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Topic: Need more advice
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 24, 2008 05:06PM)
Thought I'd post this here since my brothers and sisters in Christ probably have more experience with churches than do most other fellow magicians.

First off, I'd like to thank you all for suggesting Duane Laflin to me. His props and routines are going to be a real help getting started with children's shows and having professional equipment without paying too high a price. Can't wait to get Without Jesus and the Vanishing Cigarette Pack from the Lock site. Hopefully I'll be ordering these next week.

The question I have currently is: how much do I charge for a show? I have no idea even where to start. With summer coming up I may have the opportunity to do some VBS shows, parties, etc. and I need your help here. Do you charge by the 1/2 hour, hour or do you just charge a flat rate or what? I want to be prepared with a good, professional and fair answer because I'm really getting to the point where I can perform an entire show and I am going to start approaching some of the pastors I know to present what I do. I'm also handing out my Hot Leads more and want to be ready for any calls I might get.

Special thanks to Terry for the DVD! I play guitar and forgot what a great addition music makes to the overall entertainment value of a show. Not background music, but opening with some singing with the kids. The kids love singing and they get to hear truth in the lyrics and I get to open with something that is easy and familiar to me-should help a little with the jitters.

Be blessed!
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 24, 2008 07:04PM)
First, thanks for the thanks...lol

I did this full time before pastoring, so I can give you some insight into what to charge...Some will probably disagree with me on this, but this is how I did it when I was full time on the road doing 30 to 40 weeks a year.

Never in those 8 years did I charge a church a particular fee, I came on love offerings...doing the programs in the format that you saw on the DVD. I was with the church usually 6 nights total.

If I were you, I would do a program regardless of the churches ability to pay me...it's about ministry first, reaching moms, dads and children. You do what turns God on, and He will take care of you. That's what my wife and I still do today...only certain types of church programs do I charge a particular fee, like Upward Awards programs...but 98% of the time, I've never charged them a particular fee, and God took care of us.

Or if they press the issue and it's for a one night program, tell them whatever they normally give a guest speaker for a Sunday morning service, you would be willing to come.

I hope this helps from someone who's been there and still doing it...
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (May 24, 2008 07:32PM)
I would like information on where I can get terry's dvd. I am putting a gospel show together and any advice or suggestions would be great.
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 24, 2008 07:38PM)
You get it from me...lol

A church had taped one of my Kid's Rallies and gave me a copy. It isn't the best video, but it does show our program fairly well.

If you want a copy, just paypal me $5.00 to cover shipping and DVD. My paypal email is terry@totalfamily.net

This is good for anyone else who would like a copy of the DVD, I would be more than happy to get a copy out to them.
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (May 24, 2008 08:11PM)
Thanks for letting me know.
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 25, 2008 10:01AM)
Thanks for the advice Terry. That takes all the pressure off and I get to see God work.

Be blessed!
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 25, 2008 03:56PM)
Your welcome...it is a faith venture. I'm a pastor and if someone wants to come to my church and is demanding a certain amount to come, I won't book them. But, my responsibility as a pastor is to make sure my guest are taken care of and God really helps us do that. I've never been ashamed at the end of the week at what we gave our Evangelist...God is good!

Keep the Faith!
Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (May 25, 2008 11:21PM)
Hey B Hackler.

Can I borrow Terry's DVD so I can make copies of it and sell it on the internet for $40?

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 25, 2008 11:45PM)
Hey! That's not right Tony! You can't steal from another brother like that! It was my idea to pirate that video first, so lay off!! :jesterhat:
Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (May 26, 2008 07:42AM)
Okay, how about $35 then?

Can you make your own DVD of you performing Terry's routines and then give it to me to sell?
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 26, 2008 11:39AM)
Hey....I'll get Timothy Drake in here...(I did not say that)

If you want one Tony, I'll get you one...but it comes with a squirrel
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (May 26, 2008 12:10PM)
Sounds like a great idea. I will have one up for sale for $10.00 in a day or two.(ha ha)
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 26, 2008 12:14PM)
It's still sitting in my office ready to go out, should I raise the price? LOL
Message: Posted by: GlenD (May 26, 2008 12:50PM)
Best of luck to you, Preston. Just kidding, sort of. Luck has nothing to do with it, we all know that. I agree with what Terry says about the charging question. But it is still a good idea to have an amount in your head. Sometimes they really want to pay you what anyone else would or to have a target figure. I would encourage you to think about that and have something in mind. But the idea of going on love offerings is how I would do it. I have done shows based on love offerings and others based on an agreed amount. In general though I think the love offering as more appropriate. It does not limit God, sometimes you may get beyond what you would have asked for. It also allows your faith to grow as you depend on God to work not only through you, during your performance, but to work through those that come to see you and give as His Spirit leads.

Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 26, 2008 01:18PM)
So, what would be a decent amount for X amount of time, should that situation ever arise?

Tony-I've digitally superimposed my head onto Terry's body on the pirated DVD. I can do one with you too if you like! :lol:
Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (May 26, 2008 01:45PM)
Yes, do one with me and send Terry the bill..
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (May 26, 2008 04:16PM)
Gee thanks...I get charged for being ripped off...

Preston...your X amount question is hard to answer...if you've never done anything like this before, which it kind of sounds like based on what you've written here, I wouldn't charge them more than $100 for a performance if they ask. You're getting something more out of a program than the $100, you're gaining experience.

What I really encourage you to do is ask the Lord how you should answer that question and go with what He tells you.

Keep the faith!
Message: Posted by: jkvand (May 26, 2008 10:02PM)
In "Greater Gospel Magic" Duane Laflin recommends asking for travel expenses PLUS the opportunity to take up a love offering. With gas prices these days, that's not a bad idea. That way at least you know you've got your basic expenses covered. I am a pastor as well, and sometimes if churches can't afford my fee, I'll just tell them to make a donation (in whatever amount they choose) to my church, or to a mission project, or something along those lines. God has always taken care of me.
Message: Posted by: Gary Barker (May 26, 2008 10:29PM)
Your question raises a great point regrading how much to charge or expect. I suggest the following points to ponder...
1) Establish a presentation worthy of your rate. I think this is critical. I believe God is honored when we give something our best effort. He did not give us "average grace, mercy or blessings" and I believe He would want us to do our best, ESPECIALLY when it comes to magic with a message.
2) Determine your goal (financial), in other words, are you attempting to earn your living from this? Will you be full time? Part time? God expects us as Christians to be good stewards of His resources. To grow your ministry it takes dollars. You should know how much it takes to perform for an evening, a weekend, a week camp, etc...as best as you can calculate. Be able to articulate this when asked. AND feel free to QUICKLY add that you are open to the Lord's leading and do not wish finances to be the sole deciding factor in when and where you perform. It also it our responsibility to not go in the "red" in my opinion. I spent over 10 years in full time ministry on a local church level. Every church I went to as a paid staff member involved a salary. I knew going into the relationship what was expected and what the renumeration was to be. I know very few pastors who would "pass the plate" for their paycheck. I am not being funny here. If a pastor (as a minister of the Gospel) can expect financial compensation for his work, I see no reason why a minister of the Gospel via magic/illusion etc. should be discouraged from this same desire for financial stability.
3)I feel we have a duty to respect our brothers and sisters in ministry, even those not in Gospel arenas. For example, we are all free to charge as we are led and yet every situation is different. I was at a church where the pastor felt his salary was more than he needed and he was inclined to ask for it to be lowered. I strongly urged him to reconsider. Here is why. He was married but all his children were grown and he was finacially stable and responsible. YEA GOD! But I asked what if when you leave they call a married man with 3 small children. His needs will be very different. The church will be accustomed to your "reduced" pay and may expect others to follow suit which may not be practical or fair to them. I suggested he simply take the pay and write and additional check or amount for his tithe and sow back into the church. That way the church maintained a "real" understanding of salary and he was obediant to the Spirit's leading to live on less. My point is to illustrate you may not be wanting to earn your living at this but some do. If you handle number one as listed above even if you are not full time, you can provide that level of quality in your ministry and you should expect similar renumeration. Be informed as to what others charge and stay in the ballpark please.
4) Terry made a point I thought was good. He stated experience is worth something. AMEN!!! As you grow be honest with yourself and honest with your performance opportunities. Understand what they expect and what you can deliver. If you feel the venue is beyond what you can handle say so. Maybe connect them with someone you know can handle it. Maybe you could open for them, but share the line share of the evening. Ask for a future opportunity as your skills develop.

Oh and MOST OF ALL...if anyone of us lacks wisdom, we should ask our heavenly Father and He will give us what we need! God is faithful. He will guide you for His glory and names' sake. What an awesome thing to be able to tell other's about Christ through this avenue of Gospel magic.

Message: Posted by: Bendy (May 26, 2008 11:43PM)

You should also get Duane Laflin's DVD set entitled, "The Art of Gospel Magic." It has some very valuable and applicable information on preparting for, scripting and performing a Gospel Magic show. The videos show some tricks as examples; but the videos are not designed to teach tricks or provide patter for your show. They are designed to instruct and !@#ist you in structuring a Gospel Magic show for success. ...And the concepts and principles taught in that set include Scripture references and, if followed, will result in a successful Gospel Magic show. Additionally, much of what is taught can be applied to secular shows. It's an investment well-worth the cost.

As far as what to charge; I always state that I will perform for a love offering if that would be easier for the church. That usually works out to be very close to or more than what I would've charged a secular client for my time. Only once while being "interviewed" to perform for a youth event did the church official press the issue - asking me what I would charge for a similar performance if I was a corporate or private, secular event. I gave him a range and by the end of the interview, it was agreed that since I'd be performing for more children for adults, the church would pay me rather than take up an offering. I quoted them a fee which was 25% less than what I would charge for a corporate gig. I got to the church, setup and performed as agreed. The Pastor - who had originally been VERY apprehensive about bringing a "magician" into his church to perform for children - was very impressed with the illusions I performed, how I interacted with the kids, how well the show flowed, (thank you Duane Laflin), my thorough Gospel message AND the fact that early in my show I explained what magic was and was not. So impressed, actually, that the church paid me twice what the high-end was for my corporate gigs. Then, I took out my check book and wrote a tithe check to that church - tithing on the money they just gave me. I told the Pastor that I normally tithe at my own church; but I want to support churches and ministries that support Gospel Magic as a means of evangelism and for teaching. He has extended a standing offer for me to return at the same time each year and perform for that program.

God will work out the monetary details. Especially if it's not your main source of income at this time, I would suggest working for love offerings at churches. If pressed as to what you'd charge for a corporate gig, you want to make sure you have a definitive number. Some churches may feel they are too small to provide you with a fair love offering or the situation may require that they pay you, (such as for a children's program). For those situations, you should be ready to discuss your secular/corporate/private fee structure and even WHY you charge what you charge. You may offer a discount for churches as a service to, and in support of, their ministry.

One more suggestion: Tithe on the money you get from the Lord's people. I'm not one of those people who are still hung up on old testament legality on tithing in this new covenant era of freedom in Christ. However, it's only right to support those ministries that support our art as a legitimate, effective means of witnessing, teaching and entertaining. Be that at your own church or where you perform, I believe it to be important.

Sorry for the long post.

Until ALL Have Heard,

Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (May 27, 2008 06:48PM)
Great advice from all! I can't think of anything to add. :)
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 27, 2008 10:11PM)
Great advice indeed! Thanks to all.
Message: Posted by: johnmagic (Aug 15, 2008 09:02PM)
Get Duane Laflin's Book Greater Gospel Magic There a section on how much do I charge. Duane Laflin has change my life .After 20 years of being a magician I found Mr Laflin and became a Gospel magician . I use the title Illusionist not magician. http://www.illusionistjohnwright.com
Message: Posted by: mrmagic9112 (Aug 18, 2008 07:03AM)
I agree with all of those comments posted thus far. I have been performing for 30 years. First as a family ministry group doing music, puppets & illusions a lot of kid's crusades and VBS programs. Currently since my kids are grown, it is just my wife and I. I used to charge a fee especially when this was my sole means of making a living and honestly churches appreciated knowing up front for thier budgets for those types of programs. Currently I ask for a love offering plus travel expenses and as many others have said, God takes care of us. I have seen a lot of situations where we only had an audience of 10 one night and a $25.00 offering and yet Like I said, God takes care of us! The next night were blessed by a $1000.00 offering with 200 people in attendance. Never did I expect that from a small town country church! God has proven himself over and over again and He is in the blessing business. Even more important than the monetary blessings, are the decisions for Christ that I see at each program. That is the true reward for me! What a mighty God we serve! God's blessings on you and your ministry!