2016 Highlights: Keynote Spotlight

“God chose to introduce Himself to us in the first verse of the Bible as a ‘Creator’. We’re made in His image, and yet we settle for such sub-par expressions of who we are and what we do. If we’re going to engage today’s culture, we need to do it in a more creative way,” says Phil Cooke, founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures, author of “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media”, and also a keynote speaker at the 2016 Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX).

“Grow Together” is the theme of the year’s event, and embracing creativity and innovation are two major action items event organizers hope to impress upon attendees. In the past, keynote addresses have been inspirational and certainly motivational, but in 2016, WFX General Manager Jim Wagner wants to make sure every member of the audience is engaged, and most importantly, walks away with new information and a drive to implement what they’ve learned in their ministries. “We want attendees to hear something they haven’t heard before,” he says.

Cooke’s talk, “How The Digital Revolution Has Changed Everything You Know About Media and Ministry”, will stress the importance of understanding how digital advancements have impacted our culture and what it means for the church. “The way we engage, communicate, and relate to one another has dramatically changed, and it’s critical that we understand how to speak that language,” Cooke says.

“We need to not just think of ‘missions’ in geographical terms, but in digital terms, as well,” adds Cooke.

Cooke will delve into various topics, including the importance of good design in facilities and communications mediums, how creativity has become the currency of the culture, and the unavoidable importance of social media, saying, “[Social media] is the primary way this generation communicates, and if we don’t learn how to share our message on these platforms, we’ll continue to be marginalized in the culture.”

As a filmmaker, Cooke is also sure to touch on the continuing growth of video as the culture’s preferred means of consuming information and how churches of any size or stage can make video a new or larger part of their media mix.

Joining Cooke as a keynote speaker is Bobby Gruenewald, pastor and innovation leader at Life.Church in Edmond, Okla., and the creator of the YouVersion Bible App. Gruenewald’s focus, in his everyday work and in his talk at WFX, is all about innovation and how churches can and must harness the power of apps and other special technology to impact their ministries.

On the whole, the keynotes will heavily emphasize media, as it is a universal tool for reaching more people and making bigger impact. The goal is for churches to think past Sunday and past their own walls, according to Wagner.

“We need to not just think of ‘missions’ in geographical terms, but in digital terms, as well,” adds Cooke.

The 2016 speaker lineup is sure to encourage churches to move forward with new ideas and innovations, and to let go of the fear of making mistakes. “[Cooke and Gruenewald] are on the front end of where media in ministry is moving and will share many unique perspectives and insights,” says Wagner.

WFX will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. Pre-conference workshops are scheduled for Sept. 20 and the main conference for Sept. 21-22. For more information or to register, visit www.wfxevents.com.