Planning for More Than 30 Hours


By Kim Collins

Throughout the many years I served in youth ministry, I planned a buffet of youth events from Sunday evening gatherings, worship services, mission trips, and fundraisers to just hanging out for coffee and conversation. I certainly made some mistakes along the way that always taught me a great deal of what works, what doesn’t, and how to plan (or not plan) for future events. I always enjoyed planning our 30 Hour Famine event because it was a collaboration with other youth ministers in my area for one large, community event that brought together youth (and their leaders) from various churches, schools, and neighborhoods. I also enjoyed the pre-planning very much; this is critical for an extra meaningful Famine event.

Once you receive your kit, pray over the materials inside the box. Pray for those who will receive as well as those who will give. Pray for the planning of the event from the most minute detail to the largest. Then, open your box and take care to look at ALL the materials, not just the sign-up/fundraising packets. Sometimes, especially when you have experience in planning, it’s easy to skip through some of the information, and think, “I got this.” Stop and look at everything! And this is where you might want to take a breath and say, “Wow, this is going to be the most awesome event!” Have a little dream and vision session. Then it’s time to get busy. 

Education is a vital key to planning: so educate, educate, educate. Educate yourself, educate your students and leaders, and educate your church. Education starts with the resources you’re given for the pre-Famine events. Gather your leaders and plan not only for the 30 Hours but for the time prior. Make a plan to spend several weeks before the Famine to discuss hunger and poverty with your group. Don’t just hang posters of the when, where, and why, but make it a season of mission. My students and I LOVED and were most impacted by the videos provided by World Vision; they are very powerful and help to provide personal stories of children and families who are being helped through this mission. I encourage you that as you’re watching the videos, take a look at your students’ expressions and see how they are impacted. Plan a time of discussion; challenge them to take these families home with them and continue to think about them, and to pray for them. This can be a game changer for how your students prepare for and participate in the Famine as these stories stick long after the event and can greatly affect the ways in which students continue to serve in this mission and others. 

I have experienced times when former students have recalled their Famine experience, and they seem to always refer back to the videos with comments like, “I remember the little boy who….” or “the little girl that…”; it has made a difference in their lives long term. Other great resources to use in addition to the videos are a Bible Study, planning a hunger and poverty simulation, displaying the Famine posters throughout the church, and developing other ways in which your students can be involved in sharing about the Famine and getting others involved.   

Whatever you do, make use of ALL the resources available to you; be creative, have fun, and remember that you and your students are sharing the love of Christ, and He is using you to make a difference in our world!