Five Things I Learned From our Most Recent Famine


Brooklyn Lindsey, Highland Park Nazarene, Lakeland Florida

donut-with-sprinkles“Come to me, my precious…..”

I overheard these spoken words on a Sunday morning. But the junior high kid whispering them wasn’t referring to a golden ring. He was speaking ever so gingerly to his doughy double dipped frosted donut with sprinkles.

He carried it to his seat as if it really were, that precious.

I had to laugh at the whole scene. I took it in and mentally pondered the image hoping it would stay there forever.

I’m a youth pastor. I love seeing teenagers be… well, teenagers. I love sixth graders and their ability to exist in way that doesn’t mind what others think yet.

The reason why this scene was extraordinary for me wasn’t because of his witty comparison or ability to recall a great movie as he gingerly acquired a donut. It was more because I had just seen him fast for 30 hours so others wouldn’t have to go hungry.

While being in his developmentally egocentric world he simultaneously existed for others last weekend. And I think that’s absolutely miraculous.

Anyone can do the Famine. And many will surprise you if you give them the chance.

Here are five quick things I learned from our most recent Famine.

1. Guys don’t get super excited about not eating. They need a little extra encouragement at the beginning but once they have committed, their resolve is fascinating. And the girls can be great at encouraging others, prompt them to help out. So make sure to talk to the guys in your group specifically about their abilities and God’s power that’s made perfect in weakness. I think if we would have done this from the beginning we would have had more guys participate. (Our ratio was about 3 to 1)

2. Parents need encouragement and information. Teenagers don’t think too much about it. They dive in. They commit. They are quick to be passionate. All they need is a mite of motivation and their off raising money before you can say “car wash”. Talk to your parents. Tell them stories of other students completing the famine successfully. And if they insist that their kid drink Pedia-sure all night, let it happen. It’s not about being legalistic, it’s about learning what it means to love others sacrificially.

3. Do the tribe games. Every. Single. One. (If you can!) They are amazing educational experiences that bring the students together. Our youth group LOVED the tribe games and didn’t want them to end. It keeps everyone so busy they don’t have time to think about being hungry.

4. Have volunteer leaders facilitate the tribe games. This was our biggest win this year and it took a huge load off of us on the microphone. We set up supplies and let the leaders do their thing! And the tribes loved seeing their leader in action.

5. Celebrate every dollar raised. Praise everyone who participates. Give endless amounts of encouragement. Your beloved teenager might be talking to a donut one day and abolishing hunger the next.