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Topic: Could It Be True? After All These Years Have I Finally Found A Church That's Open Minded To Magic?
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 10, 2014 02:53PM)
I have posted here before about negative experiences I have had with churches in response to "magic".

Well, I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch, but it looks like a good possibility that my current church may be open minded. The pastor has expressed some positive comments toward me as I have slowly opened up to him about what I do. He has expressed that he'd like to find a way to use my talents in the church.
Soooooooooo. I feel it in the air that POSSIBLY somewhere down the road he may ask me to do a show. 

So if (BIG little word, there.) But IF he does ask me to perform in church, I'm currently planning in my head what effects I would perform. 

I have some ideas. Nothing substantive yet, but I'm just mentally going through my repertoire and brainstorming possibilities.

Some of the effects that strike me as strong possibilities include: "Enchanted Cube" (instant solving of Rubik's cube). I could patter about how no matter how mixed up our life is, the Lord can straighten it up. I favor that as an opener.

I also have thought about performing some of Aldo Columbini effects. Aldo has some wonderful material. 

I like the thought of doing my lady bugs routine (sponge ball routine using sponge lady bugs.) I think that has an innocence that would go over well  in church. I'm trying to avoid anything that could be interpreted as "dark" or evil. The lady bugs always bring smiles and joy, so they may be a good choice.

I am considering Dan Harlan's "Awakening", but I'm not sure about a patter theme.

I think the Michael Ammar "Coins Through Silk" effect would be appreciated in a church setting. It's just a beautiful effect that church people could appreciate.

Maybe I'll do Dan Harlan's "Hold It Buster!"

Then there is the "Silk Through Arm" effect. (Tie a scarf around a spectators arm and magically penetrate the arm). It's colorful and quick.

I also thought about combining some mentalism, as I could put my Richard Osterlind DVD's to good use. 

Anyway, these are just possibilities of ones I would consider "IF" pastor Reed asks ne to entertain.

I'm posting here to get comments and good advice from you guys who have experience performing for churches. So hit me, guys!
Let me pick your brain first about disclaimers. What is you guy's advice on disclaimers? Are they indispensable? 

Can you suggest a good example of a disclaimer?
Any advice you guys can give me on performing before a church will be really appreciated. I'm all ears.

Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Jan 10, 2014 03:27PM)
Daff, I live in Kentucky where I have attended a number of Southern Baptist Churches. I have never had anyone object to my performing. I also have a presentation called "Coming Home" which I have presented in a number of Churches as well as for groups of Pastors. I do the same Mentalism show as I do for lay audiences, only later relating it to Christian principles after the performance is done.

If you don't claim anything, what is there to disclaim? The performance of magic is quite a bit removed from the sorcery of the Bible. If you think of your show as "the creation of mystery" you will be on safe ground. As a matter of fact, I use this premise in my own show. I talk about how so many people believe the world is only a physical one and that micro-chips are their gods. Then I do things that are impossible and talk about how there is so much more. This opens the door for me to be able to talk about my Savior.

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 10, 2014 04:11PM)
Richard, I appreciate your advice. And I also appreciate the DVD's you put out through L&L. I don't know where I could go to find higher quality mentalism.

The bad part is that many of the props are difficult to come by.

But I'm going to go over your DVD's again and scour them for effects that would fit. I especially liked the one with Abe Lincoln's silhouette. (The title escapes me at the moment.)
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Jan 10, 2014 04:15PM)
That's our Transparent Forces. As far as the props go, I always tried to include most ideas that you can make up yourself. I even fully explain our marketed items. Our last DVDs, The Sapphire Collection, contain nothing that you can't make up or that is not fully explained. I even included ideas for getting around a couple where I did use a special piece of equipment.

If there is anything that you are interested in, contact me.

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 10, 2014 08:29PM)
Much appreciated, Richard! :) Surely I'll be getting in touch with you in the near future.
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Jan 10, 2014 10:51PM)
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Jan 11, 2014 01:41AM)
Intersting I have never had a church I attend or performed at have an issue with performance magic or mentalism. I have an entire act that is mentalism based that looks closely at influence and making proper choices that has always beend well received, I use no disclaimer. Until about 6 months ago lived in south western Ohio actually across the river from Mr. Osterlind now living in Anderson, Sc heart of the bible belt so it will be interesting to see if I experience anything differant.
Message: Posted by: Rickfcm (Jan 11, 2014 01:43AM)
Volunteer to help in Sunday school to get people to know you.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 11, 2014 01:54AM)
On 2014-01-10 20:41, tboehnlein wrote:
Intersting I have never had a church I attend or performed at have an issue with performance magic or mentalism. I have an entire act that is mentalism based that looks closely at influence and making proper choices that has always beend well received, I use no disclaimer. Until about 6 months ago lived in south western Ohio actually across the river from Mr. Osterlind now living in Anderson, Sc heart of the bible belt so it will be interesting to see if I experience anything differant.

Consider your self a very lucky guy.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Jan 11, 2014 02:54AM)
The churches that tend to object to magic are the ones that would generally be described as "fundamentalist" in nature. They are the ones that tend to take the Scriptures 100% literally, and those who rely on individual interpretation.

The great majority of churches are open to magic as entertainment.
Message: Posted by: Mel Yoder (Jan 11, 2014 03:24AM)
Tboehnlein wrote:

now living in Anderson, Sc heart of the bible belt so it will be interesting to see if I experience anything differant.
Hi Tboehnlein
Welcome to SC!I found the best way to speak in a church is to actually know someone who attends there.I have no problem with the churhes here in the South.I live only 35 miles from you in Abbeville.Lets get together sometime.Would love to get a local chapter going.
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Jan 11, 2014 04:13AM)
Whether it be in some kind of Christian ministry, or just shows in general, my whole life I have heard, "You can't do this here ... or ... This group won't like that."

The fact is it is always up to the performer and how he presents himself. If you are truly concerned with the best interests of your audience and your heart is in the right place, you will be accepted.

There are no stereotypes. The success or failure is on your shoulders.
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 11, 2014 05:19AM)
I have performed for groups that have been against magic, but due to my presentation they have always approached me, 100% of the time, to tell me that the appreciated my presentation. I have even been hired by churches telling me which words were acceptable. I respectfully ignored them and they were always appreciative of me. Just stay true to the Word, be gracious, and non-judgmental. It's amazing what people will accept in spite of their biases. Richard is 100% of target..it's all about the presentation.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 11, 2014 06:18AM)
It occurred to me that there are two main places at our church where a performance might occur. One is the main sanctuary, (standing in front of the pulpit) and the other is in the small fellowship hall. Both would require a different show! If I were standing in front of the pulpit, with people in the pews, I would have to use larger props, otherwise probably the only people who could see what I'm doing would be the folks in the first couple pews!

If I were to perform in the smaller room, I could do close up or a stand up or parlor show. So now, to be prepared for anything, I have double the work, creating two shows.

Any body here ever experienced this? Is my thinking correct? Any advice?
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 11, 2014 07:17AM)
I do a stand up..parlor type show regardless. The only time I'll scale it down to close-up is dependent on audience size and nothing to do with the venue. I try not to do a lot of big stuff, mainly because I'm lazy and don't like to haul all kinds of stuff around.
Message: Posted by: Vlad_77 (Jan 11, 2014 11:22AM)

Seconding Mike's observation. I have actually found that most churches are fine with magic. In my church, the only stipulation is that you must assure the priest that you perform magic as entertainment. Also, Orthodox churches actually are more open to magic that is what would be termed "secular" as we believe that only deacons, priests, and bishops have the authority to teach. I have done a lot of magic performances in the past for churches from many denominations. The only strange situation I had ever encountered was from a fundamentalist church that ran a coffeehouse. They wanted to book me, we settled on a price, and then the minister stated that after the performance I would have to explain how all of the magic was done so that the show's attendees would understand that what I performed was not the work of Satan. I tried to explain to him that magic is a performance art accomplished by natural means just as we understand that movies are actually an illusion of movement. He still wanted exposure, and I asked him that if I really had infernal powers, would I be performing card and coin magic? He stuttered a bit over that one but then still insisted on my exposing methods. I politely thanked him for his time, explained patiently that these methods were not mine to expose and suggested that he would be better off going with another type of entertainment.

A good rule of thumb at least for me is ALWAYS talk to the ordained priest or minister at a given church. Never assume that what the organizer of an event says is acceptable is what that church accepts. Get the words of the priest or minister and you'll be fine. :)

In Christ,
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 11, 2014 01:15PM)
On 2014-01-11 02:17, Steven Steele wrote:
I do a stand up..parlor type show regardless. The only time I'll scale it down to close-up is dependent on audience size and nothing to do with the venue. I try not to do a lot of big stuff, mainly because I'm lazy and don't like to haul all kinds of stuff around.

Do you ever have problems with people in the rear pews complaining "I can't see!!"?

If not, how are you avoiding that problem?

It seems the only way to avoid that with small props is to use a closed circuit camera and a monitor so everyone can see, ala David Copperfield.
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Jan 11, 2014 06:07PM)
From the Bob Kohler website regarding the Needle Swallowing effect and visibility:

But [I believe he meant to type "With"] such small props just how big of an audience can you perform the routine for effectively. The answer really comes down to lighting. With a spotlight the needles shimmer and reflect the light. In fact I believe they show up better than razor blades. Razor blades on edge are basically invisible. Teller KILLS with his version of the Needles at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas before over 800 people!

Of course a backdrop helps with this in order to de-clutter the stage. Also, few churches have spots. But it can be done.

Message: Posted by: jamiedoyle (Jan 11, 2014 08:08PM)
I personally think it's pretty Awesome that a bunch of us Gospel Magic folks can digitally rub shoulders with the likes of Osterlind. Appreciate your insight Richard :)
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 12, 2014 01:47AM)
I was thinking the same thing.
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Jan 14, 2014 12:37AM)
Additionally Terry Holley has an impressive background concerning our art and the supernatural.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 14, 2014 07:38AM)
Message: Posted by: Levi Bennett (Jan 14, 2014 09:05AM)
Hey Daff,

I've been reading Anatomy of a gospel Magic Show, by Duane Laflin. It's only 15 bucks from his site.

There's lots of good info in it. I may have absorbed all I can from it and would consider gifting you with it if you're interested.

But here's a couple of quick points:

He suggests having a theme for your show which I think is a great idea. The show I'm currently writing is going to be themed around: What is the Gospel? I will use various effects to talk about the gospel and share the gospel, including sharing my testimony using a h@nk ball and silk fountain. The book has many starter ideas for themes and possible effects. It's great to help get the ideas flowing.

In the book, Duane also suggests having a couple minutes of opening magic followed by a brief introduction and possibly comedy trick or some kind of trick that you do while you discuss what magic is and isn't. This is where you can do a disclaimer, introduce yourself and build a rapport with the audience. Feel free to tell everyone that what you do is purely the result of practice and slight of hand and that magic isn't real. This can be a very important part of your show to some people. It helps put them at ease if they wonder where you stand concerning magic and so forth. Then you can do a fun, simple trick demonstrating some "magic" as you patter. As an example it may be a TT silk trick, something with a p@lmo or in my case I'm considering doing silk to egg- whatever you like of course. I chose silk to egg because it shows people that magic isn't real while still being an entertaining trick with a kicker finish. Let me be clear here- I'm not talking about exposure, I'm merely talking about doing a simple trick while you chat about the fact that magic isn't real.

I'm also blessed to have just recently joined a congregation where the pastor actually likes magic and has shown a couple of simple tricks to his congregation as object lessons. When I told him about my desire to get involved more in gospel magic he was all for finding ways for me to share. I'm going to be able to show tricks to the AWANA boys starting in a few weeks- after I rehearse some more- and he would like to have me show the congregation occasional tricks as object lessons as well. So to answer your original question, yes, it could be true! :)

Hope this helps- and don't forget the most important part- prayer and spending time with God. He can guide you in your service to Him through your magic better than any of us can. God bless your service!
Message: Posted by: Mel Yoder (Jan 14, 2014 11:12AM)
To me it's more about the message and having the crowd fill relaxed with what your doing.As was enforced at the FCM Convention always have a kid out of the crowd to help at the start of your presentation.
At my last church gathering we did more of a skit then actually a trick at the ending.I invited about 7 kids to come up stage.Had them turn around and an animal nose was fixed on their face.One was fitted with an elephant nose and so on.Then had them turn back around and sing old MacNoah had an Ark.The kids loved it.

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 18, 2014 01:34AM)
I love these ideas!
Message: Posted by: DoctorCognos (Feb 18, 2014 02:21AM)
I belong to a very, very large non denominational Christian Church. However I have never found a situation for my magic there, as I am more of an Evangelist, who prefers sharing with non-believers. We have many pastors on staff, and I have a great relationship with them. Several are aware of my magic/mentalism, but we have so many programs, they don't need my magic, and that is fine with me. I have a pride problem, and have to constantly be sure that God gets the Glory, and that I am not being help up as anything special.

I do also have Pastor friends from other local Churches where I am frequently asked to "talk" to youth groups and share my God's Truth act, which I do with a deck of cards(I try to borrow this deck from the Church group), a couple of coin effects, and the whole thing looks impromptu and is casual.

But the point I want to make is simply that it is a matter of perception. If you don't make it clear that what you do is a trick, and that God is the only one who does real transforming "magic"in Eternal Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If that isn't clear, You can easily be misunderstood.

But here is a question, many never ask: Will your magic fill a need in the Church Ministry, or will it just make you feel good?

The Doctor
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Mar 19, 2014 02:21PM)
That's where I'm at right now. Trying to find a place where I can fill that need in the church's ministry. I've been through a lot of thought concerning this. We have a thriving youth group. Thought about putting together an "Anti-gambling " routine, using monte effects and such to teach that gambling is greed, idolatry, etc, and that one can NEVER win when they gamble.

The answer of course, is to live by the Word of God, and let Him supply all your needs without having to gamble. I think this would be wonderful for the youth group.
Message: Posted by: harris (Mar 24, 2014 04:34PM)
As someone who works with teens I know gambling can be a issue.


Harris :spoon: :spoon:
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Mar 24, 2014 04:45PM)
Amen. So why not use the cards for a positive purpose and show the evils of gambling?
Do you know if anyone else is doing a similar thing?
Message: Posted by: harris (Mar 24, 2014 05:26PM)
Only me and that was a long time ago.
Before the gambling boats came they offered Addiction Counselors free attendance to a series of workshops.
The workshops were not done by casinos. They just paid for it.

It was a long process but I was certified as a counselor with that speciality.

I did not keep up with the classes required and lost certification.

Let us know what you create.

Love and prayers :spoon: :spoon:
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Mar 24, 2014 05:32PM)
Ok. I'm thinking of f starting it off with David Solomon's "Color Colissiom"
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Apr 24, 2014 01:48PM)
When I approached my church children's minister, I presented myself as a Christian Illusionist and told him that during the performance I inform the audience that I'm performing biblical entertainment, I am not a magician that claims to have special powers. The reception has been overwhelming support.

Try that conversation

As far as purchasing props to perform with, God has always provided for that, I just trust in Him
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Apr 24, 2014 04:08PM)
Last night they let me entertain in children's church, and I actually did a few effects with no one complaining. Perhaps the sun is finally beginning to shine through. I can tell you it's been a looooooong time in coming.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Apr 24, 2014 05:41PM)
[quote]On Apr 24, 2014, daffydoug wrote:
Last night they let me entertain in children's church, and I actually did a few effects with no one complaining. Perhaps the sun is finally beginning to shine through. I can tell you it's been a looooooong time in coming. [/quote]

A great start. Now you can expand and visit the Sunday. School classes
Message: Posted by: judagar (Mar 6, 2019 11:45PM)
Won't have that problem at our church... Pastor is 25 year member of IBM!!!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Mar 7, 2019 10:14PM)
I have done kids Gospel magic for over 5 years in my home church 40+ times a year with no issues for sure!
Message: Posted by: adrianrbf (Mar 10, 2019 01:38PM)
People will never think you have "real" magical powers when they also know you outside the performance context. It is very easy to do magic in a church context when you are a well-known member of the parish and don't change to an utterly different stage personality when you perform.
Message: Posted by: judagar (Feb 12, 2020 05:41AM)
We're actually hosting our local ring 199 50th anniversary in May 2020!
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Nov 7, 2021 09:44PM)
If you get a gig from a church group, take it! Just don't work blue, and don't say the devil gives you your "powers". Don't use your "biker bar" material.
Message: Posted by: The great Gumbini (Nov 8, 2021 08:24PM)
I do believe the real big Icebreaker here is being honest let everyone know that this is pure entertainment and in fact if they take the time and the diligence to learn what you learned from Magic books and Magic videos they can perform the very same thing you're performing. And when you think about it at that point are magic show really does become our "Art".

Good magic to all,

Message: Posted by: harris (Nov 14, 2021 12:02AM)
The last year I have become a worship leader & coleader
of the children’s ministry.

Forming a relationship with God & my Pastor is as important as the material presented.

Palms of Aluminum Foil
Still too old to know it all.
Recovered Pharisee