When considering attending a ministry conference, one must decide what they want out of it. What's your situation? What kind of education are you and your team seekingbig picture, high-level inspiration? Or hands-on, practical, get-to-work education?
The Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) offers a lot of both, but its expo definitely shines in the latter category. For 11 years, the Worship Facilities Expo has gathered a dynamic and diverse collection of more than 200 vendors, making it the largest dedicated church expo in the nation.
"What we've determined in talking to churches is that there are a lot of church conferences that are inspirational and share big visionand there's nothing wrong with that. But, people working in ministry also need practical and useable information that they can go home and implement," says WFX General Manager, Jim Wagner.
Mirroring the conference portion of the WFX event, the expo offers variety to teams and individuals from churches of all sizes and traditions. About 60 percent of exhibitors represent the tech marketaudio, video and lighting products and integration services. The other 40% includes architects, contractors, security experts, communication companies and more. This blend ensures that church teams can walk away with ideas and potential solutions no matter what challenge they're up against at that particular time, shares Matthew Broms, partner with Renewed Vision, maker of ProPresenter, ProVideoPlayer, and other presentation software solutions, and a 2016 WFX exhibitor. "I feel WFX offers a simple, centralized, go-to source for churches to easily research the solutions they need for whatever stage they're in at the moment," he says.
And what better way to determine if a tool is right for your ministry than to try it out? Most tech companies exhibiting at WFX provide demos or hands-on opportunities for booth visitors. Renewed Vision will provide demos of their products throughout the expo. "We simply intend to share our current set of solutions to help churches understand how we can enhance their environments," says Broms.
In addition to simply sharing their products, WFX exhibitors are also present to share their knowledge and truly serve churches as partners in helping them define their vision and figure out how to achieve it.
"WFX is more than a way to showcase products, it's also a great opportunity for people involved in church technology to come together and learn from one another. It gives people who are trying to make the most out of their budgets a chance to ask the experts for their opinions on gear and applications," says Mike Graham, product and customer education manager for CHAUVET Professional, manufacturer of architectural and theatrical lighting.
Instead of a booth on the expo floor, CHAUVET actually hosts a "Learning Room" where different presenters share their own experiences and expertise in church technology through a variety of sessions. One such session will cover lighting for Christmas concerts and services and will be conducted by Andy Rushing, lighting designer for Kari Jobe, Lauren Daigle and Hillsong United; Craig Rutherford, the lighting designer for Big Daddy Weave and Alan Jackson; and Bobby Dennis, the Technical Director of the Heights Baptist Church in Dallas.
Another session will focus on lighting for youth events and will be facilitated by Aaron Cole, the lighting director of Love is Red, the largest Christian youth conference in the Midwest. Four more sessions will be led by tech leaders from Gateway Church, The Crossing, Church on the Move, and Church of the Highlands, according to Graham.
"We will also be offering time between the learning sessions for people to work directly with our product team members to get an up close look at our lighting fixtures, which will be on display throughout our Learning Room," says Graham.
Although expos often have a reputation as high-pressure sales environments, WFX is very different. Broms shares that Renewed Vision doesn't offer special pricing during the expo because they want to make sure attendees do the proper research after the show. "We don't want someone buying our products on impulse because they get a small discount. We want them to make an educated purchase after researching and testing our solution so they know definitively it's the right choice for them," he says.
Sharing knowledge and facilitating the success of the church as a whole has always been a core purpose of WFX and its many repeat exhibitorsit's not about making sales, but about equipping churches and their teams for ministry. "As churches have evolved to embrace concepts of technology, building and equipping more intentionally, WFX has evolved, too, but our fundamental message hasn't changedbuildings and technology are tools for ministry," says Wagner.
For more information or to register, visit www.wfxweb.com. WFX will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Sept. 20-22.