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Topic: Will the FCM be around 20 years from now?
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Aug 2, 2010 09:58PM)
Maybe? And if so, in the same form? What will it look like?

I'm not big on forums, mainly because my schedule doesn't allow me to have tons of conversations online outside of my current projects in other social networks. However...

I recently made a comment on my Facebook profile, and it seems to have stirred up some conversation. If you're on Facebook, I'd love to get your thoughts:

http://www.facebook.com/harrisiii?v=wall&story_fbid=140479522642010
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 3, 2010 09:59AM)
Bjharris -

Why not share your thoughts here...I'm sure you will get feedback.

FCM is a great organization...with a long history. Yeah...there are things that need to be improved...yeah...change takes a while...but it is a great organization of folks.

If you...as a member...have ideas for change...share them in this forum.

Thanks
Kif Anderson
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 3, 2010 11:01AM)
I went to my first wonderful FCM convention in New York (the state) in 1971 with John de Vries. Still remember seeing Bill Baker and Jimmy Lake perform (Jimmy was both an IBM and FCM international president), along with John. It is the people that make FCM so good- the actual meeting together- not just the sharing of information (which is good too of course). There are so many alternative ways to share ideas now on the web. But yep, as long as Christian magicians/performers enjoy being the actual personal "fellowship" of one another- FCM has a long future history in my view. Conventions (whether magic related or not)in general have been declining in numbers (such as IBM this year), but that may be due more to the current down economy more than not as many magicians not wanting to physically visit with one another anymore. I don't have any idea if 2010 FCM attendance was up or down from 2009, but it was certainly far more than what we had back in 1971. It would take at least 20 years to decline back to those earlier levels- who knows- by then (2030)the convention may all be done in virtual meeting space on 3D holographic monitors. All conventions may be obsolete by 2030 as too expensive- and all organization communications could be digital only. But my guess is folks still will want to gather somewhere... just like the local church does. Have a great day all, I would be interested to see BJ thinks as I do not connect currently with facebook. I have a face for script.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 3, 2010 03:59PM)
Whoops, to answer the question asked: "Let's hope so!"
Message: Posted by: Kerry Kistler (Aug 10, 2010 06:46PM)
Hey BJ,

You mentioned on your Facebook "Good to Great" - a wonderful read - just finished it recently. Who is your selection for a Level 5 leader for the FCM? We really need a Hedgehog concept too.

Y'know, I wrote on this very topic in the July/Aug '08 Conjurer in an article titled "Balancing the Ballyhoo: Does our FCM Tent Need Some Patching?" That was the toned down version.

Read it here: http://www.usc.salvationarmy.org/usc/WWW_USC.nsf/vw-sublinks/919D28CB0D3247D486257362005C5160?openDocument

That one article generated more calls, emails and letters than the entire three years of my column...combined - all in agreement with the article.

But to be fair, the conference has had some world class performers and lecturers in recent years. Perhaps not in the quantities we would like but I do think some effort has been made to raise the bar. I hope the trend continues.

Kerry
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 11, 2010 12:49PM)
This may sound terriby outdated, but I do not subscribe to Facebook, so cannot download the BJ Harris comments (or at least I can't figure that out how to do that without becoming a member of facebook). Any chance someone could summarize on The Magic Café' here the content of BJ's comments?

My two cents worth (and may not be worth even that):

As for me personally, it is just a personal preference, not much more. I simply chose to not attend the vent lectures at FCM, etc.. (although I went to a Dave Mitchell vent lecture two years ago and can't remember ever laughing so hard at a lecture- funny, funny stuff). Kerry is right- many of us really have zero interest in face painting, story telling, clowning, chalking or even puppeteering.

However, when very capable magicians such as Sheldon Rhodes utilize excellent magic, puppeteering and juggling in his very well known and successful children's outreaches, it is difficult to say FCM should not be about those areas as well. I have done some programs with SuZie, and quite honestly, the most "buzz" after the show is over is most often about her chalk art. We have obviously seen very strong Gospel messages at FCM in the area of puppeteering- I would sure hate to be the one to say the capable puppeteers need to have their own convention/organization to further their art form. I am actually kind of happy to have them with us, we can often learn from their creativity and dedication.

When MagicBob, PJ Weber and myself did a magic lecture Friday morning at the most recent FCM convention, I recognized pretty much everyone there and I did not really see any puppeteers or vents there who were really there only just to curiously learn the "secrets" of our magic trade. That argument, in my view, may be a little bit of building a straw man--- that may not really exist all that much or be much of a problem at FCM. As for the evening programs, even Abbott's or IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) has jugglers, change acts, escape artists and vents (and even a vent-o-rama at Abbott's) in their evening shows and other assorted novelty acts from time to time.

As long as FCM has a strong magic track during the FCM convention, and right now it does with constant daily and multiple lectures, I do not see much of a problem for me as an amateur "magician." If magic lectures were being cut in order to have lectures instead on story telling, for example, that might be a problem. But I think that realistically the FCM probably has to work pretty hard to fill all the lecture magic spots available now during the week, so magic tracks are not being cut... And if a strong magic act is available for the evening program- it is not being pushed out for something else. There are just not enough strong magic acts available for a week long convention with a smaller budget than the "big boys" of IBM, SAM, Abbott's, World Magic Seminar, etc..

Have a great day all, of course improvement is terrific!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 11, 2010 01:21PM)
Full disclosure: I do make some pretty good one balloon animals--- do make them rarely from time to time. But I usually don't go to those lectures either or build the great balloon art pieces- do enjoy looking at it though. The Van Gogh Starry Starry Night piece at FCM this year was pretty wild... But most magic dealers also carry 260 balloons too for sale including Abbott's...
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 16, 2010 10:49AM)
FCM is a lot like going to church. Some go to be seen and heard. Others go to worship and fellowship.

The notion that folks don't go to FCM because they don't "get anything out of it" has me questioning their motive. Selfishness perhaps?

My first trip to FCM International was in 2006. My buddy and I had been invited to come and perform Monday night and teach a class on Friday morning. We felt when we headed that way we might try to do this every three years or so. We went back in 2007, 2008, 2010...(missed 2009 because I was dealing with medical issues). I took my wife and youngest daughter (Faith Renee on the podcast) this year. They loved it. My wife figured maybe she would go every so often...now she can't wait to go again next year.

Would you like to know the coolest thing that happened to me in 2006? It wasn't a trick I'd learned...a new move to make my magic better...it was a handful of friends I made...including someone I had been a fan of his work since starting in Gospel magic...Del Wilson (who is now the international president...and a great and loving guy with a tough job right now).

It is the fellowship that brings us back...keeps us connected. Although I had met him briefly at both the 2006 and 2007 conventions, in 2008, I really got to know this guy by the name of Joey Brummet. Now he is one of my closest friends. He suggested one day in a phone conversation it would be fun to have an FCM podcast...and three weeks later...Episode 1 was posted. And completely blessed by the board of directors. By this weekend Episode 24 will be posted...that's two years of collaborating with folks we met attending the convention...Mark Tripp, Daniel Lusk, Robert and Alexandra Bremner...along with Gene "Oz" Oswald, Faith Renee, Joey and myself.

All this to answer a question...where do I see FCM in 20 years? Well...if the Lord has not returned...still doing what it is chartered to do...equipping and encouraging folks to share the gospel.

Check your heart and see what your motives of attending are. If the are "what's in it for me"...hey...secular magic conventions are probably a better fit for you. But if it is one of a servant's heart...you know that Jesus thing...that thing we are supposed to be emulating...then I can't think of a better place to spend a week than the FCM convention. Because you will find a lot of like minded people there.

That's my two cents.

><> J
Kif Anderson
Blessed member of
FCM International since 2000
LAFCM since 2000
FCM-OCGAS since 2005
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 17, 2010 07:34AM)
Through my son's facebook, I was able to check out BJ's comments last night.

My own view (one cent's worth) is that FCM will flourish equal to the amount of effort put into by the membership. That effort is being encouraged, not limited. I do not personally see the FCM doing anything to not assist- as evidenced by Duane Laflin asking PJ Weber, MagicBob and myself to lecture at the 2010 convention. That was a wonderful opportunity- and I think any fairly decent Gospel magician (ok- questionable in my case) can pretty easily get immediately involved even at the convention level... Such as the many lecturing spots open at FCM- probably more than any other convention I can think of. With the Late Late shows, etc., if you want a chance to perform magic- you have that opportunity right now. No waiting. SuZie did her chalk art on Wednesday night, next thing she was invited to immediately do several lectures/group meetings about her art. Wow- that was great to see.

I see the FCM as very active, very receptive, wide open, receptive to new ideas or improvement, and growing even in these tough economic times. By comparison, I cannot even get an invitation to attend FFFF, let alone share anything there (and I love Obie O'Brien too- talked to him at Abbott's a few weeks ago- a super gent and a good giving guy). Fired up about the FCM! Terrific magazine and web site, super convention content with a first class location- all at a very reasonable price. I have gone to many conventions- Abbott's, World Magic Seminar, Michigan Magic Day, etc., FCM is exactly what I look for in a convention- many dealers, tons of lectures, night shows galore with many Christian performers, nice! Of course the FCM evening shows may not be equal to what IBM has- but that is a much larger organization and draws talent from the entire world including fulltime performers/entertainers from Vegas (Hobson, King, Thomas, McBride, etc.). But Michigan Magic Day did not either, yet it was a wonderful event enjoyed by all. Psalm 67!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 17, 2010 08:04AM)
Whoops, forgot to add: FCM, Advance, etc. are terrific resources to learn and grow in the "art" of Gospel magic- to proclaim The Good News! That is probably more challenging (and more difficult?) than just doing straight magic performance or watching a fine comedy act (such as John Carney) at Abbott's. So yes- FCM performers should have high standards for sure. I need to practice, practice, practice!
Message: Posted by: marklock (Aug 18, 2010 10:56PM)
When I lived in California I ran a seminar with Adam Christing and Barney Kinard called Music, Magic and Storytelling. It was primarily for those who work with children, which is a lot of the audiences many in FCM perform for (children and family). I think that is a niche group, and clearly not what a performer like BJ would be looking for in community. As I continued to work with teenagers, I not only received less benefit from the FCM community, I felt I had less to contribute to the community too. So I left.

I think FCM is maybe a bit of a misnomer, it really is less about "christian magicians' and more about a fellowship of people that perform and minister in a niche market, and really do enjoy the relationships they've built with others.
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 19, 2010 12:16PM)
I am going to my first FCM event tomorrow. Will report back next week. I was told the registration was about 60 +. This will be refreshing after being at a few national S.A.M. and I.B.M. conventions.

I look forward to learning from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.


Love brother Harris
fishers of men of kansas city
http://magician.org/member/doctoroflaughology
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 19, 2010 02:17PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-18 23:56, marklock wrote:
When I lived in California I ran a seminar with Adam Christing and Barney Kinard called Music, Magic and Storytelling. It was primarily for those who work with children, which is a lot of the audiences many in FCM perform for (children and family).
[/quote]

Well...FCM in the days of Music, Magic & Storytelling in So. Cal is very different than today. LAFCM, which is blessed (beyond belief) to meet monthly at The Magic Castle is certainly magic focused...as well as fellowship. It just celebrated its 10th anniversary. FCM-OCGAS (Orange County Gospel Arts Studio) is very focused group of serious performers...both gospel and secular (and has been around for five years). So though smaller perhaps than some chapters...Southern California FCM is very active. And its not a kids performers only ministry anymore.
Message: Posted by: marklock (Aug 19, 2010 10:21PM)
Very cool Kif, Thanks for the update. I haven't lived in CA for several years, but have kept up my Castle membership. We tried on a couple occasions to get regular SoCal meetings going in the late 80's. Really glad to hear it is going strong.

Just to be clear, I don't think that being a children/family performer makes anyone less serious a performer or less significant. And I think the FCM community is a group whose members benefits from it's existence, it just may not be for EVERY magician who is a Christian. FCM was incredibly valuable to me when I was beginning and had I not moved out of the SoCal area imagine I would have continued to be involved.
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 20, 2010 11:43AM)
Marklock -

I didn't take the comment that way...just wanted to point out that FCM in SoCal is a bit more diverse perhaps than back in the 80s. Hey...we even have a podcast now...(www.themagicpodcast.com) or find on iTunes (better choice) as "Christian Magician the Podcast."

And if you can ever make the 4th Monday to The Magic Castle...we would love to have you join us...(and anybody else for that matter...that meet the requirements of Magic Castle entry...i.e. age...dress...etc.)

><> J
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 22, 2010 02:35PM)
Kif, your name got mentioned at the Shawnee, Kansas event.

I must admit I didn't have the highest expectations prior to attending the Friday night kick off. I was pleasantly surprised and blessed both on Friday and Saturday. The presenters were top notch and shared from the heart and from experience. A late night breaking of bread with some of them following the close of the first night events was as important as the rest of the mini convention. I laughed out loud (good thing I wasn't drinking my water) when Virginia told me her clown name...HOLLY LULA.

I was encouraged, inspired and educated by the attendee's as well as the presenters. I am so glad Bev Dowling took the time to pass on the information. Will be going to the site to check out membership. (probably in October..when things slow down a bit at the start of the school year)

I am a community based counselor at a middle and high school. One of the perks is each quarter I get to present workshops to 7th grade drama class, and get help from the broadcasting teacher in editing the video. An example can be seen on a link from my webpage.

Will be going back to the Shawnee Chapter, hopefully in September.

Be safe, well and blessed

love,

brother Harris
http://magician.org/member/doctoroflaughology
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Aug 26, 2010 09:13AM)
Certainly interesting comments everyone...thanks for sharing, and continuing to share. I've done a lot of processing, and feel like I've finally found some closure on the role and current purpose of the FCM. You guys have certainly played a role in helping me determine that.

Thanks again for commenting!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 26, 2010 10:24AM)
By comparison, Michael Close, Editor of MUM predicts the SAM/IBM will be forced to combine conventions or perhaps alternate yearly in the near future... IBM was basically orginally formed as Harry Houdini wanted to limit SAM to professionals--- yikes, that did not work out so well- probably as many hobbyists, collectors and amateurs now in SAM as in IBM now... The one thing for certain that never changes in organizations is there is always change.
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Aug 26, 2010 04:51PM)
Hellow All,

I finally had some time to browse the Café here and stumbled upon this thread.

Bj brings up a great topic and as a member I wanted to comment.

first BJ- you mentioned in your facebook comments that you are not sure how you wouldlecture for FCM you state that you need a "lecture before the lecture"

so lets start here- I performed and lectured about 4 years ago and I understand what you are saying but what it comes down to is that you or I would go and teach others how to excell to move forward how to be better how to be great. I understand your statements and agree that the FCM is more about a family get together rather then a source fo improving your skills. although I also will say that I have seen changes for the better and hope and pray that they continue to grow in this way.

when I lectured I taught them what I have learned and what has made me successful and most imoportantly that I followed the leading of the holy spirit thru it all. my shows my lectures etc.

BJ you are not the first to feel this there are many others (some very high level inthe world of magic) that agree tht FCM does not really promote excellence but rather promotes family time and sharing ideas. I hope that my time there helped change some of the direction they are now moving.

getting people like ICE to come out and perform is great lets hope they get Ammar or McBride in the future.

what this all boils down to is that FCM as a fmaily and and organization that puts its faith in God and needs to pray and seek the Lord as to the direction they need to go. as long as the leaders are doing that then we need to trust they are hearing god and help serve where we can.

I can only hope that we grow and that we can continue to reach the lost through our programs.

sam
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Aug 26, 2010 10:37PM)
After a lot of thought, and gathering feedback, I think I'm fine with the FCM for what it is. It is what it is, and I'm not sure that's changeable. Rather than try to change it, my opinion is that the organization should just accept what it is, and stop pretending or make it seem like it's something more. The organization's leadership most certainly needs to stop believing that they're the go-to resource for training performers regarding how to share the gospel using performance art on a large, full-time, grand scale.

It's certainly important for people who have an affinity with one another to gather together from time to time for fellowship. Also, since there are many who are performing magic without any form of payment, it's important for those with limited resources to have a place to go learn routines that fit into the standards and expectations of the audiences they perform for. FCM certainly provides for this, and fulfills those needs. And because of that, I believe the FCM is important. However...

However, I think it's time, (because so many are in need of it), to add to the incredibly limited teaching that is currently available to performers such as myself.

In response to these comments, and TONS others I've gotten via other sites and mediums, I've spent the last month beginning plans for something big, and I hope those who are intrigued and interested will make the decision to allow me to keep in touch.

I firmly believe you'll be blown away by what's in the works, even if you can't attend. That's why I think you'll want to check this out and be sure you sign up for the upcoming announcement regardless...even if you can't come, you'll love following what's about to happen online, and might even learn something for free, without even registering.

I can't wait to tell you the names of people I already have confirmed to be a part of this. Trust me...this is something you'll not want to miss: http://www.SubstanceConference.com
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Aug 29, 2010 09:15PM)
Not sure what the expression "performers such as myself" means. Isn't it all supposed to be about having a servant's heart? I can certainly appreciate having limited time to do things and having to decide what is important. But to say what is wrong with a convention one doesn't attend...it confuses me. That's kind of like a movie critic reviewing a movie they haven't seen. Oh maybe they saw a previous version, and that is enough to decide they know all about the current.

Churches are a great place to worship, but it is the small group studies that really seem to help people grow the most.

Also one gets a lot more out of "church" when they give more of themselves...and become involved in ministries.

The same is true for FCM. The convention is "church" and chapters are small group meetings. And finding one's niche in it all...say like working on the podcast (now going into its third year of production)...is when one really starts feeling a part of FCM. It isn't "sitting in the pews listening" but getting involved.

And both conventions and chapters tend to be a place to make connections...and it is those connections that produce things. My ministry (Oz & Wilde) certainly has its genesis to be credited to LAFCM.

So naysayers of FCM...I'm afraid you haven't really experienced FCM...and I invite you to take a step of faith and get involved...first in your chapter...then internationally. You will be so blessed.


Or do you stop going to church because they keep preaching out of the same old book and telling the same old stories. I don't know about everyone, but I get something out of the convention every time I go.

><> J
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Aug 30, 2010 05:54AM)
Well Kif, I too am not "everyone", but I can honestly say I had a blast at this year's very worthwhile 2010 convention (I attended the last 3 days). I learned stuff/got some new great ideas/had a good time "fellowshipping" and maybe most importantly- got inspired to practice on a much more disciplined basis.
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Aug 31, 2010 03:51PM)
Kif,

Meant nothing by the statement "performers such as myself" other than that I'm ready to go to another level in my craft, and that the current convention doesn't provide that opportunity for me.

Regarding judging a convention that I haven't been to, I have attended 9 International FCM conferences, over 20 regional ones, and participated in a chapter for over 3 years. I have been close, personal friends with multiple FCM presidents and other members of the executive committee. All of this has taken place in the last 15 years. This is obviously simply my own opinion, but yes, I do feel qualified and entitled to share my opinion, based on quite a bit of experience. In fact, I'd even go out on a limb to say that I potentially attended more FCM activities in a 10 year period than 98% of the other members. The only exceptions would be those who were regular lecturers at regional conventions across the country.

Sure, it's all about having a servants heart, but one can only serve so much. I spend about 2 months of my year performing internationally, and raise or set aside my own money to make that missions work possible.

I spent the last 4 years helping plant a church, serving hours per week in multiple fashions. Now, we're going through the same process again in a new city. In addition, that includes serving the people who live within the community we desire to reach.

I spent 10 years lecturing and performing and attending different facets of the FCM. I learned a lot, and I served a lot. Then I began noticing that the areas in which my strengths were located, simply weren't valued by the people who attend FCM. So in an effort to be a good steward of my time and talents, I've simply found it wiser to reserve that offered help for those who value it. I don't really see a negative in that.

While I see the point of your "getting more out of church by putting more in" statement, it isn't really applicable 100% of the time. I could go on and explain this in its entirety, but don't think it's necessary, because it's the same example I just used above. There are just times to stick with things, and there are times to move on. Everyone's resources are limited, and we have to steward them in a way that we get the most out of them, from the perspective of serving others, and yes, even for yourselves. The resources I invest in myself, allow me to serve others better. I know my limits, my budget, my relationship with my wife, and I've learned over the years what is necessary to reserver for myself, that allows me to be great at serving others. The link I posted above is simply the best expression I can think that would allow me to accomplish everything I've just mentioned to the best of my abilities.

For the record, I'd like to repeat that I've come to the conclusion that the FCM plays an important role for many people. It certainly played a role in my life. I just think it's time that some others came together in an effort to serve those who the FCM can't or isn't serving. That's all. There are quite a few of those people other than just me, and their reasoning is valid.
Message: Posted by: marklock (Aug 31, 2010 11:12PM)
BJ, I'm very interested in your conference. And I think I understand what you are trying to do. Sorry I haven't been available by phone lately. Getting NYWC ready to launch and PW after that.

It's important not to cast judgment on FCM, I think you are making that attempt, but it will definitely be a sensitive topic with some.

Blessings to all.
Message: Posted by: Kif Anderson (Sep 1, 2010 10:28AM)
BJ -

Thanks for clarifying your credentials with FCM. I do know you have been on the cover of the magazine a couple of times, but since my involvement with the convention at an international level only goes back to 2006, I guess I missed when you were there.

As there are many who feel the convention needs to "step up a level", others think it is fine the way it is. I admit to being somewhere in between those two houses of thought. And there are changes that have taken place under the Wilson administration that I think are pushing it in a more positive direction. However, things like the elimination of competitions, not sure that is such a good thing. But this is the last year of the current board...and while the incumbents were all "recommended" by the nominating committee, I suspect there will be a few new faces on the board come the end of the convention next year. Just have to see how voting goes.

><> J
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 1, 2010 01:13PM)
My Ramble-O-Gram/two cents/take with a grain of salt/not meaning to step on any toes/consider the inexperienced source comments (you may want to drink a Coke first to stay awake):

My only hesitation/sadness in all this is I'd love to see BJ do his thing at a future (such as 2011) FCM convention. In an ideal world, it would be fantastic to have ADVANCE, BJ's special training, and some stuff perhaps only now available at regional events, all rolled into/available at the FCM international convention at IWU. I cannot think of a better facility than Indiana Wesleyan- it has multiple beautiful stages, classrooms and meeting areas- really top notch. Sure beats being in a hotel ballroom somewhere while paying hotel rates just to be there. Plus, it's hard to beat having the multiple dealers, auction, etc.. My only hesitation is that my resources are limited too- the thought of having to drive to Pigeon Forge or Pittsburgh or wherever to attend multiple conferences is not great for my pocket book- or limited vacation time schedule- of course I would prefer having all the options above in one yearly super duper location.

As long as we are airing new ideas here... and I know this suggestion may not be too popular with the dealers... but I think with all the room available at IWU: Anybody wanting to sell even used magic there should be allowed to set up a table-maybe pay a small table fee or something if absolutely necessary. I know I did that about 1977 or so at Winona Lake when I sold off most of my stuff to help pay for my college tuition. The lecturers should also be allowed to sell whatever they want- no limits. This sounds crazy- but does it work?

At the 2010 Michigan Magic Day (sponsored by IBM Ring 211) we tried exactly this radical approach- no (zip, zero) dealer or table fees whatsoever and no restrictions. Anybody could come, sell what they wanted, in any amount. This turned out to be and was a huge success- the professional dealers reported better sales than in previous years AND the attenders loved it as they could scour through, comb through and buy both new and used items from a variety of folks selling all kinds of stuff if they so desired. I ended up buying a pile of old Christian Conjurer magazines that I discovered there of all things.

Now the FCM professional dealers at first blush would not like it as it may mean less money for them, but Ring 211 decided Michigan Magic Day (a two day event) was for the benefit of all the paid attenders, and was not set up or designed to make the most money for the professional dealers who may want to sell their wares (who of course all showed up anyway). Anddddd, I think more even new magicians showed up eager to look for used bargains otherwise not available from the "standard" dealers. Just something to consider if the space at IWU is available.

I do know of several gents who are FCM members who are fine craftsmen with just a few items to sell- but no venue to do it at the tradtional FCM convetion. At Abbott's now- the "street dealers" have tents set up near the high school- some people show up in part in August in Colon just to eagerly visit those used dealer tents. I admit I am one of those bargain hunters. No dealer hours, no rules. I know I look forward to going to the multiple folding tables set up there every year. Abbott's/FAB Magic reports that 2010 was one of their best attended years- while other conventions have been declining in numbers.

Anyway, just my thought that I sure don't like the idea of limiting multiple magical options for whatever "level" either at FCM- just would love to have it all in one grand site yearly. It should be about what is best for all the members to improve- and who may be making what (in terms of money) not being an issue. This could actually happen by changing a "policy" or two?- I don't know.

This may sound crazy as well- but I'd love it if ADVANCE or BJ's event could all take place during the FCM convention even at the same time- let the attender select what he wants to go to including paying extra for other available training. Hey, Ring 211 "sponsors" paid lecturers all the time- it helps the Ring members get better and it matters not to us that touring lecturers make money off of us. We pay them by our own choice- we end up having at least one and often two great new lectures a month. We don't have to "control" everything or worry about who is making what.

Or perhaps have this type of otherwise apparently previously not available level of experience (whatever it may be BJ is referring too- I am still not quite sure what this next "level" is we're talking about here)--- maybe be available every other year or so right at the FCM convention. WOW! Even if there was an extra fee-hey- like in Ring 211- we pay extra to attend apecial lectures. In any case- make whatever it is out there applicable to fine Gospel magic available at the FCM convention where everybody can show up at one central location... rather than spread it out all over the country in various cities.

OK, okay, this begging above is very selfish of me. Please don't make me chose- let's see- do I have enought money for Gospel magic training at ADVANCE (which sounds terrific), then go to the FCM convention (which I love), then BJ's conference, then the nearest FCM regional event?... Help- I'm running out of dough and my wife is starting to take it personally!

Another example of where this "one stop" idea has worked: I served in the Federal Bar Association for the State of Michigan. We started a statewide bankruptcy conference each year 23 years ago- and year after year the conference was dominated by professor types or those specializing in large corporate cases (as the judges in "power" had the most interest in that particular area of bankruptcy law). Then, about 1999, the consumer bankruptcy lawyers basically demanded a dual track for consumer oriented legal education---so we (the lawyers who specialize in consumer cases and stay away from corporate Chapter 11 work) would not have to year after year have to listen to speech after "boring" speech in areas of business law we had almost no interest in. It would be like watching card lecture after card lecture when you do not even do close-up.

Fast forward to 2010: we had a record FBA conference attendance in Traverse City. We jammed every corner of the large Park Place hotel complex. The consumer "tracks" we battled to set up had triple the "sign ups" attendance of the previously established "normal" tracks (that were only ones available before and we all had to sit through). But- here's the neat thing- the whole group/organization has managed to stay together- so we still have a huge big banquet together, a big time guest speaker, joint breakfasts... and continue to meet together as a big happy family of bankruptcy judges, professors, creditors, bank AND consumer debtor attorneys. Best of all worlds! We did not find it necessary to start our own consumer "convention" so we could get instruction in the areas that was previously lacking. And as a group (the FBA of West Michigan) we are larger than ever before- one of the best bankruptcy legal sub groups in the U.S. with some lawyers coming from other states to our "Michigan" seminar. Not to mention- all the legal "vendors" (books, software, accounting services)are more there than ever before at our one grand yearly statewide convention site. But none of this would have happened if the original event organizers (mostly judges)had not first consented to give up some areas of conference "control" to us "in the trenches" type consumer lawyers for getting the educational tracks we were interested in...

So BJ, if at all possible, if you could do your thing through the FCM international convention- WOW- I'd welcome that and would greatly look forward to considering it as part of my 2011 FCM convention experience- even paying an extra fee to attend what you are offering. I hope this is not all pie in the sky, but that would certianly be on my selfish wish list...

Have a great day all, and thanks for being in the FCM and participating on The Magic Café'- much appreciated- and I enjoy daily reading all your comments.

-Roger Magic Bus from http://www.ChristianMagician.org (and yep, we're doing some more filming on 9-29-2010 in Kalamazoo)
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Sep 1, 2010 02:43PM)
Mark - Definitely not trying to cast judgement, and doing my best to communicate in an honest way that isn't too judgmental. At the same time, I'm trying to be constructively honest, and hope my words don't come across too negative. This is all new thought for me...I've never devoted much time to processing it all until I started toying w/ the conference idea. In the process, I've discovered that there are things that need to be discussed. And yes, it's difficult to find a way for us to talk about it all, as you said, without it being sensitive to some people.

Kif - I think the FCM does need to step it up a little, however, I'm not sure it makes sense to. I used to have the opinion that everything about both the organization and the convention should change. However, I was younger and more prideful, and I've developed a healthier perspective. Now I once again see the value of the FCM. I now realize that there are necessary steps that would be required to make it better than what it is.

To truly raise the level, the financial structure would have to change, which would then keep many who need and love to be there away, and that isn't good for anyone, or the Kingdom. At the same time, in order to keep the convention affordable to these folks, the necessary budget will never exist to produce the convention on a level much higher than it currently is. People could obviously debate about the money topic, and have been for years, but that's just the way it is. There's no getting around it.

That being said, I think the FCM should just continue to serve who it has been serving in the same capacity. It does a great job at that, and there are clearly a lot of people who gain a lot of value from both the organization and it's conventions and chapters. Again, I certainly did growing up.

With the recognition of that "higher level", also come questions like:

When will that happen?
How will that happen?
Who will step up to lead it?

No better time than now I suppose to get it started. I already have many highly recognizable names in the FCM who will be participating, as well as names from the mainstream world of magic, and I'm excited to share them with you soon.

Finally, Roger...regarding your comments...

While I think this is an awesome idea, and something that has proven to actually work in other events in the past, I can't see this happening at FCM. I think that when you learn more about what I've been working on and the experience I've been crafting and creating, you'll have a better understanding why the two just wouldn't mesh together.

However, a one day version of something like it could most definitely work, and I certainly understand why you could only justify making it to one convention a year. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Plus, Substance, the conference I'm putting together, will not be for everyone. You may end up discovering that it just isn't for you, thus removing the need for you to be there. Time will tell...again, excited to share more in the near future.

This all really comes down to money, doesn't it?

Some want the FCM to be better. They're willing to pay, but not everyone is willing to pay. And the FCM would be divided by catering to both professionals and amateurs. Professionals don't just expect more...they need it in order to justify the expense and time off not working. Amateurs desire more, but though it is out of their control, they just don't have the resources to justify the need of expensive training from and for other professionals.

It's just the way it is. Plus, I honestly can't figure out the leadership's thinking and reasoning on the break down of expenses regarding how resources are used to produce a convention.

From what I've been told, (and many of the records have been made public), the FCM has spent thousands of dollars bringing in Southern Gospel singers. I'm sure that's an inspiration and valuable entertainment to many in attendance, but I'm not sure it adds much value to the training and education attendees receive by the time they head back home. Yet for some reason, it continues to be considered a necessary expense.

I don't understand that, but I'm willing to accept it if that's what all of the members want. But what that communicates to me is, "We're willing to pay professionals, just not you, because you actually do magic, and we don't pay magicians. But if you're a performing artist that performs an art that we don't actually teach here at our convention, let us know....we'd love to consider booking you, feeding you, paying you, and taking care of your travel and lodging."

To me, that says, "We don't value what you have to share, unless you're willing to pay US for the opportunity to LET you share it."

I'm supposed to pay to get there, stay there, be fed while there, and personally cover all of the associated conference expenses, PLUS give up a weeks worth of income that I have to make up in other places in order to pay my bills, (since I perform for a living), and you aren't willing to give me a penny? And if questioned, the response is, "It's about serving."

I'd be more interested in making the huge sacrifice it requires of me to serve, if I knew there wasn't another act getting handsomely paid for doing less than what lecturers contribute.

Just being honest...
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Sep 1, 2010 02:51PM)
P.S. This all goes back to my original point: Let's call the FCM what it is, celebrate what is has, is, and will continue to do as long as possible for all of the members who enjoy and learn from it. In the mean time, let's do what is necessary to train Christ-following performers who are seeking out additional education in their field.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 1, 2010 04:32PM)
Points well taken BJ. When I speak at the FBA seminars (which are fairly expensive to register for), and even if I am only part of a panel discussion, the organizers waive/pay for all my registration fees and food expenses. I think only the main speakers (usually out of town law professors or judges) get their travel expenses and rooms paid for. So you are correct, convention planners like Hank Morehouse at Abbott's no doubt first try to get as many workers as they can for free (like the volunteers who work on the large stage crew), but then they do pay their feature acts no doubt. Of course, they sell expensive public tickets for the evening programs and charge larger registration fees to the cover lecture costs. But they have an ongoing profit motive as well.

I think FCM probably could get many ongoing lecturers to continue on "for free"- guys like myself consider it an honor to contribute our time in that small way- no fee required. The Late Show- right on!- keep these opportunities open. But if low fees are holding back getting top quality performers for the evening programs-of course they should be paid if that is required even if it means an increase in registration costs. And if a special lecture series is being provided at the FCM convention, such as ADVANCE, I would welcome being charged "extra" for that- many conventions do the same for extra ticketed events. Abbott's, for example, has a separate fee to attend the Saturday afternoon program. Some charge more even for "meet and greet" events (such as at the World Magic Seminar).

It is just my hope that these many worthwhile events for the advancement of good Gospel magic does not end up fragmented and held all over the country--- I really would like to have the exposure to as many fellow performers and teachers as possible without having to go to three different events to achieve that end. Lots of organizations (like the beauty industry show my wife travels to at the huge McCormack Place in Chicago)do that quite well- all events held under one enormous roof and the attenders pick and chose what topics they are interested in without sacrificing quality. Abbott's summer convention now features both stage and close-up magic, even one Gospel magic lecture by Duane Laflin each year, so there is plenty for everyone to benefit from.

So to the brass of the FCM (who I really do not know very well): dream on, think big, do what benefits the members the most, keep worthwhile tradtions and start new ones, be open to new ideas (such as allowing someone as yourself to present a paid seminar), share the "control" as much as possible, but of course stay true to the core Biblical principles of the organization: Excellence in the Spread of the Good News through performance, etc.... and of course- no voodoo or shady huckster lessons allowed. Psalm 67! Roger
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 1, 2010 10:12PM)
I am excited that this topic is being discussed
I too have talked with the higher up about these issuses a few years ago.
and still invovled with my (not so local) FCM chapter. its a 2 hour drive for me!

here is what is bothering me right now however there are over 400 views of this topic yet only 8 people making comments.

I understand not every one will comment but we need the voice of members to speak up.

BJ you have brought some very important things to the forefront and I hope and pray that this will not fall to the wayside.

I enjoyed my time at FCM convention yet I too was struggling with the fact that I did not get paid for my time and efforts. before I agreed to go I spent some serious time in prayer and felt the Lord telling me to just go and serve and he would provide for me. He did. and still does.

hmm where am I going with this- I guess I am saying that this is not the first time these things have been discussed and wont be the last and not sure when and if they will change. I struggle with the amount of lectures given as it makes it very difficult for the attendees to pick and choose what to attend. to charge for a dealer table and then ask them to lecture for free just seems out of place for me. I understand as they say "its a labor of Love" I get that but as BJ points out there are some issuses that need to be delt with.

so lets keep this alive and those of you just browsing the topic Please chime in especially if you are a member of FCM this is your time to voice your thoughts.

Lord - I pray that your hand would be on this topic and that you will guide and direct our paths as we discuss and brainstorm. I also pray that your will be done not ours please help us to see you through all of this and that what ever changes are made will be glorifying to you. in Messiah Jesus , amen

sam
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 2, 2010 08:28AM)
I am not a member of FCM (yet).

I do have experience with a Praise and Worship Team. It is a blessing to share at our church and at Fishers of Men events around the region.

It takes more than knowing right and wrong
takes more than singing Gospel songs....

The message whether from gospel illusions, song or this thread...needs to be about our Savior.

God will sort it out.

I acknowledge that even at local events..folks pay for say food and soft drinks, but want loyal and trusted servants to donate.

It is an interesting discussion. I pray for the outcome that will glorify God.

Harris
still 2 old to know everything...
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Sep 3, 2010 10:54AM)
Sam,

Thanks for your comments. I agree...only a few people are taking part in this conversation, yet it's up to 550 views now. I have no idea what that means, or what to make of it, but I'm with you...I would really, really like to know what others think about some of these issues.

I'll join in on your prayer that whatever comes of it glorifies the God we all do this stuff for.

Thank you to the 5 or so FCM folks out of hundreds who have taken the time to care and contribute. Your comments and feedback have already significantly played a role in me gaining more perspective, and I don't take them for granted.

Harris
Message: Posted by: Signor Blitz (Sep 5, 2010 02:05AM)
The FCM will be around 20 years from now - and I wouldbet that it would be much like it is today.

I am not saying that to be an Oscar Meyer (a weenie) but anyof youout there that are actually professional Christians (code lingo for pastors) KNOW that change (even though it maybe for the best) isvery slow - especially when it comes to faith based groups.

Is it a bad thing? I'll let you decide for yourself- but I believe that there will be a gathering of good hearted Christians that want to actually make a difference and have the calling to Advance Gods kingdom in the name of Christ will still gather 20 years from now.

I am not saying that there is not room for improvment - what has chased me away from National involvment is the lack of "doing it with excellence". The "good enough" mentality and the lack of common sence did it for me (at least for the time) I am sure as I am sitting in my basement - in my PJ's a 2am that when I do get involved again on the National level in 20 years it will be the same - but I will be in a different place in my life and with Gods help, I'll be more accepting of the lack of excellance.

Even though we are Christians - Let the slamming of this post begin!
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 5, 2010 12:42PM)
BJ- you are welcome and my hope is to see more involved thus hopefully moving FCM forward

Signor Blitz-- whats to slam you did what I asked "get Involved" I don't think sharing your thoughts will get you slammed although I understand your fears.

I have to agree the lack of excelence is a huge issue that needs to be adressed.

I have witnessed many acts and when talking with them I am surprised to learn that they are more concerned about the message they want to share rather then the way they share it.

let me explain- in my lecture I talk about "earning the right to be heard" this means when I do a show I perform many routines that have nothing to do with God, the bible, church etc before I ever mention why I am there. the point is to love your audience and have some fun show them you care and then they will be much more receptive to your sharing hte gospel or a bible lesson.

I am not giving up the whole lecture here that is just a small point but goes along with what BJ and others are saying that we need to present a show that is well prepared and presented with excellence and we need to do this so that our audiences will be more receptive to what we share.


OK so having Signor chime in is great but that is only 1 of the hundreds apparently reading this thread!

who else is out there that wants to join in expressing their thoughts and feelings.
\
this is your time and your place to have a voice!

sam
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 5, 2010 02:14PM)
I'll chime in. :)

[quote]
On 2010-09-05 13:42, Sam Sandler wrote:
I have witnessed many acts and when talking with them I am surprised to learn that they are more concerned about the message they want to share rather then the way they share it.

let me explain- in my lecture I talk about "earning the right to be heard" this means when I do a show I perform many routines that have nothing to do with God, the bible, church etc before I ever mention why I am there. the point is to love your audience and have some fun show them you care and then they will be much more receptive to your sharing hte gospel or a bible lesson.


sam
[/quote]

This is the kind of tactic that I am personally against. IMOA we do not earn any rights to talk about God just because we performed for them and got their attention. Those rights were already given to us by God, and the law protects that right as much as it protects others too.

Your audience should know what they are getting into when attending a magic show. Why feel like we have to hide our true motivations and intent, unless it's not actually our true motivation and intentions? It might make some more receptable to the message but why does it? What about the others who might feel like they have been ambushed.

As Gospel magicians, our message should always be more important than a few tricks. And, just because we can add Christian patter to a magic trick doesn't make the trick anymore important.

As Gospel magicians we are both entertainers and witnesses for God. Anything we do for God should be done to the best our our abilities. However, if someone isn't great at performing magic, but is spiritually gifted when preaching and teaching the message of Jesus Christ then they are doing much better than many of the Gospel magicians who continue to put more emphasise on the tricks than the message.

I realize that there needs to be a balance, but the message we are sharing should always be first priority. I would be more impressed with a Gospel magician who wasn't that great of a magician but was able to deliver the message with conviction and authority than a Gospel magician who is great at performing tricks, and weak on sharing the message.

As a member of FCM the only benefit I've been able to take from FCM is the magazine, but lately the magazine itself has become a bit of a bore. (This is my opinion).

I have not been able to attend the conference yet, but I do hope to one day, at least for the experience anyways.

FCM can only be as good as the members, and it takes commitment on everyone's part to keep FCM around for the next 20 years. Although I cannot reap as many benefits of others who are able to attend the conferences in the States every year I still support the FCM by my membership.

Well, that's my 2 bits. :)
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Sep 5, 2010 06:36PM)
Dan,

I don't know Sam personally, but I don't think that by "right" he means what you're referring to. I think he's simply trying to say that if people like you, they'll care a little more about what you have to say. And if you simply aren't good at what you do, especially to the point that people are negative towards their experience with you, your message loses some credibility. It doesn't make the message any less true...we all know that. However, though a bad show doesn't always equal an untrue message, a bad show does impact both the attentiveness and trust of the audience.

Put on sequined vest, pull out some feather plumes, and then go walk on stage in front of a bunch of high school kids in a well-off American suburb. It doesn't matter how true your message is, or the fact that the Word of God doesn't return void. Your audience won't even hear the Word, because you lost them w/ the quality and relevance of your presentation, the moment you walked on stage.

Quality presentation means people will hear your message.

Bad presentation means that many of them won't.

This is not about our message being more priority over the magic, or vice versa. The medium IS part of the message, actions speak louder than words, and the way we perform says a lot...way before we open our mouths to speak.

All that being said, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share your honest comments. Both the ones I've responded to above, and the other parts of what you shared are incredibly beneficial to the conversation. Thanks for joining it!

Harris
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 5, 2010 07:36PM)
BJ- YES that is what I meant! thanks for your insite and decifering what I meant:)

first let me apologize I wrote my comments just before I had to leave and did not really have the time I should have taken. I will also say that god has gifted me with speaking well but some how I get lost when I try to write my thoughts.

I did not get into the details of wh at I wanted to say but BJ nailed it on the head Bingo that's what I am refering too.

My good friend toby travis (whom I toured with ages ago) does this as well. so does Andre they both perform a large portion of their show prior to sharing the gospel WHY becasue they are establishing credibility! the audience is witnessing the impossible they are laughing they are having a great time they have gotten to know you "the performer" a little bit YOU now have a relationship with the audience and when You go to share the gospel or a message you will have many more ears hearing your words.


YES the gospel is the most important part of your show however if it falls on deaf ears you have missed the mark.

we as Gospel or christian magicians are to love our audience and present the best show we can to our ability we also need to understand that in order to be more effective witness we need to Earn that right ot be heard or maybe I should say create the atmosphere that people will want to listen to YOU.

when I work with christian organizations doing street witnessing I do 3 or 4 cool things before I share anything about God. sometimes I talk about me and my life do a trick talk some more do a few more tricks then get into the nitty gritty stuff.

in my own illusion show just prior to sharing the gospel I tell the audience what I am about to do and offer that if any one does not want to listen feel free to leave. I take a 40 second break as my assistant brings out the table with my magic and info on it and then away I go. I can not remember any one ever leaving.

sure I got some nasty comment cards but I planted that seed and that's my job to palnt seeds! and I feel they stayed becasue they got to know me as a person during my show and felt that there was a valuse in staying to hear what I had to say.

they will know we are believers by our love.

I am excited to see yet another person chime it lets keep it going.
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 5, 2010 08:03PM)
Thanks Harris for the kind words.

I too believe it's important as Christians to always aim to do our best in anything we do, and I agree with your statement.

However, I also have seen too much emphasise on the magic while down playing the importance of the message. Like I said, there has to obviously be a balance.

Perhaps my faith that God honours those who earnestly seek Him first has me believe that a faithful servant will be motivated spiritually to do his/her best for God.

Using our talents and skills for God is a type of worship. We should worship God in all we do. If we perform magic, we should worship God with it. And, if we are worshipping God with our talents, I believe that anything we worship God with should be our best, whatever level of skill we may have at the time, ever growing and improving.
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 5, 2010 08:10PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-05 20:36, Sam Sandler wrote:
I will also say that god has gifted me with speaking well but some how I get lost when I try to write my thoughts.

[/quote]

I can totally relate to that. I am able to speak very well, and I too believe that God has gifted me with speaking well. But, when it comes to writing...well, not so giftd. :)
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 5, 2010 08:13PM)
Gospel Dan

Yes very well said my friend. it is indeed worship.
Message: Posted by: mrmatthew (Sep 5, 2010 09:38PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-05 21:03, Gospel Dan wrote:
Thanks Harris for the kind words.

I too believe it's important as Christians to always aim to do our best in anything we do, and I agree with your statement.

However, I also have seen too much emphasise on the magic while down playing the importance of the message. Like I said, there has to obviously be a balance.

Perhaps my faith that God honours those who earnestly seek Him first has me believe that a faithful servant will be motivated spiritually to do his/her best for God.

Using our talents and skills for God is a type of worship. We should worship God in all we do. If we perform magic, we should worship God with it. And, if we are worshipping God with our talents, I believe that anything we worship God with should be our best, whatever level of skill we may have at the time, ever growing and improving.
[/quote]

Isn't the goal to use the magic to point to the message?
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 7, 2010 10:04AM)
We want them to know God and not that we are wonderful magicians, jugglers, ventriloquist.

That of course does not excuse us from doing "lousy magic, juggling, vent." unless that is part of the message.


Praising God...in all I do.


love brother Harris
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 7, 2010 12:26PM)
Harris it has noting to do with making people think we are wonderful magicians, jugglers etc it is about presenting something will convince others to pay attention.

if you do a lousy act your message will fall on many deaf ears.

this goes back to my statement of earning the right to be heard. by presenting a well thought out show with excellence you will reach more people. that's just a fact.

hey I udnerstand that God uses everyone and can use even the most lousy show that is not what I am getting into here.

what this is all about is helping others improve their shows with better props and or better presentaions thus when we share the good news more are willing to listen , as well as being more receptive to what you share.

if you are up there fumbling around with the tricks or even have one or two not work right that speaks volume to your audience if you look like you don't know what you are doing as a magician what makes you think the audience wont think hey this guy is a lousy magician why should I liten to what he has to say.

again I wish I could type like I talk but such is life. hope this is coming across they way I intend it to

we need to pursue excellence in our shows so that we can be more effective in our witness to our audiences.

thus this is why we are discussing the FCM and its roll in helping us further our skills to be better voices in reaching the lost.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 7, 2010 01:59PM)
Whoops, I hope I did not send this twice, but here goes. My hope is not to see the FCM fragmented, it can I believe incorporate new ideas to address some of the issues above. I think perhaps some of these excellent suggestions might be run up the FCM Board flagpole- and see if anyone salutes them. Some of the ideas may be better than others, but I do know similar organizations (like the FBA of SW Michigan) have done similar things with great success. As long as the organizers want the best for its members, and do not care who gets the credit or control, then great things can be accomplished.

Here are just a few ideas, for better or worse, with not all that much attention to detail. Maybe if all of us submitted a list of ten or so ideas, we could print them out for the FCM Board to kick around and have some keepers in there. I have every confidence in our fellow FCM brothers and sisters.

None of these are being presented as any type of criticism- I am a huge fan of the FCM and will be a dues paying member until I die I hope. My goal is to see the FCM continue to grow and remain relevant and helpful to all age and skill levels in the "art" of Gospel magic and related arts. Psalm 67!

1. Allow "outside" seminars to be presented at the FCM convention. This could include ADVANCE or BJ's seminar with the understanding there would be an extra charge to attend these seminars and the presenters could be making an income off of them. No limits as to sales conditions. The reason: It keeps FCM members in one place, it benefits the whole by having a international convention that is well attended, it promotes the purposes of the FCM in helping performers aspiring to be at the next "level" of performance excellence. This would be no different than every non-profit legal convention that I attend that charges extra to attend the afternoon golf outings, the evening banquets, etc.. This would help keep the FCM convention fresh and relevant, even to experienced performers.

2. Tickets prices need to be charged for the evening programs for those not registerred. I know of no other magic convention in the United States that does not do this. However, the evening programs must then live up to it's price: the performances much be "vouched for" or booked by an experience show planner (like Hank Morehouse does for Abbott's and SAM) or a performance committee that is set up. Every act must be suitable for a large auditorium audience. If this means the number of large evening programs be reduced, so be it. Performers would be paid unless they waive or donate their fee.

3. That being said, the successful "Late Late" show/format needs to be expanded and encouraged. More times available (for registrants only) to perform, perhaps earlier in the day. Performers would receive "feedback" comments perhaps from a constructive group. That is the "price" one has to "pay" to be on these programs. Subgroups (such as puppeteers) could have their own "Late Late" shows, perhaps others devoted to Gospel magic only. Attenders would understand that these programs may have a different level of performance- but still a good way for the evening program committee to "discover" new suitable acts for the evening programs.

4. If an "ADVANCE" seminar is running concurrently during the convention (for example), magic lectures in the previous number offered (e.g. two per hour) may be cut back on (unless enough volunteer lecturers still arise). FCM may consider having paid national lecturers also appear with an expertise in a certain area (such as having a lecture by Chris Capehart on street performance, David Ginn on Christmas programs, etc.).

5. The number of new and used dealers should be encouraged, without preference to professional dealers. Lift restrictions on the sales of merchandise including by lecturers, and allow as many dealers, including FCM members who may only have one or two products to sell, to have a table to show their wares as space allows. Let the free market prevail, this would be of greatest benefit to the members is being exposed to more Gospel items of all sorts. Let a FCMer with a lot of used Gospel magic stuff have his own table- he can sell it in any matter that he'd like- not limited in number or to an auction setting. My prediction is the professional dealers will still show up anyway, particularly if the display fees are lowered or eliminated, and perhaps more than ever before. This is the FCM, not the Professional Dealers Association. Having a large number of "exhibits" will only enhance the convention, the attenders can decide if they want to buy or not.

6. FCMers will understand that the cost of registerring for the annual convention may go up to pay the evening acts, offset by ticket sales to the public, but will be worth it for an increase in quality for the evening programs.

7. The Thursday night program may have to be considered to move to another time slot or site. A paid ticket price performance may perhaps not be suitable for the kid's programs that may have been put together during the week. Not be be eliminated for sure- but changed to another more suitable setting. The evening programs would need to be well planned in advance- with "balance" presented in all programs (not all puppets in the second half, etc.) with an emphasis on the best the FCM has to offer.

8. Consider having a special "close-up" division- with separate tracks dedicated to street magic or close-up. This has already been attempted in lectures to success. So maybe have stage and close-up lectures at the same time, not two "stage" lectures at the same time.

9. Have "The Voice of the FCM" strive to have at least two guest columnists per issue. The Editor could select from whatever sources he chooses- this would help encourage new contributors who may only have one or two topics that they feel qualified (and want to) to write on. If someone believes the "Voice" is getting stale- it is partially then their fault as they did not contribute anything to make it fresher. Kif, I believe, on the FCM podcast already looks at all submitted material and does not restrict it (other than as to quality).

10. Strive to keep the FCM elected officers an "idea" group- those willing to work with non-Board members for the good of the organization and all having an "open door" to new ideas. If, for example, a substantial portion of the convention cost is for those not in the FCM (e.g. for a quartet), consider trying using that money for program performers instead and see how that goes for a year. Have perhaps instead a keyboardist- play perhaps appropriate pre-show music- perhaps there is a Wilma Rench type organist out there who can start some new FCM traditions...? Who knows, the sky is the limit. I have no idea what the outside music for the FCM costs, but if it is substantial, then perhaps that should be looked at. A good thing for sure, but needs to be reviewed as to how fits in the purpose of the FCM.

Anyway, nuff said, this is just an initial start. You may disagree with half of what I said- I don't really want a out and out debate on my weak points made above. Just looking for new ideas- let's keep it rolling! We might have some good ones here that come out on the ole Magic Café'- I'd be happy to compile them up and forward them on to the FCM Board members to consider. I firmly believe in the value of the FCM, it has been a wonderful organization for me personally to be in since early 1970 when I worked for John de Vries, and I saw through his ministry the value of a well presented Gospel magic show time after time... Wouldn't it be great to have one central location (the FCM national convention) to see the latest and best being offered in Gospel magic? Not that ADVANCE or BJ's event cannot be offered all over the country as well, but certainly at the FCM as one of its venues... Fired up! (but gotta get back to work) Roger Bus from Kalamazoo
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 7, 2010 02:35PM)
Thanks roger for your imput some great ideas.

I am praying daily for this thread.
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Sep 7, 2010 11:59PM)
This year 2010 is the year that I have decided that the FCM is no longer being run properly. The President, VP, and so on are in a CLIQUE. At the helm as it is now the FCM will not prosper. I have offered my help on many occassions and have always been shut out. The current BOARD and PAST BOARDS were the same way. Because of all the mismanagement of the FCM and them not wanting to elevate the Art it is with GREAT SADNESS that I have not re-joined the FCM. Today they LOST another member due to plain mismanagement of the FCM. And I have been a member for a very long time. And YES, I have attended many International Conventions.

Rodney
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 8, 2010 11:38AM)
Another wordy Ramble-O-Gram below:

Any more constructive ideas out there? I will see to it they are passed on at least for discussion and consideration. Having talked to President Wilson only briefly in the last year, I have been favorably impressed with his willingness to interact and do whatever is needed- remembering all the current Board were properly elected and (in my view) should be respected for that. They were not assigned their positions.

Anyway, other ideas could include: Shorten the convention by a day or two to improve quality? (or leave it just the way it is- every day is already jammed full). Would paying top magic lecturers help (or is the quality of lectures already top notch)? Increase the number of elected Board members with meetings and/or notes being conducted/posted over the internet- maybe with "regional" elected and voting representatives? (or would adding more Board members simply complicate matters?) Re-add chalk art as a catagory since newer types of "instant drawing" has recently emerged,... Or bring back contests (or not- does it limit convention performers to being competing contestants- while many equally capable folk sit back in the audience observing...)? Explore virtual training sessions/lectures on a very limited basis (like was recently done with the Essential Magic Conference)? Sky is the limit here, this is a wide open and blank flip chart of possibilities. Who knows, one or two good ideas might come out of all this that the FCM Board could embrace with long term benefits to FCMers who like to post right here on The Magic Café' (like I do). I personally know very little about non-magic areas that the FCM is involved with, so I cannot comment much regaring those areas.

Of course, it goes without saying the FCM will remain true to it's core values, it's longstanding commitment to Biblical faith, etc..- that is not what we are discussing here. But rather to be considered are what things could be done in whoever's opinion as to what could/should be added, changed or tweaked... and maybe these submitted ideas be discussed at the FCM Board level. I think this can be productively accomplished without being a personal affront to a fellow believer also doing his/her own best they can. This is in the area of Christian "liberty"- and sensitive comments made with that in mind can be (and I think will) honestly considered.

Again, my goal in all this is I would like the FCM to remain what it is- the largest organization with the adequate resources to continue to assist the largest number of members. Where else are you going to get 15+ dealers to show up? Where else can you chose from literally dozens of lectures from different presenters in your particular discipline? Or have an opportunity to perform on a nice stage in front of a friendly Late Late show audience? Or listen to Duane Laflin do a lecture after midnight? Wow!- that IS pretty neat! Or, yes indeed, grow "spiritually" during a magic convention at a setting like the Hour of Power? Double Nice!

Personally, I think if outside presenters (such a BJ) were given the opportunity to do their thing at the FCM convention (e.g.- charge for their advance training seminar, sell their own products in any way that they see fit, without limitations or restrictions), the FCM International convention and membership in it (and receipt of its publications) would be a #1 priority for all Gospel magic performers- whether amateur or professional. A "must attend" for everyone!

I hate to keep bringing up Abbott's Get-Together as an example- but I love the atmosphere there where one can be sitting amongst the professional performers from the previous night's programs and/or eating a sandwich over at the American Legion Post with that afternoon's well known lecturer (who was allowed to sell his products without limitation- as David Ginn does when lecturing at Abbott's). Even the pros (like Carney, Williamson, Anderson, Seebach, Caveney, Sturk, Laflin etc.) tend to stick around in Colon for the entire week even when they are not performing. Of course they got paid too for being there- but it is more to them than that as they don't just bug out when they are done. This pretty similar ongoing "fellowship" aspect of the FCM I deeply appreciate, look forward to, and hope to continue to enjoy in the future.

Having served as a Board Chairman of a multi-million dollar yearly budget non-profit organization, taking the role of the critic is not all that hard. The cheerful person who can make good suggestions for the improvement of the organization (or membership in our case), or even a willingness to assist in carrying the ideas out, can often be one of the Board's/organization's most treasured resources. Whoops, need to get back to work again, have a good day all. Bus from Kazoo
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 8, 2010 01:34PM)
I met Del at a local event in Shawnee, Kansas.

He seemed very approachable and was knowledgeable about performing and specifically about puppets and ventriloquism. As my programs are puppet heavy, this was a side benefit to attending this regional event.

brother Harris
he's not heavy, he's my brother
deutsch

aka Dr. Laff
Fisher of men of kc
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 8, 2010 01:56PM)
By the way Sam, NICE article on pages 60-62 of the September 2010 Linking Ring: "The Silent Magic of Sam Sandler" Congrats!
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 8, 2010 02:48PM)
Thanks magicBus,

I just got my copy 5 mnutes ago and can you believe this its all mangled I can read it but the back 10 pages are torn and hte whole magazine looks like it went through the wash! ugh I need to find someone that when tehy are finished with theirs would not mind mailing it to me!

I also noticed it mentioned me in the RingEvents section as well about my lecture in michagan for hte IBM ring

sorry did not meet to hijack the thread.

Does the FCM convention have an auction I don't remember there being one. that would be a great addition!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 8, 2010 03:11PM)
Yep, it had an auction on the last day- it was a real good one this year I thought with some quality stuff. MagicBob bought a bunch of stuff- the same guy whose house you stayed at for the Ring 211 lecture (also covered in the September issue). I'd send you my copy but I've kept all of my back issues for many years. I'm sure the IBM office could send you a few extra copies? I'm sure Ring 211 paid our normal lecturer's fee to you- plus you can keep all your sale profits. That is pretty much standard I'd think. http://www.Ring211.com (FCMer MagicBob is President of the Ring currently)- picture of you at our Ring on page 35 and a short review of your excellent lecture. http://www.samsandler.com I'd like to see the auction expanded if possible combined with no limitations on those who'd desire to have their own new or used magic "dealer" table first...
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 9, 2010 08:48AM)
Just my two cents worth on "The Voice of the FCM": I keep all my issues- have a huge stack dating back to the seventies. I scrounge through them from time to time. The current editions of the magazine are (in my view) the best objectively since the Christian Conjurer began- in content, number of articles per issue, design, color, columns presented, advertising strength, etc.. I'd love to see Mike go crazy on it and triple it's size- of course I understand that would not be financially responsible- look forward to every one. Roger from http://www.ChristianMagician.org
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Sep 12, 2010 11:40PM)
I'm guilty of lurking on this thread, thanks Sam for calling me out. :)

I guess I've been lurking for a while, because I was unsure of what to write. The FCM has some issues that need to be fixed, but most organizations do.

I have read many of the comments and both sides seem to be saying the same thing, at least I pray they are. I would hope that no one thinks sharing the gospel with a sub-par performance is acceptable.

As gospel magicians we should be held to a higher standard than secular magicians because we are doing it for a higher purpose. Our practice should be more intense, our timing should be more precise, our act should be tight, and our patter and message should be clear. This being said, I would like to see more lectures on technique, showmanship, and entertaining than there presently are, as opposed to teach a trick lectures. However, I see both sides of this coin. For sunday school teachers and children's pastors that simply want an object lesson to do each week, these are great. Also magic conventions in general are filled with teach a trick lectures or lectures on showmanship by performers that would bore the general public, me included.

I think there are distinct things in the FCM that need to be changed, however, it is still my favorite and only convention I go to year after year. I've been to Magi-fest, Magic on the Beach, IBM, SAM, etc.. However, the FCM keeps me coming and I love to be involved. Why? For one, I, like many, got my start there. Also, it has a family feel to it, which I love. My 8 year old daughter loves FCM, and calls it her favorite week of the year. A week afterwards, she starts asking when it is coming around again. Also, the friends I have made at the FCM are some of the closest I have. These are guys that I can call year-round and talk to about anything, not just the latest double lift or whether I saw the newest reel. These are true friends and people I can depend on. Also, I learn most of what I learn from these wonderful people not at lectures, but across campus. I believe each person no matter their status, pro/amateur, or how often they perform, have that one tip, trick, or nugget of knowledge, that can help me and my performance immensely. For these reasons, I love the FCM and would hope to see it flourish 100 years from now.

I do think the level needs to be brought up, however, I think that's true at all magic conventions I have been to. Some lecturers at secular magic conventions seem to have no business performing for the general public as well. They seem to have lost the entertainment value of their performances. So these downfalls or speedbumps are not only in the FCM, but in our art in general. The only way to bring up the quality of the FCM, is to bring up our quality as performers and to get involved. If there is any organization I want to help, it's the FCM.

Gospel magic should not be viewed as a stepping stone, it should be viewed as a pinnacle. A place we should practice and rehearse to achieve to give God the glory to the BEST of our abilities.

That being said, my schedule is probably only 15 percent churches, and 85 percent corporate. Yet, I still find the FCM to be invaluable for me and I for one will one you can hopefully see for years to come at the International convention. (Although, I hope I am not running the late show 20 years from now...)

Lastly, I think bringing some competitions into the FCM would be great. Competitions raise the bar and get people wanting to be more unique. I understand many people say that competition isn't very Christian, but I think Upward basketball has proven that friendly competition can be fun and glorify God.


And Roger, you had some good points in your post. I look forward to reading it further when I have time. (Presently I'm at a Café' in Sydney, and it's a bit loud.) This is the positive input the organization needs.

Joey Evans
http://www.Evasmagic.com
Message: Posted by: sadrac_noel (Sep 12, 2010 11:58PM)
Hello to all,

I have recently picked up magic and cardistry, I am interested in becoming a member of the FCM, in this post I have seen many pros and cons, but my question to all of you is what is the most important aspect of being a Christian performer. I have been a Christian for many years and I was recently exposed to the possibility of evangelizes through performing. I am still very unskilled and in the state I live there are no local chapters of FCM, what should I expect to see if I ever had the opportunity to go to a chapter meeting. Is there traing sessions, and educational resources availabled or is it just a time of fellowshio, & prayer. There is a significant amount of questions that I have about FCM, yet with my current schedule I do not have the time to ask all of them right now.
But I would like to make one comment if I may, more so as a man of God than as a performer: Christ said in Matthew 9:37,38 "Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

No one persons "gospel" is greater ten anothers, the bottom line is that as servents of Christ our responsibility is to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ, and part of the key elements of Christ ministry was fellowship. We are by our Creators design to be relational beings, it is expressed throughout the Bible, and while I understand the need to sharpen a persons skill, I have to say that since we are all in the body of Christ fellowship is needed to restore some that may be in a time of great tribulation. I don't mean to be nosey, but since FCM is a Christian organization maybe what is needed is for people to come together in prayer and to seek Gods will for the FCM and its conventions. The lord is just, and I know he is a God that answers prayers, even when the answer we get isn't the one we are looking for. In the meantime I will also be in prayer seeking Gods direction, and prayer for all of the folks on this forum. God Bless you all!!!!
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 13, 2010 01:22AM)
I'll put it this way. God doesn't need perfectionists, or those who want to spend all their time sharpening their talents. God wants and needs those who are willing to be obedient and follow Him.

It's hard for God to just get anyone to go out and witness for Him as a servant unto the Lord without them wanting to be the center of attention while they show off their skills and talents, all in the name of God and evangelizing.

And yes! God will and has used those with very little talent, or no skills. Don't let anyone fool you. It is God through us, not us through God.

It's not our talents or skills that glorify God, but our dedication through authentic love for Jesus Christ that glorifies God. Even a lousy magician with a true heart for God will be able to tear down walls that most talented Gospel magician's could never tear down because they are too affixiated with their performance rather than their message.

This does not mean that we should never do the best that we can do, but it means that there are more important things than our talents that need to be polished. FCM does not address these issues. It's all about magic and enhancing your skills and talents as a performer. That's what FCM tries to do.

I've read a lot of different opinions here, and even read excuses, but I am not happy with most of them.

I don't have to say how far from perfect I am, but I will not let it stop me from voicing my opinion. I think it's a shame when we Christians put so much emphasise in what we can do that we ignore what God can do through us.

Be great in all you do. But remember, God uses our weaknessess far more than He uses our strength. We should rely more on His strength, and less on our talents.

So go out and be the best Gospel Magician you can be. Never let them see you flash. Count heads after every show, and be sure to let us know all about how great you were, and how many children came to except the Lord after your fantastic show.

Peace. :)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 13, 2010 11:09AM)
Great responses all- keep them coming! I may print out this entire thread, highlight the suggestions in yellow- and forward them on to the FCM officers. I personally have no problems with competitions- just dandy by me. But I am not thrilled if competitions are the only venue for one to perform (unless on the evening show or a lecturer)- which many conventions now have. I love the fact that FCM has the Late Late shows where folks can perform what they have, pro or amateur, great idea by Joey, PJ or whoever to get that going! It's a good one- and FAB Magic now is doing the same thing basically during the Get-Together in Colon now with their very late night "sign up" one trick or short shows.
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 13, 2010 12:18PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-13 12:09, MagicBus wrote:
I may print out this entire thread, highlight the suggestions in yellow- and forward them on to the FCM officers. [/quote]

You might want to hold off on that idea. All contents and postings are copyrighted by Steve Brooks with all rights reserved.

You might want to check with him first. :)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 13, 2010 12:46PM)
Good point Gospel Dan- I will simply summarize the points and pass them on.

I was thinking... maybe in the area near the balloon sculptures, Caféteria area, coffee bar or someplace else at IWU some "performance" tables could be set up somehow where people could informally do card tricks, etc..- or even during the dinner hour in the Caféteria someplace.

For example, at Abbott's- there are tables set up at the American Legion post downtown where you can munch away on dogs and chips at 11pm at night and perform to your hearts content. I was sitting at a table Friday night there in Colon and John Carney, Dave Williamson and Mike Caveney decided to just started doing close up for anyone who'd watch. Wow. That was worth the "price" of going to Abbott's (and it was totally free). It was great fun and "fellowship" to boot.

Maybe have some "performance" tables in the IWU Caféteria for those who might like to eat and watch some table hoppers at the same time? Totally optional of course. I would volunteer to be one of those table hopper performers for sure, as I'm sure would MagicBob and PJ Weber. Keep those ideas coming!- even if the FCM brass considers two or three of them it will be worth the effort. I love the FCM and the convention and would love to see it continue to grow bigger and better. Roger
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Sep 13, 2010 09:15PM)
Dan, I believe you are either misunderstanding what I am saying or construing it. I am not saying one needs to be perfect in their presentation, I am saying one should be rehearsed if they feel the call to go to churches and use their magic to spread the gospel. One wouldn't start a piano tour of gospel music without first learning to play the piano would they?
This is why the FCM can be invaluable to equip our brothers and sisters with the tools they need to go out and spread the gospel in effective and clear ways. I don't see why that is a bad thing in any way shape or form. I thank God for the people that have helped me along the way. Many of which are in leadership now, such as Steve Varro, Del Wilson, and others.
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Sep 14, 2010 06:44AM)
I agree with you Joey...

God did use a donkey & a rooster in the bible, so he can use unskilled people too. But we are representing the kingdom of God and we should do it at the highest caliber possible. If someone didn't care if they were doing their best, I wouldn't walk across the street to hear them. That isn't the nature of Christ, and if we're His children, then we certainly should have His nature. If they are not good at doing magic, then they should look for another tool to present the Gospel.

Part of my passion and drive as a member of FCM, is to challenge individuals to take their skills to a professional level. I haven't arrived...but I constantly invest time in learning more about my craft. I am not the same performer I was 20 years ago. I thank the Lord for the skills He's given me and those he's placed in my life...Thanks to folks like Tony Brent, Michael Finney, Dennis Smith, Dick Stoner and others that have helped me take my performances to a new level.
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 14, 2010 07:42AM)
As the great Petra song titled "I'm avaialable"

its not our abilities but our being available
I don't have much to offer You,
I don't have much to give,
there's so much I may never be as long as I may live
and I may never Be all I want to be
although I'll always try.
but if you choose me to use me,
there's just one reason Y
Chorus: I am available, I am available,
I will go when You say go,
I am available, I am available,
I will stop when You say no.
my whole life was incomplete
till I laid it at Your feet ,
so use me as You will,
I am available
I'm not the most dependable,
sometimes you can't rely,
there's no excuse, there is no defense ,
there is only one reply
(CHROUS) I know that my ability isn't You're main concern,
It's my availability & willingness to learn
(CHROUS) so use me as You will, I am available

THAT being said God wants us to not only be avialble but also wants us to do all things with excelence to the best of our ability.

this is not about pride this is not about showing up others this IS about making an impact on those that are watching us perform! they will see the quality of our shows and will judge us based on that. this is fact! this is life it is just how it is and if you don't present a quality show then YES you will lose the audience when You share the important part- the good news.

yes god can use ony one - look at the deciples a group of misfits, liers, cheaters, an so on and yet they did things in gods name that we only wish we had that kind of faith to do! jesus h and picked a group of losers to do mighty thngs!

is there a value in the FCM YES are there areas that need fixing and need to be brought up many levels YES.

this is why BJ and others are here talking about it and lets hope and pray that this does reach the leadership of FCM and that we as a FAMILY not just another magic organization come together to build each other up and glorify God through our shows and our helping each other strive for excelence.

I am thankful for hte few more voices that have chimed in BUT what about YOU who is reading this right now and have yet to comment. Pray seek god and ask if you are to reply and if so what to reply.

sam
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Sep 14, 2010 10:18AM)
Joey, I didn't misunderstand your post, nor was I construing it.

Infact, my personal opinions that I stated had nothing to do with whatever you said. I'm not even sure what it is that you said. :)

It does seem that we both agree on the same thing though. Please read my posts again to understand that what I am saying is that there needs to be a balance, but more inportant than that is our relationship with God. We can have all the talent in the world, and still loose our soul.

Realistically, no one is going to keep hiring a lousy magician even if they are a Gospel Magician. Someone who is a lousy magician and is being uneffective as a witness will quickly realize it.

If they are still being booked and are being effective, perhaps we maybe judging someone's talent on what we believe it should be, rather than looking to see how God is using them.

If we are going to be entertainers, of course it's important to do your best with what you got, but that should always go without saying. Anyone who wants to be in showbiz will quickly learn that you have to be at least talented enough that people will want to book you. If you are a terrible entertainer, I doubt that the person would be entertaining others for long.

What I don't hear much about is how we can take what God has given us and use it for His glory. I also don't hear much about how God works through us as opposed to us thinking we work through God.

Anyways, I'm not sure I'm making my self clear without being taken out of content, but if you have a question just PM me, I'll do my best. ;)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 14, 2010 12:30PM)
Any Gospel magicians and/or Christian performers being overlooked that could be invited to future FCM conventions (if cost did not matter)? Dale Salwak? Rick Merrill? Warren Wiersbe? I agree with Sam- keep those ideas coming in- I will see to it they are passed on to Prez Wilson... Roger from Kazoo
Message: Posted by: harris (Sep 15, 2010 10:14AM)
I don't want to bury my "talent(s)" in the ground, but when I meet the master (who already knows) how they were multiplied.

Be safe, well and blessed.

love brother Harris
Message: Posted by: sadrac_noel (Sep 15, 2010 12:18PM)
I believe many are called by God to use their gifts and talents, yet without the help of spiritually mature Christians to disciple them, these individuals go back to hiding their gifts. In my own life there was many times that I wanted to put the talents God had given me but instead I allowed fear, doubt and uncertainty to delay my entry into this kind of ministry. In addition, at that time of my life I did not know where to even begin looking for mentorship. I have prayed to the Lord since that time to give me the discernment, and wisdom to seek the counsel of those in this ministry. I currently live in Orlando, Fl, and there is not a local chapter of FCM, but upon communicating this information to the FCM administrative staff, Mr. Mike Stenberg contacted me to let me know that there is a possibility that one can be started. I feel that God has led me to this organization, and he is opening doors for this ministry to grow. In the last few weeks I have also felt that an organization like FCM should partner with other Christian organizations like YWAM (Youth with a Mission), who like FCM Believe that God has Called the body of Christ to make disciples of all nations by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. I believe that in this regard we can all agree that God has called everyone in the body of Christ to the task of world evangelization. This task is huge, since there are over one billion people on the planet that have never had a relevant presentation of the Gospel. It is my belief that it is essential that all of us in the body of Christ become involved in the fulfillment of Christ’s last command to us to “…GO and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18–20). I was moved listening to the testimonies, of young teens in my church returning from these missions trips. These young men and women have answered God’s call to fulfill the great commission. I know that the FCM has the ability to really make a difference this is why I joined this past Monday, I would also like to request that if you are a member of FCM in Florida, please get in contact with the FCM’s administration so that we can start a local chapter, in addition I would really appreciate the support and mentorship of anyone in the local area.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 15, 2010 02:06PM)
Just to let you'all know, I will go through this thread on this Saturday, September 18, 8am, and summarize it down to a couple of pages and forward it on the FCM elected officers. So if you have a comment for change for the FCM, comments as to what should not be changed, comment as to what could be considered to be looked at afresh or simple improvements made, please post it here or private message me before Saturday morning. So here's your chance to be a part of this: if you want FCM to take a look at any ideas- whatever ideas- you'll know that it was part of a constructive summary forwarded on. I will not be using any names in the summary. I think the FCM leadership will appreciate it and I will thank them for their often thankless (and unpaid) service. Thanks again, Roger Bus
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 18, 2010 08:15AM)
I will forward on this ideas info-o-gram this afternoon. Thanks to all on this thread, please post any more suggestions that you might have that you'd like to see passed on this morning if possible. Have a good weekend all fellow FCMers- looking forward to church tomorrow- have missed all of September so far- so will be at the "Lighthouse." Looking forward to the convention issue of "The Voice of FCM" too...
Message: Posted by: Kerry Kistler (Sep 18, 2010 11:23AM)
Earlier in this thread I mentioned an article which I wrote for my past column in the (then) Conjurer called "Balancing the Ballyhoo - Does Our FCM Tent Need Some Patching?" Here's the link to the pdf version: http://kkistler.powweb.com/magic/ballyhoo.pdf

Not to belabor the point but the article covered a lot of issues touched on by this thread and caused no little stir when it was published. Probably the most interesting (and telling) comment I received was from an ex FCM president. The article came out just before the convention that year (2008), and he approached me with an interesting response to the article. First let me quote the section and then I will share his response:

"With notable exceptions, the FCM found its
niche as an entry-level portal for beginners—
kind of a 'Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood'
for the Christian variety arts. And we
seemed fairly content with that. In an effort
to remain inclusive and encourage ministry,
we purposely lowered the bar 'for Jesus’
sake.' Naturally, this has long-term consequences.

After a few years in our ranks, many members
start looking for a higher level of training
and expertise. I have heard it too many
times: 'I cut my teeth in the FCM but now
it doesn’t meet my needs—I need something
more advanced, more professional.'
The FCM does a very capable job of helping
people get started, but everyone knows
that a steady diet of beginner material soon
loses its flavor. As members graduate up
the food chain, they start hungering for
something more exquisite.

When we weren’t looking, the whole landscape
changed. Market forces took over.
The FCM adopted 'generalist' thinking
while 'specialists' emerged and began to
eclipse us. Are you looking for advanced,
professional training in clowning, juggling,
chalk art, ventriloquism, puppetry—whatever?
Today, there is a specialty group
(and magazine) looking for you. They are
happy to court you, recruit you, and stretch
you. Advanced Christian organizations
exist for nearly every art we represent. Except
magic. Where are our magicians supposed
to go—back to the secular world?
Indeed, some of our FCM friends still attend
magic conventions every year—just
not ours. When many of our advanced
members move on, who can calculate the
loss? But at least we still have our name…"

As an aside, I think this describes the heart of BJs original post that started this thread.

Anyway, this is what the ex prez said in response to the article: "So what's wrong with being the entry-level portal for Christian performers? If our main accomplishment as an organization is to help people get started in this business and then they eventually "graduate" out of it...so what?"

I kinda knew right then what the score was.

I'm not trying to throw stones here, I'm just sharing the facts. Roger, I'd appreciate you sending me a copy of the "summary report" you send to FCM leadership. Check my profile for the email address.

Best,
Kerry
Message: Posted by: goatears (Sep 18, 2010 10:45PM)
I feel like, if the gospel is true, and it is, them it will still be arround, and if magic can still be usedto teach the gospel than I would hope that Christian magicians still get together amd share their ideas.
Message: Posted by: bjharris (Sep 19, 2010 09:51AM)
Kerry! Well said! I'm shocked by the answer you received, as I'm sure you were as well.

I thought I was on Facebook for a second, and was looking for the "like" button under your comment...wish there was one! ;-)

Thanks to everyone who has shared so far!

Keep it up,

Harris
Message: Posted by: Joey Evans (Sep 20, 2010 08:47PM)
I second, Kerry's article. It was very well-written and I loved seeing it when it was published. It really spoke of the new needs of the organization and I think gave a good roadmap of where we need to go.

For you that haven't read it, it's an excellent article!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Sep 25, 2010 11:28AM)
I did forward a summary of the The Magic Café' comments to the FCM officers. Nothing new in the brief outline, just a much shorter version of what was posted here. In that way, I am hoping maybe one or two ideas suggested above in this thread will be considered- which makes this well worth the effort. Thanks again all to BJ, Kif, Sam, Kerry, Joey and the many others for your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 26, 2010 09:17AM)
Great to hear.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Nov 17, 2010 10:24AM)
FYI: Update: FCM President Del Wilson addresses the above thread in his President's page column on page 4 of the November/December 2010 issue of The Voice of FCM. I agree with his thoughts 100%- very good analysis- with Godly leaders with no personal agenda the organization is in good hands. I personally think (and will state it here) that Del has been doing a great job for FCM and I appreciate his efforts. I think the Voice of FCM latest mailed out "hard copy" issue continues to be of very high quality in this electronic age- I still enjoy reading it through on real paper and placing it into my library afterwards...