27 Things I Learned While Hosting The Declare Conference

by Michelle Acker on August 14, 2013

in the Declare Conference,Thought Provoking

Before Declare Conference, There was Mamas Write

Two years ago, in August 2011, I walked into my 1st blog conference. Ever.

Scared. Okay, terrified. Insecure. Feeling out of place and sure I didn’t belong.

Who was I to be going to a blog conference? Yes, I had a blog, but no huge following. Yes, I had a blog, but I only posted once a week. I felt like a fraud, intruding on an event meant for “real” bloggers.

What I experienced there changed me forever. I was welcomed with open arms and learned I didn’t have to fit into a certain mold. I learned that God could does have a purpose for me and my blog, however small. And most importantly, I learned this:

God doesn’t call the equipped.


     God equips those He has called.


                           ~Crystal Sparks

Two years later, I confidently call myself a blogger. In fact, part of the purpose God had in store for me was to become part of the team for that same conference. Once upon a time, it began as Mamas Write.  This year, in it’s 3rd year, it has grown to a full fledged conference called Declare.

Declare Conference


Declare Conference – To Know God and Make Him Known

People everywhere are asking me “How was it?” and  “What did you learn?” and those questions are so much tougher than you’d expect to find words to answer. You see, God showed up in a really big way at Declare Conference this year. Huge. In every way we had hoped, imagined, and prayed for, and in a thousand ways we didn’t expect. How do you sum up the Glory of God in mere words? Words are inadequate for a heart this full.

What I learned at Declare Conference 2013:

  1. God is good.  That whole ‘greater than anything we could ask or imagine’ thing?  TRUTH.
  2. When God moves, He goes all out.  ALL out.  I was pretty much speechless all day Friday.  All I could say was, ‘LOOK at what GOD has done.’
  3. I am not afraid to speak in public.  (When did THAT happen?!)
  4. God is good.
  5. There is never enough time to talk to all your friends, and make the connections you want to.  There is always someone who you missed because time ran out.  (If that was you, I’m so sorry!)
  6. I am not alone.  Rather, I am surrounded by sisters both in real life and online. Truly blessed.
  7. Denise J. Hughes, Meredith Duke, and Traci Veek have amazing hearts to serve and pray.  Thank you ladies, for lifting us up all weekend. We are grateful for you!
  8. God has a purpose for me, a job for me.  (And to be honest, it’s a little scary to wonder where exactly He plans to take me in the next few years, so I’m going to just focus on now, and see where He leads. Deep breath.  He equips those He calls, remember?)
  9. God is good.
  10. Heather MacFadyen needs to be a speaker y’all.  I could listen to her preach all day!
  11. Witnessing the intimate huddles of spontaneous prayer in the hallways and ballroom was one of the most poignant and beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
  12. God uses us, our pain, our weaknesses to minister to others in similar circumstances.
  13. God is good.
  14. Our Declare Community ROCKS.
  15. Accepting help is a sign of strength and leadership, not weakness.  If someone volunteers to help you, let her! 
  16. Hospitality and old fashioned customer service DO still exist in the world. Thank you, Ricky Hawkins and Dallas Marriott Las Colinas! (And a special Shout Out to Jose! thanks for the coffee to go with our creamer!)
  17. I should have learned how to delegate years ago. Such an easy, fun and useful skill! 
  18. Eryn Hall has a beautiful ability to bring to life the vision she created for Declare.  Thank you, Eryn, you amaze me!
  19. God is SO into details.  When you realize just how much the littlest details intertwine…. breathtaking. 
  20. I don’t need to wait for permission from anyone.  God has already granted me permission when He placed the call on my heart. (Whoa.  That one messed with me for a good long while, y’all.)
  21. Kristin Lemus is a beacon of calm, with a heart that rests deeply in God.  It’s a quiet presence that exudes peace.  Beautiful.
  22. I can talk to Jeff Goins and Mary DeMuth without running away. (ask me about it sometime.)
  23. I am not the same girl I was two years ago.  I am a radically new creation. Still getting used to that truth.
  24. Bloggy friends are the best.  It’s so nice to have someone understand you! 
  25. I am brave.  Confident. Courageous. Strong. Powerful.  A Daughter of the One True King.
  26. I am a writer. Even more importantly,  I am a LEADER.
  27. God is good.

Declare Conference

Thank you again to everyone who came out to support Declare Conference and make it such a wild success.  From our sponsors and speaker to our attendees and volunteers… we couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re so thankful God brought us together.  Thank you for helping us Know God and Make Him Known!

To God be the Glory!


If you were there too, we hope you’ll tell us about your personal experience at Declare! Who did you meet? What message spoke to your heart? What is God calling you to DECLARE? Link up and share your Declare Conference recap posts here.

If you weren’t there, and maybe are stopping by for Thought Provoking Thursday, I hope you’ll pop over and see how God moved in hearts & lives at Declare 2013.

Thanks to everyone who shared pics in the #DeclareConf stream on Instagram. So grateful to you for sharing Declare through your eyes!


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna August 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM

I’m so thankful for this weekend and for all of you answering God’s call on your life. What an amazing time, even for my introverted self who knew no one. 🙂 Incredible. Enjoyed reading everything you learned.

~Karrilee~ August 14, 2013 at 11:23 AM

We are neighbors over at Crystal’s today for her Behind the Scenes link up and I am glad I clicked over! Declare sounds like it was a huge success… accomplishing more than you could ask or think!

I am attending Allume this year – my first blogger conference. I keep pushing aside the same insecurities… knowing that He has called me to attend, as well as to blog… and I love the expectation that this post stirred up in me once again to really know that I will be meeting blogger – but more importantly – I will be meeting with Him!


Melissa @ Numbering Our Days August 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

This is some GOOD stuff! I am not surprised at all that God led us in the same direction in reflecting – that He is good! What an amazing weekend, and I am so blessed to hear just some of the ways He worked (and is working!) in your heart! Praying for you as you put into action what He showed you this weekend!

Stacey August 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

I’m so glad you did a better job than I did speaking to Mary and Jeff than I did. *gigge* Thank you for working with the other three girls to make this happen. I am SO grateful to have been able to be there, and SO grateful for having met you.

Crystal August 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Also, Heather can only be a speaker if she supplies me with a box of tissue at every event. That girl makes me cry!

traci August 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

ACK!! I’m a sobbing mess all over again! But a very HAPPY sobbing mess. 🙂

You, my friend, have grown so much. Your list is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. God is at work in you and around you and through you! I’m so humbled to be a small part of this, but most of all, I’m so honored to be your friend.

I can’t wait for Declare 2014!! Who needs more cowbell?! 😀

Barbara Isaac August 15, 2013 at 5:16 AM

Love #19!!!

Joanne Viola August 15, 2013 at 6:13 AM

Loved reading this post. It even planted a little seed in this introvert’s heart to perhaps get up the courage to go one day 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

Alecia August 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Reading this made me so excited. For maybe going next year? But, bc like you said God has a purpose and plan, for me! It’s amazing what the body of Christ can accomplish when they put their hearts and minds together! I’m glad the Conference went better than expected, Praise God!

Jacque Watkins August 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Thank you Michelle for all you did to make Declare a reality. I was beyond blessed last weekend by all my wonderful sisters in Christ and by all God did there. Blessings to you! xo

Amy Jung August 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Your post encouraged me. As a 1 year blogger (as of this month!) I can imagine feeling the same what if I were to attend a blogging conference. I’m inspired to try to go to one…maybe next year!

jean wise August 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

That conference sounds so good. I am going to my first blogging conference in Sept – The Bloggy Conference. I sure hope I learn as much as you did and come home with fresh ideas.

Heather August 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM

this is an awesome list. God IS so good. and you. are. too. kind. wasn’t expecting to see #10. thank you. unbelievable how God chose us to be a part of His work…and then also changed us in the process. wow!

Angi August 17, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Oh friend. I am so blessed by you! It was seriously such a joy to meet you and get to know you! I just think you’re great! 🙂

Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth) August 19, 2013 at 3:21 PM

I’m glad you didn’t run away. I promise I’m not scary. At all.

Helen Gullett August 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Michelle, you are a great blessing! When I saw you at the registration booth with Erun, my heart leaped with joy praising God that I finally can meet you in person. YES to all 27 points you learned and YES God will take you to next level because of your obedience heart to Him.
Sad we didn’t get a chance to sit and talk, you were busy but I am thankful for you and the team! God bless you and Declare Team!

Helen Gullett August 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I meant, “Eryn” not Erun….arg! Sorry Eryn!!

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