Don’t Sweat The Petty Things and Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things


By Joel Dunn

So there you are, your 30 Hour Famine is right around the corner. You built your cardboard city, you received all of the donations, the four bounce houses arrived, you had all of your students bring two brand new friends to this event, the DJ you hired is dropping some sick beats [yo], you have at least six… no, seven Excel worksheets explaining the analytics as to why this is going to be the best event/mission outreach/overnighter/conversion night in the history of your Youth Ministry career. And on top of that, your church board said to you directly, “We are so thankful for your heart that you have for youth ministry. We have raised your youth budget, we gave you a significant raise, we got you a new youth van, a Coca Cola Freestyle soda dispenser for your office, and you never have to do another lock-in as long as you are at this church.”

Well… maybe you accomplished a couple of those things before your group’s 30 Hour Famine or maybe you were like me when I hosted my first Famine. I wanted it to be bigger than life and grander than grand can be; but then real life got in the way. I had students in crisis, I had a church budget meeting saying we were not doing well and that we were going to have to make cutbacks, and on top of that I had to sell my Coca Cola Freestyle machine*. [*jk] I wanted to be overly prepared for any scenario that could be thrown at me during these 30 hours; but the problem with that was that I forgot about the heart of the event. I turned hanging out with hungry teenagers for 30 hours into a program spectacle that made them more tired and even more hungry!

After my first 30 Hour Famine I asked my student leadership team, “What can we do better next time? How can we make it even bigger?”. One of my 7th grade boys responded with this, “I wish we had more time to just hang out and more time to pray. The games were fun but I wanted to pray more for the people we were raising these funds for. To be honest I just wanted to hang out with everyone and maybe play a board game or two and do some scripture reading.”

That was one of the best answers I have ever heard in my life! A 7th grade boy asking for downtime. Asking me and the rest of the team to just be in the moment, to pray, and to make Christ the center of this event… and not the programming. So I want to encourage you that no matter how big or small your 30 Hour Famine is… remember to be present with your students. Don’t sweat the programming side (don’t stretch yourself too thin trying to over-create program). Your students are going to be stoked at the 30 Hour Famine because YOU are there and present. Keep reminding yourself how good Jesus is. Have an amazing 30 hours!