Improvising an FX

When we at Orange eat alphabet soup, play Scrabble or create magnetic poetry on our fridge doors, we like to fish out the letters “F” and “X”.

Why? Because FX is embedded in our DNA.

The Family Experience (FX) is essential to our mission: helping churches partner with parents for the sake of influencing the next generation. It simply means engaging kids, parents and leaders in the same room to cast vision and get everyone on the same page—whether that’s once a week, once a month, or even seasonally.

Every 252 curriculum subscription automatically comes with FX production scripts for a monthly or weekly FX. But we realize that, especially for small churches, opening up an FX script can seem like decoding a NASA mission.

I need to build a time machine?

Where am I going to find seven people and a ferret who can memorize lines?

My lighting board is a switch on the wall!

It’s true: our scripts are written to provide a LOT of creative latitude! But here’s the reality: You can pull off an effective FX with two or more people, anywhere, on any budget! Hard to believe? Here are three ways to help you make that happen.

1. Compact FX. Some of you may already be using our 252 Compact curriculum for Sunday mornings. It distills the core values of our full curriculum into a format that requires fewer people and resources. Compact FX, coming in the fall, will provide simplified 15-and 30-minute versions of FX that can be effectively produced with as few as two hosts.

These formats will be ideal for fitting between two Sunday morning services. Or if you just have one service, ask your families to stay behind and delay lunch a mere 15 minutes while you pass out popcorn and dive into a speedy FX. And as always, you can take our full FX scripts and adapt, cut, slice, dice, or house train them in any way that fits your time, resources, and environment!

2. Collect a College Student. Even at its most basic, FX does require two solid communicators: a “Credible Host”—whose voice we trust—and a “Comic Host”—who can serve as the butt of jokes and learn something during each FX. If you’ve struggled to find consistent hosts, storytellers, or actors, consider tapping into a resource that’s probably not too far outside your walls: local college speech and theatre departments. We’re guessing you can find some talented college students willing to commit to serving in your weekly or monthly FX throughout the year for a small stipend—or even just Sunday dinner. Bingo: you’ve landed a fantastic resource for your FX, they’re gaining community and legitimate work experience, and their parents are thrilled that their liberal-arts-major kid just landed an actual job and is in church each week!

3. Costumes on Consignment. Some of the funniest moments in FX productions are aided by crazy props and costumes, from Comic Host as a ninja to rubber chickens and size-30 boxers. If you rent from costume houses or purchase these items new for each FX, it will cost your ministry a mint (-chocolate chip sundae with all the fixin’s and solid gold sprinkles!). But the fact is, you can pull off most props and costumes for pretty close to free with a little creative improvisation.

One of the best ideas we’ve heard comes from an Orange staff member who previously led a monthly FX at his church. Each year, the ministry team sat down and brainstormed a list of all the crazy prop and costume items they might possibly need. Then they handed the list over to resourceful garage-sale-ing moms in the congregation! As these moms scoured garage sales for their own families, they also kept an eye out for items on the FX list. Within a few months, the church had a full arsenal of props and costumes for the coming year—at a few bucks cost.

If you’re not doing an FX, we hope these ideas make it seem a little more possible.

If you’re already doing an FX, what creative ways have you found to produce an FX with limited space and resources?

 

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