Last March we looked ahead to 2017 to see what opportunities exist for tech team training. As training is key to the technical ministries, I'm going to take this opportunity to refresh the list for 2018. Here I'll cover the first half of 2018; next article we'll take a look at what's available for the second half of the year.
These shows all have training opportunities, most have a trade show component where your techs can get their hands on some of the latest gear as well as talk to the manufacturers' representatives to get more in-depth information than what is offered in the product brochures, and often have opportunity to connect with other church techs and build up their personal network of people to talk to when a piece of gear starts acting up.
And if you know of other conferences that benefit church techs that aren't on this list, please tell me about them so I can include them next year.
February 27-March 2, 2018
The NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) show is geared towards churches and parachurch organizations involved in television, radio and internet broadcasting. Both training as well as an expo where manufacturers and service providers are represented is available. Per the NRB website, "The NRB International Christian Media Convention is a jam-packed, four-day event that connects, equips, and edifies thousands of Christian communicators."
March 14-17, 2018
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) conference and trade show is geared towards live theater, and can be an excellent choice for churches whose presentation style is less flashy, using more theater techniques than concert techniques. Training sessions on lighting, sound, as well as a full expo for manufacturers of lighting, sound, and staging equipment gives many opportunities to learn new techniques and see the latest equipment that would help you outfit your facility.
March 9-10, 2018
I'm not personally familiar with NWMC, so this description is from their website: "At NW MinCon, we are committed to offering a time to refresh one's spirit, thinking, creativity, leadership and ministry paradigm. While we do offer hundreds of workshops and experiences, but our goal is not to overwhelm our attendees. We want to encourage and refresh them with great choices and exciting options that challenge and equip for greater Kingdom impact. We bring in experts both local and from across America who inspire with tools and ideas to help church leaders and volunteers continue to be successful in the ministry where God has called them."
April 7-12, 2018
Las Vegas, NV
The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, always held in Las Vegas, is the show to attend if you do any sort of broadcasting, including streaming to the web, or even video transmission/capture for satellite campuses. Training opportunities abound, and the trade show for equipment manufactures is massive. This is a show where you need to plan strategically what companies you want to visit with, because even if you focus on the trade show for the entire five days it's open, you wouldn't get through the entire show floor. Typically, 100,000 people attend the NAB show each year. Did I say it's massive?
May 22-23, 2018
Manheim BIC Church, Manheim, PA
WFX Reach is the regional version of the larger WFX annual conference. It provides similar training and "make you think" opportunities for church pastoral, facilities and technical ministries staff in a smaller, local package. Typically held at a church, it offers great opportunities for your church staff to get to know other church staff and volunteers who are nearby, and thus is a fantastic opportunity to get the similar excellent training and networking with lower travel costs.
MxU in Chicago
May 21, 2018
Chicago area, IL
A one-day FOH mixing event for the engineer, the musician, and the creative. This is the day before FILO. "We dive deeper into the actual ART of mixing, spending more time comparing our mix methods, discussing why some styles seem to work in a mix…and why some don’t. That means more time listening and watching a mix get crafted in a one-of-a kind setting.
"This day is the ultimate non-conference eventthere isn’t anything else like this: an intimate setting and limited seating with some of the world’s top worship audio engineers. Come and get an up close and personal look at how, what, and WHY they do what they do."
FILO (First In Last Out)
May 22-23, 2018
Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL
The FILO Conference aims to provide inspiring tools for everyone involved in the church technical arts looking for design, development and business insights. Whether you are a volunteer or a staff person, an audio engineer or a graphics operator, set builder or jack of all trades, there is something unique here for you and the role you play in your local church.
Designed specifically for the challenges church techs face, the FILO Conference brings a wide range of experienced technical artists that will provide industry insight, problem solving tips and new ways to make your job less difficult and help you leave with a sense that you are not alone.
June 2-8, 2018
Las Vegas, NV
InfoComm is focused on featuring the latest technologies for audio, video, display, projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, digital content creation, networking, signal distribution, and much more. This show offers training on all things AV, including rigging: the process of safely hanging equipment and structures from overhead. The trade show covers all the usual audio, video and lighting technologies, but tends to be more focused on presentational technologiesprojection, media, digital signage. This would be an especially good show to go to if you are exploring implementing digital signage in your facility.
Jim Kumorek is the owner of Spreading Flames Media, providing video production, photography and writing services. He has also been an editor at Church Production Magazine and Worship Facilities Magazine, and a church technical director responsible for audio, video and lighting systems. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.