- What is APeX and what do they do?
- How much would it cost to bring APeX to my event?
- How can we reduce some of the costs?
- What themes, topics, and/ or workshops does APeX provide?
- How long is your regular presentation? (& other Time Issues)
- What kinds of audiences and venues are appropriate to have APeX
- How far in advance can I/ should I book APeX?
- What is APeX’s availability?
- Who do I need to contact to book APeX?
- What do we need to do once we decide to book APeX?
- What do you need to know to put our contract together?
- What promotional material does APeX have available?
- How can we best promote our event with APeX?
- I have already booked APeX, what do I need to know about your
- Do you book plane tickets or should I? (& other airport concerns)
- What is APeX’s sound and staging requirements?
APeX is two Catholic men (Brad Farmer and Gene Monterastelli) who have made it their lives’ work since 1996 to criss-cross North America sharing the Truth and Joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have crafted a unique style (they call it “Christian Vaudeville”) that engages an audience and creates rapport through telling “parables” through sketch comedy, seamlessly integrating the use of juggling and street performer style skill and intensity. Once an audience is thoroughly engaged, Brad and Gene share personal testimony of spiritual realities and take them deeper in exploring the Catholic themes of their parables. Brad and Gene then challenge the audience to put the concepts into practice in every day life.
In other words, Gene and Brad are evangelists, they throw things at each other, and are funny. Since 1996, they have crisscrossed North America sharing the Gospel message in our own unique way. APeX has entertained, evangelized, and inspired in 48 states, 5 Canadian provinces, China, and Peru at thousands of Catholic events. They keynote large diocesan, regional, and national conferences, as well as lead retreats, parish missions, or share evenings with youth groups, families, and/ or full parish communities.
Having already found this website, you are in the perfect place to learn more about APeX. Please browse the site to learn more.
We have a couple of options available for coming out there. We realize that everyone has different budgets and resources available to them, so we offer some options and ranges in fees. We don’t want to not be able to share our ministry somewhere because of cost, but at the same time this is our livelihood and we need to set boundaries if we want to have luxuries like food.
In almost every circumstance we ask for a particular speaking stipend determined by the size and type of event plus travel expenses. Travel includes transportation (two roundtrip airfares and any ground transportation necessary), meals, and lodging. As far as meals and lodgings go, we have no dietary restrictions (except we don’t like to eat cat dandruff) and we love to stay with host homes. Not only does this help with cost, it gives us an opportunity to interact with some really cool people.
We try and book a block of events in one area, so if you know other organizations that would like to share the experience, pass the word. We also help provide some promotional materials to help in increasing the turn-out. We rely somewhat on t-shirt sales to be able to do this, so the more folks that show up, the more likely we are to be able to continue to offer it.
We vary the range we offer from diocesan and deanery wide events to the range offered to parish and schools due to what they are generally able to manage according to their various budgets. This cost is fairly standard amongst our peers, and while we understand we are asking for two plane tickets, we also have to come up with enough for two paychecks. The way we arrive at our fees is by determining the amount events we will be able to book, and the amount of income we need to live on. We look at the number of larger events we will be able to work and the average amount of parish and school events, figure out what administrative costs are required, and come to these figures by accounting. This still only provides about 80-85% of our total income. The other 15-20% comes from merchandise sales. This is the only way we are able to do this ministry full time and support ourselves.
We certainly understand the tight budgets of so many parishes around the country. If you are interested, there are a couple of other options parishes in similar situations have found workable. One option would be to make the event open to the entire church community and thereby being able to share the budget with other ministries within your church (rather than drawing just from the youth ministry budget). Another option would be to organize an area-wide (such as deanery) event and then all the parishes could split the cost. In other places, they know they can sell tickets and have enough parishioners buy them to cover the costs (for example $3/ person, $5/ family). Still other places understand that their community is very strong in stewardship and are able to do a free will offering at the event to cover part or all of the cost.
One way to reduce travel costs is to help us find other places in the area to share our ministry. This is a great evangelization opportunity as well as a cost reducer. When we are able to book multiple events in one area, we generally split the cost of airfare evenly amongst all organizations involved in bringing us out. That way the burden of two airfares can be diffused.
APeX has developed material on many themes and topics.
Note: Please (Please, please, please we are begging you) talk with Brad or Gene before making a selection of theme or workshop to insure that it is going to work in the context you are working. Not all workshops work best with all audiences or venues.
For events where there are not other attractions (such as at family events), we prefer to have a one and a half hour time slot. We’ve found this to be the perfect time frame for getting the most out of our ministry. For events where we are one component of a longer program (such as School Assemblies, Youth Rallies, and Eucharistic Congresses), the amount of time depends on the event and time available in the schedule.
We understand that we have a very unique ministry style; because of this it is very important that we communicate about how you are going to use us over the course of your event. Most of the stories we tell are at least 20 min. With this being the case it is hard for us to get much accomplished in 30 minutes. If we are only going to be doing one keynote it is best that we have 1 hour and 15 min to work with. If we are doing multiple keynotes it is best that we are in chunks of at least 45 min (an hour would be even better). These are not hard and fast rules, but we want to be in a situation where we can use our giftedness to serve your community best. By talking through the schedule well in advanced we will be able to serve your community to the best of our ability. This can also help us ensure that the appropriate workshops and workshop descriptions, or keynote descriptions will be provided.
More information on Time Issues can be found in The Complete Guide to Utilizing Apex Ministries Or Everything You Wanted to Know About Working with Brad & Gene But Were Afraid to Ask (and probably for very good reasons).
APeX can keynote large diocesan, regional, and national conferences, as well as lead retreats, parish missions. We can speak at school assemblies, or share evenings with youth groups, families, and/ or full parish communities. We would love to open the event to the entire parish community. One thing we are both passionate about is family ministry. It’s so cool to get everyone (all ages) together to laugh together and pray together, and we’ve found that much of our material is well received by all ages. In light of all this, we are trying to do more family ministry over the next few years. We try and book a block of events in one area when doing this, so if you know other parishes that would like to share the experience, pass the word.
We don’t normally contract any events more than 18 months in advance. Other than that, how far in advance you should book APeX depends on time of year. Fall months like October and November fill up quickest. February and March are often fairly busy. However, we often add events even a month in advance throughout the year, so it never hurts to check. For availability, check our online schedule. We try to keep that fairly current. For up to the minute information please contact Joia (toll free) at 888-522-APEX, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Please contact Joia for booking information, or for any reason, (toll free) at 888-522-APEX,
or e-mail on our contact us page..
If you have not already, contact Joia for all booking information (toll free) at 888-522-APEX,
or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once a date is verified, an honorarium must be settled on. After we work out pricing and scheduling details, APeX will get a contract put together and sent. We then ask for a 20% deposit of the honorarium to secure the date, the rest is due the day of the event. Travel costs will be invoiced when travel arrangements are made (usually about one month in advance of the event). It is a good idea to start promoting your event as soon as it is contracted. (See What promotional material does APeX have available? And how can we best promote our event with
1) Honorarium – We need to settle on the price.
2) Whose name should I put on the contract, and what is that person’s
3) What is the address where the contract should be mailed?
4) Phone number(s) and e-mail address
5) How many do you estimate for the event?
6) What age group (all ages, family event or students of certain ages only)?
7) Scheduling and Time Issues (see How long is your regular presentation? (& other Time Issues) above)
8) What would you like our role to look like? (i.e. how many keynotes, workshops, etc.)
9) Do you have a theme?
10) Location – Where will the event take place?
11) What would be the best airport to fly from?
You should be also able to find everything you need for promotion on this web page. Simply click on the Promo Tools link. [This information is all also available on a data CD. If you would like one of these, please write to APeX@APeXMinistries.com and let us know where to send it.] Here you will find clip art, pictures from print and the web, posters, flyers, biographies, ideas for bulletins and other announcements, and sample descriptions of themes and workshops. In promoting our ministry, there are few things that we have found helpful. If you are going to use our name in promotional tools please refer to us as APeX or APeX Ministries. In describing our style of ministry please use the term Christian Vaudeville. If definition is also needed for that term, “This includes death defying juggling, humor, characterizations (skits), story-telling, audience participation, and personal testimony,” works very well. We are not saying this because we are picky prema-donas. We have found that if someone has no experience with our ministry and they are told they are going to see jugglers they get the wrong impression. When most folks hear juggling, they think clowns which leads them (wrongly) to thinking they are going to a kiddy show. By using the term and description of Christian Vaudeville the audience will be more open minded to what they are about to experience.
Clip Art can really add to a flyer or announcement, but not all juggling clip art is appropriate for an APeX event. Some pictures misrepresent what kind of show should be expected. We are not clowns or mimes. Suggested clip art can be found on the CD or web site. If you are using other clip are, please contact us for suggestions.
A live recording of APeX shows can be purchased from our online store. In certain instances we are able to give these at no cost to introduce those hiring us to our ministry. If you would find this helpful and are unable or uncertain about purchasing it, please write to us and request the recording at APeX@ApeXMinistries.com.
Be sure to give an address where to send it.
Once you have already contracted APeX, please review the following document. After working for a number of years in this context we have
found that many people who are running the events we are a part of have many of the same questions. In order to answer these questions
and aid you in the most effective use of our ministry, we have taken the time to craft a guide titled The Complete Guide to Utilizing Apex Ministries Or Everything You Wanted to Know About Working with Brad & Gene But Were Afraid to Ask (and probably for very good reasons).
The document is broken into these sections: Time Issues (Scheduling), effectively using our Promotional Material, information concerning
Lodging and Meals, our technical Sound requirements, our needs in regards to the selling of Merchandise, what to do about Airports and
Travel Arrangements, and identifying our Primary Contact.
Most of the time when we go to an event we fly. We will make our own travel arrangements based on your suggestions and schedule of the
event. You will then be sent an invoice for the travel costs. At this point in our ministry, we live in different parts of the country and we will be arriving on two different flights. We do everything we can to ensure that we arrive as close to the same time as possible to make it as easy on you as we can. Generally what happens when we get to our destination, since we can no longer be met at the gate, we proceed directly to baggage claim to get our bags. We will wait there until someone finds us. When we travel we have a fair amount of luggage. We will have a prop bag (a large suit case), a bag full of t-shirts (the size of a hockey bag) and our regular luggage. You might not want to send someone to pick us up in a Chevet (Gene does not like being tied to the tops of cars anymore). You also might want to remind the person who is picking us up to call the airlines before heading to the airport to pick us up. Planes are late from time to time (believe us we know). We wouldn’t want someone waiting at the airport for three hours because of a canceled flight when they could be in the comfort of their own home.
In regard to sound, our letter of agreement reads:
“A quality two-way or three-way speaker system. A mixing board. Two quality vocal cordless clip on lavaliere microphones or cordless
head-set microphones and one handheld microphone with microphone stand. One CD player for music tracks. A sound engineer to set up, direct sound check, and call the show.”
We understand that most youth ministers are not sound technicians and this may seem like a lot. It is not. If you are doing a youth rally, more than likely you are renting sound equipment and most of this will be included. We have crafted our presentation style to use as little as possible, but there are few things which make the experience better for everyone involved. It is very important that we have two-quality wireless clip on lavaliere microphones or cordless head-set microphones. As you are aware we use a lot of juggling in our presentation and it is difficult to juggle and hold a microphone (we may be talented, but we are not that talented…not yet, anyway). We understand that there are situations where these wireless clip-on mics are simply not available. We have many times in the past worked with microphones that are in mic stands. We are very willing to work like that (we are at your event as servants), but know that we are going to have to modify some of our presentation in order to do so. Finally, if you have any questions at all about sound, please ask. Lots of problems with sound can be solved days before the event starts with just a few questions. Please don’t hesitate to call. 888/522-APeX
For staging, we can do almost everything we have written in a 10-foot by 10-foot space. As far as overhead space is concerned, we have performed on a cruise ship with a seven-foot ceiling, and in most cases we can do all of our juggling with 10 feet from stage to ceiling.