This past Saturday my local Fellowship of Christian Magicians chapter hosted its first AMAZE Conference.
It was a treat for as Barney Kinard, our head Kidology Coach made the trip out (he came early for the Kidology Coaching Summit) as well as my good friend John Mobley. (aka, Johnny Magic!) I’ll be telling you more about Johnny Magic in an upcoming blog post – but this is a guy you want to get to know!
Another highlight, was getting to hang out with BOTH Duane and David Laflin on the same day! I challenged them to do a three generational show, and they did, including David’s boys in the grand finale of the conference.
We had several workshops, great performances and tips throughout the day that will make everyone who was there better at Amazing their audiences about our Amazing God!
Here are a few of the insights I gained or thoughts I had as I sat and listened:
- Don’t neglect the classics. Just because something is new, doesn’t necessarily make it better. When it comes to magic tricks, if the audience is fooled, it doesn’t matter whether you did it with a simple method or new-fangled hi0tech complicated method. The audience doesn’t know the difference. They were just fooled. This relates to all aspects of ministry. Sometimes we over complicate things when the new more complicated method may have the same impact in the end. Simple is good!
- Share the spotlight. I really appreciated how Duane Laflin deflected the applause to his helper. Obviously, he is the one making the magic happen with great skill and professionalism, but he didn’t need applause – he was happy to redirect the applause to those who joined them on stage. This encourages the one who was applauded for and demonstrates humility in the performer.
- Excellence is the standard. Everything the Laflins do, they do with excellence. It is obvious they practice, practice, practice. God is worthy of our best. A half-baked performance may be adequate, but it doesn’t honor God. He and our audience deserve our very best.
- More is not always more. What I mean by this is that I tend to want to pack as much as I can into the shows I do. I want to give my clients their “money’s worth,” which isn’t bad – but every time I watch the Laflins I see that it isn’t the number of illusions they do that makes an impact, it is how well they do the ones they choose. Doing one trick very well, with well timed dialogue and excellent presentation is better than three tricks that are rushed.
- Don’t talk about your magic – perform it. Often when I watch magicians they talk about their magic as they perform. “I want to show you a trick…” (yeah, we know, you’re a magician.” or “For my next trick…” (again, obvious – and it destroys the element of surprise.) or “I was thinking about which trick I was going to do today, and I chose this one…” (of course, you are doing the one you chose. I chose which shoes to wear today, but I don’t tell people when I meet them. I just wear them.) When watching the Laflins I notice that they aren’t talking over a trick, even though we are there to see great magic, the trick is still secondary to what they are doing and saying. They come out speaking very intentional words and the trick just happens and bring visual power to their words. They don’t need to say they are doing a trick – we see that. But we enjoy the trick more because it is illustrating what they are talking about it. And even tricks that aren’t an object lesson they just perform them and we go for the ride. You may not be a magician, but any time you are speaking, don’t say, “For my lesson today I thought that I would tell you a story…” Just start telling the story. The audience knows you are teaching – after all, they are sitting in front of you.
Thanks for everyone who helped make our first Amaze Conference, well, Amazing!