401: Readers tell us about … Rob Bell; But Also Planning Ahead for Holy Week, Holy Humor — and Golf (yes, golf)

t’s time once again for our Reader Roundup, when we reflect what you want to talk about. … AND, if you’ve missed our earlier

Unorthodox “Coverage”
of Rob Bell’s Unorthodox Tour
Sparks Excitement (!!!!)

launch of a new international tour in recent weeks, including our Wednesday story this week in which we featured epistles from two people in the crowd of Rob’s debut show. We invited a mainline pastor from a historic congregation — and also a heavily tattooed leader of a younger home-based network of Christians — each to share their “take” on “Drops Like Stars.”
    When he read it, Rob’s brother Jon shot back an enthusiastic email: “Great way to tell about the event!”
    Jeannie Collins, who describes herself as a “Catholic-to-atheist-to-Buddhist-to-depressed-to-Christian” wrote: “Soooooooo eager to catch this when he comes to Texas this fall!!!!” She asked, “Is it true he gives out soap?”
    Somebody in that Royal Oak theater is talking somewhere online. We’re not saying anything about soap. Not one word.
    “Committed316” wrote: “You shouldn’t give any time of day to the heresy stuff. Yeah, you can find it online, but that’s not the point. … Rob’s brought thousands of us to new life. That’s proof of the truth. GO ROB!!”
    We still welcome anything you’d care to add about Rob or Shane Claiborne, who we’ve also been featuring recently in our pages.

Holy Week is Coming …
And Dr. Pratt Is Taking a Fresh Approach

author of “Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins,” has just published a new reflection on Holy Week — and the temptation to feel powerless in the face of today’s enormous challenges. This is a fresh approach that also connects with themes in the mega-best-seller “The Shack.”
    A couple of pastors who previewed it late this week said their congregations are likely to hear a reference or two to this provocative piece. Dr. Pratt also welcomes other writers to quote from it or reprint it, if they wish, for Holy Week.
    Here’s the opening line: “As more than 1 billion Christians enter Holy Week — heading toward one of the world’s most popular holidays on Easter — men and women also brace themselves for descent into a spiritual experience that’s as old as faith itself and as popular as a New York Times best seller.” (Read the whole piece.)

April Fools Day Is Over …
But Holy Humor Is Coming

READERS ENJOYED our story, this week, about holy humor — which includes a preview of Holy Humor Sunday in a couple of weeks.
    “Love the idea!” wrote Sam Wills from Chicago. “How do I find a church near me doing this?”
    Answer: We’re not aware of an online listing for 2009, but the Joyful Noiseletter Web site does contain this page, which lists 35 congregations around the U.S. that have celebrated Holy Humor Sunday. For now, contact a church in your part of the country. And, please, if you’re aware of online listings of churches celebrating this year, let us know.
    Betsy Kincaid emailed: “Loved your column about Holy Humor Sunday. When you’re thinking of humorists, don’t forget Adrian Plass. I love his books.”
    If you’ve got a suggestion of a great book or film that combines spirituality — and humor — drop us a line!

‘Tis the Season for —
Out-of-Control Golf Outings and Other Events

we published a news item drawn from The Nonprofit Times, warning men and women with good intentions this spring about the tricky nature of golf outings and other similar events as fundraisers.
    John Crumm, who is very involved in amateur distance-running events, said this note in the Planner was, indeed, very timely. John has organized nonprofit running events and sent us the following:

    I couldn’t help but comment on the short piece that cautioned about trying to raise funds using golf outings. Many people participate in golf outings or a fun run to raise money for charity, have a great time and decide that they should replicate the event for their own charity or non-profit.
    Little do people realize the hard work it takes to get these events to run smoothly. The events themselves are not tough but your timing of all the steps is imperative to have success. There are usually two big pushes in the set up of these events. The first is when you decide that you are going to put on an event. The first few weeks there is a great deal of time picking a date that doesn’t conflict with other fund raising events, choosing a theme, finding sponsors, selecting location, determine promotional material and securing awards.
    If your event will run through a meal time, then you have to supply a meal. It is very important that your entry fee covers the cost of the food or make sure that your food costs are covered by donations. This all takes place about eight to nine months before the event.
    The few days before the event also are crucial. The host has to make sure the location is all ready for your event, organize the list of participants, determine if you will accept same-day registration, check three times with the caterer, and make sure all prizes are secured.

    The hardest part is the few hours leading up to the event. Everything has to be ready at the same time, so the event coordinator is running around to make sure all is ready. If all is planned well then the time of the event is really the easiest part of the day. Most people will have the same experience you had when you went to an event and decided that this wouldn’t be too hard to organize for your own group. Making sure that people have a good experience is what lures them back for the following years.
    Finally, don’t get involved in these types of events if you don’t want to do it for consecutive years. Even the best-organized events take a few years for the word to get out and for people to begin to schedule it in their yearly calendar. It is better to assume a little profit in the first few years with real profits coming in the third and following years.
    Also remember that paying to get things ready for the event makes it easier but it also eats into your profits. My best suggestion is to team up with a group who has already gone through the process to assist in making the first year a success. These events can be large money makers, but as your article mentioned, they can also end up with the sponsoring organization owing more than it has raised.

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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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