Normally we experience the famine at our own church and have about 30 kids participating. This year we combined with 12 other churches and gathered together with about 230 students. The line up included: Worship, conversations in small groups about hunger, prayer stations, Comedy Sportz, videos, Shane Claiborne, packing food for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), games with hunger themes, games just for fun, collecting food for PROP, raising money for villages in Zambia, sleeping a little and a spaghetti dinner.
After the famine I got to talk to the kids and hear their thoughts - personal reflections on what it was like for them to go without food for 30 hours, how it impacted their understanding of how others live and actions they can take, where they saw Jesus in those moments. We also talked about "the event" and what they thought about the experience being with 200+ youth rather than with our own gathering.
What impressed me most was, that as we talked with our students afterwards, what they "liked best" wasn't the guys from Comedy Sportz (they were hilarious by the way), or the videos (very engaging videos on hunger, 'invisible children', personal visits to villages in Zambia), or the games (intense games of pin guard) but rather:
- Shane Claiborne - "He was real! He wasn't just telling us to go and live differently...he was actually doing it himself."
- Prayer Stations (we had 18 'experiential' prayer stations for the students to wander through and discover)
- Serving - Packing food for FMSC.
It highlighted for me once again that ministry is NOT about entertainment. We can't outprogram the world. And in the context of packing food for Feed My Starving Children it brought to mind what our kids are "starving" for - they demonstrated spiritual cravings that were being satisfied during the 30 hours that they went without food. Cravings for:
- serving others (love your neighbor as yourself)
- closeness to God (Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength)
- authentic relationship...seeing what it looks like to live, imperfect as we are, as a disciple.
Yeah....the famine helped to 'feed my (God's) starving children' and hopefully give them a taste of grace that will linger and increase their desire to follow Him.