Covenant Youth Raise Money for CKC

Post a Comment » Written on May 2nd, 2013     
Filed under: 30 Hour Famine, Events, Featured Churches, News & Updates
Written by Ben Zabel, youth pastor at First Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, MI

P1090684In the past, I have led our youth in the 30 Hour Famine fasting program. But instead of running the full program with our youth, I would only use the name as a way of raising awareness of global and local hunger issues. I did so, because it was familiar to people. When I was making our calendar for this year I realized that it had been a few years since our last 30 Hour Famine. It was time to plan another all-night, no eating event.

My main struggle came with only using the 30 Hour Famine name and not raising funds. As a church, we have traditionally given a lot towards mission organizations, but spread our giving so thin to so many as to make a very limited impact with each gift. We have been working to streamline the number of organizations we give to in an attempt to make a larger impact in a few places where we have a connection that is more than just money. I saw this as a great opportunity for our youth to embrace this, so I began thinking about an organization we could raise funds for through fasting this year.

Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision was the first thought which came to mind. At CHIC this past summer, this was the mission focus which meant that our high school youth already were aware of the ministry and most of them had given towards it. As a Covenant church, this was a natural direction to go.

My vision for the event was two-fold: To see God change the hearts of our youth as they encountered the realities of food struggles in our world and local community. And in addition, to raise money to make a difference in the lives of real people who are struggling with hunger and sickness.

The name “Fast 4 Change” came to mind, and as I shared it with others it seemed to stick. It succinctly summed up my vision. By giving up food in order to have our hearts changed by God, we are also able to raise money to change the lives of others.

The impact was pretty significant! We started to show some of the CKC promo videos at youth group a few weeks before the event, as well as some from local organizations. This began opening our student’s eyes to the fact that this is both a global and local issue. Through the event, they experienced some of what millions experience around the world every day. I was adamant about pointing out to them that what we were experiencing was different. We had a huge breakfast to look forward to at the end of our 24 hours of fasting. Those who struggle with food shortages in our world don’t have a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not voluntary. It’s not an event, but a way of life. This idea brought them back to reality. In the end they raised over $1,600 toward child sponsorship!

My hope is that this sparked something in them. I pray that their eyes were opened to see hurting people around them and respond with a compassion that does something. My hope is that they become people who also respond with justice, asking how we can change the situation of the broken so that they not only receive healing but are given the ability to not be perpetually broken and in need. My prayer is that there is a generation of young people rising up who embrace the Biblical call to go to the last, the lost, and the least and love them as Christ so loved the world: by giving up everything so that we could be unbroken. This is my prayer. I think it could happen. Believe it with me and work to make it a reality in your community!

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