Remembering Your 30 Hour Famine


By Brad Hauge

I don’t remember what I had for breakfast last Friday. Really, I don’t. I’m also not entirely sure what I taught at youth group 6 weeks ago, and if I’m being honest, I can’t remember exactly what outfit I sent my daughter off to school in just this morning.

Does it matter? Probably not. I haven’t incurred any brain trauma (at least I don’t think…) that would cause short-term memory loss. I’ve never dealt with amnesia before, and there is plenty about my week I can remember. So, that’s good.

But if I can’t remember the things of my fairly structured and low-key adult life, how much can we really expect the students in our ministries (who are stressed to the max) to fully remember; let alone digest and reflect on what it means to their lives.

Which, as youth workers, is actually pretty frustrating, right? We agonize over what we teach, craft perfectly worded small group questions, and invent brilliant Scripture illustrations all to realize that 30 minutes after the kids get home, and hop on their phones or start their homework, there is seemingly little leftover residue from our program on their lives.

And the frustration we often feel when lessons and moments don’t seem to have much lasting impact on student’s day-to-day lives is only compounded when it follows an incredible and important event like 30 Hour Famine.

Some things are worth remembering. Your 30 Hour Famine experience is worth remembering. The thousands upon thousands of children struggling with hunger-related issues are worth remembering. And the fact that your students have the power to do something about it is worth remembering.

Many of us are currently planning our year-end youth groups and gatherings, so let’s ask: how might we use those moments together to remember? To look back and raise Ebenezers to the moments God showed up and was at work in and amongst your students. And specifically, through the work of your 30 Hour Famine this past winter or spring. Here are some ideas to help you help them remember:

    • Create a 30 Hour Famine-themed prayer station your students can use to remember the passion they felt for being a part of something bigger than themselves. Use specific photos and information that was taught during the Famine to help guide them as they pray for those still hungry.
    • Celebrate! Use the end of the school/program year to celebrate what the funds raised during your Famine might be up to currently. Reach out to World Vision and see if they have some (probably not specific to your team’s actual funds) stories and photos of actual action happening on the group providing food, hope, and resources for folks around the world that wouldn’t be possible without your student’s activism.
    • Sponsor a child through World Vision and make it part of your group’s weekly rhythm. Take up an ‘offering’ each week when you gather and use the 2-3 minutes while you “pass the plates” to talk about, or show videos depicting, the work that is ongoing around the world to raise awareness and funds for hunger related issues.
    • Designate 5-10 minutes on the first week of every month as “30 Hour Famine Check In” time, where you can raise awareness for struggles around the world from starvation to the refugee crisis, share fun and meaningful memories from your most recent famine together, and spend time praying for the hungry both at home and around the world.

Forgetting is natural—especially in our current cultural climate of immediacy. However, that doesn’t mean we have to forget—and it doesn’t mean we have to let our students forget. Especially when remembering means God is at work in the world, that we get to be a part of that work, and that the work we’re a part of with God can change the world. That’s worth remembering.