I spent a few days last week at the Worship Facilities Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.
It was a great event with lots of practical hands on educational training, as well as the latest cutting edge design ideas for ministry.
While I was there, I got the chance to visit with many growing ministries as well as many vendors and here are a few of the things that cutting edge ministries are looking at adding or upgrading next year. If I had to sum up the trends in a single word, it would be GREEN, whether looking to lessen environmental impact or improve operating performance and financial results, this years WFX was all about green.
1. Environment– This was a recurring theme, whether adding or replacing, many of the hottest trends involved energy savings and recyled content products, a few of my favorites included the continue move towards LED lighting for everything from signage to can lights to stage lighting-this technology allows increased flexibility as well as energy savings of up to 90% over older lighting technology. Other big hits in the green space included insulated concrete form construction panels and gymnasium floors and playground equipment made with recycled content. One thing was clear, everyone is more conscious of the importance of sustainability than just a few years ago.
2. Improvement-While WFX always attracts churches that are looking to build new facilities, I talked with many more that were looking to upgrade and improve the facilities they already have. There was a recurring theme of good stewardship and making better use of the resources we already have than I’ve heard in years past.
3. Outreach- Some of the best ideas I saw where not related to expanding or improving the ministry space, but about better utilization of the space ministries already have, by adding outreach programs like a fitness center, subleasing to other ministries, starting after school childcare, or even a full charter school. Ministries are looking for ways to reach more of their community while also keeping a close eye on expenses.
So it looks like ministries will be spending money in 2011 on improving the efficiency of their space. Whether that efficiency is improved through higher utilization, lower energy usage, or some combination will vary, but good stewardship is an increasingly important theme. All of this reminded me of the importance of both walking by faith and counting the cost as we continue to look for new and better ways to reach our cities.