Very often the Family Experience creative team will put ideas in scripts that suggest users go beg, borrow, or steal a ____________. The blank may be filled with some common household item, or it could be a techno gadget that only exists in the strange minds of the writing team. Oh, and by “steal” we of course mean borrow for a limited time with fully implied permission.
We realize that if you have been on a church staff for years, and have done a fantastic job at organizing volunteers, leading leaders to passionately reach the community, and planning exciting events for your families, well, you may not have had much time to practice building rocket sleds or time machines.
Now, for some of you, creating things that you’ve only seen in cartoons is your gift set. It’s a thrill when you can find an excuse to dig through that pile of stuff in your garage that you “knew would come in handy some day!” But for others, this is as foreign a concept as the Senior Pastor giving up his parking space.
Here are a few great guidelines that may help if you find yourself looking to supply a prop that’s called for in a script and your first instinct is to panic.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Read the script and identify what the prop actually DOES in the script. Is it a ridiculous sight gag that is outrageous, or does it have to be believable as a functioning “thing” to an audience?
  3. Does the prop help identify the character? For instance, a megaphone used by Tyler (a wannabe movie director), will look different than a megaphone used by Cammie (a cheerleader, and class president).
  4. Is this prop something that someone may own? It’s important to realize that this person does NOT have to be attending your church. It could be a neighbor, or a local business person. Conversations about why you want this and what it will be used for are sometimes the best opportunities for ministry.
  5. Do you have the ability to build this prop? This means you need to look in the mirror and honestly choose if this is worth your time and effort to build a futuristic smartphone OR you should simply find a smart person who would love to build it for you. Do not cheat people of the opportunity to use their skills to serve in a ministry!
  6. Cheap. Fast. Good. You get to pick two. If you look ahead at scripts and what may be required you can take your time in finding or creating resources.
  7. It’s a stage prop. It only has to LOOK good.
  8. Keep your old props. They may be used again. And with a coat of paint, some hot glue, or combining them with something else, you may be able to create something completely new.
  9. Make friends with someone who can sew, someone who is a carpenter, and someone who knows electronic media better than you.
  10. If you panicked already, start back at #1.

If you have some tips that have helped you find, build, or borrow props, we would love to hear your comments.