Chaz Smith: Putting God’s Joy on Display

“I want to honor God with my life and represent him well, so I try to be as authentic and vulnerable as I feel led to on social media with the followers that he’s allowed me to have.”

Chaz Smith (26) is a comedian who loves creating videos on Vine, Instagram and YouTube that put a smile on people’s faces. He has done projects with Nickelodeon, Old Spice and several Hollywood actors. We caught up with him to discuss what drives his creativity and how he’s using his influence to point young people to Christ.

What are your creative outlets and the ways that you uniquely live out your calling from God?

One of the main ways that I express myself creatively is by making videos that bring laughter or put smiles on people’s faces. This all started just by me being goofy and making short clips on Vine, then Instagram and YouTube. However, I love music too, and that’s something I’m starting to pursue as well, but at some point I’d like to get back into filmmaking.

How did you develop your passion for being a comedian and entertainer?

When I was pretty young, at some point in junior high I realized that entertainment was a way that I could reach a vast amount of people and be able to use my platform to influence and impact a lot of groups that wouldn’t normally be reached by most churches or faith-based organizations. What’s driven me has been the fact that I’m able to serve people through laughter and entertainment, showing them a side of God that a lot of people aren’t aware of: his joy.

What is a moment that stands out in your mind as a turning point, when you really felt like you were doing what you were meant to do?

One thing that really stood out to me was the first time I received a message from somebody who told me that were contemplating suicide, but then came across my videos, and they realized that it wasn’t worth it.

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How has your personal faith shaped the way that you do what you do?

I want to honor God with my life and represent him well, so I try to be as authentic and vulnerable as I feel led to on social media with the followers that he’s allowed me to have––they’re real people. The way I express myself on the internet, whether it’s through comedy, serious discussions or directly sharing the gospel, is influenced by knowing that he can use anything I say or do to move someone closer to him, and that I’ll be accountable for how I use what I’ve been given.

Do you have a life Bible verse or another passage of Scripture that has encouraged you along your journey? Why is that passage meaningful to you?

Two verses that have been really encouraging for me recently are Psalm 16:7,11:

“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me … You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

They’re promises that remind me of God’s character and love for me in some pretty simple ways: The Holy Spirit speaks to and guides me, but God has given me discernment in my heart, too; and that any time I might get blown off course or my heart starts turning away from him to be filled by other things, I can know that the life, joy and pleasure I’m looking for in them are really only fulfilled through him in the first place.

How do you see your passion interacting with your sense of calling or mission from God? (i.e., how is God using you to further his kingdom through you doing what you do?)

Right now, I really think it’s just as simple as sharing God’s joy with people, and that looks like allowing myself to be filled up by him, and having the freedom to move and share the overflow with whoever I can rather than trying to fake joy or just “keep it moving.”

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What’s one thing you would like say to leaders in the church who are trying to cultivate and encourage younger leaders?

Please encourage us to not be so hard on ourselves. Discipline is biblical and godly, but I’ve spent so much of my life trying to prove myself to God, to other people, and to myself, and that’s so unhealthy. We’re loved by God long before we ever do a single thing. When a child is adopted, they don’t have to work to earn the right to stay in their parents’ house—they’re just loved by them, and that love leads them to obedience. Please teach young leaders the love that God has for us as his children so we don’t work ourselves crazy trying to prove that we’re acceptable in his sight because we deserve it.

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