ORLANDO – With less than three weeks until the WFX Conference & Expo opens, there are a wide range of educational sessions to consider blocking into your schedule during the three-day event. Among the more notable sessions at the Orange County Convention Center will be one featuring Church of the Highlands Production Director Justin Firesheets.
Having been a regular session speaker at WFX dating back to 2011, Firesheets will be covering a new topic, Overcoming Burnout.
As noted by Firesheets, “In our industry, people tend to get overworked and underappreciated. They are the first to be there, and the last to go home. They are often only recognized when something breaks.”
With so much of a burden on those who work on church tech teams, over time, Firesheets added, “The enthusiasm can disappear, and cynicism can take its place.”
To help avoid that from occurring between members of the team, Firesheets cited “three different fronts” that will be discussed during the conference session, amounting to “safe boundaries to prevent getting there.”
In terms of who would find the WFX session worthwhile to add it to their schedule, he said it would ideally suit anyone in a leadership role, but also anyone in a technical role. In addition, whether one is on staff at a small church, or a large church, the session’s lessons will be applicable “across the board. The concept is important for anyone in ministry.”
Firesheets explained that he has covered the topic of overcoming burnout in prior conference sessions, but only to where he’d “addressed it in passing.” Recognizing how pervasive the issue has become, he understood the need to lead a session that would exclusively focus on the issue.
The value of such a session, he noted, was for those who will attend the session, recognizing that they are not the only one suffering through the challenges that come with easing and limiting burnout. By learning how to “navigate (limiting burnout),” especially for those who are on staffs and are very good at what they do, to avoid finding themselves leaving their position out of frustration.
These lessons to be learned in terms of burnout can be particularly practiced during those challenging times of year when the workload tends to grow by leaps and bounds: Easter and Christmas.
During those times, there is an “importance of keeping clear expectations and boundaries, for what is expected of you, what your leadership expects of you.” At the same time, one must account for “the costs, in terms of hours, and effort, as we build something up. It may be great and valuable, but it may not be what our leadership wants us to focus on.”
Firesheets also elaborated on the value of communication, with one’s family for them to understand what the expectations will be in terms of time on the job, but also with your leadership, for times you will be off work at home, spending time with family.
As simple as that might sound, though, Firesheets has found how often there is a resistance to have such conversations with the boss, over a concern that they are “letting someone down, or that they are at risk of losing our job.”
Despite that initial fear, he emphasized, “We have to initiate that conversation, in the search in driving for clarity.”
For church staff member who is in the midst of deciding on whether they will be attending WFX this year for the first time, Firesheets explained, “I think it’s a great way to accomplish a great number of benefits at one time. For instance, you get a lot of hands-on experience at one time. It’s a great way to get classroom training that you may be facing in a real-world environment.”