Too Proud to Collaborate?


Travis Hill

iStock_000013672790SmallIn a previous post, I laid out some of the supreme benefits of constantly rethinking your calendar. One outcome of the rethinking we did over the last year was to move our 30 Hour Famine dates to the national dates in February. This isn’t simply so we didn’t have to change promotional material, but rather we would (hopefully) be able to pull from the wisdom of the Famine Team and other churches who are all participating at the same time. But that’s where the problems begin.

I don’t know what it’s like when you have conversations with other student pastors, but sometimes it feels like the first questions out of the gate is, “so… (with supreme hesitancy) how many students do you have each week?” Though we are called to be different, we can still easily succumb to this world and hold those earthly values higher than God’s. While we need to go into a multi-church student ministry relationship with open eyes and transparency, we must make sure that these comparisons do not feed into our human-natured pride. It’s easy to fall into the temptation that since “they” are a top fundraiser or “they” have a student ministry of over 200 that they have it all together and know all of the answers. It’s also easy to be on that side of the equation and think you can help the other guys. Sometimes, the youngest, newest, freshest minds have more dynamic, interesting, and creative perspectives than any old pros.

Unfortunately, it is easy to view ourselves on a pedestal rather than know that we don’t have it all together and need as much collaboration and outsider perspectives as possible. This is one reason we are excited to move to the national dates. We have done Famine “on our own” for too long, building up our own systems and constantly changing the curriculum to fit us. And while it’s necessary to retool the given schedule to fit the needs of your ministry, the Famine Team does such a great job of producing quality materials that integrate and weave throughout the Famine that it feels a bit silly to try and rework everything. But we have done this for years. We know what does and doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at how we do the Famine again this year.

In ministry, like in any other vocation, it’s easy to draw comparisons. We all do it, but what we do with the comparisons can make or break the potential relationships. This isn’t a competition. We’re all on the same team. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

So my question is this: who are you bouncing ideas off of? Is it the Famine Team? Is it another pastor doing the Famine? If it’s no one, find someone who will talk you through it. 30 Hour Famine has loads of resources, online and in real-life, to help you out. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with other Famine groups are the ones where dollars and numbers of students are never mentioned, but rather the heart change and radical, selfless giving that occurred in these students. It doesn’t matter whether you are full-time or part-time, volunteer, or on staff with insurance, in charge of 5 or 500, your opinion is valid. We all have only a few years to make an intense lasting impact on students, so why not make the most out of it by setting aside our comparative pride and focusing on how to lift them up?