big event

Big events used to sound so glamorous.

I imagined how much fun it would be…

…speaking to hundreds of audience members.

…setting up a beautiful booth in the exhibit hall.

…selling and autographing books.

…snapping selfies with adoring fans.

Then came MOMcon 2017, where my dream came true.

Kathi, Roger, and I flew to Kansas City where the most amazing volunteers* helped us set up a gorgeous booth in the exhibit all, complete with stunning banners and posters (thank you, Harvest House!)

Roger spent several days telling women (a bit too cheerfully) “We’re giving away Kathi and Cheri!” and helping them navigate the text-in code to enter our drawing.

Kathi and I laughed, cried, prayed, and selfied (that’s a verb now, isn’t it?) with hundreds of women.

On the final day, we presented two afternoon Overwhelmed workshops that included paper plates and Post-It Notes. (Oh, and last-minute tech glitches despite the fact that we’d arrived in our room two hours early and gotten everything set up and running smoothly!)

96% of the women loved our message, 3% were like “meh,” and 1 woman gave it the lowest rating possible plus twelve exclamation marks to emphasize her dismay. (Watch for an upcoming article “What You Need to Know About Audience Evaluations”!)

Saturday evening, with the help of a posse of amazing volunteers*, we dismantled the little space that had become our home-away-from-home. Insomnia was not a problem that night. (Or any night for the next week!)

On the flight home, I started making a list of all the pre-decisions it takes to make a big event like this highly successful and minimally stressful.

The list is long and still incomplete. So click here to get the yet-in-progress document in Google Drive.

Feel free to add to it, leave comments on it, ask questions about it. By all means download it and use it!

And be sure to include the most important reminder — whether your event is big or small — at the beginning and the end of every planning list, in big bold letters:

It’s all ministry.

From beginning to end.

From the first Email … to the conversation with your Uber driver … to the blisters you get walking to and from the hotel … to the fan who sends you an angry FB message asking, “Why aren’t you in your booth? I came all this way to get a picture with you!” while you are speaking … to the Southwest employee who informs you that your suitcase is 13 pounds overweight … to the kids in crisis when you walk back in your front door.

It’s all ministry.

Sure, big events have their moments of glamor.

But every single thing you do as a Christian communicator?

It’s all ministry.

* THANK YOU Sarah Trouthman, Elizabeth Bloom, Denise Steuber, Candice Branch, Jennifer Beruan, and Laura Gupta!!!

notice the needCheri Gregory is co-author with Kathi Lipp of Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity and founder of Write Beside You author coaching and manuscript development services. Connect with Cheri via Voxer (cherigregory), Facebook, or Email (