Reflections on the Famine by AV
Aaron VanStrien is the Youth Pastor at Frankfort Church and the event coordinator for the 30 hour famine in North West Indiana :: These are his thoughts... Doing an event like this is hard. There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a retreat. This retreat is a hard sell. Why? Because you do not eat, you sleep in a box on a gym floor, and spend most of the second day serving someone you may or may not know. This does not exactly scream youth ministry in the tradition sense. Typically at a youth retreat you focus on the student. What do I mean by that? You focus on each individual students walk with Christ. This is easy. Easy in the sense that the students can grab on to it, it’s very tangible to them and personal. At this particular retreat we focus on issues like justice, mercy, and walking humbly with God. Talking about these issues forces students to think outside themselves into a world that they may or may not have ever thought of before. This does not give us any immediate response. These are issues that cannot be resolved in a night, or a weekend, but require a life time of processing, thought, and action. We have to trust that God is working in their lives as we present the gospel to them in a new ways. These are things that are hard for people to grasp, especially students, in one weekend. But God is stirring these issues in the hearts of his people, particularly students. I believe that it is through events like this that God is beginning a journey with these students. A journey that will lead them to changing the world.
Doing an event like this is hard, but ask me if it’s worth it and I would say without a doubt. Some great friends of my did the worship and as usual did a great job. Not only leading the students in song, but getting to know them. Another good friend of mine Erik was our speaker for the weekend; he had the toughest job of all. As usual he did a phenomenal job presenting the gospel to us in a way that kept us engaged, and at the same time invited us to think and question along with him. Finally my students. It was a tough weekend for them, but the hung in there and allowed God to work in their lives. I am very proud of them and am fortunate to be able to call myself their youth pastor. We have committed together to fast every Wednesday so we can more fully rely on God. They have challenged me to give up Twitter every Wednesday for the whole month of November, and I will be happy to do that along side them.
Doing an event like this is hard especially when I am challenged just as much as anyone to take a look at my life. When I have to ask myself, “Am I walking humbly with God, am I doing justice and loving mercy.” God is here and moving, but am I aware and following. That is the question I am asking myself after this weekend. That’s tough. I pray that this was more than just another fun event, but that it was the dawn of a journey with Christ. A journey where we do justice and love mercy because God is rubbing off on us.
Doing an event like this is hard, but maybe that’s a good thing.