Famine Made Simple


Sean Garner, Director of Youth Ministry at Hempfield United Methodist Church, Lancaster Pennsylvania

No matter what the size of your group (from 10 students to 100 students), the 30 Hour Famine can be a success if you keep in mind rules of inspiring teens to great potential…

Personal Invitations Count

By all means, flood the internet, cell phones, youtube and your bulletin with announcements about the Famine- but here’s the truth: a phone call from you or a personal email (or message) from you make the difference. In this world of hype, even the “toughest to invite” students respond to a personal invitation (remember it takes 3 invitations for someone to respond).

Parents give you Super-power

If you do the hard work of building authentic relationships- parents can be incredibly effective if you give them opportunities to help in bite size pieces. Get the word out as soon as you can to your parents and congregation about what you NEED. Don’t be shy, coy or overly creative- most parents don’t have the time to read between the lines. Create simply, specifically timed ways to serve (juice bar from 8-9p; clean-up crew 6-8a or donate 2 gallons of juice for each child). Do not ask for the world- ask for small commitments, and you’ll get a break from parents who are desperate to help.

Moving is Magic

Big update: Teens do not learn by sitting and listen (auditory learning) or watching (visual learning) but by doing (kinesthetic learning). That’s why the Famine works- students don’t talk about fasting, they actually go without food. Use that to your advantage by including unique physical or mental challenges and even include things that don’t have anything to do with the Famine (we go bowling with our kids and add a morning “silly-exercise” program for instance). Keep them moving, THEN sit them down to talk about their experiences in smaller groups- you’ll be surprised what they learned if you break your famine up this way.

The Famine launches the Feeling

No amount of promotion can create the energy you need for successful fund-raising BEFORE the famine. So, use that to your advantage. The 30 Hour Famine experience is the launching pad that will inspire your students to raise the funds. One of the first things to plan for the Famine is your follow-up to maximize their giving. Create follow-up postcards, emails and Facebook status message BEFORE the famine starts so immediately after the Famine you need only copy and paste or send in the mail! Follow your 30 Hour Famine with a 30 day challenge to keep their donations pouring in!

Ps. Don’t forget the fun for yourself- plan something for YOURSELF or your volunteers after