Like a Movie, the 30 Hour Famine Needs a Great Opening, Ending, and Middle


Sean Garner

Presenter in studio with TV camera and Camera OperatorYour students (and secretly, maybe you) pour their money and time into movies! They wait for the next and newest to come out, then they stare in awe and follow-up by telling (or tweeting) everyone about what they experienced. The 30 Hour Famine can be anticipated, coordinated and completed in the same way (as long as we get out of the way enough to let God direct us).

The Grand Finale

A movie with a bad ending just ruins the entire experience. Sometimes the director tries to hard, the actors…well, “over-act,” or the writers make the story end unbelievably.

So, to avoid these epic cinematic mistakes, a great Famine plans the END first. What will the last hour together do to consolidate the experience for the students and volunteers? How will you use this hour to launch them into the feast of life that God has planned for them? At no point will your ministry be more hungry (both physically and spiritually); so planning that last experience will help your ministry spiritually and strategically (by the time your tired body reaches that point) ready for the idea to last beyond the experience!

The First Chapter

Secondly, every movie has a great opening: it draws you in and makes you committed to see the ending. Within the first 5 minutes you get a feeling of the tone of the movie and decide whether you’ll stay. It is the same with your students. Don’t underestimate the need for their emotional palate to be set in the right direction (and an excellent beginning can bring them through the first hours together).

The second planning challenge of the Famine is the first 30 minutes. What will your students experience (they’re starving already) when they first join together for the event–what music, colors, experiences will they have?  The first 30 minutes is the time to plaster your key Bible verse in on the walls, to connect their thoughts to the theme, to unite them in the cause and to go beyond hype to hope–all the great things that fasting does for the soul.

Instead of making the opening to the Famine a circus without purpose, what can you do to shift their perspective in the first 30 minutes? Does a Famine movie work? Worship? Cheering?  Open the Famine with the right ammunition.

Some Meat in the Middle

Finally, those long hours in the middle of the event require the most prayer. God leads in distinct ways that are unique to your particular ministry. Step by step as a leader, figure out how to weave together each part of the Famine to lead toward the finale. Allow each moment to build on the next and keep reminding them of the verse you have in mind or the purpose they should keep in mind (credit whitney at dhead inc). Plus, remember that movies (like the gospel) are NEVER just about the action–it’s always about the people. Open the doors for them to empathize and realize the real people (parents, children and elderly) who need radically committed friends from around the world to commit to raising funds for their survival.

Being busy isn’t the point–being on point is WHY you’re keeping them busy. How will God move you through the “chapters” of your Famine experience toward what awaits at the end?

In whole, the 30 Hour Famine should be the launching point for your ministry’s compassionate commitment to balanced justice beyond the event–something that echoes in the minds of your students past the event itself. So how will you direct God’s action for your students this year?