MJ put me onto this book (in a roundabout way). Even though the author, Stephen Law, is a staunch atheist, I'd still recommend it as a very good book for thinking Christians to read.
Here's what I found interesting. Early on he concludes that it is highly probable that there is no God (I may interact with his arguments in another post). Having eliminated God, he then goes on to apply philosophical reasoning to some of the "big" questions of life. He concludes that we cannot trust our senses, that we have no reason to expect science to work, that we can't really know anything, that there is no objective morality and that we can't even trust our ability to reason.
The presupposition of theism gives you all of those things that Law is forced to reject. Yet Law himself cannot live with his own conclusions - he admits that he lives his life as if his senses are trustworthy, as if reason is reliable, etc. He wants an answer, but refuses to look to the one place where it might be found.
This tends to confirm to me that the theist is more intellectually and ideologically consistent than the atheist.
MJ put me onto this book (in a roundabout way). Even though the author, Stephen Law, is a staunch atheist, I'd still recommend it as a very good book for thinking Christians to read.
This is cool. You set the voter "swing" using a slide bar and it shows you the result of the election.
The whole "just be friends" debate was in full swing on Christine's blog this week gone by. Christine has some author-type friends who write about stuff like this. This chapter from their book on the subject is pretty entertaining, and pretty spot on.
This just opened in Annandale - it's a dedicated XBox 360 lounge. Matt & Justyn just went and played Halo 3. At $7.50/hour/kid it's pretty cheap babysitting. heh. Each player gets their own 19" flatscreen widescreen lcd display, and a cool comfortable little chair. It's nicely set up, I hope they do well.
A good answer from Sproul. Hell as the absence of God is a common idea in evangelicalism - even Chappo endorsed it in A Fresh Start. Yet it never seemed to hold water to me.
An essay on Lewis's The Abolition of Man. Of all the Lewis I've read, I found that one the most impenetrable, even though it is one of his shortest. It is worth revisiting I think, as moral relativism is rampant today.
Read here. I agree - no doctrine is more despised by natural man. And no doctrine is more full of power and comfort for the elect.
He is generally positive, but flags some potential problems. The local empahsis on church planting has been a good, progressive policy. But we now need to complement that with an emphasis on church growing, that is, on effective relevant evangelistic strategies...
The Anglican appellate tribunal in Oz has cleared the way for female bishops. Obviously nothing will change in Sydney, where women may not even be ordained as priests. But it will probably further strain the communion within Oz.
Blogging is dying, kinda. In the early days, many people used blogs as a primitive means of social networking. But MySpace and Facebook do that so much better now that those people are leaving blogdom. There will be fewer bloggers, yes - but I suspect they will continue to influence (quite heavily) the world of ideas.
Do you like Marty's contrasting definitions? It seems to me a bit of a generalisation to say that all seeker churches promote an 'empty spirituality'.
A few days ago Dave interviewed Josh Griffin, from Saddleback Church, about Youth Work. I always enjoy listening to the "cultural collisions" in interviews like this. Josh was very surprised to learn that we eat kangaroo meat in Oz. Yep, you can buy kangaroo steaks at the local supermarket. I prefer beef, but kangaroo is ok...
A new Jerry Bridges book. He is most well-known for "Pursuit of Holiness", an excellent book that recalls the puritan teaching on mortification and holiness. But I've heard good things about his other work too...
Youversion.com is going live this week. It describes itself as "a revolutionary online bible that enables community and collaboration like never before." I don't quite get it...
Neil mentioned body armour below. The following link shows a fascinating demonstration of a new type of highly advanced body armour.
It's on again. "If you want the chance to meet some of the coolest girls on the planet and get some great tips on make-up, fashion styling and learn how to boost your self esteem then this is the place to be!" Helpful or not? A bit of fun or a destructive message?
I liked this from Piper - "Being Felicity's grandfather means that I have felt her loss through her uncles and my sons Karsten, Benjamin, and Barnabas. I broke the news to each of you and watched all your plans change. You are good brothers to each other. And I cannot tell you how much I love the tears and embraces of strong men."
What is the correct terminology when describing a move from Reformed to Lutheran theology? Oh, and a cool map.
Christine asks how to respond to the "just friends" speech. According to "The Alpha Males Guides to Etiquette", the correct response is, "Sure. Whatever. See you round, not."
In the early 70s, women were more likely to be happier than men. Research shows this has now reversed. How come? You won't be surprised that I blame the rise of feminism. So there. But what do you think?
You don't have to be "superhuman" - ordinary people foster care. There is a great need. Especially those couples who are unable to conceive their own children might think about this as a (highly fulfilling) alternative...
Karen is struggling with sloth - maybe. She might enjoy the chapter on sloth by Peter Jensen in "Still Deadly".
This is big. Halo has seriously made me think about buying an XBox. I wouldn't mind a WII either - Zelda with the wave around controller looks like fun. The PS3 doesn't interest me at all...
Another mildly misandronistic article by Anita Quigley. Then again, I don't want to be seen sticking up for Shane Warne, whose behaviour is just revolting.
I just picked this up at Synod. What a great idea for a book! It devotes a chapter to each of the 7 deadly sins, and each chapter features a great theologian from the past. So there is Luther on greed, Augustine on Lust, etc. The essays are by local luminaries such as Peter Jensen, Brian Rosner and Andrew Cameron. I'm looking forward to reading this, it will be a treat.
Geoff asked, "I often wonder if there is a correlation between Mark's sense of humour and the growth of Mars Hill? Does it matter?"
Being funny allows you to hold an audience's attention for longer. This is pretty well understood, and I recall that humour was one of John Chapman's main tools in his delivery. Some people (such as MLJ) think humour in the pulpit is undignified. I see the point they are making, but I don't agree.
What Driscoll does is he softens his congregation up with a humorous introduction, then switches gear at about the 20 minute mark and just drills them for 40 minutes. People love it - they want to feel the preaching, they want it to affect them, to lay them open.
Just to be clear, Synod overwhelmingly voted for the motion affirming Penal Substitution. What was rejected (by a few votes) was an amendment endorsing the books "The Cross of Christ" and "Pierced for our Transgressions". But the original motion went through with a thundering roar, no head count required.
The producers of "Buffy - Between the Lines" have pointed me to this Firefly fanfic podcast - Old Wounds.
This is the 2006 Ignite festival winner. The theology is excellent, fantastic production values too. I believe the producers were from Hillsong, but not 100% on that...
An excellent review of Introducing God - "On balance Introducing God is the prepackaged talk & discussion format course that I like best. I pray that the Lord would use it in Australia and beyond to bring people to not just be Introduced to God, but also to be granted repentance and faith in Christ Jesus as they are face with the choice we all face."
A fanfic podcast about everyone's favourite vampire slayer. Will someone please do this for Firefly? Please?
Yes, some in the Emerging Church have a different gospel to that held by us Reformed Evangelicals. Some are now starting to come clean about this, including Doug Pagitt . I'm frankly glad - it will make the whole conversation so much easier if everyone is upfront about what they do and don't believe.
I commented below that Esau was a more likable character than Jacob, and most agreed. The good thing is, of course, that God saved Jacob despite his serious flaws. Encouraging for the rest of us seriously flawed individuals.
What don't I like about Jacob? Well, obviously he was a liar and a fraudster. And buying his brother's birthright so cheaply was very mean-spirited. A few people commented below on him being a "mummy's boy", which is rather unattractive - especially when you have a brother who is out in the wilderness hunting and being an alpha male all the time. I don't think too much of his parenting either. The favourtism he showed to Joseph and Benjamin was simply shocking, and must have made his other kids feel like dirt.
But he has his good points too. His wooing of Rachel, labouring 14 years to win her, must win him a few votes with the girls. But his best feature is something that he had no control over - a huge "God-encounter" at Bethel that turned his life upside down. Jacob's dying words suggest he remained true to God all his life, and died in the faith of his fathers. That's something worth admiring...
From the "Mandela is dead" thread on Blair's blog - "I've been told by more than one leftist that "freedom is dead," and I'm wondering if the same guy who killed freedom murdered Mandela."
An op-ed piece in the SMH. Not his best piece, IMO. He didn't say anything that hasn't been said a squillion times before, and he didn't nail his own colours to the mast either.
The right to breastfeed in public will soon be protected by law. I find it astonishing that anyone has ever objected to this natural and beautiful function.
Karen is scared of the future. I think maybe everyone is at some point. I used to think I had the future under control - I knew what it was going to look like. Then life turned upside down and the future was a huge blank that I couldn't control anymore. And I was more frightened than I have ever been, before or since.
But somehow something changed in my thinking, and I no longer fear an unknown future. In fact, I find it rather exciting...
Australia needs to invest more in education - especially if we are to maintain our current prosperity. Of course, there is ample evidence that our current prosperity hasn't made us particularly happy...
Christianity Today profile Driscoll. "If he hasn't offended you, you've never read his books or listened to his sermons."
Some of you may be following the furore around this latest "gaffe". This is one of the reasons I'm a conservative...
Today was Justyn's first day of Jiu Jitsu. He has been mad keen to do it since I started. They have kids classes for up to 14, but none that run on Saturday. John the office manager said he'd be fine to do the Saturday no-gi class for adults.
So today we rocked up. I realised when we got there that Saturday is a bit different to Thursday nights. The class before is an MMA class, designed specifically for amateur and semi-pro fighters. There were fewer guys there, and they were a frightening bunch to look at. Bulging muscles, closely cropped hair, serious faces. It was a full-on fighting gym. What on earth was my 14yo doing there??
Justyn looked trepidatious, but there was no turning back. I had his little brother in tow, and I planned to take him for an ice-cream while Justyn trained. "Will you be ok?" I asked. "Yeah," he said uncertainly. So I left, honestly feeling a bit uneasy about the whole thing.
I came back an hour later, in the middle of wrestling practice. Justyn was entwined with a strong italian guy in his early twenties. I could tell from the glow on Justyn's face that he was having a great time. And wrestling *is* great fun, a real guy thing. The guy was giving him some pointers, but they were wrestling pretty full-on too.
I watched him wrestle with three guys (all adults) and he really did so well. He is 5' 7" and has genuine strength. His build is wiry, which is perfect for jiu-jitsu. Elvis seemed to pay special attention to him. "Justyn, don't grab his head - twist around. That's it - but don't give him your back." That sort of thing. Yeah, I find it pretty cool to know Australia's pre-eminant martial artist is instructing my son.
As we were leaving one of the guys said to me, "Your son did really well, he's a natural." It's a very encouraging start.
Other news on the kids sporting front. Harry lost his rugby league grand final, but he played very well. He is going to play Oz-tag over summer. Matty is going to play indoor cricket, cricket being the only sport he enjoys. And that's a wrap.
...to watch UFC 74. Read this piece, typical Driscoll. Some of you may be a bit upset by his graphic description of one of the fights...
Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.
Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness,  and the corruption of his whole nature,  which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.
Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath  and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life,  to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever. 
Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God, having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
I was talking net stuff with someone the other week and they mentioned they'd never heard of the Star Wars Kid. I couldn't believe it - it's just about the biggest net phenomenon ever. To summarise, a young kid video's himself pretending to fight with a lightsaber. His mates got the tape, put it up on the net, and it was downloaded millions of times. Then people started adding all sorts of fx to the video and it was downloaded millions more times.
Here is the wiki article
Here is the original vid
"Drunken Jedi" version
The Matrix version
Kill Bill version
I better finish this off and put it on the mission blog!
We've already looked at the team, the venue and the host. If you've never run a short film night before, you are probably most concerned about securing the films. Where do you get them, and how do you choose them?
This year we used films from 3 sources - Ignite Christian Film Festival, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and Tropfest. There are actually a number of other sources I became aware of while putting the night together, and we may make use of these next year. Indeed, we may even invite the local community to enter their own films.
Where to get the DVDs from the 3 sources I named? The Ignite DVDs are available from the Bible Society Bookshop. The AFTRS produces an annual Showreel, available from the school. Tropfest DVDs can be purchased from large DVD retailers like HMV or Chaos.
What about licensing? The Ignite films I used with the permission of the film producers. Contact Ignite for other licensing arrangements. The AFTRS Showreel films may be shown for free provided it is not for a commercial purpose.
Tropfest charge a licensing fee, and it is not cheap. Their standard fee is $120/film or $500 for all 16 on the DVD. But they are very willing to negotiate. We settled on $300 for the 6 films I wanted to show - $50/film. You may be tempted to skip tropfest because of the fee, but that would be a shame as they really are the very best short films produced in Australia.
I think there will be a bit of debate about JAAL over the next couple of years. It's in Tassie at the moment. Mike reflects.
Labor are still comfortably ahead and clear favourites. But things are tightening up, and will probably tighten up further during the election campaign.
Wow, Piper gold! He comprehensively answers the Emerging Church claim that their approach to doctrine builds up friendship.
This is a major over-reaction. MMA typically has much less striking than boxing, which no-one seems worried about. The whole idea of the "cage" has a lot of stigma attached to it. The cage is actually a plastic-coated mesh fence, which is there principally to stop the fighters rolling out of the ring when they are wrestling on the ground.
Q. 11. What are God's works of providence?
A. God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise,  and powerful preserving  and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. 
Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise towards man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.
Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.
Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Q. 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.
Some sketches. It may surprise you to learn that I envy those who can draw. I would love to have that skill. I've been doodling a bit lately...
A very close vote at Synod last night, regarding Connect 09 funding. I am sorry to have missed the session, but I was leading our divorce recovery group. I'm not sure how I would have voted had I been there.
Something I've found a little unfortunate with Connect 09 is the frequent references back to the '59 Billy Graham crusade. Now, I think we have to respectfully indulge the nostalgia of those who were there, but it can also be unhelpful to keep looking backwards.
After the Connect 09 presentation to Synod, an older clergyman asked if any crusade-style events, like '59, were planned. The sponsor replied that this would be up to individual churches. Dear me.
In his presidential speech, the Archbishop made the telling point that the majority of those converted in '59 were church-going nominals (like himself at the time). Tim Keller has also made the point that the crusades only worked in a strongly churched culture.
It is a different age now, and different methods are required.
Angela Shanahan has some perceptive things to say. I loved this comment from a Canberra web forum - "If you put your money in and get two Snickers out of the machine, wouldn't you be happy!?" Secular Australia appear to be just as angry at this case as religious Australia. I'm certain it will move public sentiment against homosexual parenting.
A new company claims to have developed software that allows computers to simulate intelligent, natural language conversations. I love this sort of tech, and I've spent a fair bit of time playing with the various chatbots floating around the net. None have impressed me that much so far - will be interested to see this new dev.
Some debate in the US about Andrew Meyer, a guy who was tasered at a John Kerry speech. This being 2007, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube. I really have no sympathy for him. How about you?
It means "calling down a curse upon someone". You see a bit of it in the psalms, and it makes us squirm. We can't square it with "love thy neighbour". Is Luther's solution viable?
Is this really true? If we are talking about the majority of revivalist/arminian evangelicals in the US, it may well be.
The conference is being turned into a book. Good list of authors - Piper, Driscoll, Carson, Keller, Wells. JT, editing the book, was particularly struck by something Keller said. And Keller was quoting MLJ - everyone in the reformed camp seems to love MLJ these days. Those of you who were into him years ago can feel smug...
Today the Connect 09 strategy was presented in more detail, and the bills sponsors were asked a heap of questions. The debate will continue tomorrow and through to next week, from what I'm told.
What's my take on it? I'm glad you asked. I'm oscillating a bit. I like the thrust of the Archbishops overall strategy, as outlined this year. He presented Connect 09 as a necessary "catalyst" for change. That makes sense to me.
The focus on bible distribution concerns me a little. Of course, you can't really say "I don't support bible distribution". You may as well stand up in Synod and say, "I worship Cthulhu, dark lord of the night."
But do Sydney-siders really lack access to God's word? Every school child in NSW is given a New Testament in High School, for a start. And there have been a number of Bible drives previously (Neil has alluded to the Celebrate 88 campaign). And indeed, in 2009 The Bible Society will be running their "Jesus, all about life" campaign which will see a gospel of Luke given to anyone who wants one.
Still, I'm in favour of the further distribution of Bibles - you can't have too much of a good thing. But the value of this campaign will be in the relationships and connections that surround the Bible distribution - this was the clear emphasis of the presentation. And this is right and proper strategy, in my opinion.
My problem is that there is not yet much detail on how all this "connecting" is going to happen. I get the impression that this is going to be mostly the responsibility of the individual parishes. But I suspect the majority of parishes would not have any idea at all how to go about connecting with most people in their area. Those that know how to do it will already be doing it.
We will have to wait for more detail. But I believe Connect 09 will stand or fall on this issue.
Gordo has been giving regular updates on the DVD he is putting together for MTS. Sounds like there is going to be some gold on there.
Very interesting, I want to give this some thought. The whole "love the sinner/hate the sin" platitude seems to roll off the tongue too easily.
A report on the Connect 09 mission strategy. I'm glad that the emphasis seems to be on connecting with the community and building relationships, rather than just giving away free bibles.
I admit, the quoted NCLS figures are not terribly attractive. Between 2001 and 2006 weekly attendance rose from 55,663 to 56,996 - a very modest increase. However, I remain optimistic. I think there were (and are) a lot of cobwebs being cleaned out in the Anglican system, and I think there are better times ahead. This is the deep breath before the plunge.
I just heard the Dean give an excellent talk on slavery from Ephesians 6. He gave an attractive and persuasive answer to those who wish to accuse the apostle Paul of immorality in this matter. I wont try and summarise his arguments, rather I suggest you keep an eye on Cathedral TV - I imagine this talk will be up there in a week or 2.
Anglican Media report on the Archbishops address.
I liked this - "Our church population has expanded – it's expanded, no doubt. But there is no general breakthrough as yet. We have gathered our strength but we have not yet used it fully. If we wish to see exponential growth, the work of these years must be incorporated into an even greater and more determined move forward."
...and waxes poetic about the virtues of cricket. Had he been 0/100, doubtless he would be telling us the game were of the devil...
Q. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. 
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Con Campbell's book has been reviewed! A very positive review as well. I can't even understand the title of Con's book, let alone Dr Decker's review. But I do understand his final paragraph - "The bottom line (for those of you who stuck with a technical summary this long!): buy this book." Well done Con!
From the Archbishop's presidential address -
"Our Mission Board says that the four policies of the Mission remain correct. However, they are aware that, while at this stage of the Mission we have accomplished much, the really difficult times still lie before us. They argue that we need to have a significant mind-shift especially amongst the leadership of the Diocese and the parishes. While still seeking to improve and expand churches and develop new ones, we now need also to take those actions which will reach out into the broader parish-community in which we are situated, and actively contact the many people who have no connection at all with our churches and may not even know someone who attends church.
In particular they argue that we have reached a point in the life of the Mission where we must,
- enter a far more serious engagement with the world around us in order to penetrate the structures of society beyond the present reach of the parish church (Policy 2)
- provide, therefore, stimulus for serious recalibration of Christian ministry, lay and ordained (Policy 3)
- accept the need to challenge the church culture where it inhibits connection with the wider-community (Policy 4)."
Abraham Piper shares the story of someone who has been rejected from membership at Bethlehem Baptist.
I just heard the Archbishops Presidential address at Synod. He had a lot of good things to say. He was very big on the word "relationship" and also on the necessity of connecting and engaging with the community. These are all good messages to be sending. Will post up a link to the address once it becomes available.
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,  is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
More details about the Archbishops bible plan. I support distributing gospels to everyone, no problems there. But the idea that handing out Bibles is somehow going to "connect" us to the community seems a bit naive. It seems to me that if you want to "connect" with someone, you have to start with something that interests them, rather than something that interests you.
This is set to be debated again. The idea seems to be that people will be "licensed" to serve communion in the same way they are "licensed" to preach. I have no problem with that - except why not call it by what it is, "local ordination" ??
Challies has found it - in the catechisms. I am a big believer in catechisms, by the way, and have used one with my boys.
One of the key things I took from the book I mentioned above ("The Sex Starved Marriage") was the fact that usually, when one partner has a lower libido, whether it's the man or the woman, it is their needs that dictate how often the couple has sex. So there's always one person in the relationship who is not being sexually fulfilled. The lower libido person is basically saying "I am not prepared to give you what you need to be satisfied, but I expect you to remain faithful and not seek satisfaction elsewhere". Which is pretty unfair.
As the person in my marriage with the (much) lower desire levels, reading this was a big wake up call. Of course it will depend on the individual people how they are affected, and for some couples it might not be that big a deal, but when it is a problem for one half of a couple, it can strike at the heart of their sense of being loved and valued, which in turn has repercussions for other areas of the marriage.
A fascinating article by a Rabbi. He argues that a combination of factors mean that modern men are barely heterosexual. Warning - explicit content.
We had a "full house" at church this morning, the first I've ever seen in our morning service. It was the combination of the mission team plus guests that did it. I would guess that we had about 150 adults and children all up. The room looked great, I wonder if anyone got a good picture?
Update: There were about 100 at church this evening, including lots of guests. So about 250 for the day - that would be the new record.
I've written a brief review of Carnevale on the mission blog. Following is a photo from the day (I'm middle center with my back to the camera) -
Crossway are doing something innovative - offering free copies of their latest book to bloggers willing to review it. I'd like to take them up - but I have 5 reviews already in my intray, and a whole pile of other books to read.
During the film debrief today, it was mentioned that I'd done a good job delegating tasks for the film night. I think I understand delegation pretty well, so I'll share what I know. This seems pretty common sense to me.
1. Break down the overall task into sub-tasks. Ideally, each sub-task should be as independent as possible from the other sub-tasks. That way people can just get it done, without waiting for others and trying to co-ordinate with them. The film night breakdown was pretty straightforward - host event, run snack stand, choose films etc.
2. Allocate the tasks to suitable people. Encourage each person and make sure they know you have confidence in them.
3. Create parameters for each task. These are a list of your expectations for the task. So long as the parameters are met, the person has completed the task as asked - even if they way they go about it is completely different to who you would do it. Make the parameters as detailed as required, but the shorter the list the better, as this gives people a chance to use their creativity.
The parameters I gave for the snack stand were - it will be up to you guys to take care of every aspect of this, including getting the snacks, putting together some kind of "stand", making a price list and organising a float.
Pretty broad, eh? But that's ideal. If you feel the need to tell your people what flavour chips to buy, you don't understand delegation.
4. For jobs that require completion by a certain date, make sure that date is well defined and agreed upon. "Is that ok? Can you get it done by the 12th? Yes? Ok, good."
5. Let your people know that they can call you with any problems or if they are feeling unsure. That's your main job for the rest of the process - to solve problems your people can't.
6. Monitor progress. Don't do this by looking at what has been done and giving your opinion. Rather, ask the person if they are still on target, and if they have any problems that require your help.
7. Give guidance when asked for, but push back as much as you can. If someone says "I'm not sure if we should do A or B" I usually say "Pick the one you think is best. I trust your judgment." Sometimes people just want to talk through their thinking, in which case you just need to reflect back to them what they are saying, and affirm their thinking.
8. If you've divided the tasks up fairly well, you should be able to draw them altogether at the end. Your main task then is to smooth everything together and to answer any last minute queries. The magic of delegation is that the more "space" you give people, the more creative they will be, the more they will own the idea, and the better job they will do. Plus you have saved yourself a mountain of stress that you would be subject to if you micro-managed everything.
Of course the selection of host is important. You want a solid Christian who presents well, but you also want someone who is, frankly, a bit of a film nut. For a night like this to have credibility, to work properly, you want someone who loves films and knows a bit about the art of film-making.
We are fortunate to have Ben McEachin, a film critic for Empire magazine, as a member of our church. Giving him a hand was Matt Davies, one of our student ministers who has also produced several short films (one of which we screened). Other churches will probably not be quite so blessed with such talented people, but I'm sure there is someone suitable.
Venue is an important decision for this. We did a short film night at Bathurst last year and hired the local movie theatre for it. This can be quite cheap when you are dealing with local theatres, and it is worth checking out. But we held our night in the church building - we want to give people the chance to come onto our turf, and it is probably the best facility available in Annandale anyway.
We used the church projector up against a large white wall at one end of the building. It looked sensational - as large and as clear as you get in a local theatre. We just pushed the sound through our regular PA system which worked ok. We put out 120 chairs with a couple of couches at the very front. At the rear we had our grand piano in a prominent position, as well as a table with glasses and jugs of water, and the little "snack stand" we put together.
Everyone agreed that the room looked really great. It is probably the best "space" of it's type in Annandale.
Last night, in a frenzy of midnight adrenalin, I wrote a huge post about how to run a short film night for the mission bog. The computer ate it. So I'm re-writing it bit at a time.
You will need a team of people to bring this off. Following are the main roles -
Selector - aquires films for evaluation, selects appropriate films, sorts out licensing
Editor - rips the selected films and assembles them onto a single DVD
Promoter - performs any marketing of the event, including preparation of the programme
Ushers - show people to their seats and toilets
Refreshments - prepares and provides people with food and drink
AV Operator - operates audio visual equipment on the night
Venue manager - takes care of lighting and seating at the venue
Host - public face of the event. Introduces and explains the night and the films. Communicates the "pitch"
This is a really remarkable documentary. I cannot do it justice in a couple of lines. Just check it out.
Good piece by MJ. I'm more comfortable with "just war" than he is, but he raises some excellent questions.