WFX Expo and Conference celebrated its 11th year of providing education and tools to assist growing churches this past week, September 21-22. This year’s conference, held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, was no exception. On Tuesday this week, 5 pre-conference workshops - each being 5 hours in length - were offered.
Among the group of sessions, were the Tech Leaders Retreat, The Innovative Small Church, Filmmaking, and The Safety and Security Pre-Conference.
The most popular session, the Tech Directors Retreat, was facilitated by a group of dedicated and seasoned church tech directors. From the outset, Church of the Highlands production manager Justin Firesheets who led the discussion highlighted the retreat’s focus by stating, “this year's Retreat would be significantly different from years past.”
The panel's focus honed in on spiritual health and personal health - for the technical director themselves. Firesheets cited this focus was motivated by results called out from the recent Worship Facilities Tech Director Survey report. Among the report’s findings, Firesheets referenced these numbers:
72 percent of Tech Directors are struggling or are wishing their spiritual life was better.
42 percent say their church doesn't take an active interest in their spiritual health.
The panel’s speakers included Jason Castellente, the technical director at the National Community Church in Washington, D.C.,David Leuschner, executive director of technical arts for Gateway Church and Greg Baker, global technical director for Saddleback Church.
As explained by Firesheets, for so many tech directors or leaders of tech teams, seeking out practical ways to separate one's work and home life is something that often is pushed to the side, only to become a bigger problem in future years.
Unfortunately, that balance can get so skewed over time, that one can begin having "unhealthy feelings for your employer and family.”
What makes that balance so tough, acknowledged Baker, is an easy tendency to want to continue working even after coming home.
"We get caught in the invisible busyness of life," he said. "But it's in your hands [to decide how busy you want to be]. Pointing to a passage in the Bible, Exodus 34:21: "You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest," Baker then noted there should be no rationalization for not taking one day off a week from work.
Once you have decided what day of the week it will be that you will be taking off, Baker said, "Make sure those in your church know what day is your day off.”
Leuschner also discussed having had too many responsibilities to juggle and the need to cut back.
"I had to set up boundaries, and had to prioritize what was important in my life," he said. "Even though I had three jobs, I had to decide that for me, at 6 p.m., this stops and [personal time] starts.”
Among the afternoon’s discussions, Firesheets wanted to make sure that each of the more than 100 people sitting in the on the session would come away with valuable information, but also new bonds and relationships. Citing his experiences over the years at WFX, he found the relationships formed during each year's conference to be incredibly valuable.
To force attendees into potentially making such bonds knowing that many of those sitting at the 20 or so round tables in the room were likely sitting with cohorts, friends, or acquaintances Firesheets reshuffled the room.
Among the topics dicussed, was the training and leading of volunteers.
"It is our responsibility as leaders of our teams to delegate, even though we are typically doers," said Bacus. "Pushing more decisions down into my team, to allow them to grow in leadership opportunities (is what I should be doing)."
And when it comes to finding volunteers, Bacus voiced a willingness to bring them on early, with the long-term thinking of having them become big contributors years down the road.
"I've had kids that are 10, 11, 12 years old in the kids room," he said. "I want to get them plugged in then, so that when they are 18 or 19, I can unleash them onto something bigger."
On volunteers, Leuschner said, "Don't take away the opportunity from your volunteers or staff to serve (by trying to do too much yourself)."
In the goal of inspiring people to volunteer, Firesheets said that at Church of the Highlands, in Birmingham, Ala., "We do this well, as it's a no pressure atmosphere. If you feel like you want to be a part of something, we can help you. It's not that we are desperate to find people. You have to connect the role with the impact that it makes. They cannot see it as a job or as an obligation."