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ideas

Themes

We started by doing 'Autumn'. We got a big army camouflage net (go to the local army surplus store) and hung it all around the entrance area. Then we collected thousands of leaves and sprinkled them over the floor everywhere. The effect was amazing!

Another theme was 'Christmas' so we got loads of Christmas tree lights and hung them round the room, entrance area and anywhere else! You can also pick up this long snakelike fluorescent tube lighting in a rubber tube which looks cool. Go to a lighting shop or hardware store. We also had mince pies for everyone. We also had fairy cakes, coke, donuts, coffee done in a cool way etc. Have food that reflects the theme of your night!

One theme was 'The Cross' so we had loads of images of the cross blown up to A3 size and hung on the walls all around the room. Back in the day, we had some more images on OHP which we put up at the back of the room as we did the talky bits. We also built a large wooden cross and put it at the front of the stage (with some nails nearby so people could lay their burdens at the cross - symbolized by nailing a nail to the cross)

Visuals - Six different ideas here..

1. Project images and words i.e. 'cross', 'sacrifice' etc. Another time we got loads of beautiful images of scenery off the web and used them to talk about God's beautiful creation, and for people to use to reflect.

2. Get retro and use some slides like people used in the old days - Get slides of people, scenery, places, space, anything. You can sometimes pick up slides from a library or ask at church, raid cupboards, talk to missionaries and use their slides - anything!

3. Use Microsoft Powerpoint or, even better, Apple Kenynote - or whatever presentation software you use. M a little presentation and connect it up to a projector

4. TV - Why not get a video camera down there and hook it up to a TV or video projector so you can broadcast the event 'live' to your audience on a big screen. We have used a video projector plus a couple of TVs near the back of the room hooked up to a video camera. If you've got more than one camera and the technology to do it, get different camera angles and mix it with computer visuals.

5. Computer Graphics - If you've got the technology, have live graphics projected. We've used this for titling different aspects of the night, showing live video, mixing video and graphics, showing funky graphics, having a logo spinning on a loop before and after and more.. a great programme for this is itunes from Apple - full screen funky visuals for free!

6. TV and video - At one event we showed a video on a TV near the back of the room - in our case it was 'Noddy'. You might choose something different. Be security conscious and sensible. We made a wooden screen so no prying hands could turn off the TV or DVD player (or worse..)

Disco

If you can black out the room and have some smoke, funky lights etc then have a little disco. Think it through first - who will turn up, how will you relate to them, do you let people in who are drunk etc. Remember that hard underground dance tunes may not appeal to everyone! Choose the tunes carefully - chart stuff, hip hop, UK Garage, trance - whatever people are in too. I know of one 'disco' who once used a DJ who played hard trance and UK garage (a weird mix). The young people ended up playing 'Now' pop music on a CD instead!

Games

Make them as weird, whacky and wonderful as possible! We have had a woodlouse race (beamed up onto the video screen). Very popular but not altogether lovely. What about stealing games off TV programs? We used 'Baby left baby right' thing from TV where we filmed a baby (with parental permission - and on a soft sofa!) as the baby fell to his left or right. When we showed it on the night the kids had to guess if the baby fell to his left or right!

More interactive game

'Hit Miss or Maybe' where we showed 20-30 second clips from several new pop songs (we videoed them from MTV). We got 3 members of the audience up to vote on the song and the video - whether they are a hit, a miss or a maybe (taken from children's TV). Be careful who you put a mic in front of! We've had some funny moments of people saying some colourful things! Makes sure it's snappy too. 3 songs, max 5 minutes for the whole thing. We used a Mac hooked up to a video screen. You could use a pre-edited video shown on TV

Get painting

Get people involved in some way - like painting for example. This has worked amazingly well in the past. Obviously it needs policing but try it. Get some newspaper, paper, watercolour paint, brushes, water holders and get painting

Karaoke

Very popular, especially with girls. Get some CDs with latest chart songs on and get people up to sing along to them. It can be great fun!

Talent Show

If you pre-organise this you can get people up on stage to do a short act of comedy, card illusions, singing, dancing or whatever. We also got people up on stage who do some strange things with their bodies - like roll their eyes, people with in-growing belly buttons, people who are double-jointed etc. It's funny!

Food

Have food there - free stuff and tuck for sale. We make a lot of money on tuck at each event. Be creative in the drinks you sell. If you know anyone who does non-alcoholic cocktails then use them to mix some nice drinks. (Be careful of food hygiene however).

Freebies

Have little freebies. We have given away something to everyone at every Revelation we have done. It's cool the kinds of things you can do. At our latest event we even gave out free CDs with 3 different local artists on and a ministry track.

We have given away single items like mint chocolates, small sweets and candy. We gave everyone a red wrapped chocolate heart on the event themed around love. On another occasion we gave everyone a handful of seeds to take away to plant

However, we have usually given stuff away in conjunction with a small flyer in a small plastic bag. The idea is this: get some small plastic bags (they're about 5cm by 5cm) and see through. You can get them at office suppliers like Staples, WHSmith etc. Then print a little flyer - one with Bible verses on, a thought or a phrase. Put this in the little bag and then put a piece of candy in there too. Encourage people to take this away rather than litter the floor with it!

Make up your own tracts and flyers

If you can't get any decent tracts or leaflets on how to become a Christian etc. design your own and make sure everyone gets a copy as they leave. Got an idea but don't know how to do it. Email us for some ideas - or contact someone like CPO

Set out the room according to your theme

For example, we once had a sketch on Paul's Damascus Road conversion so we got a massive block of paper, rolled it along the middle of the floor and labeled one end 'Jerusalem' and the other end 'Damascus'. Unknown to the audience as they sat down, they were unwittingly trapped into becoming part of the drama when it took place..

Use facts

Get hold of some facts and read them out - or display them around the room. When we did a feature on injustice we put facts about 3rd World Debt around the room, on walls, on the projector and included pictures. Here are some facts about 3rd World Debt..

Uganda spends £2 per person on healthcare compared to £11.50 per person on debt repayment
Each person in Sub-Saharan Africa owes 30 times more in debt repayment than they will earn in their lifetime
Zambia & Peru spend one third of the National Income each year on debt repayment
Zambia - debt is £4.5bn which is £479 per head of population. 203 in every 1000 children die before their 5th birthday. 86% of population live in poverty (which means they can't afford food or essentials). 94% of rural Zambians in 1999 lived in poverty. Life expectancy is at 45.4 years

Have a short mission statement

Very strange to put this in here but I thought it may help. For example, ours was simple:

'We are Christians in established churches who realise there are many people who cannot always relate to 'traditional' church. We are called, as followers of Jesus, to communicate with contemporary culture in a relevant, dynamic, accessible and Biblical way'

Worst Internet Site

One game we played was to find some of the worst internet sites then capture/save the front page and print it off to display on the night. There are internet sites that even find the worst sites for you. Just type in 'worst internet sites' into your browser (BE CAREFUL!)

Cut'n'paste

As a humorous thing we took shots of terrible or old bands and pasted modern day artists into the band. For example we put Britney Spears into Abba and Eminem into the Beatles etc. Silly but fun. Use software like Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Adobe Photoshop, MGM PhotoSuite or Paint Shop Pro - to name some examples..

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