The final day of WFX began with a great breakfast conversation with Mel McGowan, president and lead designer of Visioneering Studios. McGowan is a leading figure in the revolutionary thought and design of Postmodern church facilities. We talked about how the church tended to follow the lead of commercial design by a margin of 5-10 years, and how the lifestyle center developments were now being adopted by churches. His session in the morning was entitled "Christ-Centered Communities: Redefining Church Architecture". Using tools and methods developed by secular destination architects, his firm helps transform functional facilities into places brimming with energy, excitement, and life. Taking these ideas close to home, McGowan's firm is the lead design team on Elevation's first permanent facility here in Charlotte. David Dial of Living Stone Architecture is serving as the architect of record.
After the morning sessions, I had a brief conversation with Carl Harkins, Director of Architecture at GL Barron in DFW. Carl and I were later joined by Brian Blackmore, the publisher of Worship Facilities magazine, in a discussion about collaboration on future design ideas and processes for churches.
Two final thoughts for now, but more will definitely be coming in the future:
The most significant planned event during WFX came at a Friday lunch with Will Mancini and Cheryl Marting (of the consulting group Auxano, and authors of the book Church Unique) met with Karen Butler (editor of Church Solutions magazine) and me. Karen originally set up the lunch to talk about the upcoming Church Solutions Expo in February where all of us will be participating in various ways. It quickly turned into a stimulating discussion of future opportunities for Mancini's groundbreaking Vision Path ideas. I will definitely be posting more about that!
The most significant unplanned event came as I had the opportunity to get reacquainted with the Rev. Dr. Samuel Vassel, pastor of the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene. I first met Pastor Vassel and some of his leadership team at WFX Indianapolis last April. They have an exciting, growing ministry in the heart of the Bronx. They face some tough challenges as they consider how to expand their facilities and ministries. As I talked with them last spring, my heart connected with them, and we closed in prayer for each other. We said goodbye on the closing day of the expo, and I thought I would not see them again.
God had other ideas!
On the expo floor last Thursday afternoon Pastor Vassel walked up to me with more of his leadership team; we were reacquainted with great joy. They had attended my presentations earlier in the day and were looking forward to sharing more of their story. Again, there will be more to post on this later, but God is at work at the BBC, and I am feeling that I might be able to play some small part in what He doing, and will do, at the church.
WFX Houston was a good week for me, both personally and proifessionally. In a similar way as at Catalyst, I have much to process and will be posting more in the future.