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Monthly Enewsletter from Midnight Oil Productions
Vol 3, Number 10 | October 04
More Christmas Resources from Midnight Oil
Monthly Media Download
Follow the Star Christmas
Bethlehem Star Tutorial
Questions? Ask Anthony
In the spirit of the Christmas season, have we got a gift for you! This month, we are offering a brand new, high-quality video download for Christmas. This stirring video zooms slowly past all of the trappings of the season and focuses on a nativity scene, inviting us to rediscover why we celebrate.

The 30 second video with title, which we call “Rediscover Christmas,” is available through December as a free download here. We also have an upgrade option to go with this Monthly Media Freebie, which includes 4 additional versions of the video and 2 sets of worship graphics, for $45 as an exclusive download through our web store. The included wordless videos and layered PSD files allow you to customize the media to fit your church's needs.

Click here to see the Rediscover Christmas holiday media resource upgrade.

Use it during Advent or your Christmas Eve services, and don’t forget to check out our other resources for Christmas.

Media for the Christmas Season
Our new full-featured Christmas resource, Follow the Star, is the first of a series of Holiday Media resources that we're creating for the Christmas and Easter seasons. If you want a resource for National Barber Appreciation Month, though, just let us know- we could do that, too.

Already Follow the Star is proving to be a valuable asset to many local churches across the globe. In the less than 2 weeks since its release, we've received more positive feedback than we could have imagined. Here's what one user had to say:

From: Donn Anderson
To: Midnight Oil
Subject: To the Midnight Oil Guys

Aloha from Maui...

I just received my "Follow The Star" disk this morning and all I can say is...WOW!

Just wanted you to know that I had been really floundering around this year about how to approach Advent. This is the first year I got this far into November without a clue about what I was going to do. I was beginning to get a little anxious.

Then your e-mail arrived announcing this year's Christmas resource and it was just like somebody pulled a cork out of my creative bottle! An Advent series poured out of my brain in about 20 minutes. That is ALWAYS God at work.

This is the first product I have actually purchased from Midnight Oil. I have gotten great mileage out of the "Beyond the Tomb" clip. [Our Easter 2004 Monthly Media Freebie.] Wanted you to know all your monthly freebies have paid off at last!

Know that the little congregation of Waipuna Chapel in Kula, Maui, Hawaii is going to be blessed this Christmas because of your wonderfully creative talent. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) and Aloha ke Akua (God bless you)...Pastor Donn W. Anderson

Stories like Donn’s inspire us to keep serving churches like yours. Our prayer is that our resources are a part of worship that connects with all those, like the Magi, who search this Christmas.

Create Your Own Bethlehem Star
Due to popular demand—and since it’s not Christmas yet—we’ve decided to extend our latest worship graphic Tutorial Contest another month.

The Bethlehem Star Tutorial gives simple instruction for making a radiant star, along with a technique for turning your daytime photos into night. The Bethlehem Star Tutorial is the fourth in our popular series of worship graphic tutorial downloads that includes Easter tomb, parchment paper and pencil drawing treatments.

Click here to download the latest entry to our popular training series.

Our Tutorial Contest will reward the best entry with a free copy of our Christmas resource, Fresh Out of the Box Volume 3. To enter our contest, simply download the tutorial, do it, and then submit your graphic here. Entries need to be a flattened 720-540 JPEG file. Entries will be added to an online tutorial gallery. The deadline has been extended to December 31. The winner will be announced in our next e-newsletter.

As always, be on the lookout for new tutorials every few months as we continue our quest to train media ministers in the creation of their own high quality creative media.

Questions? Ask a church media "guru"
What exactly is a “guru?” One dictionary defines a “guru” as someone who is a respected teacher, or prominent and influential in a specific field. If this is true, then our friend Anthony Coppedge, who is one of the most knowledgeable church media people we know, would definitely fall under the category of “guru.” (A “guru” is also a Sikh or Hindu spiritual leader—we’ll assume this doesn’t describe Anthony.) In an effort for churches to know more about the helpful services he offers, we recently asked him a few questions:

Tell us about what you do.
OK, well, I’m what you might call a “Holistic Church Media Consultant”. Sounds freaky, right? It’s not, because it means that I focus on the entirety, not just the tech, of helping churches use media effectively. It’s interesting because I’ve chosen to focus on the ministry of media over the tools of media from the Senior Pastor/Minister all the way to the volunteer techie.

Mostly, I spend my church media consulting time in three areas:
1) Helping churches understand the importance of what I call “Creative Team Planning for Weekend Experiences” through staff project management training, budgeting and the über-important T.I.M.E. (Today Isn’t More than Enough) investment.
2) Providing help for growing Churches who can’t afford an on-site consultant, but need the security of a consultant over a dealer through my Remote Consulting Services (starting at $500).
3) Develop designs for new or existing facilities as one of the Principal Consultants of Design2020, a church technology design consortium.

You're one busy dude. So, what is the most important thing a church should consider before pursuing technology in their church?
Technology won’t suddenly make you relevant. I see far too many churches look at mega churches for all of the answers, thinking that if they duplicate the programs, atmosphere or technology that their church will suddenly be more attractive to the unchurched or formerly-churched. I call this “Xeroxing the Mega-Church” and it’s not a good idea.

Instead, churches need to understand that they should consider any new initiatives, including technology, through the context of reaching their community. Just because it works in Dallas, TX, doesn’t mean it will work in their town, city or region.

I’d also point out that technology is only a tool. Know your intended audience and use technology like you would any other tool: to meet the needs of your community through the unique nature of your church. I call this being “Indigenous Missionaries” to our media-savvy culture.

Is there a top question you answer most frequently?
”How many lumens do I need in a projector?” has got to be the most frequently asked question I get on a weekly (if not daily) basis. I have written several articles on understanding projected brightness (lumen rating) based on the screen size, room ambient lights and projection distance, including the highly downloaded “Video Projection Formulas: A Primer." I’m sometimes accused of trying to raise up mini-consultants with all of the formulas I give away, but considering how often I’m called in to fix a bad video projection/system design, I figure that providing this basic information may help churches from being swindled by a few “church dealers” because they don’t know the facts.

That’s a scary thought. What is something you wish every church knew about digital technology?
That’s an interesting question, because analog technology can still be a very viable option for churches.

Like overhead projectors?
Uh, sure. What I think you mean, though, is what I wish churches knew about the use of digital tools.

Uh, sure.
Here’s an example: The digital audio consoles from Yamaha, starting with the little 01V96V2, 02R96V2, PM5D, DM2000V2 and even the massive PM1D all share the same mixer functions and overall menu structure, making it ideal to train a volunteer on one system. It’s also nice to have instantly recalled “scenes” for each part of the service, since digital consoles can make mixing nearly volunteer-proof.

Digital technology has helped sound, lighting and video leapfrog ahead with not only better quality, but easier operation.

Final comment(s)?
Thanks for your friendship and our like-minded purpose of helping churches use media more effectively! It’s great being different parts of the same winning team. Midnight Oil rocks!

Thanks, Anthony. (And if you say we rock, we may feature you in an interview, too!) For more information on Anthony’s ministry or to have him help your church, visit his website at http://www.anthonycoppedge.com.
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