"Getting smart" on a topic is relatively easy to accomplish in our internet-fueled world. One can learn a little about a lot in a short period of time, and if the stakes aren't too high, where's the harm?
But what about when the stakes are high? As in a multimillion dollar church building project?
"Most church leaders have not been through the building process before, and they're not familiar with how to hire an architect or contractor," says Aubrey Garrison, principal of Live Design Group in Birmingham, Ala. "The decisions that go into getting a building built are infinite."
Garrison will lead "From Vision to RealityThe Architectural Journey that Ensures a Customized Design for Your Ministry" as part of the Building and Sanctuary Design Track at the 2016 Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) in Louisville, Ky.
The overall track will focus on large-scale building projects or improvements, as well as sanctuary upgrades specifically. "A lot of thought needs to go into all of these types of projects and most pastors don't have the resources or the knowledge of strategies to accomplish the vision on budget," says WFX general manager, Jim Wagner.
As such, the track has been designed to help pastors, facilities directors and other church leaders learn how to select professionals that will guide them through the building process, while also helping them understand enough about design, construction and AVL integration to ask good questions along the way.
"I can guarantee a church that hasn't built before will save money and have a better outcome because of attending," says Wagner. "The cost of being educated is not a cost, it's an investment in the overall project."
Garrison's session in particular will expose participants to what it's like to design a building with a design team, and show them how to push for collaboration in order to get the desired vision nailed down. He will also discuss the technology that allows for real-time input from the client, like 3-D computer modeling. "I want pastors to know that there is a different way to work with a design team to achieve a building that fits the DNA of the congregation," Garrison says.
The track's second area of focus, sanctuary upgrades, will place heavy emphasis on AVL purchasing and design. According to Wagner, sessions will cover everything from the bare basics of equipment needs to client-integrator relationships to the most advanced in audio, video and lighting systems. Most of these sessions will be facilitated by AVL equipment manufacturers or professional designer-integrators. "It's basically getting advice from the highest level consultant in the arenathat's a lot of bang for your buck at the expense of travel and registration," says Wagner.
"It's always better to measure twice and cut once," says Danny Rosenbalm, a WFX speaker and the CEO of Morris, a premier audio and lighting provider. "From audio and lighting systems to seating options, investing in education in all facets of a building project minimizes errors and ensures that the project remains within budget and on time."
Rosenbalm will lead the session, "Understanding the ROI for Worship Spaces". It will look at the worship space's AVL equipment and design from the perspectives of different stakeholders in the project and introduce ways to calculate return on investment over time. "Executive pastors, technical directors, creative directors and worship pastors will all find relevant information in this session," says Rosenbalm. "Each attendee will leave with a better understanding of what the stakeholders are most interested in, along with tips on the best way to achieve efficiency and success."
For churches with limited tech staff, or those hiring an AVL integrator for the first time, the track includes education on how to select a professional and forge a good working relationship with them.
AV design engineer with LifeWay Christian Resources and a former AVL integrator himself, Tom Noble will facilitate a session dedicated to this topic called, "Designing A New AVL System: The Relationship Between Integrator and End User". In it, Noble will share common mistakes churches make when vetting integrator candidates and how to know if your church is really getting the best value in terms of service and equipment choice.
"Attendees will walk away with the knowledge of how to foster a relationship between the integrator and end user. They will know what is going through the mind of each player, and how to trust someone throughout a new AVL design or upgrade project," Noble says.
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.