In its 11th year, the Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) will offer more quality education for ministry teams, and new opportunities for connecting with experts and peers from other churches. To be held Sept. 20-22 in Louisville, Ky., the event's 2016 theme, "Grow. Together." encapsulates the vision for the conference, as well as its parent organization, the WFX Network. "We want to help make thriving, vibrant churches that people want to attend," says WFX General Manager, Jim Wagner. "[WFX] is a growth experience for churches looking to the future and thinking forward."
WFX is the only conference of its kind. Unaffiliated with any denomination or ministry association, the annual event offers education and training to churches of all sizes and traditions and encourages them to creatively utilize staff, facilities and technology for ministry.
A major focus of the conference has always been training teams together in order to make implementation back at home easier. This year will be no differenteducational tracks for pastors, tech directors, worship arts and facilities directors remain. What's been added are intensive pre-conference workshops meant to give attendees in each of these categories a head start and deep dive into the week's topics. Workshops include The Innovative Small Church, Tech Leaders Retreat, Church Safety and Security, Filmmaking, Visual Worship, and Multi-Site Church Planning.
"Our educational offerings are constructed to be comprehensive for each ministry function, but people have asked for more depth in certain areas, so we created these pre-conference workshop experiences to provide that," adds Wagner.
An educational topic that stands out this year is innovation for the small church. "Sometimes [smaller churches] look at WFX and the ideas we present seem out of reach," says Wagner. "This workshop will help them know how to approach the conference and implement the ideas we share."
Leaders from smaller churches will be coached to define what success looks like for them, versus what it looks like for a megachurch. Attendees will also be encouraged to build a culture of innovation within their church and learn what types of technology might be useful for their particular setup and programming.
Also new to the lineup is filmmaking. Part of WFX's commitment to helping develop church leaders and staff is staying on the forefront of technology and trends. As such, the number of churches continuing to adopt film and video as a means of engagement is very much on the radar. "A lot of churches want to produce short video, but they may not do it well. This workshop covers much of the how-to," says Wagner. "We want to help churches tell stories and embrace these creative tools."
Filmmaking and general innovation will also be at the core of WFX 2016's keynote addresses. This year's keynote speakers are Phil Cooke, founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures and a writer, filmmaker and media consultant, and Bobby Gruenewald, innovation leader at Lifechurch.tv and the creator of the YouVersion Bible App. Both will share their unique perspectives and insights on how innovations in media and communications are impacting ministry.
"We know churches are continuing to utilize more film, media and technologythat's not going to change. Our keynote speakers have accomplished a lot in these areas and we want attendees to hear something they haven't heard before," says Wagner.
In addition to education, WFX is a place for networking and making connections. To strengthen this aspect of the conference, WFX is introducing the Spark Loungea high-profile lounge in the expo hall where attendees can speak with one another and experts about common problems and challenges. The lounge will house a graffiti wall, too, where attendees can share their questions and goals for the conference.
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 wfxweb.com.