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New Seminar Dates, a Graphics Tutorial, & The Monthly Download
We are pleased to announce the fall 2004 slate of locations and dates for our popular Digital Storytellers media in worship seminar. Come to this unique one-day seminar and change your approach to media in worship. Or, as Scott Miller of Duncanville, TX, put it after attending a seminar in Dallas this month,

“I hope you guys know that I can't sleep and it's all your fault! So often we experience things in life that are so awesome but never take the time to tell people how much of an impact they have made in our lives. You guys are awesome and your work is spectacular. I'm not a rookie simply in awe of what you have done because I don't have anything to compare it to. I've worked professionally on TV and Radio and on stage doing meetings for a lot of people over the last 26 years. I knew that God put me at First Baptist in Duncanville to use the talents he gave me to further his Kingdom. How I was going to get it done wasn't so obvious. Now, thanks to the two of you, it's obvious!”

Mark your calendars for one of these dates, register now, or stay tuned for more info:

Sept 11 Marshaltown, IA Digital Storytellers Seminar
Sept 18 Phoenix, AZ Digital Storytellers Seminar (pending)
Sept 21-23 Minneapolis, MN Convergence 2004
Sept 25 Nyack, NY (NYC) Digital Storytellers Seminar
Sept 30 Montgomery, AL Digital Storytellers Seminar
Oct 4-5 Vancouver, WA Digital Storytellers Seminar
Oct 7-10 Dallas, TX Youth Specialties
Oct 16 Rice Lake, WI Digital Storytellers Seminar
Oct 22-24 Battle Creek, MI Digital Storytellers Seminar

If you can’t wait until this fall, we have a couple of more recent options that may suit you. Next week we’re at the annual Inspiration Expo in Charlotte, NC, and next month, on Thursday, June 10, we’re going to be in Los Angeles, CA, at Christ Lutheran Church. Read more about the tour here, or register you and your team today here.

Our new no-charge media feature just keeps getting more popular. April saw over 1000 churches scramble to download our Easter video at the last minute, and an additional 700 churches download our video for the month, Home Builders.

This month’s media download should fit well into one of the time-honored rituals of spring- graduation. Our graduation graphic, which we call Hats Off but you can call whatever you want, will be a part of our upcoming spark volume 3 but is available right now without charge. In exchange for this month’s download we’re asking you to fill out a short user survey on our website about how you use this monthly feature. Click here to access the survey and graphic download.

Thanks for your interest and support of our ministry and God bless you in your ministry.

In the second of our new series of online, step-by-step graphic tutorials, we're giving you the opportunity to build this image from the upcoming spark volume 3.

In this tutorial, you'll learn you to make realistic parchment paper, complete with crinkles, rips, burns and shadows. In all of our years of producing media for worship, the need for a parchment look has arisen many times. This tutorial is designed to help you meet that need.

In case you didn't get it, be sure to check out the tutorials section of our Wired Church Training Center for February's Tomb Tutorial, and watch 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.

What would you like to learn to do with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, or your video editing application? If you’d like to submit a request for a future tutorial to answer that question, you can drop us an email here.

Ever wonder how people use spark and flame resources? We do, too, so we decided to talk to someone about it. Recently we spoke with Shane Pair, a pastor at Preston Hollow United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. He’s a fan of the spark and flame library and here’s what he had to say:

So, you’re a fan of spark and flame, huh?
Yes, I believe it is one of the best products on the market for helping inspire the worship design team in their creativity, especially for a church like ours that is on a tight budget.

What is your official position at the church?
I am the Associate Pastor whose primary responsibility has been to develop an alternative worship service that would attract people who have never been in church or who were turned off by church because of past experiences.

How do you use the products?
We use Spark in several ways. First, there are times that we use the product just as it is outlined in the material located on the CDs. We select one of the scripture suggestions and develop our service around it.

Secondly, which is our most common way of using Spark, is by taking a graphic and modifying it to the theme we have selected. This works well for us because we do not have a graphic artist, but the layered Photoshop files provided in Spark offer us novices the chance to modify the graphic and to present to the audience a professional and personal look that we otherwise would not be able to accomplish, which enhances the worship experience.

Finally, being able to use the Spark graphic behind our music lyrics allows us to keep people focused on the theme.

As for flame, we loop flame videos behind announcements and music lyrics, run videos just as our band gets on stage or leaves the stage, and use them after the preaching moment as the band comes back onto the stage as a meditation or way of re-emphasizing the theme. Also, we will sometimes use Flame videos after worship, as a way of reminding the people of the message while they stand around fellowshipping.

Do you have a favorite feature of spark and flame?
Honestly, they are all so well done it hard to pick just one.

People are going to think we paid you to say these things. How about a favorite worship service to tell about using spark or flame?

My favorite worship service using Spark has been “Dangerous Ingredients,” from spark volume 1, which I changed to “The Right Ingredients.” While the graphic was displayed I stood before the people and made vegetable soup as I used Romans 12 (The Body of Christ) and talked about how each ingredient is important in order for the soup to achieve a flavor that was desirable to all, even those who had never tasted vegetable soup. After the sermon, as the band sang a few songs, we passed out hot bowls of vegetable soup to each person attending and we gave them the recipe with how to make the soup on one side, and on the other we used the title “The Right Ingredients” with scripture references of what we had talked about during the service.

I also used the “Home Builders” video from Flame volume 2 which I changed to “A Home for You.” Here I used the Flame clip at the beginning of the service. Then as I preached we used a clip from a popular home makeover show and I spoke about how we are building a community that is open to all people regardless of where they were in life.

Anything you’d like to see on a future volume?
I would like to see you guys give some more movie clip ideas to go along with your themes.

Thanks to Shane and the folks at Preston Hollow for being such enthusiastic supporters. For more information about becoming a spark and flame user yourself, visit our resource section now.

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