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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Will the FCM be around 20 years from now? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mrmatthew
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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.


Isn't the goal to use the magic to point to the message?
harris
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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
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Sam Sandler
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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.
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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MagicBus
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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
Sam Sandler
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Thanks roger for your imput some great ideas.

I am praying daily for this thread.
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Rodney Palmer
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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
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MagicBus
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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
harris
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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
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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MagicBus
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By the way Sam, NICE article on pages 60-62 of the September 2010 Linking Ring: "The Silent Magic of Sam Sandler" Congrats!
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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!
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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MagicBus
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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...
MagicBus
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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
Joey Evans
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I'm guilty of lurking on this thread, thanks Sam for calling me out. Smile

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
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sadrac_noel
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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!!!!
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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. Smile
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
MagicBus
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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.
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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.


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. Smile
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MagicBus
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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
Joey Evans
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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.
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

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Terry Owens
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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.
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