So… What Do We Do Now?


By Brien Bell

It’s Tuesday, a week and a half after your 30 Hour Famine has ended (at least for those of you who held your Famine event on the first national date!). Maybe you’ve given your group a much-needed break after the event – something we highly recommend – and you’re just getting back into the swing of things. It’s only March, there’s still a whole year ahead of us!

So what do we do now?

If you’re anything like me, that’s the big question after any “mountain top moment,” whether it’s 30 Hour Famine, a retreat, summer camp, or just a major breakthrough in someone’s faith during a regular youth group meeting. We’re eager for the next BIG thing, but often it’s the smaller ways to reach out and get involved that help engender a spirit of service on a regular basis, rather than just once a year.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can take your Famine experience and extend it beyond the weekend:

1. Pray for Peace

This one seems so simple and straightforward, and yet how often do we pray for our own concerns, our own needs, before we think about the needs of the world. There is so much hurt in this world, from war and violence to desperate hunger and poverty. Prayer has great power, and when we focus our prayer toward peace and reconciliation, God’s justice will follow.

2. Volunteer!

The 30 Hour Famine is a great opportunity to introduce your youth to service, but it’s in the repetition of a servant’s work that the work of healing a hurting world really takes place. Does your group or church have a mission partner in your local community? A soup kitchen or a food bank? Do you work with literacy programs or children’s after school programs? Maybe one of your service projects from the Famine weekend needs volunteers during the weeks to come. These are great ways to make an impact right where you live, combating hunger and education issues that World Vision and the Famine respond to on a global level.

3. Sponsor a Child

Perhaps this is something you already do with your youth group, but if it’s not, what a way to connect directly with a child who needs support! My youth program has sponsored World Vision children since before I began attending almost 20 years ago, and has continued to do so while at the same time supporting the Famine, Team World Vision, and our church’s World Vision partnership with an area development program (ADP) in Ethiopia. Through the letters and pictures we’ve shared with our sponsor children, we’ve gotten to better know and understand the lives we’re affecting, and it’s one of my favorite things we do as a group. Click here to find a child waiting to be sponsored.

4. Take a Vision Trip

So maybe you’ve done all that – you’ve prayed, you’ve volunteered at a local level, you and your group have stepped up to sponsor one, or more, children… what can we do now? This one’s a bigger step, more like a big, giant leap – take a trip to meet your sponsor child! Now obviously this isn’t something everyone can do, and it’s certainly going to be expensive, especially if it means traveling to areas like Bangladesh, Haiti, or Ethiopia. But as we are called to stretch out our arms to reach those in need, sometimes it means meeting them where they are. Vision trips aren’t like mission trips, they’re not about “doing” – they’re about “being.” Being in the midst of the world you’re helping to change, learning about how your support affects lives in a real way, and hopefully breaking your heart in some small way, as God’s breaks for His people when they suffer.

Some of these ideas you can do right away, with little time, effort, or planning. Others may take years to realize. No one ever said the work would be easy – but maybe that’s the point. We need to be challenged to step off that mountaintop and into the world that’s ready for real change and real courage. These are, by no means, the only ways you can take your 30 Hour Famine experience and live it out each day, but perhaps it’s a start. And God can do all sorts of things with a willing spirit.