Do you ever have one of those spur of the moment ideas that turn out to be just what you needed?  It’s been quite a few months ago now, but it was one of those ideas that changed the way we do our FX.  About an hour before it was to begin, I thought it might be fun to add a little family competition and quickly threw together some props from Minute to Win It games.  I downloaded the videos from YouTube.  Then, I called my wife and had her run by the store and buy a cheap plunger (less than five bucks).  We spray painted it gold and we had our trophy.  When I first thought about the games, I thought it might be a one-time deal.  By the time I had the plunger idea, I realized this may be a permanent solution.  It has been. [UPDATE: In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that the idea to make a golden plunger was not an original idea, but was actually heavily influenced by a blog post I had read a couple weeks prior.  The idea was from Sam Luce who uses the golden plunger trophy at their kids’ camp.]

At each FX, we prepare three games ranging in difficulty from easy to pretty hard.  The “family units” compete against each other in a bracket style tournament.  Only a few teams advance to round two and only two teams advance to the finals.  The team that wins gets to take home the golden plunger and display it in their home for the next month.  They also get bragging rights, and those people know how to brag!

This quick and simple idea has a multitude of benefits to our services.  (1) The buzz and excitement about FX lasts for the entire month as the family units talk about who’s going to win at the upcoming service.  (2) The games engage the more competetive kids, teens, and adults who may otherwise not enjoy the service.  (3) The family unit that wins the golden plunger has an easy vehicle to invite others to FX.  When someone asks why you have a golden plunger on your kitchen table (which seems to be the most common place it finds itself), you can easily tell them about FX.

I’m not going to pretend like a golden plunger and few games have solved all of our problems, because it has actually created a few that are inherent in competitive events, but it has been a huge success.  We are still working to make this element even better and considering new options to help make it more fair for teams that have younger children playing against teams with teens and older kids, but I have a group of people helping with this and they have some great ideas.

This post is a continuation of my series in doing a Family Experience in a small church.