The WFX Conference & Expo 2017 (WFX), is the largest event of its kind dedicated to church team training. It offers a robust selection of in-depth learning opportunities through its expo, keynotes and conference sessions.
Additionally, an array of special features, or experiential offerings, are intentionally planned to ensure there are plenty of community-building networking opportunities.
This year's special features include general sessions with worship provided by Integrity Music worship leaders, a Tech Tour and Night of Worship at Covenant Church, pre-conference intensives, such as the Tech Leaders Retreat, various boot camps, sponsored workshops, and the exclusive Loudspeaker Demo, found only at WFX.
"Every year, we examine attendee feedback to see what worked, what didn't, and what we can offer to continue to make WFX a valuable, refreshing experience for church teams," says Beth Vinton, program manager for WFX. "We know many teams use WFX as their annual retreat, and we want to make sure we're delivering what they need to get inspired and infuse their ministries with new ideas."
Event organizers have learned that this inspiration occurs when churches talk to and learn from one another. As such, there will be multiple opportunities for networking, beginning with the Welcome and Networking Reception on Tuesday, October 10, 6 pm 8 pm.
Tuesday evening's reception, sponsored by Thrivent Financial, "is an opportunity for attendees to get an overview of what the event has to offer and to start connecting with peers and ministry leaders that are integral to their WFX learning experience," says Vinton.
Paul Colman, a Grammy-nominated singer, entertainer, songwriter and former Newsboys guitarist, will emcee the evening. Attendees will be able to mingle with WFX staff and network with other attendees from all over the country. The reception will be held in the Aloft hotel lobby and light hors d'oeuvres will be served.
On Tuesday afternoon, attendees are invited to explore Covenant Church and interact with its tech leaders and industry experts from L-Acoustics. The tour will encompass demonstrations and discussion about the technology environments of the church, including its lighting, video and audio systems. Transportation details are available in the conference registration process.
Worship opportunities have also been prioritized, and all are encouraged to attend the Night of Worship, a concert to be held at Covenant Church in Dallas. The concert will feature the Covenant Worship Band and Integrity worship leaders Paul Baloche, Travis Ryan, Michael Neale, and Michael Farren and the All About Worship Team.
"This is a time of rejuvenation, worship and connection for those that don't always get to participate in worship at their home churches, because they're leading or serving," says Vinton. "More than anything, we want these folks to encounter God's presence and go home refreshed."
The concert will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Transportation details are available in the registration process on the WFX website.
Although the regular conference will be held October 11-12, pre-conference education begins on Tuesday, October 10, and will include boot camps on safety and security, communications and a special focus on the small church with a session about recruiting, training and empowering an all-volunteer staff, in addition to a variety of manufacturer-sponsored workshops and the 7th annual Tech Leaders Retreat.
The boot camps really will offer a deep dive into their respective topics and are a great way for attendees with cross-functional roles to get in-depth education in more than one area.
Safety and Security
The Safety and Security Boot Camp will be taught by Paul Timm, vice president of Facility Engineering Associates, and a nationally-acclaimed security expert. In this "train-the-trainer session," Timm will lead attendees through a timed emergency exercise involving an active assailant inside of a church. Participants will function in the capacity that would be expected of them in a real event, and learn how to leverage different security-related systems and tools, with the goal of being able to conduct a similar exercise with their teams at home.
"Emergency preparedness is a stewardship issue!" said Timm. "Every church will face emergency situations, whether they involve medical, severe weather or violent incidents. This session will help identify and address preparedness needs."
During the Communications Boot Camp, titled "Think Like a Five-Year-Old and Unleash Your Creative Genius," author and communications and media expert Len Wilson will help pastors and other key church communicators discover, or rediscover, their creative edge. Wilson will review the creative process and share four essential tools for practicing better creativity every day.
"This session will help those that want to bring creativity back to their job, but instead find themselves putting out fires all the time," noted Wilson.
"Recruiting, Training and Empowering an All-Volunteer Staff" is the Next-Gen Boot Camp led by Karl Vaters, pastor and author of "The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us." During the boot camp, Vaters will share his own experiences with building an entirely volunteer staff and provide practical advice on how to recruit, train and manage volunteer staff.
"Small church leaders and members will leave encouraged by the kind of dynamic ministry they can have, along with some practical steps to get started when they get home," says Vaters.
Boot Camps are two- or four-hour intensives and are an additional $35 or $55, respectively.
Pre-Conference Sponsored Workshops
VER, Sling Media, Church Streaming.TV and Panasonic have made 2017's manufacturer sponsored workshops possible. These workshops are complimentary with expo or full conference registrations and will all focus on technical ministry, including how to stage audio, video and lighting for events, streaming basics and utilizing multi-camera video. Expect hands-on learning opportunities, as well as up-close product demos.
Tech Leaders Retreat
Led by Justin Firesheets, production manager for Church of the Highlands' 16 campuses, the Tech Leaders Retreat will be one of the choices on Tuesday. The primary purpose of this half-day intensive is personal growth and encouragement for the tech leader. The emphasis will be on how to grow and maintain spiritual health in the fast-paced, demanding roles of church tech leadership. Attendees will also hear from Firesheets and other tech professionals from across the nation on topics such as leadership and team development, recruiting and managing volunteers, communication and conflict resolution, and much more regarding how to maintain a healthy culture.
"It's easy to get so focused on the technical aspect of our jobs, but the Tech Leaders Retreat is a great reminder to reset our focus on the leadership side of ministry and learn how to keep ourselves healthy so we can lead and serve to the best of our abilities," says Firesheets.
The Tech Leaders Retreat may be added on to regular conference registration for $55.
LSI Loudspeaker Demo
Throughout the conference, attendees can check out top-of-the-line loudspeaker systems in a controlled listening environment at the Live Sound International (LSI) Loudspeaker Demo. This event is free to all WFX attendees and will be held in Exhibit Hall C at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in conjunction with WFX.
To learn more about or register for the conference, or to reserve transportation for the Tech Tour and/or Night of Worship, visit www.WFXevents.com.