Planning for Justice


By Tash McGill 

Well, It’s August and you’ve made it. I’m not sure what kind of state you’re in, but you’re here. If you’re wrecked from a summer’s worth of mission trips, camps and other programs, take a big deep breath. If you’re recharged from getting away with the people you love on vacation, high fives to you. And if you’re reading this, along with hundreds of other emails as you start to get deep into kicking off another year of youth ministry – I’m with you.

If you’re in youth ministry, you’ve probably seen at least one ad offering you the perfect youth ministry planning tool or an article on the 10 Things You Must Include On Your Calendar. Those resources are probably really helpful. But there’s a key element to your youth ministry planning that I want to encourage you towards.

Plan for Justice. Plan for intentional activities and programs that will help you build a bridge towards Micah 6:8 living for your students. That’s why I’ve been involved in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine for more than 25 years. I started participating when I was 9 years old (please, don’t do the math!) and continued until now. I’ve become a child sponsor, a volunteer and a leader of Famine in my own youth ministry programs. My involvement with Famine has become part of my life-long justice walk.

It’s one thing to teach on topics of justice but to participate in acts of justice is entirely another. From the first time I participated, when the world was in the throes of actual famine sweeping parts of Africa and ‘til now, I’ve not seen a movement so powerful for engaging students in what hunger means and how it changes our world.

So that’s why I would encourage you to engage your students in the Famine. In a world that is now more global than ever, we’re now facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, driven by famine and civil war in many parts of the globe.

When you connect your students to the work of World Vision, they are connecting their sacrifice, fundraising and participation directly to support work that helps those suffering most in the world. Telling that story can help them connect to a life-long commitment to justice and living out Micah 6:8.

So hopefully you can take some time to plan for justice in your youth ministry program this year. Not just the Famine events but how you can extend your students understanding and participation in broader justice issues. Why not use your 30 Hour Famine activity to prepare students for next year’s summer missions or to further take these ideas into your local community.

The beauty of the 30 Hour Famine is the touchstone element it provides. A touchstone that can start in youth ministry but live on in the lives of your students for 20+ years. What a beautiful life.