by Jenny L. Cote
If you’ve been to the fantastic Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival, you might have the impression that a huge team of well-paid event planning specialists with endless resources just whips this conference up in a few weeks with ease. With such impressive faculty, invaluable workshops, impressive screenings, incredible awards, and staggering outcomes of relationships forged at the Gideon, it seems obvious that only hoards of wealthy planners could pull this conference off. If that’s what you think, you just might be a clueless Midianite.
In the incredible story of Gideon (Judges 6-7), the Midianites ran around like screaming little girls, stabbing one another with their swords because they THOUGHT there was a vast army with the baddest weaponry coming to take them out. They THOUGHT they were toast because they had the impression that Gideon and his 20,000 boys were coming down the hill with weapons blazing. They were clueless, but God is oh-so-clever that way. He made the clueless Midianites think that way, not only to give Gideon and Israel victory over their enemies, but to keep the Israelites from boasting that they had achieved the victory. God alone was going to accomplish his purposes and get the glory in the process. Let’s review what REALLY happened.
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The men you have are too many for me to give them victory over the Midianites. They might think that they had won by themselves, and so give me no credit. 3 Announce to the people, ‘Anyone who is afraid should go back home, and we will stay here at Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand went back, but ten thousand stayed.
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “You still have too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will separate them for you there. If I tell you a man should go with you, he will go. If I tell you a man should not go with you, he will not go.” 5 Gideon took the men down to the water, and the Lord told him, “Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue like a dog, from everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” 6 There were three hundred men who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it; all the others got down on their knees to drink. The Midianite camp was below them in the valley.
16 He divided his three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside it. 17 He told them, “When I get to the edge of the camp, watch me, and do what I do. 18 When my group and I blow our trumpets, then you blow yours all around the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
19 Gideon and his one hundred men came to the edge of the camp a while before midnight, just after the guard had been changed. Then they blew the trumpets and broke the jars they were holding, 20 and the other two groups did the same. They all held the torches in their left hands, the trumpets in their right, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and the whole enemy army ran away yelling. 22 While Gideon’s men were blowing their trumpets, the Lord made the enemy troops attack each other with their swords. They ran toward Zarethan as far as Beth Shittah, as far as the town of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
So, bottom line is, Gideon started with 20,000 men and God whittled them down to 300. They weren’t to use spears and swords to defeat the enemy, only trumpets, broken jars and torches. They didn’t even have to engage the enemy in hand to hand combat. God arranged for the enemy to beat themselves up. What the Midianites thought was happening just wasn’t so.
Because I don’t want you to be a clueless Midianite, I’d like to give you a behind the scenes peek of the Gideon so you REALLY know what it takes to pull it off. I asked Lori to give me their list of what goes into the Gideon. Here’s her list:
- Bathe all our decisions in prayer
- Consider what the independent Christian film industry needs are and how we can possibly meet those needs
- Find a location that can host this event
- Consider the venue and whether it can meet our needs
- Choose dates that are in agreement with students and faculty and yet, don’t compete with sister conferences and film festivals that are striving to do the same thing as Gideon
- Bring on staff (accountants, marketing team, operational staff, etc) that are willing to barter services
- Come up with a budget
- Find sponsors that can fund us (approx $75,000 for G2013)
- Create contests that spotlight sponsors and give public opportunities
- Choose faculty according to budget, their skill set, accomplishments, draw for students, etc
- Create events that allow networking and professional opportunities
- Announce details of contests, intern programs, film festival submissions, etc
- Create workshops that will help all to hone skills, whether students or faculty
- Market as best as possible with as little $$ as possible
- Again, bathe all our decisions in prayer
Now, here’s what else REALLY goes on that Lori nor Rodney would never tell you. God doesn’t use a hoard of event planners, he uses TWO selfless servants: Rodney and Lori Marett. Yep, that’s it. And they aren’t paid gobs of cash for their tireless, sacrificial work. They get ZERO and even have to pay for things out of their own pockets when the budget isn’t met. They don’t have endless resources. And it doesn’t take them a few weeks, it takes them a YEAR to plan and bring everything together. Lori has to lay aside her personal work: scripts, books, and writing to give Gideon the attention it needs. Rodney continues to Skype with Lori daily from Iraq and doesn’t miss a beat working on the Gideon while surrounded by Midianites! I want you to fully grasp that the Gideon is a ministry, requiring the blood, sweat and tears of two very special people who could be doing other things. But they KNOW God is using the Gideon to change the world with the projects that are born there, and the people who gain instruction there. I think Lori and Rodney could use a few more fellow trumpet blowers, don’t you? So please contact them if you can come along side to help them with one of the bullets on their list above. At the moment, the greatest need is sponsors as they have a $75K bill to pay. Above all, please pray for Lori and Rodney as they bring Gideon 2013 to us. I guarantee you, their daily cry is: , ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
Let’s do a test to see if you’ve grown from this blog. With the following pictures from Gideon, see if you can determine what’s REAL. Ah-hem…
Is this really Isaiah in cowboy boots?
Well done! It’s actually Muse Watson (NCIS) being a good sport to play Isaiah in a creative writing workshop filmed for DVD curriculum.
Let’s try another! Are we Gideonites really cannibals, ready to devour Jayce O’Neal at the amazing Gideon Awards banquet?
No! Doug Peterson, Michelle Cox and I were using our newly learned dramatic acting skills on Jayce O’Neal who really pointed the way to God’s plans in a wonderful sermon in our time of Worship.
One more! Is Michelle Cox really not responsible for Jenny Cote?
Well…she asked me to write this blog, so there you go.