What a wonderful time I had taping a new Tomorrow’s World program today! I’m not sure when it will air, though I know there is a lag of a few months, and I have three “in the can” now that have not yet been completed in post-processing for broadcasting. Actually, it feels wonderfully strange for me to be this far “ahead”!
The crew did a top notch job. I believe it was Mr. Ray Pereira’s first time running the new jib camera on his own, having been trained by our consultants, and I thought he did great! The jib is a moving camera on a boom, as seen here in this tweet on my Twitter page:
(My apologies–I should have gotten more people in my pictures! I know “stuff” pictures tend to be boring.)
The jib is the second camera in our newly expanded collection which includes our previous, well-used Pedestal Camera 1 and its new sibling Ped Cam 2, who isn’t quite ready to be deployed (I’d say that Ped Cam 2 was still camera shy in an attempt to be funny, but we all know that wouldn’t be funny so I’m going to hold off…). So, today was another two-camera shoot instead of three-camera. On my side of the lens, as it were, it seemed like Keith and Ray did great jobs at both.
Really, everyone did their job wonderfully, and I thoroughly enjoyed the taping!
I also got just a few tiny glimpses at the new graphics being developed, and I really like the attention to detail that is going into the work. One of our consultants, LeAnne, noticed yesterday that in the title image (the title was “AFTER Christ’s Return?”, by the way, offering The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?) the letters of the title would sometimes get a little lost when one moving image–one of a Bible, with the words “Holy Bible” in big letters on the spine–crossed behind it. The combination of title letters and the zoomed-in Bible spine letters came across visually like a slightly chaotic jumble. I actually had not noticed it until it was pointed out, but, sure enough, that was the case. So it was edited. That attention to little details, even if it only lasts a few seconds, has been great to witness and learn from, and it has been a real benefit to have these consultants working with us. The cumulative effect of such changes–camera angles, the height of the monitors, our standing marks, etc.–makes a real difference, methinks, and I can’t wait to begin seeing the results. I’m sure the first few products will seem a little awkward as we all adapt to doing things a little differently, but the direction things are headed looks remarkable to me, and I have really enjoyed working with in the upgraded environment! Same fantastic content (from the other presenters, at least!) but packaged in an even more professional setting. I believe we’ve had “apples of silver” for a long time, and, also for a long time, the tray has been moving increasingly toward “settings of gold.” These are long strides in that effort. And when Nielsen says that around 400,000 to 600,000 households watch our program each week, that effort is worth it.
Actually, I think the temporary help the consultants are providing remind me a lot of God’s inspiring King Solomon to bring in the Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre to build His Temple. Like Hiram’s, their expertise has been great to tap into and I appreciate them much! (And it isn’t lost on me that one of the great legacies of Mr. Herbert Armstrong’s “hiring out” for needed expertise back in the Ambassador College days was none other than our greatly-missed Mr. Dibar Apartian.)
Last year was an unusually great year for donations to the Work which has enabled us to put a number of things into place before harder times come. I wondered often last year how why we were being blessed so unusually abundantly when the economy was doing so poorly, and now I think I know! (Reminds me of the years of plenty and not-so-plenty under Joseph in Egypt.) Regardless, I’m thrilled with the innovation I am suddenly seeing in the Work, and it is exciting to be a part of it. I hope you are, too! Even if God should decide He needs to prune some things, every time He has done that so far the result has been a growth in the impact of His Work (cf. John 15:2). The shears may be sharp, but pruning by a God who takes His work seriously should be welcomed.
And the innovation and improvements don’t involve the television work, only–not by a long shot. While some things on the immediate horizon I won’t mention yet (part of my personal movie-watching culture: no spoilers!), other things like our astounding Facebook and social media work are really going like gangbusters! 42,135 “likes” on Facebook? 13,464 “talking about this” on Facebook? Very nice. I’ve heard some boast about Alexa rankings and other similar metrics–which, frankly, are fairly useless, especially among the COGs. But “likes” and Facebook activity are a wonderful measure because they are harder to artificially manipulate or to accidentally skew and are based on real FB accounts and real activity. And 31,163 Tomorrow’s World followers on Twitter? (“Spreading the gospel in 140 characters or less!” :) ) More than 400,000 subscribers to the printed magazine? 7,000 non-attendees watching Mr. Meredith’s very first live online presentation?
By some measures: drops in buckets. By other measures: the signs of something potentially amazing. Having read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, it’s hard not to wonder if that’s what we are coming to–a tipping point. I can’t imagine that the devil would be happy about that, but I know that what happens next is–so very thankfully–not his call!
In so many ways, it seems as though God is moving His pieces on the board to position the Work for an amazing end game! And in every way, I see us earnestly striving to take advantage of every single avenue He makes available to us to get His message to the world. What a thrilling time to be a part of that Work!
Meditating on these sorts of things recently before coming up to do this telecast, it hit me that God’s Work is going to happen whether I am a part of it or not. I know that for a fact. Right know, I get to play a different role in it than I did the 20+ years before, and I know that things change and I may be asked by God to play a different role in the future. (If we ever go on to hologram channels, I’m sure I’ll be asked to step aside. Me in 3-D sounds like a horrible idea!) Regardless, the Work will go on with me or without me–something true of all of us, and I hope we are glad for it. God will accomplish His work. I hope that every one of us who have been invited to take part–in whatever way that might be, seemingly small or seemingly large–cherishes the invitation and that we throw ourselves into it in whatever way is available to us. I know that part of the boldness I feel during my time in front of the camera comes from the knowledge that so many of you have spent your time, on your knees, doing your part for the Work and praying for the telecast. I know that many of you have mentioned the telecast or website to a friend, or passed along a commentary by e-mail, or used your Facebook page to help an article reach a wider audience, or simply done what you could to support another brother in Christ with a good word to keep him encouraged as we all put our shoulder to the wheel–and it is a wonderful privilege to be a fellow worker with all of you in this humbling opportunity we all have, this gift of our Father and Elder Brother who ask us to share in Their very own work. Truly, a wonderful privilege.
My apologies for such rambling. (Ha! As if rambling is a rare thing on this blog!) I know that this post hasn’t been the most focused of this little blog, but now that my telecast is done my mind is “depressurizing” a bit by wandering around freely, though it’s a pleasant wandering. My apologies you had to wander too! It was my intent to just talk about the great shoot we had today, but my brain clearly went on a “walk about” for a bit…
Thanks so much for your prayers, thanks to the crew and our helpers for yet another amazing job, and thanks to our Dad and Brother in heaven, for inviting us to be a part of the amazing things They are doing down here!