Going Hungry All Summer Long

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Travis Hill, Middle School Pastor, SpringCreek Church

campfire on shi shi beachAh, summer! I learned from a good friend a long time ago that an enormous stumbling block of student ministry happens when the program shuts down during the summer. You get all of this momentum, 30 Hour Famine, camp, mission trip, and then you stop for a couple of months to recharge. Summer is when student ministry heats up for us, and, in Texas, I mean that literally. That doesn’t mean you have to speak, come up with small group questions, and run “programming”, but rather invest more into relationships than ever.

If you’re like our student ministry, 30 Hour Famine is over. You have turned in the money (please turn in the money) and you may already have your sweet rewards. In the minds of students the experiences of Famine are long gone. But they don’t have to be. Between camps and mission projects and movie nights, take some very intentional time this summer to plan, think, brainstorm, and create a Famine environment for your student ministry.

Going on a mission trip? What a perfect way to hearken back to many of the experiences you had with Famine! Did you put together a devotional for the Famine? Why not reuse some of them, intentionally, so that students might see the consistency in scripture of helping those who suffer.

Back in high school, I did the whole “write a letter to yourself and your teacher will mail it to you in 5 years” thing. It was great. My middle schoolers have no idea where they will be in 5 years, but they might have an idea where they are in 6 months. Why not have students write a letter to themselves that they can open up and read during Famine? It can be encouragement, stories, verses, etc… Not sure if they’re doing Famine? Have students write extras so the students who don’t get letters will still have one.

Have you ever planned your Famine the summer before? Yeah, me neither. Why don’t we do it though? If it’s such a big deal, then why do we wait a month or two before Famine to get those wheels running? Grab your adult volunteers, feed them, brainstorm ideas with them during summer. In fact, do this anyways for the year, then you can see how Famine fits into where God is leading you to teach this upcoming year.

Give students the power to speak into your decisions. So you’ve had your meeting with leaders, now do the same with students. You would be incredibly surprised how much they will respond to this. Grab students who have done the Famine, others who have been around for a while, but never did it, and then also grab a new kid who doesn’t even know what Famine is. Ask them questions. Give it away to them.

This year, I shamelessly stole an idea from fellow Famine leader/Malawi-trip friend, Ross Carper. He told he that his group of middle schoolers actually sponsors a kid through World Vision. How cool is that? So we did too, a 10 year old boy from Cambodia. I let the kids decide on who, where, and how old. Every month now, a different small group will write letters, send notes and pictures to our sponsor child. Throughout the summer and the entire year, this is a great way to keep students connected with the heart of God.