2016 Highlights

The 2016 conference, to be held in Louisville, Ky., in September will be no different. Several new additions are a part of the line-up, including a series of intensive pre-conference workshops. “Past attendees asked that we go deeper in certain areas, so we developed these [workshops] and found experts to facilitate them,” says Wagner.

Six workshops will be offered: The Innovative Small Church, Tech Leaders Retreat, Church Safety and Security, Filmmaking, Visual Worship, and Multi-Site Church Planning. They are all half-day sessions to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Each workshop is designed to be interactive and provide attendees with an in-depth jumpstart on the topic. The conference’s general sessions on related topics will complement what attendees learn during the workshops, shares Wagner.

WFX offers educational tracks for four general church team audiences—pastors, technical leaders, facilities directors and worship arts. There is at least one workshop offered in each of these areas. For pastors, any of the six may be of interest, but Wagner calls special attention to The Innovative Small Church, saying the workshop is meant to help teams from smaller churches navigate and make the most of the overall conference. It will delve into how to define success for their size and situation, how to utilize and maximize technology, and how to develop effective communications strategies.

A portion of the workshop will be facilitated by Mark MacDonald, brand strategist and founder of Be Known For Something, a church communications consulting firm. “If you’re a pastor trying to do it all, or a person in charge of church communications, this [workshop] will be a good overview of what works across the country in other churches,” MacDonald says.

Another workshop that is a timely and in-demand topic for pastors, as well as facilities directors, is Church Safety and Security. To be presented by Jeff Long and Ron Aguiar of Southeast Christian Church, the workshop will discuss the importance of developing a church safety and security plan. Long and Aguiar will cover the various aspects of church security, from emergency planning to child safety to how to deal with the media in the event of an emergency.

Multi-Site Church Planning will also be of value to pastors, facilities directors, and potentially all members of the church team. The multi-site church trend has been growing for years, and many churches are deciding if embracing the trend is right for them. This workshop will shed light on all of the considerations that go into launching and maintaining an additional campus. “It answers the questions, ‘If we were to go multi-site, what tech and distribution aspects do we need to be aware of? How do we plan? How do we approach portable setup?’,” shares Wagner.
For technical leaders specifically, the Tech Leaders Retreat has been a must-attend for the past several years and will now join the pre-conference lineup. Bill Swaringim, director of technical arts at The Crossing in St. Louis, and Dennis Choy, pastor of communications and production at North Coast Church in Vista, Calif., will lead the retreat. Through panels, Q&A and roundtable discussions, the retreat will cover topics like leadership principles, creative growth and technology.

“A lot of churches want to produce short video, but may not have the knowledge to do it well. We want to help churches harness the power of filmmaking to reach people and tell stories with excellence”

Seemingly geared toward technical directors and worship arts leaders, the Visual Worship Workshop is actually for anyone who wants to add more creativity to their church, says the workshop’s leader, Luke McElroy, founder of Orange Thread Media. “It’s a good workshop for the whole team,” he adds.

The workshop will get into the technical aspects of creativity and answer questions like: How do I create a creative culture? How do I come up with ideas? Who needs to be on my team? McElroy will also share tips for setting up needed systems, like for media organization, and will end with an exploration of environmental projection. Overall, the workshop will discuss the “WHY” of creativity more so than the “HOW”. “I find that too often we’re consumed with the how, and don’t give the why enough time,” McElroy says.

Last but certainly not least, WFX is excited to add filmmaking to its overall prospectus, as well as its pre-conference offerings. Filmmaking will discuss how and why video is being used in ministry, as well as secular media, and provide applicable information for how to plan for, produce and edit testimonial videos, stories, and promotions and announcements.

“A lot of churches want to produce short video, but may not have the knowledge to do it well. We want to help churches harness the power of filmmaking to reach people and tell stories with excellence,” says Wagner.

All pre-conference workshops are $55 per person and will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The main WFX conference is Sept. 21-22. To learn more or register, visit www.wfxevents.com.

The Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) began in 2006, and has grown larger, offering more robust education and a variety of other development opportunities for church teams each and every year since. According to Jim Wagner, general manager of the event, growth is possible because the WFX team listens intently to attendees and works to deliver on their suggestions.