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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » YouTube Gospel Magic Interview Series (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Special user
Lafayette, IN
549 Posts

Profile of jamiedoyle
Gospel Magician from the UK, Nathan Ward, is producing a fun interview series that is quite insightful. (I was honored to be one of the interviews). He is basically interviewing a variety of Magicians who are connected to Gospel Magic in some way. The viewpoints are very diverse. So far it's been Greg Phillips, Me, John Archer, Steve Price and Barry Mitchell... I believe he is planning even more. I've gained new insight from watching/listening the different interviews.

You can find it here:

Jamie Doyle
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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Michigan
2700 Posts

Profile of MagicBus
Terrific video interviews, watched them all. Excellent.

One thing that may be a Captain Obvious- the setting of the program one is doing is critical.

A "Gospel magician" such as myself could/would most likely look silly on the main stage of a FCM convention. Why?- because my typical audience is the same 50 kids week after week after I have already lead them in two or three kids songs, opening prayer, talking to the kids about what today's theme is, etc..

Many of the kids have known me since they could first talk. They have seen me do "magic" for years in some cases. Many of the silk tricks I do, for example, involve having multiple kids read Bible passages, asking questions of the kids during the routine, leading the 4th grade and under kids in a prayer or song immediately afterward about what we have learned. These same kids will often come back to visit us in the "children's wing" and help out my wife and I years long after they have graduated into the "teen" program.

When I toured with John de Vries, he specialized in VBS week long programs, all in the same church. He usually did an hour routine each day, opening with a comedy bit followed by some very serious Bible teaching that was more of a sermon with magic than magic with a few verses thrown in at the end. Kids were being taught the VBS Bible themes of the week by John. His silks and props, for example, often were made to look like items from the Bible (an actual ox yoke, old wooden boxes, Bible characters painted on his silks, etc.). He was the opposite of the magician who happens to be a Christian.

By contrast, when I volunteered on/sponsored three Andre' Kole performances at Miller Auditorium (on the campus of Western Michigan University, seats thousands) and at the nearby classic Chenery Auditorium (only blocks from WMU, seats about a thousand), many hundreds of college kids were in the large paying audience. Andre' had to do a first class magic show to "establish his right to be heard." I had a wonderful dinner with Andre', dragged him to a secular radio station to promote one of his programs, and was thrilled by his show. But I can't imagine Andre' doing the floating seated man surrounded by a ring of fire in Lighthouse Kids Sunday School (the kids would probably be scared and the parents would freak out).

So, context/audience setting again is critical. There is no excuse for magic poorly done or Gospel routines poorly thought out.

If one is a traveling performer being hired to bring in clean entertainment and a good personal testimony for a large, new, multi-aged audience- that is rare air indeed. MagicBob and SuZie come to mind. But their program is different than one volunteer worker doing the "Loaves and Fishes" trick illustration combined with the use of the Wesleyan Publishing Speed Sketch video Bible story on this same miracle designed for use in a local children's Sunday School classroom. Apples and Oranges. And there are many opportunities for both types of performers, more probably in the local church setting (like what Jamie and I and so many others do).

My observation on FCM convention performers is sometimes by accident these styles overlap or cringe worthy clash. A kids performer who would be absolutely fantastic in a VBS or small Bible School setting can look underwhelming on the main stage at the FCM. And vice versa, one dressed in the Seinfeld puffy shirt doing a upside down suspended burning rope escape while in a straight jacket would look rather strange tying all that into that Sunday morning's kids Sunday School curriculum lesson on Jesus healing the ten lepers.

Setting, surroundings, context, room size, age of the audience, expectations, and purpose of the program are what determines what works best. And sometimes there rare "overlap" effects too- Andre' Kole's "Three Ball Illustration" comes to mind- as of one of those effects that works in multiple settings.

But I am quite sure all of us do smaller Gospel programs or single routines with great success to a small group of kids that could fall flat on a large platform. Would be like watching Silly Billy doing his funny birthday kids program on the main stage at Abbott's - tough to pull it off.

Any comments? I agree what was said so very much: Be yourself. Know the Bible (if you are striving to be a "Gospel magician"), and be fun/entertaining if (I believe) for sure if dealing with a first time large audience. What bugs me in any context is when a Bible verse or very lesson line or two is tossed in at the end of magic only routine. In my mind, you can't justify doing an overly dramatic and dangerous (in the mind of the audience) hand stab trick by throwing in at the end something like "You trusted me when I smashed your hand onto the empty cups, you need to trust Jesus too when you are afraid."

Thanks again Jamie for this link, hope to see more of them posted.
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