Church Executive: How did CFX Expo come about?
Jim Wagner: Church Facilities Conference & Expo (CFX) is an event and multimedia outlet serving the House of Worship market and is owned and produced by a company called EH Media. At its core, it’s really meant to equip, inspire and resource churches to do whatever their mission and vision for their church is.
We provide practical, tangible guidance and exposure to new ideas for church leadership teams. We focus on the building and the planning execution of what occurs within the building and online. That includes training and resources around production technologies, live or online; church building design; construction; improvement; planning; and execution. We also provide guidance to the decision-makers on purchases and efforts so that they can make good financial decisions that serve their communities as best as they can.
CE: What are the overall objectives of CFX Expo in 2022?
Wagner: Our focus is to provide a kind of 360-degree view of the products and services that churches need. We want to be the best research, comparison, and decision-making trade show for churches. We have categories around audio and visual technology, architecture and design, a number of companies who are involved around facility operations and maintenance — including security and services — video, and online service marketing.
Our expo floor has grown significantly this year. The interest is really high. We are looking at more than 170 companies represented on the floor of this year, which would be roughly 50 percent larger than what it was last year. A lot of that is driven by the pandemic. Things are changing; people are coming forward and looking for what they need to do.
CE: On a typical church staff, who is most likely to benefit from CFX?
Wagner: I’m a strong advocate of teams. I believe they benefit the most. You really can’t go to an event by yourself and have a good chance of success implementing new ideas. It really helps to be able to share and experience that with your staff.
Depending on the church’s needs, the team that’s involved with evaluating and implementing will get the most out of the event. If it’s a major capital project, then clearly the pastor, executive pastor, facility manager, and those who are part of that process should learn together.
I think teams are the most effective and have the most impact. You don’t get many opportunities to learn together and bring home ideas together. I think production-oriented staff and communications teams are another sort of bucket of people who are served well by attending together.
CE: Is there a benefit for an executive pastor, pastor or church administrator attending the Tech and Facilities tracks?
Wagner: Absolutely. I think that executive pastors particularly are involved with so many different things that the opportunity to go and to hear, learn, experience, explore, evaluate, and connect with peers is really huge.
So many churches are struggling with the same things, and you have the opportunity to interact with people who are not from your neighborhood and share that. You also get to see how other communities are approaching an issue or solving a problem, and that can be really encouraging.
CE: What kind of vendors and suppliers are you expecting around the Production & Technologies track?
Wagner: All the major suppliers and manufacturers of equipment will be there. We have a speaker demo, which is unique because it gives you a chance to evaluate audio systems side-by-side in a controlled setting. There really aren’t any other opportunities to hear multiple systems together, so that’s really unique. Lighting is really important, both for [the] in-person and video experience. Video technology — cameras, editing, switching and planning. There is a huge need for churches to understand the video director role and how to look good and effective on video.
And of course, streaming is really important.
And then in general, finding an integrator who can design and install is really important. And from a project standpoint, the major AVLA integrators that serve the church will be there as well.
CE: What resources are available to help people familiarize themselves with CFX and its mission?
Wagner: The website is the best resource for the latest updates and registration, which opened on May 2.
We want to encourage organizations to include multiple staff members, so we have team discounts throughout the campaign for registration. For churches that would like to register multiple attendees but aren’t sure who specifically will be attending, we can reserve a number of tickets first and gather details later.
We also have customer service available for anyone who might have questions.
We really do believe that the expo is the most efficient and productive experience for churches who are trying to invest their time and their money into whatever their mission might be. Every church has a vision — we don’t define any of that for a church — but we try to bring a range of ideas and people who can help them do what they’re called to do.
— Reporting by Emma Green