This past weekend, a goal of mine was accomplished by being able to have a parenting conference for our church. It took years of thinking and praying and wrong times to finally pick a date and stick to it. Here is what I learned through the process that could maybe help those out there that are planning on doing something similar at their church.
Child-care is important!
I knew the audience was parents and many who signed up for the conference had younger children who were unable to watch themselves. We knew planning this that child care was important but let me tell you, it was hard to get volunteers for it!
It was hard to find adults who were either not parents themselves who could benefit from the conference or were willing to miss it.
have talked with some other pastors who offer to pay the workers for child-care on special days. We at our church have not ever done something like that so I was hesitant in opening that door. We did offer lunch and a copy of the conference to those who volunteered.
The Enemy Doesn’t Like Families
The week leading up to the conference I became very ill where I needed to be in bed for at least three days. I remember saying, “God, I can’t be sick this week! Can I be sick next week?” Not only being sick but Thursday evening when we were coming home from bible study we had a pipe leak in the house. I needed to get this taken care of on Friday which I was dedicating to the details of Saturday, the day of the conference. On top of all that our middle son was throwing up. It felt like it was one thing after another. We had other families that had sickness as well as other things come up which impeded their involvement last minute.
Im not saying that all of this was some spiritual attack, but I do know the enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). I know that his aim is not just to get our eyes of the Lord but to really destroy lives. He wants to destroy families. More so than ever this is when the Church needs to be diligent, engaged, and guarded with their faith.
Knowing the Purpose
I didn’t want to have a parenting conference to have a parenting conference. There are many ways you can encourage parents out there. I wanted to help equip parents on how to talk with their children in this culture that seems to be so anti-Christian.
To help with solidifying the purpose of this parenting conference we asked J. Warner Wallace to come and be our main speaker. He tied it in nicely with parents thinking of the difference between objective and subjective thought. He took a complex argument and simplified it for parents to understand. If you are looking for a good speaker, I highly recommend J. Warner Wallace. He communicated so well to the parents and was a delight to work with.
We also had different workshops to help with practical approaches to discipline, single/blended parenting, technology and social media safety, and ones identity in Christ.
We charged a minimal cost for the conference, mainly to cover our speakers fees. This not only covered the minimum but we were able to provide a light breakfast such as coffee and pastries.
We wanted to make sure there was a cost to show that there was value to the conference. At the same time, we desired it to be very affordable for parents knowing that many are on a strict budget.
We had to budget for promotional pieces, speaker, food, child care needs, and print pieces and we were able to break even.
What I would like to do better for the next conference would work on a strategy on better promotion. We used social media a lot and through church announcements but a clearer purpose and need would have been more beneficial with promotion.
If you are planning on having a parenting conference at your church, I would love to talk with you on what I learned and what to do better next time.