Leading Events Without Losing Your Mind



By Meg Nelson

Whether it’s the 30 Hour Famine or any event, it’s easy to go a little bonkers when you’re at the helm for hours on end.  Self-care is crucial to leading successful events; something often overlooked.

The heart of the matter – Taking care of your heart, body & soul

As new mom I’ve learned a new level of meaning for the term “hangry.”  I’m reevaluating these new rhythms of life to ensure I’m fueled for my roles as wife, mom, and ministry leader.  Sometimes I wonder how I might have been able to better respond to challenges during past events if I had taken better care of myself.

Call out prayer warriors. You might already have the event on your church prayer list, but seek out some people who can dedicate time to pray for you specifically.

Rearrange some of your daily schedules in the days leading up to and following an event, creating room for yourself to rest and reflect.  Add some times with people who may give you encouragement, but avoid extra appointments and projects if possible.

Properly fuel your body.  There was a time where I brought Diet Mountain Dew, Goldfish, and Twizzlers for an all-nighter.  With all the “on the go” foods that surround us in ministry, seek out options that are protein filled and include good carbs to avoid a crash.  If you’re leading a 30 Hour Famine, consider not fasting at the same time your students are (fast for 30 hours earlier that week, so you can still stand in solidarity with your students).  I was honest with my students about the fact that I had nutrition shakes in my coffee mug, and would have a granola bar on my breaks.  It was for everyone’s best interest that I stay fueled up, and they supported this choice.  You need to be at your best to respond to anything that comes up.  If you aren’t eating well, you might not be at your best when your community needs you to be.

Schedule Breaks for yourself.  This can be tricky, but be creative to make windows of time where you can take 10 minutes occasionally to pause, pray, and take inventory of how things are going.  When we do, it allows us the chance to consider the way God is at work in what’s taking place.

Event Planning 101

The following tips seem like common sense, but have significant implications for reducing stress.  They can help you keep things in perspective as you look for how God is working.

The sooner you start prep, the better. It seems obvious, but is easier said than done.  So many things that seem more urgent creep in.  Even if it’s just one small piece of planning at a time, you’ll be in better shape as the week of the event approaches to handle any new monkey wrenches that come your way.

Use pre-existing resources. There’s no need to recreate the wheel if you don’t have the means to make it happen.  Talk to other youth workers about sharing resources.  When it comes to the 30 Hour Famine, they provide great materials! Even though my groups typically didn’t use the whole program, the Scripture passages provided were our guide for the weekend.  The Internet can be a helpful tool.  Just be sure any resources you use are clearly stated as being free resources for the taking.

Widen your team. I had some parents and team members sit me down at my last church to let me know that while our 30 Hour Famine events were going fine, they believed it could be so much better.  They were right.  They helped me reach out to more people in our church to get new faces and new energy into this long time tradition.  We sought out our Sunday School teachers from other age groups, deacons, and “retired” youth volunteers.  No matter the role, it was amazing what happened when we got more of the church community to rally around our event!

Investing in our physical and spiritual health prepares us to respond to whatever may arise.

Taking practical steps to lighten the workload allows us to be more present to witness how God’s Spirit is moving.

Blessed event planning everyone!