Ordering Vodka By Brand Name

“Goose and soda please.”

My goodness! What a sophisticated gentle-man of the world we have here. He not only knows what he wants, but he’s not afraid to ask for it by name. Nicely done there. That stuff is vaguely French and costs a lot. Bonus points for the abbreviation. A man like you doesn’t have time for an extra syllable.

Except there are a few problems with this bullshit fantasy scenario. Setting aside the practice of ordering vodka in the first place, which is basically the drinking equivalent of watching reruns of Friends in your hotel room on the big vacation in Disney World, the idea that there is some discernible level of quality between different brands of odorless, tasteless burn water is laughable. What we have here are different marketing campaigns. Some of them have convinced you that hitching your mouth, liver and wallet to their promotion wagon will sprinkle a little magic status dust on your suggestible ass.

Why not just walk up to the bar and admit you are very susceptible to manipulation, incapable of making any decisions for yourself, and will literally drink anything you’ve seen a male model with a watch on stand next to in a magazine?

You know why any type of product adverstises, right? Not because there is ever any difference between brands and they’re dying to get the word out to the people so they can make an informed decision. It’s because at the moment of truth, when a guy like you wanders up to the bar with your cologne on and your clueless grin and your calculated facial hair, they know you are going to panic about not looking like you know exactly what the fuck you are doing at all times. They know that you are basically going to say the first thing that comes to mind, which is the last brand name you saw. That’s why, to sort of streamline this whole process here, I’m coming out with a new line of premium high end vodka called I’m a Boring Cunt Vodka (From Europe!).

Until that marketing campaign rolls out, I’m still totally into Christiana vodka. Not because it’s any different than any other vodka, or because it’s distilled

Got Any Big Plans for New Years

PTSOTL holiday re-runs!

Sure, I was thinking about maybe spending 100 dollars to get into a bar I usually go to for free and fighting off crowds of people doing the party equivalent of pushing out a five pound turd. Just pushing, and pushing, and trying and trying. Making weird faces. Hoping it will end soon.

[SEE ALSO:  NYE 101: Pro tips on ringing in the New Year right]

Maybe stand in line in zero degree weather waiting for one of the five puke-ferry cabs available for roughly a million people for a while. Probably do that. Then, let’s see, I dunno, pretend to be best friends with whatever dozen people I’m standing next to when the big hand on the clock points at a magic number. Maybe blast someone in the face and ears with some sort of noise horn or siren or rattle, doesn’t matter what it is as long as they are feeling the full force of my revelry vis a vis a 25 cent paper instrument. Next up I’ll drink some flat bubbly piss water out of a plastic cup. Gonna have to set aside some time to field twenty or so group texts from everyone wishing me a happy new year! That should take a minute or two. Ok, so it’s like 12:09 at this point? Let’s hit another bar. We’ll need to do the cab thing again, wintery purgatory style. Fall in a snow bank probably. Tend to one of my friends who got way too drunk. That should be a laugh. I always sort of wanted to be a triage nurse for a while. After that, who knows? Go sit in someone’s apartment and die a slow death, minute by minute, listening to everyone pretend anything is gonna be different this time around. The usual stuff.

Or I could, you know, not do any of that. Because I am an adult man.


Why hating New Year’s means you actually hate yourself 

New Year’s Eve pre-game shaming ritual

Riding Your Bike on the Sidewalk

Unless you are under the age of 9 or legitimately mentally retarded, there is no reason to ride your bike on the sidewalk. Further, if you choose to ride your bike on the sidewalk (which, just to reiterate, you should not unless you meet the above criteria) you certainly shouldn’t make it everyone else’s

responsibility to get out of your way; people who are engaging in the perfectly reasonable activity of

walking on the sidewalk. That would be very silly of you.

You shouldn’t ring your little bell (and if you have a little bell on your bike you should either meet the aforementioned criteria or suffer the consequences (which are me sticking it up your ass)). You shouldn’t say”on your left”, making your problem (that you’re a retard) into everyone

else’s problem. If you need people to get out of your way, and this need is so deep that you’ve purchased a gay bell to ring to let everyone know that you, the retard, is approaching and they should steer clear, the one place you most definitely should not ride your bike is the sidewalk. Because the sidewalk is where everybody is! No one’s expecting an overgrown nine year old with shorts and an ice cream cone to be riding up their ass ringing a bell. Just do us all a favor and move away from the city. Probably nobody gives a shit if you ride your bike on the sidewalk in the suburbs.

Put it on the list for fucks sake.

Going This Long Without Posting Something

How hard is it to find some peculiar human foible that you notice like two people in the world doing and punch up a bit of observational diarrhea about it in like five minutes that makes it seem like it’s a pervasive, insidious trend? Then just make sure you throw in plenty of synonyms for poop and penises and affect a sort of phony indifference that makes you seem a lot more angry than you really are. Simple as pie. Boner pie.

I should have some material. I rode the bus across town for like an hour today, then spent three hours at the dentist. Later on I went to a sports bar and ate nachos. That’s like seventeen opportunities to destroy the world in the face with spite, but instead of being angry I’m just sort of indifferent.

It shouldn’t be that hard. These things practically write themselves. I’d call it laziness, but that would be giving it too much credit. What do you call a combination of lazy and bad at your job, because I’ve got that one covered here. Covered in pretty much every thing else I’ve ever done for that matter too. Fuck it, I’m hitting the showers. Someone wake me up when they invent a new type of asshole out there.

Chatting Someone Up at the Bar

I’m not what you might call a narcissistic social invalid, so it’s a little hard to understand the oblivious haze most people swim around in all day. But I am a person who’s been to a bar alone more than once in my life, so I’m gonna do a little math on the fly here, lay out a few guesstimates, propose some hypotheses and see if we can’t get a conclusion.

Join me in the old douche lab, won’t you?

Number of times you can explode some non sequitur diarrhea onto the person sitting next to you at the bar in order to rope them into a conversation they don’t want to have:

1 + x/5. x being the number of syllables in the obligatorily friendly but disintersted grunt the person responds with.

Minutes you may talk about yourself without allowing for a reponse from the person you just pulled into your lonely life:


Number of consecutive yeahs, I knows, or yups you get in response before it means it’s time to hitch that banality wagon to the next person down the bar, because I am not fucking feeling it right now and you would obviously be able to tell that if you weren’t a clueless cat-lady/serial killer dude/ regular every day alcoholic (none taken everyone here) with a wacky story about your day at the office.


It’s a pretty straightforward proposition here. If I want to talk to you, you will for fucking sure know about, vis a vis my mouth making words in the general vicinity of your hearing holes. That’s what people who want to talk do. They talk to you. People who don’t sit here reading like me and probably haven’t made eye contact in ten minutes. Who knows though, maybe telling me you’re sorry to interrupt like five more times might do the trick. Beats sitting there alone.

5 Weaknesses of Effective Pastors

5 Weaknesses of Effective Pastors

Even pastors who are leading healthy, effective churches have weaknesses. In fact, the success of their churches can breed some weaknesses inherently.

Tom Harper of the Church Central Leadership Community points to five areas successful pastors often struggle with.

  1. Ministering on an individual basis
  2. Being task-driven and impatient
  3. Dealing with criticism
  4. Personal or familial time neglect
  5. Failure to develop strategic plan

To read Harper’s explanation of these weaknesses, visit the source.


Church Central: Top Weaknesses of Effective Pastors

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A variety of real-life ministry responses to a nation in

by John Carlisle

Continued from

page 1

“One important way we are addressing [decreased giving] is by more individual volunteering of time,” explains the Rev. David Gray, pastor at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md. “The layoffs and reduced work hours mean people have less money but more time.” Gray, who is also director for the Workforce and Family Program and Religious Center Initiative of the New America Foundation, thinks that volunteer church members can be inspired to perform tasks that churches usually pay for, such as maintenance. “Some people are dusting off their hammer holders and have clearer schedules during the week. I think several churches will make it their Lenten challenge – that their flocks give up more of their time to volunteer to help those in need.”

The Rev. Miriam Acevedo leads St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Hampstead, N.H., and has noticed many in her community and parish being throttled by the economy – from lost wages to expiring health care coverage. But she knows she can’t help them all by herself, especially as she’s “spending more time doing pastoral care, as some people are increasingly anxious about what is going to happen next.”

To help the situation, she’s enlisting a committee of members to operate a parish network, which people from the church and community can go to for assistance. “So far, I’ve been able to cover most requests for money,” she says of her allocations for members in need. “I did request some funds from a parish member who is doing well to cover a family that couldn’t get gifts for their children at Christmas.” Part of the committee’s job, Acevedo says, will be to provide career advice, financial counseling and strategy, and even to connect people with services such as dental care and haircuts from the parishioners who happen to be dentists or stylists.

If people in general have more time off, it seems logical that worship numbers might increase. However, a recession’s effect on church attendance is debatable, particularly as relates to evangelical churches. As mentioned in a New York Times article, David Beckworth, an economics professor at Texas State University, conducted a study that showed evangelical churches grew by 50 percent in recession cycles between 1968 and 2004. In contrast, a recent Church Solutions reader poll showed that, since the financial crisis hit in mid-September, church attendance has increased at only 17 percent of churches, stayed the same at 51 percent and even decreased at 32 percent.


Regardless of church attendance numbers, giving doesn’t seem to be increasing. As such, many church leaders are devising creative ways to save money and generate revenue. …


Pages: Previous1 2 3Next

Ark Megachurch Serves Thousands in Need


With the downtrodden economy forcing many people out of jobs and homes, ministry demand has seldom been higher than it is this holiday season.

This video from CNN’s iReport shows a long line of people waiting to be served at The Church at Pinnacle Hills and First Baptist Church of Springdale, which are billed as “one church, two campuses” in northwestern Arkansas. Click on the link under “source” to view.


CNN iReport: In Bad Economy, Mega-Church Feeds Thousands

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ASU Students Gather on Campus to Pray


A group of Christian students from Arizona State University (ASU) spent the last 21 days praying outside of a chapel on the Tempe campus. The students took turns praying all through the day and night – 24/7. They picked the length of time as 21 days arbitrarily, reported the Arizona Republic. The students started on October 8 and will continue to pray until Monday. (The 21 days of prayer excluded Friday night to Sunday night, as many students go home during weekends.)

The Arizona Republic also referenced a recent study by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. The research indicated that, among 112,000 incoming college students in 2004 (today’s college senior’s), 80 percent have an interest in spirituality, 76 percent are searching for meaning or purpose in life, and 80 percent attended a religious service in the past year.

The ASU student prayer effort did not attract controversy, as students either passed by or joined in. There were poster boards and pens set up on the chapel lawn to allow students to jot down their thoughts or prayers. To read more about the event, click here.

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A case for moving your furniture

by Kevin L. Callahan

Continued from

page 1

Rocket Art

How can we get back to being able to move that furniture? It’s not rocket science, but it is rocket art. All we need to do is remove the pews our grandparents and parents bolted to the floor. At the very least, we need to make them movable. In addition to the modern liturgical calendar is the fact that different seating configurations help to enhance specific topical series or various types of worship. Perhaps the band is off to one side or behind the seating (God forbid, we have a different layout than that of worshipping the worship band). The Church as a whole today is gradually realizing that performance doth not worship make.

One such church is Grace Community Church in Noblesville, Ind. Originally, the church was considering a new 4,000-seat space – quite a change from their existing 1,200-seat sanctuary with four services. However, early in the design process, Senior Pastor Dave Rodriguez and other key leaders became increasing uncomfortable with the performance gestalt of worship in such a large space. Once they saw the ancient-future bent of the soul space “light,” they desired to return to participatory, adaptable, worship assembly spaces and to reclaim connectedness and intimacy in worship. Rather than constructing one large new building, they opted for four separate smaller worship spaces all on the same campus. We call them “concurrent worship spaces” because the term “venue” implies performance, as opposed to participation. Each of their four concurrent worship spaces has a distinctive gestalt, and all have adaptable body language options of varying degrees.

Eyes in the Back of My Head

Let’s underscore something important here: First and foremost, churches should be externally driven, going where people are and living/loving alongside them like Jesus did. You’ve seen the recent studies. People simply aren’t coming to church anymore as their initial spiritual experience. As co-researcher Barry Kosmin of the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey points out, “These people aren’t secularized. They’re not thinking about religion and rejecting it; they’re not thinking about it at all.” However, when we love alongside people where they are, like Jesus did, instead of loving at them, they will be drawn to such an “others focused” perspective.

When the faith community does gather – as we socially driven humans are prone to do and our Lord commands – then the body language of the space where we gather should reflect the “both/and” reality of the inherent participation of the externally focused church philosophy. In other words, we participate both “out there” and “in here.” So, if you’re participatory and you know it, then your space should surely show it – just like your mother who had eyes in the back of her head.

Multi-directionality is essential in an adaptable participatory environment. Even though the 1,600-seat Grace space has 1,000 fixed perimeter seats on wraparound, fragmented terraces that gradually increase in height, the remaining 600 center seats are movable on wide, flat terraces. This results in eight different potential body language seating layouts, with up to 1,800-seat capacity, including totally in-the-round. While relatively few churches are building new spaces, every design principle in the Grace project is both scalable and transferable to worship spaces of any size, new or existing. Worship spaces by their very nature as assembly spaces – even warehouse or big-box church spaces with some columns – are basically large open spaces. Sloped floors, terraces, raked floors, will not prohibit participation; they are still open spaces and can be creatively redesigned and renovated to achieve a participatory body language.

Not Your Average 12-Step Program

In making the transition from performance-based “loving at” spaces to participatory “loving with” spaces, the most difficult thing is not architectural, engineering or technical systems – although, as we’ll see next time, those do matter. It’s the mental, philosophical shift from putting on a show (“worshipping at” people) to participation (“worshipping with” people). It happens in 12 simple steps. Begin by standing on the platform where the speaker would normally stand and then take 12 steps forward. That will be the point at which participatory body language begins. How far you take it from there will tell you how serious you are about really loving people.

While this news may be painful for the “full frontal” performance of the last century of worship, the good news is that it’s simply the other side of the coin. While having movable seating for multidirectional body language is key, so also are the audio, video and lighting technical systems – a subject for another time. (Hint: If you want participation to go up, then turn the sound down, the lights up and incorporate images all around. We call it “surround tech” – stay tuned.)

So, kids, please try this at home – move that furniture!

Kevin L. Callahan AIA NCARB LEED-AP is a cultural anthropologist, liturgical design consultant and architect. He is founder of Callahan Studios Soul Space, an architectural design studio involved in the ancient-future environmental transformation of assembly and worship environments. Callahan’s book, “Soul Space: Ancient Realities in Post-Modern Worship Spaces,” was the basis for this article. Contact him at 480.227.2836 or [email protected]


Pages: Previous1 2

Avoiding Fraud Advice for Churches

by Verne Hargrave

Continued from

page 1

2. Staff buy-in

If the senior-level employees of the church are not committed to doing things right, no amount of fraud-prevention measures will provide protection. Policies and procedures may be in place, but odds are, they will not be obeyed. That’s why it’s crucial to have buy-in by executives and management-level church employees. The church’s leadership, as the word implies, has the responsibility to take the lead in communicating acceptable values to other staff, to set a proper example, and to encourage subordinates to do the right thing.

They can’t just talk a good game, either; they must back up their words with actions. One simple example is expense reports. In spite of the fact that filling out expense reports can be a nuisance and takes time out of their busy schedules, the senior staff has to understand their necessity. Willfully complying without complaining is a great example of reinforcing the proper tone at the top. You can rest assured that sarcastic remarks by a senior employee about having to mess with expense reports will reverberate throughout the entire church – negatively!

3. An empowered leadership team

Many of the spectacular financial scandals in recent years have one thing in common: They involve ministries or churches “ruled” by a single individual accountable to no one but himself. With no checks and balances and vast amounts of cash, most of us would find it difficult to resist temptation. As in all areas of life, we need help in staying accountable. Scripture backs this up in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. That’s why a strong, empowered leadership team is crucial to effective fraud prevention.

  • The leadership team can’t be a figurehead and should include, at a minimum, some of the following characteristics:
  • It must be formally established by the church through its articles of incorporation, bylaws, constitution or other governing documents.
  • Leadership must have the authority to make difficult decisions, not simply to rubber-stamp others’ decisions.
  • The team also must be given permission and encouraged to ask difficult or uncomfortable questions.
  • It must be an ongoing team; temporary task forces seldom accomplish much.

These factors will help establish the tone of the organization, helping it begin to ward off financial predators. However, the leadership team must be constantly reminded that they serve a church. Churches don’t need overseers. They need servants.

4. Competent volunteers

Without question, the Church is the greatest volunteer organization in the history of the world. From its very beginning, churches have been dependent on people who take no pay; instead, earning their living in the marketplace. In spite of this wonderful tradition, volunteers tend to be taken for granted in two ways.

First, churches seldom express proper appreciation to their volunteers for their countless hours of dedicated service. Looking at it in simple financial terms, could you imagine how much it would cost if the church had to pay for the volunteers who feed the hungry, visit the sick and lonely, teach Sunday school and, yes, count the Sunday offerings?

A second way volunteers are taken for granted occurs when churches pay too little attention to the way that volunteers carry out their duties. Volunteers tend to be engaged on a turnkey basis, meaning they are asked to get certain things accomplished but given no real guidance on how to get the job done. As a result, sometimes the wrong person may end up in the wrong place doing the wrong things. Two areas where this has caused churches immense pain are taking care of the church’s children and money.

A few steps churches should take to improve and protect their volunteer force include:

  • Screening potential volunteers; it’s always possible that an individual’s motives for stepping up to volunteer may not be so noble.
  • Providing formal training and orientation to increase volunteers’ efficiency and reinforce the church’s commitment to doing the right thing
  • Taking steps to ensure that the church’s volunteers remain effective; continuing education is just as important for volunteers as it is for a church’s professional staff

As tempting as it may be to jump into action, it’s much more important to take the time to put a strong foundation in place to prevent fraud. Because what’s more important – the time you’re making, or the direction you’re heading? Make sure your church never has to make a u-turn when it comes to fraud.

Verne Hargrave is a certified fraud examiner and CPA. He joined Pickens, Snodgrass and Koch LLP (PSK) in 1978 and has been a partner since 1987. He also served eight years as a bivocational pastor. Hargrave oversees and conducts numerous church audits, and supervises the church accounting and compliance departments of PSK. A NACBA member, he also speaks at various churches and ministry-related seminars. Contact him at 817.664.3000 or [email protected]

Pages: Previous1 2

10 Principles for Growing a Dynamic

By Bob Russell with Rusty Russell

The remarkable story of Southeast Christian Church

One of my favorite movies is Hoosiers, where Gene Hackman plays the part of Norman Dale, a former college coach with a tainted past who is hired to coach a rural high-school basketball team from Hickory, Indiana. Coach Dale leads the team all the way to the state finals. On the day of the semifinals, the team arrives at Butler Field House, the huge inner-city arena where they’re to play in just a couple of hours. When the players enter the arena, their jaws fall slack and their eyes open wide. Gawking at the seats, the stand-alone goals, the suspended scoreboard, and the lights, they are awestruck and intimidated.

Coach Dale instructs one of his players to take a tape measure and determine the distance between the free-throw line and the goal. “What’s the distance?” he asks.

“Fifteen feet,” the player says.

Dale then tells the smallest player on the team to climb on the shoulders of a taller player so they can measure the goal. “How high is it?” he asks.

“Ten feet,” the player says.

Coach Dale says, “I believe you’ll find these are the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory.”

The team members share in some nervous laughter, and everybody begins to relax. As they exit the gym, Coach Dale turns to his assistant and whispers, “Sure is big, isn’t it!”

I don’t know what monumental challenges lie ahead in this new millennium. But I know we’re still playing the same game. It’s the same Bible we are teaching, the same truth we are proclaiming, the same Lord we are exalting. For the church to be the church–in any millennium–we must follow certain principles. If we ignore even one of these essential principles, we’ll become something other than a church, with no defining characteristic to separate us from a country club or civic organization.

I’m convinced that if your church is characterized by the ten principles outlined in this book, regardless of the methods you choose to implement them, God will bless your efforts. They are Truth, Worship, Leadership, Excellence, Faith, Harmony, Participation, Fellowship, Stewardship and Evangelism.

Many church leaders go to conferences looking for a quick fix or easy solutions to their problems. They hope to discover some fresh program, some unique gimmick that will jump-start their church–contemporary music with a band, shorter or longer sermons, expository preaching or thematic preaching, small groups, or technological enhancements in the service. Discussing those ideas may be helpful, but what works in one culture or one area of the United States may not work in another. What one church adapts as positive change may be a source of division in another.

The methods we have implemented at Southeast Christian Church may or may not work at your church. You can’t fight Goliath wearing Saul’s armor. You can’t minister with someone else’s style. You have to be yourself and adapt to the culture around you. But the principles that undergird those methods–the ten principles discussed in this book–should be enlisted by every congregation that intends to glorify Jesus Christ. Although I will share with you some specific ways our church has tried to apply these principles, you must remember that the secret ingredients are the principles themselves, not the applications.

At 22, Bob Russell became the pastor of 125-member Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky. Thirty-four years later, SCC has become one of the largest churches in America, with 14,000 attending every weekend. Bob has written 10 books, is heard weekly on the national radio broadcast The Living Word, and writes a weekly column for The Lookout Magazine. Rusty Russell is an associate minister at SCC, where his father, Bob Russell, is senior minister. As a member of the preaching staff, Rusty works behind the scenes in sermon preparation, research and writing. He is a graduate of Cincinnati Bible College and is currently pursuing a master of divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to joining the SCC staff, he served as a preaching minister, teacher and Christian school administrator.

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9 Trends in Video Technology Explained

by Jennifer Andrews

Jennifer Andrews

The past year has brought many changes in the world of video
projection. From lower-priced projectors to longer-lasting lamps, the latest
technologies should put more of these machines into the hands of those spreading
the Good Word.

1. High-Resolution Projectors for Less Than $1,000

Two years ago, we saw the first video projector (InFocus’
X1) drop below the $1,000 mark. These low-priced projectors were
typically SVGA (800 x 600) resolution, and ranged in brightness from 1,000 to
1,500 lumens. The price reduction helped keep SVGA projectors among the most
popular sellers.

But time marches on, and now you’ll find SVGA projectors for
less than $700, and XGA 2,000- lumen projectors selling for less than
$1,000.These price drops are great news for growing churches on tight budgets.

High-resolution home-theater projectors are also getting less
expensive. Native high-definition signals are now commonplace and can be bought
for as little as $999. (Check out the Sanyo Z2 LCD projector from
www.projectorpeople.com.) Portable projectors are a great option for youth
groups and family movie nights. The high-definition, native-widescreen resolution
will also make your purchase more future-proof, which might spare additional
expense to your church in the next few years.

2. More Brightness for Your Buck

As high-resolution becomes more affordable, so do
higher-brightness projectors. In the past, church leaders aimed to fit an XGA,
2000-lumen projector into their budgets.

Today, with established budgets, churches can afford to
purchase 3,000- to 4,500-lumen projectors for the same price. This allows
medium-size churches to buy brighter systems, which might also allow for larger
screen sizes. Churches that might have been priced out of a projection system
(limited by large amounts of ambient light) will now find it much more
affordable to go that direction.

3. Longer-Lasting Lamps

Projector lamps have nearly doubled in lamp life on average
over the past two years. This is partly thanks to improvements in cooling
systems. Manufacturers are specifying longer-lasting lamps (as much as 5,000
hours) and are even increasing the lengths of their lamp warranties. Expect to
see more manufacturers offering at least six-month/ 1,000-hour warranties in the
coming year. Mitsubishi offers a one-year/1,000-hour lamp warranty on new
projectors — significantly better than the manufacturer’s own previous
90-day warranty.

4. Economy Modes Have Become Standard

An economy mode is now available on most current projector
models. This handy feature allows you to extend lamp life and lower fan-noise
levels, with slightly lower brightness. In some cases, the lower lumen output is
a useful feature as well.

As projectors get brighter, there are some applications in
which the brightest setting might actually detract from the picture, washing out
black and other dark colors. This occasionally happens in home-theater
environments, where lighting is completely controlled.

5. Filterless Projectors

A great benefit to projector owners who use ceiling-mounted
models, new filterless projectors make scheduled filter cleaning unnecessary.
Sealed optical systems allow manufacturers (like Mitsubishi) to eliminate
filters from their designs altogether.

Previously, filter cleaning was the one regularly scheduled
maintenance required for a projector. It was often overlooked because projectors
were hard to reach, or it was simply forgotten. Filterless projectors are a
great option for churches who intend to ceiling-mount their projectors in
difficult-to-reach locations such as sanctuary ceilings.

6. DVI Cables Run Longer

Special boosters and improved internal parts have allowed DVI
cables to run longer than they used to — now up to 100 feet. This is good news
for those who have installed new projectors but have been unable to take
advantage of digital video quality because cable runs were too long. DVI cable runs more than 25 feet will need a distribution

7. 802.11G Wireless Support

The new, faster wireless standard — 802.11g — is now
available on select wireless video projectors. The higher bandwidth makes for speedier transitions, fewer
artifacts, and more power to run applications such as PC video.

Some manufacturers have also designed external wireless
products with an 802.11a standard. There are external wireless solutions that
allow you to project wireless mpeg video and standard NTSC television
broadcasts. However, wireless high-definition video still isn’t a viable

8. Higher-Resolution Projectors on the Way?

It seems a logical next step to increase projector resolutions
to match the outputs of today’s higher-resolution laptop computers.
Manufacturers and resellers often instruct buyers to match their projectors to
that of their computers; however, projector technology hasn’t kept pace with
the changes in laptop resolution.

Currently, the highest-resolution LCD projectors are SXGA
(1280 x 1024) and QXGA (2048 x 1536). Widescreen formats include WXGA-H (1280 x 720) and WUXGA (1920
x 1200). These ultra-high-resolution projectors cost significantly more ($4,000
or more) and aren’t expected to fall into a lower price category for some

Higher-resolution projection systems beyond XGA (1024×768)
aren’t crucial for applications such as PowerPoint, or entertainment
applications such as playing DVDs — churches’ primary uses for projection

9. Do-It-Yourself Installation Assistance

Lens shift

has become much more
common in the past year, with many more manufacturers including it on their
home-theater and installation products. Lens shift is a function that allows for
easier positioning of your projector in installed environments. Some projectors
provide room to move the lens left, right, up and down within the housing.

Using lens shift will produce better results than using
digital keystone correction because it maintains the integrity of the original
image rather than compressing the pixels to square the image.

Optical zoom

allows you to make a
larger image from a given distance, without physically moving the projector or
sacrificing image quality. As easy to use as a zoom lens on a camera, the
optical zoom usually is just a turn of the lens or a press of a button.

Projectors have varying degrees of zoom capabilities. Some can
nearly double the size of your image. Optical zoom is listed in the projector
specs as a number such as 2x, or “two times,” for double the image size from
the same distance.

This feature might also allow you to use shorter cables,
meaning less signal degradation and a lower cable cost.

Most projectors have an offset lens rather than a centered

That means when planning where to hang your
projector mount, you must account for the degree of offset rather than just
centering the mount based on room specifications. A projector with a centered
lens takes this extra equation out of the picture for easier installation.

A Distributor’s Wish List

Based on our interactions with customers, here are a few hopes
for future projection technologies:

  • Seamless wireless video (built-in or external solution)
  • Battery-powered portable projectors
  • Self-masking chips, or lenses which
    adjust to eliminate black bars in non-native format
  • Greater zoom capability
    on more models for greater flexibility in installation or portable use
  • More
    bayonet-style lenses for more pre- and post-installation flexibility
  • Competitive pricing on RF remotes for electric screens

Jennifer Andrews is the Internet communications manager for
ProjectorPeople.com, where she has been writing tutorials on projection
technology for five years. Visit www.projectorpeople.com for more information about this
dynamic display technology.




LV-7245, LV- 7240 and LV-X5 multimedia
projectors incorporate smooth, modern design and a generous array of new
features for quick, easy operation. LV-7245, LV-7240 and LVX5 provide 2,500 ANSI lumens, 2,100
ANSI lumens, and 1,500 ANSI lumens of brightness, respectively. All are designed
to deliver maximum impact in minimum spaces, making them well suited for
presenting data from laptop computers, video from VCRs and DVD players, or live
images from the Canon RE-455X Visualizer. They can also be connected to Canon
digital camcorders and digital cameras. All three models have a short throw distance capable of
projecting a 100-inch image from only 9.8 feet away — an essential feature for
use in classrooms, conference rooms, courtrooms, meeting rooms and other
everyday venues that require projection portability, brightness and image



You’re sure to get a lot of mileage from Shepherd
Ministries Multimedia’s
current top-selling model,
the Sharp XR20S DLP projector. It’s designed to fit changing multimedia needs and maximizes Texas Instruments’ patented DLPtm technology for impressive image quality and reliability.
TrueVisiontm advanced video circuitry optimizes performance, while exceptionally
quiet cooling lets the audience pay attention to the message, not the method. XR20S offers 2,000:1 contrast ratio for high clarity; onscreen guide help functions; and extended lamp life (up to
3,000 hours in economy mode).



For your complete projection setup, check out Full
. You’ll find a wide selection of data and multimedia
projectors from BenQ, Canon, Panasonic, Sanyo and Toshiba. The company also offers projection screens by Da-Lite. Sales professionals are available by phone to help you get the
lowest price and the most appropriate equipment for your needs.



Marked by stellar brightness and image quality — and with an
array of options and control features — the DP8500x from projectorpeople.com
gives you flexibility in an upgradeable platform that
helps to protect your investment. Upward compatibility offers a stay-on-top-of-technology future,
including laptop and wireless control. The Proxima DP8500x offers a number of
features that make installation easier, including optional user-replaceable
bayonet lenses (offering throw ratios from 0.8 to 7.2:1), which allow
versatility and changed in three easy steps. Power zoom, focus and lens shift,
plus horizontal and vertical keystone correction provide greater installation
control. The DP8500x has flexible connectivity options including three PC
inputs, three video inputs, and support for HDTV and computer sources up to UXGA
resolution. You can also control your projector from your computer via RS-232 or
TCP/IP interfaces, a very convenient feature for large installations.


Another Evangelist Voices Concern Over Grassley Probe

Noted televangelist Kenneth Copeland told his supporters that he believes Sen. Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa, is violating the separation of church and state by asking a handful of large ministries to provide detailed spending reports to the Senate Finance Committee.

The Des Moines Register reported that Copeland, who is one of six televangelists to whom Grassley wrote inquiring letters in November of last year, made a concerned statement to Copeland supporters.

“The enemy is not going to steal what the Lord has won through this ministry, and he is not going to use this attack to bring harm to the rest of the churches and ministries in America,” Copeland wrote in a February statement.

The Rev. Creflo Dollar, who is featured in an Atlanta-based television ministry with his wife and has also been questioned by Grassley, also spoke out against the letters. Church Solutions details the senator’s probe in the March issue.

Grassley and the committee believe that because televangelists file as tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations, they must explain their unusually high expenses and revenue. In Copeland’s case, Grassley asked for his wife and him to submit information about compensation from the ministries, loans, gifts, use of private jets, housing allowances and costs, credit cards, vehicles, ownership of a ranch and more.

Though Copeland has partially complied with Grassley’s inquiry, submitting some of the requested documentation, the minister also replied with a 23-page letter from lawyers, arguing the constitutionality of the issue. Copeland argues that Grassley actually wrote the 1983 law that “protects churches from the IRS.”

Grassley’s camp has said that it will send follow up letters to Copeland and to three other televangelists who did not submit all they were asked to submit.

Copeland’s ministry is based in Newark, Texas.

Are You Talking to Me

Have you spent much time thinking about who you want to reach in your ministry?

The funny thing is, ministers often overlook this basic question. But the more you clarify who your ministry�s audience is, the better you’ll be able to meet their needs.

A target audience is your focal group, the people to whom you’re going to communicate and on whom focus your attention. In ministry marketing, if you don�t focus, you won�t be able to communicate effectively with anyone. We know the gospel is for everyone, yet not everyone hears the same message in the same way others do. Not everyone listens to the same radio stations, reads the same newspapers, and watches the same shows on TV. If you’re going to use advertising, you’ll have to have a clear understanding of your audience to know what media reaches people best.

Ministers sometimes worry that choosing a target audience will somehow mean they will leave out some people who need the gospel. Actually, since a single church can�t minister to all the needs of all people in a community, choosing a target audience will make your church better able to meet specific needs of people better. It’s OK to match your gifts and calling to the specific people God wants your church to reach if you keep a Kingdom mentality.

Your church can play a larger role in the Kingdom of Heaven by helping others reach people in other target audiences. You can be a part of planting new churches and supporting ministries that reach other groups better. A typical example of this is when English-speaking churches help support churches who speak another language. In your evangelism outreach strategy, identify all the people in your community, plan to reach out to the ones you are best equipped to reach, and be a part of the solution of getting the gospel to the focus groups you can�t reach effectively. That is truly a Kingdom mentality!

Jesus had a Kingdom mentality, yet He used communication targeting. Jesus didn�t say the same exact things to the Samaritan Woman (John 4:7-45), that He said to the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31) or Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). In each case, His presentation and approach was different, though His basic gospel message was the same. What made Jesus change His presentation and approach to these people? Each was a difference person, with a separate set of needs. In communication terms, each was a difference target audience.

In the same way, if you want to be effective, your ministry needs to understand how to target your outreach communication like Jesus did. Even the best outreach effort won�t go anywhere if the organization doesn�t know to whom they are talking, or whom they want to reach. You need a target.

The greatest problems experienced by churches doing ministry marketing happen when they don�t select a target audience. For example, when they advertise, you can see it in the language they use, they use churchy terms and expressions even when talking to the general public�– those who don’t understand the lingo are left out and therefore miss the important message of the gospel.

Having a target audience will help you learn more about the people you want to reach, and will help you understand them better and communicate to them more effectively. Effective communication begins when you know to whom you are speaking. Just as a missionary begins working in a new mission field with learning, you must design your ministry communication the same way.

Action Point!

Sit down with the other leaders of your ministry and identify who it is specifically you are trying to reach. Who is your target audience? Write down characteristics, demographics. Learn as many things as you can about them. When you�ve done this you�ll have a better chance of crafting a message that will meet and suit their needs.

# # #

Chris Forbes is the marketing evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Articles are adapted from the free e-book, 25 Free Marketing Tools You Can Use Right Now, available for download on MinistryMarketingCoach.com.

Copyright �2005 Chris Forbes, Ministry Marketing Coach. All rights reserved.