dialogue into a popular performance that attracted an audience that mushroomed from
200 on Thursday to 500 on Sunday.
Hostetler has presented his grin-inducing performance, called "The Joy Factor," more
than 800 times. Performing "The Joy Factor" has become a personal mission for
Hostetler because, he said, it is really the story of what he believes. He said, "It is more
than a comedy routine. It is an inspirational time."
When Hostetler is not performing on stage, he enjoys running, having participated in
three marathons during the past five years. He also has a background in magic and
once served as the president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
John Sharp, of Goshen, Ind., joined Jep Hostetler for the all-ages seminar, titled "Humor
is a Saving Things After All: Stories of Humor, Faith and Humility," offered twice during
the convention and largely attended by youth.
Sharp and Hostetler had gathered true stories of faith and humor, which they related at
the seminar. Sharp's goal was to share a variety of stories so everyone could find
something to laugh about. To bridge the age gap, he gave historical background and
explanation to some of the stories; for example, he explained the method of drawing lots.
Humor is important in the Mennonite church because it is a "human-leveler," Sharp
said, adding that, according to Mark Twain, humor is our attempt to deal with pain and
He says, "The more serious life becomes, the greater the need for humor." Sharp said
that the attitude with which humor is conveyed is important, because people "can tell if
you are sincere." He said, "Humor that points to our human fallibilities is often important,
but off-color jokes or stories that put people down is never important."