Last summer was a summer of grief for me with the Hearts at Home organization bringing their season of ministry to a close. I never thought that would happen.
Shortly thereafter, I heard the news that Women of Faith had canceled all of their Fall conferences in order to regroup. It honestly didn’t surprise me at all. In the 24 years that Hearts at Home existed, we watched event attendance and registration responses change greatly over the years.
Many have asked what could have been done to change things. It’s not easy being an event planner these days…in fact, it’s downright scary at times.
Yet it’s become a part of who I am. I love gathering folks to laugh and learn together!
Yes, you can get so many resources online these days, but there’s something very special that happens when you “step away from your every day” and take the time to recharge your spiritual, emotional, and physical batteries. That’s why Mark and I are so committed to providing events for moms and marriages!
Over the past year, I’ve had so many of you reach out, asking me to do another Mom Getaway Day or a No More Perfect Marriages live event in your community. I know many of you are excited about the new life for Hearts at Home with Suzanne Phillips and Dr. Kathy Koch leading Hearts at Home 2.0. Our hearts are to serve and to provide what you need. We can’t do it alone, though. We need your help!
Here are a few ways you can support the organizations and live events you value:
With your PRAYERS.
Folks in the public eye and event planners with vision endure a lot of criticism and often take some pretty big financial risks. Support your favorite organizations, authors, and speakers with your prayers. When we’re stepping out in faith, it makes a difference knowing that people are praying!
With your ENCOURAGING WORDS.
There’s nothing better than knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. If a book, a live event, or a speaker’s message made a difference in your life, let them know! Hearing the God stories is the fuel that keeps their servant heart full!
With your EARLY registration.
When Hearts at Home started 24 years ago, we filled up fast. Today’s audiences tend to wait to see if some better opportunity might come along. They resist commitment and tend to register late. They’d rather pay the $20-$30 higher late registration fee and keep their options open than to save $20-$30 with the early registration fee and commit themselves. This alone gives event planners major stress. Often thousands of dollars have been committed for speaker fees, event liability insurance, facility rental, minimum food requirements, and hotel blocks. When registration lags, it causes great stress for everyone on the event-planning side of things. Your early registration not only prioritizes self-care, it also helps live event planners rest well and know that the financial obligations they’ve committed to will be covered.
With your ATTENDANCE.
It’s tough to make a decision to attend an event, but your attendance is a vote of confidence in the value of learning, growing, and being intentional about taking care of yourself. Conflicts will always arise and you will likely miss out on something when you decide to commit to a valuable growth opportunity. Ask yourself, “Is this conflicting event repeatable?” If the answer is yes, then it’s okay to miss it on the rare occasion. One of ten soccer games might be an example. However, if it’s not repeatable, like your son receiving an award at an awards ceremony, then you’ll likely want to attend the “not repeatable” event. We also often tell ourselves, “I’ll attend that event next year.” There’s no assurance, however, the event will be available next year…especially if the organizers run into the challenges mentioned above.
With your WILLINGNESS TO TRAVEL.
I get it…it’s so much easier if an event is in your backyard. However, when you travel to an event, you increase the fun! If you’re headed to a moms’ conference, carpooling to the event is like having a moms group on wheels…there’s so much laughter and fun! Don’t expect events to be in your backyard. Be willing to hop in the car and enjoy the talk time as you travel together! It works the same with a marriage event. Some of the best talk time Mark and I have is when we’re driving somewhere together!
With your FINANCIAL SUPPORT.
Many organizations that plan events are non-profit ministries. These organizations depend on the financial support of those who value the ministry. Sure, you pay to attend the event, but often that only covers a portion of what it takes to run the organization year-round. If you love what an organization brings to your life, support them financially to help them keep the encouragement coming your way. Don’t tell yourself others who have more resources will do that. Even small monthly amounts can make a huge difference when they’re paired with other small monthly amounts from other ministry partners.
When Mark and I were deciding whether to bring my Mom Getaway Day to Rochester, Minnesota, October 26-27, we prayed long and hard. We knew the moms in that area didn’t get a Hearts at Home conference in 2017 and wouldn’t in 2018. Knowing everything we know about folks not committing these days and last minute registrations balanced against all of the financial obligations. It left us in a scary place that would require a step of faith. Ultimately we decided to take that step of faith. And I’m inviting you to join me in this journey!
Gather your friends and make a getaway weekend happen! I’m going to be there and I hope you will be too!
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