FAST Forward

World Renew’s FASTForward project is a 24-hour fast to help end world hunger.

FASTForward provides a concrete way for teens to act on their desire to share God’s love with people in need, and experience a glimpse of what hunger is like.

Not only does FASTForward raise money for World Renew’s ministry, it also raises awareness about world hunger and unites youth group members like never before. The impact reaches teens, their families, and their church and lasts long after the FAST is over.

Organizing and participating in the FASTForward project is easy.  Everything you'll need is provided, free of charge, by World Renew. In fact, most of the resources you'll need are available right here on our website.

The first step is for your school or youth group to decide to participate. You can hold your FAST during lent, in November in conjunction with World Hunger Sunday, or choose another time that works best for you. Next, the young people raise money from donors and sponsors - asking them to give a gift of love to their neighbors around the world who do not have enough to eat.

The group then goes for 24 hours without food - so that they can have a real taste of what hunger is like. During this time your school or youth group engages in different activities from community service projects, to Bible studies, to interactive games. Afterwards, the money raised is sent to World Renew and put to work in countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, Romania, and even the United States and Canada.

Through your participation in FAST Forward, countless lives will be impacted – from the poor farmer in Latin America who can now grow enough food to eat, to the young person in your church who now has a better understanding of poverty. Sign up for this important program today.

For Leaders

WHY DO FASTFORWARD?

  • You want to play an active role in ending world hunger

  • You want to build unity among your youth group in a meaningful way

  • You want to draw your group closer to God

If these statements are true for you, then FASTForward is an event that can help you meet your goals.

FASTForward raises money for, and awareness of, world hunger. As a result, your participation will really make a difference in the world. Your youth group will have the chance to educate their friends and family about the realities of poverty around the world. They will also have the chance to financially support World Renew’s ministry, so that more people will be able to escape poverty permanently.

FASTForward builds unity by bringing your youth group together in a meaningful way. As young people get a glimpse of what hunger is like, and spend time together volunteering and studying the Bible, they grow closer together through their shared experiences.

FASTForward is not only about creating more awareness of hunger and poverty, it is also about understanding and learning what it means to be followers and image-bearers of God. By fasting and spending time in prayer and Bible study, your young people will have an opportunity to meditate on God’s promises for them and be drawn into a life of service for Christ.

FACTS ABOUT FASTING

Most people will be able to go without food for 24 hours without any negative effects. However, it is not recommended for:

  • children under the age of 12

  • the elderly

  • women who are pregnant or nursing

  • people with specific medical conditions including diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia, other medical conditions that are associated with or could precipitate hypoglycemia, or eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

If you have any health-related questions about fasting or are regularly under a doctor’s care for any of the above medical conditions, you are strongly advised to consult your family doctor before taking part.

What is fasting? Fasting is the act of abstaining from food. There are various types of ways to fast. The one that we suggest you use for FASTForward is a juice fast. This fast means that you go without food for 24 hours, but do drink plenty of juice to keep your body hydrated.

Fasting is a way for you to focus your thoughts, prayers and efforts as your body goes without food. This is a way to draw near to God by focussing on spiritually nourishing your body. It is also a way for you to experience what real hunger feels like, so that you can empathize with the many people around the world who are hungry.

There are many scriptural references to fasting in the Bible. The following is not a complete list but is a good place to start.

Matthew 6:16-18
Matthew 9:16-17
Matthew 17:20-21
Daniel 9:3, 20
Ezra 8:21-23
Isaiah 58
Judges 20:26-28
Psalms 35:13
Mark 9:29

If you have additional questions about fasting, why not read up on it at your local library or talk to your pastor or other theologian to see what they have to say?

SCHEDULING SUGGESTIONS

Today

Register:
Make sure to register your school or youth group with World Renew’s FASTForward project. This will help World Renew to know who is using the materials, and will also make sure that you get the support you need from us. To register, email fastfoward@crcna.org
 

Two months to go:

Review:
Review the FASTForward materials with your group and order any additional materials you might need.
 
Promote:
Talk to your church deacons about promoting your FAST. Ask them to consider holding an offering for World Renew the Sunday after your FAST. 
 
Delegate:
Gather a group of volunteers to plan your FASTForward event and delegate tasks to them. Ask some to help with planning activities, others to plan a service project, others to promote your FAST to the media and community, others to arrange the "break-fast" meal, and others to co-ordinate the fundraising. Ask each of these groups to start planning and to report back to the rest of the group at regular intervals.
 
Set Goals:
Set your group's fundraising goal, and ask each participant to set an individual goal. 
 
Distribute:
Distribute the pledge sheets to each participant and build enthusiasm for the significance of this event.
 

One Month To Go

Advertise!
Your youth have been gathering sponsors for the past few weeks. Reinforce their efforts with pulpit and bulletin announcements encouraging all your members and other groups to participate. Encourage your youth to approach school friends and their family’s business associates. You could ask local businesses to donate juice for the FAST or food for the "break fast" meal. You could also ask businesses to give a financial donation, or to match money that your group raises. 
 
Contact local media:
Invite them to participate in your FAST and challenge them to join the fight against world hunger by covering your event. Provide them with information about the purpose and goal of your FAST, as well as a schedule of the events that you have planned.
 
Touch Base:
Meet with your volunteers to touch base on the various activities that are planned. Adjust your 24-Hour timetable as necessary. 
 
Get Permission:
Now that more details are known obtain parental consent for participation in the FAST from your group members as necessary.
 

The Fast is Here!

FAST:
Participate with your group on the first weekend in November (or any other date that you have chosen) 
 

After the Fast

Collect money:
Continue to raise money. Just ask your group members to have all their funds turned in one week after your event. 
 
Send in Donations:
Send a check for the funds you’ve collected, along with your pledge sheets, to:
 
World Renew Canada
3475 Mainway, PO Box 5070, STN LCD 1
Burlington, ON  L7R 3Y8  
 
World Renew USA
1700 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
 
Thank:
Thank your FASTForward participants for their enthusiastic involvement. Make a bulletin or pulpit announcement of appreciation to your church members, sponsors, and volunteers.

MAKE A POINT TO DELEGATE

Get others involved!

This is an important part of organizing and participating in FASTForward. If you delegate responsibilities, you will help spread the excitement. Gather a group of interested people and ask them to volunteer. Designate a leader, chairperson, or committee to take over various responsibilities. The more people you involve in the planning, the better the event and your experience will be. Here are some of the tasks you may encounter.

Promotion

Informing local churches of FASTForward through posters, bulletin announcements, and newsletter articles is very important. You may want to prepare a press release and announcement for local newspapers and television or radio stations.

Registration

This can include things like contacting possible participants, distributing sponsor sheets, preparing schedules, and collecting pledges.

Facilities

This involves setting up FASTForward – obtaining a room or area in which to hold the event, securing tables and chairs, providing supplies and equipment, getting keys, decorating, and overseeing cleanup.

Food/Drink

Because this is a fast, there is very little food and drink that is necessary for the duration of the fast. Juice should be provided throughout the fast to keep people hydrated. The food/drink volunteers should also plan the "Break-Fast" meal. 

Worship/Music

Possible responsibilities can include coordinating worship events, leading or signing up music leaders, printing song sheets or finding song books, and making photocopies of various texts. These volunteers can also be responsible for leading the Bible Study and group discussion time (see "Hunger Resources" for more information).

Activities

Responsibilities may involve ordering and organizing materials needed for games and any learning activities you may want to include. You may want to arrange for a guest speaker or film, or volunteer for an organization in your community.

ACTIVITIES

The 24 hours of your FAST are an ideal time to talk about hunger, volunteer in your community, study your Bible, and get to know each other a bit better. Be creative as you come up with activities to fill your FAST with. Then email us your best ideas, so that we can share them with other churches.

Here are a few activity suggestions to get you started.
 

Hunger No More

Hunger No More is a uniquely cooperative effort of 23 churches and organizations, to get people talking about issues related to hunger, poverty, and powerlessness. The Christian Reformed Church is one of these sponsors. 
Click here to get activity suggestions, stories, and current data. Don’t be afraid to check out the "children’s resources", some of them would be great for youth and adults too.

Copies of the Hunger No More study guide are also available from the Christian Reformed office of Social Justice. Click here for more information on how to contact them.

Banana Splits - This is a 30-minute introduction to trade issues using bananas as an example of the way that world trade works to the disadvantage of poor farmers and their families. Click here to download the pdf document.
 
Food Distribution Exercise - This activity and discussion guide provides a visual example of how the world’s food and wealth are distributed. Click here to download the pdf document. 
Enough for Everyone - This activity builds on the Food Distribution Exercise. In this game, students play a variation of musical chairs where they are encouraged to work together to share increasingly limited resources. This cooperation is designed to promote discussion about sharing and how people treat on another. Click here to download the pdf document.

Volunteer – Use a portion of your 24 hours to contribute to your community. Be active in responding to hunger by volunteering at a local soup kitchen, food pantry, or homeless shelter.

Bible Study & Prayer –  FASTForward is not only about creating more of an awareness of the hunger and poverty in your community and the world. It is also about understanding and learning what it means to be followers and image-bearers of God. Here are some scripture passages that talk about helping those who are in need. Suggest them for quiet meditation, or during your discussion to help your youth group FASTForward into a life of service for Christ.

  • Deuteronomy 15:7-8

  • Deuteronomy 26:12

  • Proverbs 31:8

  • Isaiah 61:1-4

  • Lamentations 4:1-4

  • Matthew 25:31-46

  • Luke 4:18-19

  • 1 Corinthians 12:1-26

  • Philippians 2:13

  • Hebrews 13:16

  • James 2:14-17

  • 1 John 3:16-18

Please also use a portion of your FAST time to pray for those who are hungry in your community and around the world. Pray for local, national, and world leaders that they may make good decisions about helping those in poverty. Pray also that you make be able to make good decisions in your own lives.

Speak Up!

You can use your time during the FAST to advocate for those who are hungry. This could include participating in an offering of letters for Bread for the World. This annual activity encourages churches of various denominations to send letters to elected officials about specific legislation or policies that pertain to hunger in the United States and around the world. Bread for the World offers a video workshop to help you get started, and you can then write your letters together mentioning your fast. 

Those FASTing in Canada, could browse the "Global Issues" section of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank site and use the tips listed there to engage with members of parliament.

The main goal is to contact your elected officials during the FAST and talk about hunger issues. Feel free to be creative (call your local politician to tell him why you are FASTing, or create a video message to send to your federal government), as long as you use this opportunity to speak up for those who are hungry.

Thank your Donors

The people who have supported your FAST have played an important part in making it possible. Why not use a portion of your 24 hours to write thank-you notes to those who have donated items, supported the FAST with prayer, and/or contributed financially by sponsoring the participants.

What Other’s Have Done

Information is not yet available. If you have an activity suggestion that worked for your FAST, send it to us at fastforward@crcna.org.  We'll post it here.

GUIDELINES FOR BREAKING A FAST

When you haven’t eaten for awhile, it is important to introduce food to your body in a careful way. Read these instructions to your group before you break your fast.

  • Do not overeat. Your digestive tract has slowed down and your stomach is in the process of shrinking. It can not handle a large amount of food.

  • Break the fast with liquids and a very light, low-calorie meal of bland, cooked foods. Rice is a good choice. Pizza is not. Avoid rich foods.

  • Slowly reintroduce your body to fruit, eggs, cheese, and small quantities of meat.

As you break your fast, take the opportunity to share with each other about what you’ve learned and experienced. Use some of these questions to guide your discussion:

  • How did you feel physically?

  • How did it feel to be hungry?

  • What did you learn about the connection between food and compassion?

  • What insights have you gained from reflecting and meditating on Scripture?

  • How can you take these lessons into your regular life?

  • What things can you do to continue to fight world hunger?

THANKING YOUR SPONSORS

Thanking the people who supported your FAST is an important part of the experience. Their prayer and efforts helped the FAST get planned and carried out. In addition, their funds will help your FAST to have a larger impact on the world, by fighting hunger through World Renew’s programs.

As you prepare for your FAST and develop a list of activities to fill the 24 hours, why not set aside some time to write thank-you cards to everyone who supported the FAST. These cards could express your gratitude, as well as share some of the things that you have learned while participating in the FAST. Consider sharing one of the Bible verses that you studied, or talk about the way that their gift will help fight hunger through World Renew’s ministry.

WHERE TO GO FROM HERE

When we think of all the problems in the world, we can easily be overwhelmed by all the need. We feel frustrated and powerless by the complexity of issues that are involved. You already have made a difference by participating in FASTForward, but don’t stop there. You and your youth group can continue to make a difference both locally (in your own community) and worldwide. 

Pick a Place/Pick A Person:
Choose one place or one person around whom to center your learning about world poverty and justice issues. World Renew is working in many countries. Focus on one of them. Become a partner in ministry through prayer and support with a staff person there. Or, if you’d rather, you can support work closer to home. Find a Christian Community Development organization in your community and get involved.

Pray:
Go through the newspaper and pray about specific situations you find there.

Put Your Pen To Work For The Poor:
A letter to your elected representative, to your local newspaper, to your city councilperson, or to your church magazine or newsletter will bring the issue to the attention of others as they read your comments.

Stay Informed:
Visit websites like World Renew's often to keep up-to-date on issues of social justice. The Christian Reformed Office of Social Justice website provides you with action steps that you can take to combat injustice, and ideas you can use to talk to others about these issues.

Be A Catalyst:
Encourage others in your church to join the fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Give Wisely:
Give to organizations like World Renew which are committed to dealing with the root causes of hunger and poverty and making a permanent difference in people’s lives.

Commit To Act:
We all have great intentions and very busy lives. Commit yourself before the Lord to act on one thing for the poor this year.

Participate:
Ask your congregation to join other Christians in commemorating World Hunger Week in November each year. Contact World Renew for more information.

For Participants

WHY DO FAST FORWARD?

  • You want to play an active role in ending world hunger

  • You want to build unity among your youth group in a meaningful way

  • You want to draw your group closer to God

If these statements are true for you, then FAST Forward is an event that can help you meet your goals.

FASTForward raises money for, and awareness of, world hunger. As a result, your participation will really make a difference in the world. Your youth group will have the chance to educate their friends and family about the realities of poverty around the world. They will also have the chance to financially support World Renew’s ministry, so that more people will be able to escape poverty permanently.

FASTForward builds unity by bringing your youth group together in a meaningful way. As young people get a glimpse of what hunger is like, and spend time together volunteering and studying the Bible, they grow closer together through their shared experiences.

FASTForward is not only about creating more awareness of hunger and poverty, it is also about understanding and learning what it means to be followers and image-bearers of God. By fasting and spending time in prayer and Bible study, your young people will have an opportunity to meditate on God’s promises for them and be drawn into a life of service for Christ.

FACTS ABOUT FASTING

Most people will be able to go without food for 24 hours without any negative effects. However, it is not recommended for:

  • children under the age of 12

  • the elderly

  • women who are pregnant or nursing

  • people with specific medical conditions including diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia, other medical conditions that are associated with or could precipitate hypoglycemia, or eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

If you have any health-related questions about fasting or are regularly under a doctor’s care for any of the above medical conditions, you are strongly advised to consult your family doctor before taking part.

What is fasting? Fasting is the act of abstaining from food. There are various types of ways to fast. The one that we suggest you use for FAST Forward is a juice fast. This fast means that you go without food for 24 hours, but do drink plenty of juice to keep your body hydrated.

Fasting is a way for you to focus your thoughts, prayers and efforts as your body goes without food. This is a way to draw near to God by focussing on spiritually nourishing your body. It is also a way for you to experience what real hunger feels like, so that you can empathize with the many people around the world who are hungry.

There are many scriptural references to fasting in the Bible. The following is not a complete list but is a good place to start.

Matthew 6:16-18
Matthew 9:16-17
Matthew 17:20-21
Daniel 9:3, 20
Ezra 8:21-23
Isaiah 58
Judges 20:26-28
Psalms 35:13
Mark 9:29

If you have additional questions about fasting, why not read up on it at your local library or talk to your pastor or other theologian to see what they have to say?

THANKING YOUR SPONSORS

Thanking the people who supported your FAST is an important part of the experience. Their prayer and efforts helped the FAST get planned and carried out. In addition, their funds will help your FAST to have a larger impact on the world, by fighting hunger through World Renew’s programs.

As you prepare for your FAST and develop a list of activities to fill the 24 hours, why not set aside some time to write thank-you cards to everyone who supported the FAST. These cards could express your gratitude, as well as share some of the things that you have learned while participating in the FAST. Consider sharing one of the Bible verses that you studied, or talk about the way that their gift will help fight hunger through World Renew’s ministry.

PLEDGE FORM

Scroll to down the page to download the Pledge form (PDF) that can be used to record sponsors, how much they pledged, and how much you collect after the event. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and view this file.

WHERE TO GO FROM HERE

When we think of all the problems in the world, we can easily be overwhelmed by all the need. We feel frustrated and powerless by the complexity of issues that are involved. You already have made a difference by participating in FAST Forward, but don’t stop there. You and your youth group can continue to make a difference both locally (in your own community) and worldwide. 

Pick a Place/Pick A Person:
Choose one place or one person around whom to center your learning about world poverty and justice issues. World Renew is working in many countries. Focus on one of them. Become a partner in ministry through prayer and support with a staff person there. Or, if you’d rather, you can support work closer to home. Find a Christian Community Development organization in your community and get involved.

Pray:
Go through the newspaper and pray about specific situations you find there.

Put Your Pen To Work For The Poor:
A letter to your elected representative, to your local newspaper, to your city councilperson, or to your church magazine or newsletter will bring the issue to the attention of others as they read your comments.

Stay Informed:
Visit websites like World Renew's often to keep up-to-date on issues of social justice. The Christian Reformed Office of Social Justice website provides you with action steps that you can take to combat injustice, and ideas you can use to talk to others about these issues.

Be A Catalyst:
Encourage others in your church to join the fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Give Wisely:
Give to organizations like World Renew which are committed to dealing with the root causes of hunger and poverty and making a permanent difference in people’s lives.

Commit To Act:
We all have great intentions and very busy lives. Commit yourself before the Lord to act on one thing for the poor this year.

Participate:
Ask your congregation to join other Christians in commemorating World Hunger Week in November each year. Contact World Hunger for more information.