so, yeah....about that... i wish i could write a lengthy, well-organized, step-by-step guide to planning a blogging conference. and if you read the title of this post and were hoping for that, i'm very sorry. the truth is, i have no idea how to plan a blogging conference. no one told me. i didn't take a class or watch a tutorial or download an ebook.
so HOW IN THE WORLD did i end up on the planning team of The Declare Conference!!?? it baffles me (& probably my husband too) every day. the crazy thing is, while i'm daily asking God WHY?! He's daily, patiently showing me HOW. the more i trust God and surrender to this FOR HIS GLORY, the easier it is to do this. i'm starting to see it -me and my role in Declare - from God's perspective and it's starting to make a little bit of sense. and that's why i can share today my personal experience and how i plan this blogging conference.
1// don't plan. step one is to throw any plans out the window and seek God for direction. let God plan the conference. doors will open and doors will close and it will all be God's doing and God's timing. from the conference theme to the worship songs, from the speaker line-up to the stage decorations, beginning to end, the entire agenda, every single piece has been divinely orchestrated. we gave Declare completely over to God and we trust Him with the plans. planning stuff is His gifting anyway ;)
2// work with rockstars. and i don't mean because they are famous authors or internet celebs. the Declare hostesses (you know them as God Centered Mom, The Beautiful Deep, and 2BeStill) are responding to a call God put on their heart to make God known with our many voices. they aren't event planners, they are Kingdom builders. they have the boldness and tenacity to plan a conference to bring women together to use their voice to point heavenward. wait, what? it's crazy. but they work hard. late nights and long meetings and crunching numbers and elbow grease and hard phone calls and fervent prayers. they are rockstars.
3// pray big and pray a lot. i pray some of my boldest prayers for Declare. i pray God will use Declare to reach women near and far, and through them and their online influence, reach countless more for His glory. we pray with hotel staff in hotel ballroom. we pray over money that isn't there. we pray before pressing send or publish. i pray for my family and for my strength. this blogging conference is fueled by prayer.
4// know God's promises. i would have given up a long time ago if i didn't know God is good, God is able, God wants us to succeed, God hears our prayers, God will provide, God already planned this, God called us to do this. it's all promised in God's Word and that's what keeps me standing and walking in wild obedience.
5// get ready to fight. because days will come when doors are slammed shut. when the budget is overwhelming. when the tickets don't sell. when nobody knows you exist. when there isn't enough time. when your family feels distant. when things fall through. when you can't see the light. when you don't have the strength. the enemy will attack when you're doing work for the Lord. we fight discouragement, rejection, fear, and distractions. but God is on our side. i've learned that to plan this blogging conference, i have to get in my fighting stance, put on the armor of God, block my face, and ready myself.
6// get ready to celebrate. after doing this crazy blog conference planning thing for a few years, i've come to realize that if we do #1-5, we can expect God to do something incredible. every time someone buys a ticket, we praise God. every day someone says yes to joining Declare as a sponsor, we celebrate. every year i walk out of the final night of Declare shaking my head in utter amazement, and completely grateful that i got to be a witness to His work.
the short answer is BY GOD'S GRACE.
from August to August, when i hear the behind the scenes stories of how God worked at Declare through Declare in your lives, i praise God. and it encourages me to plan the next year's conference. *wink*