More Than Money


By Danny Kwon

Our group has been doing the 30 Hour Famine every year of its existence except the first year. I am always impressed when I see posts of the different youth groups after their 30 Hour Famine event, and the amount of money they raised through their efforts. And, if I’m honest, sometimes I’m a little insecure we didn’t do more. I even wonder if some of these groups who did such an incredible job with their Famine fundraising surpass our group’s lifetime total. 

Ultimately, I share this not because I feel shamed or insecure. But the efforts and totals of my group and other groups tell me something again that we all know: that 30 Hour Famine is about more than the money or totals we raise. Even greater, that teenagers are incredible and can do so much good, often greater than the expectations we set or have for them. Last summer I was on a mission trip with The Youth Cartel and Praying Pelican Missions, and Mark Oestreicher (who was on the trip) told my youth group an incredible story of his church and how the youth group decided to do a talent show fundraiser where at first there was pessimism by the adults leaders about how much could be raised. Of course, he shared this story because they raised an incredible amount. In addition, the greater point was: more than the money, the huge amount raised was a reflection of the incredible faith and passion of the teenagers in his church.

For me, each year as we finish the Famine and start to count the funds we raised, I get really blessed to see the incredible efforts of our students; but again, it is about more than the money. We not only do the Famine, but since our Famine is the weekend of Easter, our teenagers participate in a Philadelphia-wide event called Easter Outreach. As part of that, our youth group travels down to Philadelphia early Saturday morning, loads and unloads trucks of chickens, vegetables, groceries, and desserts, then packages them and delivers them to those in need. It is an incredible time of serving and joy for teenagers.

As I reflected on this again, counting our funds raised, I started thinking that not only are the funds we raised a reflection of the awesome teenagers we have, but maybe while counting our funds, we need to count how much more our teenagers can do. What I am saying is: if our teens can do so much for just this one event, can’t they so much more? How are we utilizing their spirit, passion, energy, and God-given giftedness to do even more? 

I love the Famine. It is a lot of work as volunteers and youth workers to execute. But if it is about more than the money, can we be challenged to do more with our teenagers, to direct their passion to do good in the world, all in the name of Jesus?