Value of Trade Shows

27 01 2012

As I reflect on another trade show completed, I walked away from the annual NAMM show in Anaheim feeling both exhausted and invigorated, an unusual combination for sure.  Walking the show floor for 8 hours per day for multiple days, talking to everyone from manufacturers to vendors to fellow church techs will wear out even the most athletic of people.  At the same time it’s an energizing process.  You get the opportunity to learn about the latest and greatest tools to help you provide more effective ministry.  More importantly, trade shows give you the opportunity to connect with others who do what you do, who have come up with creative solutions to the issues you face and have weathered the situations that may be frustrating you.

I’ve long felt that the highest value of trade shows is the opportunity to connect with your peers, to pick their brains and get encouragement.   As more and more technology becomes available to help us accomplish our goals, connecting with others who do what you do also becomes more critical.  It seems there are 4 (or more) ways to do everything now.  Discussing the options, pros and cons of solutions with people who have used them in real life is invaluable.  Demonstrations are certainly helpful, but the word and experiences of peers tell you so much more.  Trade shows and other church tech events give you the opportunity to do both, to get your hands on solutions and discuss real life applications with those who are doing real life ministry.

If you’ve been serving in ministry as a volunteer or staff person for any time though, you know that it’s about way more than the gear.  Ministry is about people, and connecting with people at trade shows who really understand that is the most invigorating part of the whole experience.  Let’s be honest, serving in ministry is both one of the greatest and hardest things you can do.  Even as a volunteer, you can feel overworked and underappreciated very quickly, but I’ve found spending time with people who get what you do and share the same heart and vision will help encourage and reinvigorate you in the calling you have in serving in church tech.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we can’t do ministry alone.  Who better to connect with than peers who do what you do, experience what you experience and face the same challenges you face?   Can I challenge you to get more connected with others who serve as you do from churches across the country?  In my first few years as a Technical Director, I actually paid out of my own pocket to attend a number of events and they helped shape who I am as a tech and ministry leader.  I would gladly pay all of that money and more to do it again.   If you can’t make it to one of the big trade shows, get involved with online networks like www.churchtechleaders.org.  Regardless of how you do it, get connected, get support and get inspired by your peers.  And if you sign up for www.churchtechleaders.org or are at one of the trade events, look me up, I’d love to meet, encourage and support you.

Just Some of the Trade Shows & Events Coming in 2012

Guru’s of Tech – Willow Creek (Crystal Lake, IL)
http://www.gurusoftech.com/

Infocomm – Las Vegas, NV
http://www.infocommshow.org/

Worship Facilities Expo – Atlanta, GA
http://www.wfxweb.com/

LDI – Las Vegas, NV
www.ldishow.com

Christian Musician Summit – Various Locations
http://www.christianmusiciansummit.com/

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2 responses

28 01 2012
Kiley Ham

I’m a long time professional audio guy and church volunteer, but first time Church TD. Would you guys consider a post of the pros and cons of the various shows relative to new gear, training, spiritual growth, etc for folks that may have to pick only one to attend? Enjoy your tweets! Thanks and God bless!

28 01 2012
dukedejong

Kiley,

Thanks! I think a post about the strengths and weaknesses of the major shows and events is a great idea. I’ll try and get that done this week.

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