Whether you're a tech director or just starting out as a weekend volunteer, if you've attended a training session or conference you've likely thought to yourself, "I wish my colleague or boss could hear this."
The truth is, even if they hear it from you, it won't be nearly as potent as hearing, seeing or experiencing the information first-hand. This is the reality behind the 2016 Worship Facilities Conference & Expo's (WFX) theme, Grow Together.
"We've been very intentional about supporting this theme, particularly with the Tech Arts Track," says WFX General Manager, Jim Wagner. "We want the team to come and grow together. If just one person comes and has the burden of going back to provide training and inspiration to the whole team, well, it's hard to inspire from afar."
WFX is the nation's largest conference dedicated to developing the entire church team with offerings for pastors, facilities managers, worship arts and technical leaders and their staffs. While there's no shortage of tech conferences, WFX differs from others in its delivery of solid education in a ministry context. Within that framework, attendees not only reflect on their own ministries, they're exposed to what other churches are doing, too, shares Wagner. "A tech team really only knows what it does in its own building, but attending here together team members learn from others, learn in unison, and in a ministry context," he says.
The Educational Offerings
The 2016 Tech Arts Track is designed to help leaders recruit, train and develop their teams while also offering in-depth and hands-on training for tech team members, including audio, video and lighting concepts, as well as streaming technologies. Essentially, it's meant to feed the whole group regardless of an individual's focus or capability.
"A lot of priorities can be met because this track's education is broad and deep. Just pick an issue and there's a full spectrum of offerings," says Wagner.
For leaders specifically, several sessions stand out, such as "Pastoring People in Church Production and Tech" to be led by Brian Wilson, production pastor and creative director of Calvary Community Church in Sumner, Wash.
Wilson shares that his design for the session is to help leaders embrace the calling to shepherd people, pray for them, help them grow in their faith and move forward in their ministry. "This isn't a matter of having a seminary degree or formal pastoral training, just a heart to take care of, grow and train the people around you," he adds.
Another session expected to be popular with tech leaders will be facilitated by David Leuschner, senior director of technology and technical arts at Gateway Church in Dallas. Titled, "The Digital Great Commission", Leuschner will draw from his own leadership experience and share how to motivate teams to think of tech work as true ministryincluding the importance of being good stewards and staying on budget.
On the more technical or hands-on side, the track has much to offer on the topic of streaming.
"If a pastor decides it's time to stream, the tech team has to figure out how. Here you'll get a good idea of the technology options, the how-to, and the many configurations," says Wagner.
Streaming education includes manufacturer-led sessions with product demo opportunities, as well as a session led by Brian Deurring, CEO of StreamSpot titled, "Second-Screen Broadcasting: The Future of Church Streaming". Other options are "Live Streaming: The Ecosystem" and "Choosing Technology that Meets Your Live Distribution Requirements".
The Tech Arts Track also delves into the creative arts and the vital relationship between creativity and technical. Visual Worship will again be offered as a pre-conference workshop facilitated by Luke McElroy, founder of Orange Thread Media. The workshop covers the technical aspects of creativity in the church at length, while covering the "WHY" behind it all. It will explore environmental projection, as well.
Brand new this year is a pre-conference workshop devoted to filmmaking. It will teach the basics of storytelling, planning and editing in a way that enables churches to employ video even if they don't have access to a professional videographer. Additionally, the workshop is meant to speak to all church sizes and budgets, whether they have no equipment situations or the latest and greatest. "WFX reflects that society is consuming content in video format and that churches are responding to that and learning how to harness it for engagement and communications," says Wagner.
For more information or to register, visit www.WFXweb.com. WFX will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Sept. 21-22, with pre-conference workshops on Sept. 20.