Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Messiah Media Proposal

For the past several weeks (months?) I've been hinting about a secret proposal I've been developing for the Our Faith-Our Hope Campaign. This was a big Diocesan-wide capital campaign that raised about $50 Million for these purposes:
  • 1. Strengthening Local Parishes $17,000,000
  • 2. Building the Church for Tomorrow $14,000,000
  • 3. Revitalizing Our Inheritance $14,000,000
  • 4. Giving to Others $5,000,000
Under the "Building the Church for tomorrow" catagory we find these sub-areas:
  • A) Leadership Development $6,000,000
  • B) Pioneering Ministry $4,000,000
  • C) Communicating in a Wireless World $4,000,000
What I developed is a project that tackles all three of those areas of "Building the Church for Tomorrow." “Messiah Media” is an organization proposed to equip members of our churches throughout the Diocese with the training and tools they need to communicate the Gospel in a wireless world. This parish-level initiative would supply resources, training, and equipment in Toronto and beyond. We are requesting an investment of $517,758 over a three-year period in order to establish training events, hire teachers, and create a production facility capable of producing professional quality studio and live-streamed events to benefit the entire Diocese.

The actual application is only about twelve pages long, but it also has a 30-minute companion video that features further explanations, me diagramming it out on a white board, and testimonials from a bunch of priests in the Diocese talking about how this would impact their ministries. That might not seem like a lot of material, but I know from being involved in similar scale projects in the past through FEWG/PEMG (the Committee that shepherds new church plants) that this is enough for now. Indeed, any more content than that would be mostly speculative since many details will only be worked out once a Board of Trustees is established and we get underway.

I have to say that it is the finest grant proposal I've ever written (and certainly the largest that I have taken the leading role to create). I give the credit for that to my excellent team of people giving advice and feedback. I don't want to name them now, but they know who they are. They really pushed me to develop certain key aspects of the proposal that I never would have thought of on my own. The fact that I was able to get so many people to help me with the proposal is evidence of how needed this is. I wish I could share both right now, but I'm afraid there is some information in there that needs to be embargoed until mid-June or so. However, if you ask nicely and I know you I'll probably send it to you! It exists in that weird gray zone between public and private.

The plan currently calls for hiring two full time staff members--one primarily to produce content and the other primarily to teach others how to use the new media technologies in various ways. The board will have the task of hammering out the job descriptions and actually recruiting the talent. We've got benchmarks sketched out for how many live events to stream, videos to produce, and education events to run. There are also plans sketched out for the long-term sustainability of the project.

My role? I expect that as "Father Founder" I will probably be the first Chair of the Board, but I would disappointed if I were the last. I imagine being involved for a few years to get this going, but I sincerely hope that we get enough people involved and passionate about leadership that there are plenty of people happy to take over once the training wheels are removed.

Part of me actually feels that $517k isn't enough for everything we want to do. But then I remind myself that this is just a start. This becomes a platform from which we can launch various side projects that could apply for funding on their own. For example, if someone wanted to produce a feature length documentary about homelessness in Toronto, I can imagine them using Messiah Media equipment and contacts and then applying for a grant to pay for the stuff that costs money. This gives us a foot in the door of media production, and that's critical.

The training events will cover virtually any and all new media and social media related topics. They will be driven by whatever people want to learn about.

So... exciting times ahead for Messiah!


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