus back to you.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go through how to pick people you can trust from any audience, whether it’s your own student group/audience, or whether you are a complete stranger.  These techniques are invaluable and will serve you very well in accomplishing the goal of coherently sharing the Gospel with minimal distractions.

How do you deal with the Thunder Stealer?

2 responses

  1. Pingback: How to Deal with the “Heckler” Part 3 Who to Pick « Step into the Mind of Bryan Drake

  2. Pingback: How to Deal with the “Heckler” Part 4 « Step into the Mind of Bryan Drake

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