Pastors, church staff as well as companies that support churches met together in Nashville, Tennessee October 19-21 for the first WFX Worship Facilities Conference and Expo event. Designed to bring together church leadership and their facilities and technical ministries staff, this event drew attendees from as far away as Malaysia to learn more as a team about equipping their churches to do ministry. The event drew more than 1,600 people to Nashville.
“No other event is designed for facilities and technology teams to attend together to address the unique building, design and A/V needs of growing churches,” states Brian Blackmore, conference co-chair and founding editor and publisher of Worship Facilities and Church Production Magazines, sponsors of WFX. “I’m so pleased that WFX was able to fill this void in the marketplace and become a can’t-miss event for churches using technology or planning a building project.”
Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church inspired all as he discussed the importance of church facilities to the ministry of the local church during the opening keynote address. Referring to both the surroundings in which ministry is conducted as well as the technical ministries that support it, he states that at Willow, one of their mottos is “Excellence honors God and inspires people”. Numerous attendees reportedly have adopted that motto and are making it their own, taking back to their staff and volunteers with a renewed passion for making their churches the best they can be.
In his opening remarks, Hybels reflected on how he appreciates the chance to address the attendees of WFX, stating that he is often invited to speak on leadership and evangelism, but had never been invited to speak on church facilities—a passion of his. As much church ministry takes place within the walls of the facility, creating a facility that reflects God’s excellence and enables ministry to take place without distraction is critical to reaching the unchurched.
Conference sessions were frequently full, and the feedback from attendees is that these sessions exceeded their expectations in quality of information conveyed. Andrea McCoy, executive assistant to the senior pastor of Bible Way Church of Atlas Road in Columbia, South Carolina heard about the conference from a pastor at another church. As their church is moving towards a second building project, they were excited to learn of a conference that was geared towards church facilities and the building process.
“We were just looking to obtain as much information as possible [about the building process], and we were definitely able to do that at WFX.” McCoy says that she learned so much in just the first day that she realized they needed to drastically change their approach to their upcoming building project.
“The very first seminar I attended, ‘New Wine in New Wineskins: Environments For Emerging Churches’ [presented by Steve Fridsma, project leader and architect and Jim Vander Molen, senior architect, both of Progressive] was very good in that they talked about where the church facility concept came from and where it is going in the future. When I came to the conference I had a thought of what the next facility should be like, but now my whole concept of what’s needed has changed youth today are so multi-sensory, and our next building needs to be able to meet their needs, as they are the adults of the future. The seminars were all informative and relative to specific needs of a church in the planning phase of a building project. The speakers were knowledgeable of their particular subject areas and took the time to share experiences with the participants.”
McCoy adds, “I was completely surprised to hear that this was the first year of this conference in that all aspects were carried out in excellence. Every step between the initial registration to the closing session, as well as the exhibit hall were handled in the most professional manner. From my experience, everything was organized so that conference participants would leave with the accomplished mission of obtaining information and resources to assist them in their building project.”
Over 300 people attended the facility tour of Brentwood Baptist Church, led by Jerry Halcomb of Dallas-based HH Architects and several church staff members. Those attending found the tour informative and highly useful, with some requesting that several tours be available at future WFX events.
The trade show was also well received. Over 140 exhibiting companies that consider church design, construction and equipping to be a key area for them were present to talk to interested attendees about how they can help them achieve their ministry goals. Exhibitors commented that the attendees were people who were actively seeking help in building and outfitting their next facility, and wanted to hear what their company can bring to the table. And it wasn’t just churches that were building new facilities who found it useful Northwoods Community Church of Peoria, Illinois sent Production Director Kirk Moser and three technical production volunteers — audio tech Rich Pflederer, audio tech Kevin Crots and lighting tech Roger Potter — to Nashville to explore upgrading their analog audio console to a digital console. They were able to get hands-on demonstrations of various consoles designed for front-of-house mixing, and left the trade show with a console selected, making calls via cell phone to their local distributors to get quotes. Potter was also able to evaluate some newly-released lighting consoles for future expansion of their lighting ministry.
The staff at Worship Facilities and Church Production magazines as well as EH Events and Education are pleased to see that WFX has met so many needs. A theme was quickly noticed in the feedback we received from attendees during the conference: “If we knew it was going to be this good, we would have brought our whole team.” Work is already underway to prepare for next year’s WFX event in Dallas, Texas, November 8-10, 2006, and we look forward with great expectations to see how our Lord will use it to help His people build his churches—and His Kingdom—here on earth. We hope you will join us in Dallas.
WFX Conference and Expo (800) 375-8015 or (508) 663-1500 www.wfxweb.com