This summer has been 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.
A few weeks ago I heard the news that Women of Faith had cancelled 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.
Because I’ve been asked several times this summer, here are a few ways you can support the organizations and events you value:
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 or marriage-care, it also helps 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 stepping away from the everyday to find refreshment for yourself or for your marriage. 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 in #1.
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.
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, an 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!
When Mark and were deciding whether to bring a No More Perfect Marriages Couples Retreat to Rochester, Minnesota the November 10-11 weekend that Hearts at Home was supposed to be there, we prayed long and hard. 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. Now we’re in waiting land…will we get enough support to not go in the hole financially? Ultimately, however, we are trusting God’s provision and leading because are passionate about our message and solid in our mission to help marriages go the distance.
What plans do you have over the next two to six months to take care of yourself or to take care of your marriage? Isn’t it time to prioritize refreshment and recharge that will help you BE, not just DO? Here are some events I’ll be at where I’d LOVE for you to join me!
October 21–Springfield, IL–The Leader Within You–Register Today!
October 27-28–Alpharetta, GA–Birds on a Wire SOAR Mom Event–Register Today!
November 3-4–Elmhurst, IL–Moms In Prayer UNSHAKEN Event–Register Today!
November 10-11–Rochester, MN–No More Perfect Marriages Couples Retreat– Register Today!
February 9-10–Springfield, IL–No More Perfect Marriages Valentine’s Retreat–Register Today!
If you’re planning on being at any of these events, let me know! I’d love to see you!