A unique conference that mixes new technologies and churches of all sizes is being held this week to highlight services, products and concepts that congregations across America are utilizing to enhance worship environments and improve ministries.
The Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX), which kicked off Wednesday, is being held at the new facilities of the 6,000-member Cottonwood Church in Long Beach, Calif., and features four keynote presentations by ministry leaders and over 50 conference sessions in five dedicated tracks, including one on "Designing, Building and Upgrading Your Facilities" and one on "Digital Church: Websites & New Media," among others.
The highlight of the gathering, however, is the WFX Expo Floor, which opened its doors Thursday and features over 150 leading companies showcasing the latest products, services and solutions that will impact the future of the house of worship market.
According to WFX organizers, the companies represent industry leaders who are revolutionizing the design, building and outfitting of worship facilities, as well as the innovative use of audio, video and lighting technologies for churches of all sizes.
"In this challenging economy, now more than ever, churches are looking for ways to stretch their dollar. The WFX California exhibit hall provides church teams with an easy, economical way to meet with more than 100 vendors under one roof in just a couple of days – exhibitors that can help them save big on budget items in the long run," commented WFX show director Nicole Derany.
"Plus, it's the only place on the west coast where exhibiting companies can see hundreds of decision-making church teams completely focused on improving their facilities and technology production," she added. "It's a win-win for everyone involved."
Among those attending this week's three-day conference is Larry Osborne, senior pastor of North Coast Church, who has helped oversee the growth of the church from a fledgling group of 128 meeting in a rented school, to a multi-site ministry that reaches nearly 7,000 in weekend attendance.
Also present is John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, whose church has opened two multi-site venues in California over the past two years.
On Friday, a panel of ministry leaders – including several of the nation's top tech directors from churches of all sizes – will share and compare challenges, accomplishments, mistakes, theories, and questions.
Moderating the panel will be Bruce Smith, former technical director for Willow Creek Community Church.
WFX is presented in the spring and fall of each year by Church Production Magazine and Worship Facilities magazine.
This week's west coast conference concludes Friday at 4 p.m.