Q&A: Church Facilities Conference & Expo (CFX) 2021

Ron Procopio
General Manager, Church Facilities Conference & Expo (CFX)
Operations Manager for WFX, 2006-2010
Show Director for The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, 2012- 2019

How did CFX Expo come about?

Ron Procopio: We are sort of a second iteration of what was the Worship Facilities Conference & Expo, or WFX. I was part of that event at the beginning, and it ran for about 15 years before finally running its course. This version of Church Facilities is a sort of a rebirth of that event and community with the original team. 

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to pull this whole thing together. And as you can imagine, doing so during a pandemic is probably the worst idea ever. But here we are, 16, 17 months later and we have an event about to happen, which is really exciting.

Given the impact of COVID-19, how will this year’s CFX Expo differ from previous years’ experience?

Procopio: In a lot of ways, having an extra year for us to define ourselves and build our brand, make connections, enabled us to come up with a better program than we would have in just nine months. The pandemic allowed us to grow and explore and become a better company and in essence, create a better event for the community. 

Obviously, the hot topic right now is around video streaming. Streaming was always something that seemed like it was for bigger churches — until it became necessary. Here we are, as the pandemic is sort of winding down and a lot of churches are saying, “we made it through the year, how do we make it better, how do we get good at this?” 

What are the overall objectives of CFX Expo in 2021?

Procopio: We want to reach as many people as we can. We’re letting everyone know that there’s education and training for growing your production staff, your facilities staff, and your executive leadership teams, that this is a place for you to grow your ministries. How are you managing the church production? How are you managing the building and your staff so that you can become a bigger, stronger church for your congregation? 

How has COVID-19 changed CFX Expo’s outlook and operations?

Procopio: We have learned so many things about ourselves this past year. When you think all things are dark and there’s no hope, we trusted in ourselves. We trusted in God. We decided that we were going to find a way, we were going to make this work. For us, the pandemic was very much an internal, introspective sort of experience.

Looking at our 2021 registration, we thought with the pandemic that there were two possible paths: people have been cooped up for a year and need to get out, or they’re cautious and fearful to venture out. So far, our registration is doing really well. There very much seems to be a desire to reconnect with each other.

On a typical church staff, who is most likely to benefit from CFX?

Procopio: We have three tracks of education — for production and technology, facilities and operations, and leadership. We have different topics of education and messages for each of those verticals. 

What can church staff gain from a peer-to-peer networking environment like the one that CFX provides?

Procopio: When you’re at an event, it’s great to see people who are doing things that are bigger and bolder than what you’re doing, but there’s also budget challenges. If I’m in a church of 500 seats, it’s great to see what Watermark Church is doing, but that’s on a level that my church can’t afford.

Often, when people go to events, they seek out the institutions that very much look like them. They have the same size venue, the same sort of challenges. The best part of networking is just wandering and meeting people, asking questions, and finding those connections. It’s not something that I can produce as a conference manager; those experiences happen organically, peer-to-peer.

Is there a benefit for an executive pastor, pastor or church administrator attending the Tech and Facilities tracks?

Procopio: In our messaging, we talk a lot about bringing your team. We encourage that because people bring different points of view and different experiences when they come to an event like this. If an executive pastor brings his technical director and facilities manager along, they can sit in a tech session and collaborate and learn from one another. 

Are there resources available to help people familiarize themselves with CFX and its mission?

Procopio: We started out with a single website 16 months ago. Over the past year, we have started to develop so much content that we split ourselves into two. We created a second website called cfxconnections.com, where we are posting articles and case studies and podcasts and webinars, various resources for the house-of-worship community. We have all kinds of show specials happening, exhibitor lists. 

Our hope is to have a mobile app available for download very soon. 

We also have an early bird deadline of August 1st to get the best possible pricing.

— Reporting by Emma Green


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