Advancing religious literacy

Jesus Seminar on the Road Manual

This manual contains important information both for those interested in sponsoring a Jesus Seminar on the Road and for those who have already committed to sponsoring one. Please make sure that all volunteers read this manual carefully.

Please contact us with questions about hosting a Jesus Seminar on the Road. Download the full manual (PDF).

1. DESCRIPTION
The Jesus Seminar on the Road program of the Westar Institute brings scholars of the Jesus Seminar into conversation with interested people across North America and around the world. Designed to address significant issues in current biblical and theological research and scholarship, the program usually comprises a Friday evening lecture and four hours of presentations and discussions on Saturday.

Program content
The content of the program may vary considerably, depending on the specific interests of the host and those of the presenters. Topics range from Jesus Seminar basics to more intensive coverage of specific issues.

Presenters
In consultation with local hosts, Westar will choose two Fellows of the Jesus Seminar as presenters. Presenters will have advanced degrees in religious studies (or a related discipline) from an accredited university.

Schedule

  • Friday, one hour lecture followed by a half-hour of questions and answers 7:30–9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, four one-hour sessions comprising presentations and discussions 9:30–10:30 a.m., 11:00–12 noon, 1:30–2:30 p.m., 3:00–4:00 p.m.

Fees

  • Full event registration: $75
  • Pre-registration: $60
  • Additional family members: $50
  • Friday only: $20
  • Saturday morning or afternoon only: $30 each

Discounts for students are available. Please contact Westar for details.

Complimentary registrations
The host may designate two people to receive complimentary registrations.

CEUs: Attendees may receive .5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits for attending both the lecture and the workshop. To receive credit, registrants must check in and ask the registrar to sign a proof of attendance sheet.

Book exhibit
Polebridge Press will provide a selection of books for sale at the event at special discounted prices. Unsold, undamaged books may be returned for credit. To avoid damaging books (and being charged for them), please do not write in or on them. Westar will provide a price list.

2. RESPONSIBILITIES
Westar Institute assumes financial responsibility for putting together the program and bringing in presenters. Westar’s costs—including travel, lodging, speaker honoraria, and marketing fees—exceed $3,000 per JSOR. Westar asks sponsors to guarantee $3,000 registration income from their event. (Income from book sales does not count toward the guarantee.) To achieve that minimum, an event would need to attract between 40 to 50 participants (depending on the mix of registrations and pre-registrations). As a further incentive for hosts to promote the program actively in their communities, Westar agrees to split registration income of more than $5,000 with the host on a 50/50 basis.

Westar will promote the event to its membership through its magazine The Fourth R, on its website, and through direct mail and e-mail blasts to those on our mailing list in the region. The local sponsor agrees to promote the event to its own constituency, to other interested groups and organizations in the region, and through the local and regional media. Westar will provide hosts with a master for a promotional flyer, posters for local distribution, and a news release.

Westar Institute

  • Engages the presenters
  • Arranges travel and lodging and pays all expenses for the presenters
  • Develops the program
  • Creates a promotional flier and e-mail blast and sends to mailing list in the region
  • Writes a news release and sends to the local media
  • Creates color posters for local hosts

Local sponsor

  • Provides suitable space for the event
  • Guarantees $3,000 minimum in registration fees
  • Names a local coordinator to oversee registration and exhibits
  • Names a local coordinator to oversee local/regional promotion and marketing
  • Arranges for volunteers (2) to staff registration
  • Arranges for volunteers (2) to staff the book exhibit
  • Arranges for parking and security (if needed)
  • Provides logistical arrangements: set-ups, light, sound
  • Serves coffee on Saturday before the event and during breaks

3. SITE & TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
The following suggestions for set-ups, light, and sound have evolved from observations about what has worked best at past events. Comfort and ease of communication may have as much to do with the success of an event as the content of the program or the skill of the speakers.

  • Good lighting is essential for the speakers to be able to read their notes with ease and to make eye contact with the audience.
  • Good sound is essential so that speakers don’t strain to be heard and listeners don’t strain to hear. If the sponsor has assisted hearing devices, we strongly encourage that they be made available to participants with hearing problems.
  • It is also important to provide separate microphones for each speaker on both Friday and Saturday as that sets the stage for dialogue—not only with the audience, but between the speakers, and helps keep the exchange spontaneous and, at times, humorous.
  • Speakers using PowerPoint presentations will need a projector for their lectures. Please check with them so that you have time to arrange for the equipment.

Friday

  • A well-lighted room with comfortable seating for approximately 150–200 people
  • A lectern with good light for the speaker
  • A table near the lectern for papers
  • Water for the presenters
  • A good-quality microphone for the speaker (lapel mikes are preferred)
  • A separate microphone for the second presenter
  • Hand-held wireless microphone(s) for questions from the audience
  • Projection equipment if requested
  • Two or more tables for registration placed near the entrance
  • Three or more tables for book sales near registration

Saturday

  • A well-lighted room that can accommodate up to 100 people sitting comfortably at tables
  • A table at the front of the room on a raised platform for the presenters to sit facing the audience
  • Water for the presenters
  • Separate microphones for each speaker
  • Hand-held wireless microphone(s) for questions from the audience
  • Projection equipment if requested
  • Two or more tables for registration placed near the entrance
  • Three or more tables for book sales near registration

4. PRE-EVENT
To ensure a smooth operation, hosts must assign a coordinator who will take responsibility for coordinating registration and exhibits including training volunteers who will run registration and exhibits during the meeting.

Registrations
For the convenience of participants, the Jesus Seminar on the Road programs allow participants to register in advance either through Westar or through their local hosts.

Before the week of the meeting

  • Each week, local coordinator to email Westar with information about local registrations—name and city/state of each registrant along with sessions signed up for. Receipts for local registrations may be held until after the event and returned to Westar in the prepaid Priority Mail envelope provided with the host packet.
  • Westar to advise coordinator of updated registration numbers each week.

Week of the meeting

  • Before noon on the Wednesday before the seminar, coordinator should email the final weekly list to Westar.
  • Westar will compile and ship the registration lists and name badges for Thursday delivery.
  • Registrations the host receives after they’ve submitted the list should be manually added to the pre-paid registration list.
  • On the Friday of the event, Westar will advise the coordinator of any registrations it received after the list and badges were sent.

Shipments
Other materials for registration and exhibits will be shipped to arrive about one or two weeks before the meeting. Westar will email details of the shipments, along with the expected delivery date and tracking numbers.

When boxes are received, coordinator should:

  • Confirm that all boxes were received
  • Open the boxes and confirm that items listed in the checklists are enclosed
  • Find the book inventory and check it against the actual books received (with the books)

5. PAYMENTS
Please read the following section carefully.

Westar Institute accepts payments by cash, personal check, and the following credit cards — Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

Creating receipts

A receipt that records the following information must accompany each sale:

  • Date
  • Form of payment (check the box on the receipt)
  • Product or service received (for example, registration or book title)
  • Payment amount
  • Purchaser name (for credit card sales only)
  • Purchaser telephone number (for credit card sales only)
  • YELLOW copy goes to the purchaser
  • WHITE copy goes into the cash box with the payment

Credit card sales

Before the event, Westar will send credit card sales slips, a credit card slider, and the book exhibit. We strongly recommend that volunteers practice using the credit card slider before the event begins. Please make sure the number on the credit card imprints on the receipt. If it doesn’t, we will have to track down the customer after the event to request their credit card number.

Instructions

  • Verify that credit card is either Visa, MC, Discover, or AmEx
  • Verify expiration date on the card
  • Write the product or service — registration, books — on the credit card sales slip
  • Write the total amount of the sale on the credit card sales slip
  • Place credit card face up in the slider
  • Place sales slip face up in the slider (be sure to position it correctly)
  • Move slider across and back
  • Verify that the card number is complete and legible
  • Write the customer’s phone number on the receipt – VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Return credit card to customer
  • Ask customer to sign sales slip
  • Give customer the back copy of sales slip with the yellow copy of receipt

Please DO NOT staple the merchant copy of the sales slip to the white copy of receipt. (We will just have to remove it.) Stack them in order or paper clip and place in cash box.

6. FRIDAY REGISTRATION
Checklist — Friday only

  1. Alphabetical list of people registered for the Friday lecture

Checklist — Friday & Saturday

  1. Event program descriptions
  2. Event sign-up forms
  3. Sales receipt books with two-part (white-yellow) receipts
  4. Credit card slider with forms and instructions
  5. Boxes for money and receipts (provided by host)
  6. Pens
  7. Paper clips (provided by host)

Opening till

  • Staff will need approximately $200 change in $10s, $5s, and $1s

Instructions: Pre-paid registrants

  • Check name off alphabetical list
  • If someone claims to have pre-registered but is not on the list, record their name, address, and phone 
number along with the event in question on a page in the receipt book and admit them.

Instructions: Walk-ins for Friday night only

  • Fill out receipt
  • Process payment

Instructions: Walk-ins also registering for Saturday

  • Ask registrant to fill out a registration form
  • Fill out receipt
  • Process payment
  • Before the Saturday event starts, add names of new registrants to Saturday pre-paid registration list

7. SATURDAY REGISTRATION
Checklist — Saturday only

  1. Alphabetical list of people registered for Saturday
  2. Completed badges for advance registrants
  3. Blank badges for Saturday walk-in registrants
  4. Folders if provided. If not provided, place handouts in stacks so that participants may pick them up.
  5. Saturday handouts (if not in folders)

Checklist — Friday & Saturday

  1. Event program descriptions
  2. Event sign-up forms
  3. Sales receipt books with two-part (white-yellow) receipts
  4. Credit card slider with forms and instructions
  5. Boxes for money and receipts (provided by hosts)
  6. Pens
  7. Paper clips (provided by host)

Opening till

  • Staff will need approximately $200 change in $10s, $5s, and $1s

Instructions: Pre-paid registrants

  • Check name off the registration list
  • Give them their badge, folder, and handouts
  • If someone claims to have pre-registered but is not on the list, record their name, address, and phone 
number, along with the event in question on a page in the receipt book and admit them.

Instructions: Walk-ins

  • Fill out receipt
  • Process payment
  • Ask registrant to fill out a blank name badge
  • Give them their folder and handouts

8. BOOK EXHIBIT & MEMBERSHIPS
Checklist

  1. Book price lists
  2. Inventory list of books sent to event
  3. Bookstands
  4. Sales receipt books with two-part (white-yellow) receipts
  5. Credit card slider with forms and instructions
  6. Boxes for money and receipts (provided by host)
  7. Pens
  8. Paper clips (provided by host)

Opening till

  • Staff will need approximately $200 change in $10s, $5s, and $1s

Set-up

  • Set up book display before Friday night lecture. It takes two to three hours for two people to set up display.
  • Check inventory to ensure that a copy of every title is on display
  • Place books on stands

Sales instructions

  • Sell books at the assigned event price (taxes are included in the price)
  • Fill out receipt
  • Process payment
  • IMPORTANT: All checks should be payable to Westar Institute (we cannot accept checks payable to host)

Memberships

  • Have applicant fill in name & mailing address on membership form
  • Fill out receipt
  • Process payment

9. POST-EVENT
Checklist

  • Return shipping labels (in packet)
  • Express Mail envelope (in packet)
  • JSOR cash report (2 pages, in packet)

Registration and books sales receipts, income, etc.

  • IMPORTANT: Convert all cash to money order or check
  • Fill in cash report

Shipping Labels

  • UPS Collect return address labels are in the host packet. There are 5.
    • One is filled out for PSSC, for the return of unsold books ONLY
    • One is made out to Westar, to return all other materials (except paperwork sent in Priority Mail envelope)
    • The other three are to be used as needed – just fill in the address

Packing instructions


    • You will need to prepare THREE SEPARATE SHIPMENTS
        • Shipment 1: Priority Mail envelope to Westar

      The first business day after your program, please return all monies, cash report, receipts, completed membership and book order forms, and any other paperwork to Westar Institute in the Priority Mail envelope provided in your packet.

        • Shipment 2: Box of books ONLY to warehouse

      Pack a box of ONLY unsold books to return to our warehouse in Michigan. Please pack them flat, spine to spine, and fill in gaps with packing material to avoid damage in shipping. Use the UPS shipping label made out to PSSC in your packet:
      PSSC, Attn: Polebridge Press
      660 South Mansfield Road
      Ypsilanti, MI 48197

        • Shipment 3: Box of all other materials to Westar

      Pack bookstands, credit card sliders, unused credit card slips, unused folders, and unused receipt books. Use the UPS shipping label made out to Westar in your packet:

Westar Institute
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem OR 97301

Shipping Instructions

      • The first business day after your program, please place all monies, cash report, receipts, completed membership and book order forms, and any other paperwork to Westar Institute in the Priority Mail envelope provided in your host packet and send to:

Westar Institute
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem OR 97301

      • Call UPS at 1-800-742-5877 to arrange for the boxes to be picked up after the event. UPS will pick up the boxes at no cost to you. Please provide the following information:
        • Number of boxes to be picked up
        • Address for pick-up (pick-up location must be open during normal business hours)
        • UPS Collect number on shipping labels