by Stephanie Marinelli
Teaching youth about World Missions is more important than ever. As travel has become difficult over the last few years, we must be intentional in educating young people about different cultures. A distinct characteristic of The Salvation Army is its presence in 132 countries which presents an amazing opportunity to feel deeply connected with a global community. It is also important that youth take time to learn about various needs around the world and how they can make a difference. One of the ways to explore these topics is through Project: FAST.
Project: FAST is a program for teens to learn about fighting world hunger. Participants fast for 24 hours to get an idea of what hunger feels like. In addition to being an effective way for young people to learn about the spiritual discipline of fasting, Project: FAST teaches them about Fundraising, Awareness, and Serving Together. This program can serve as an important part of spiritual formation. Project: FAST gives teens an opportunity to spend time in meaningful worship with their peers. It provides space for young people to learn and connect with the global Church and the far-reaching ministry of the international Salvation Army.
As part of the event, participants are encouraged to raise funds for a Salvation Army project that addresses hunger or food scarcity. While not always easy, the fundraising is an opportunity for teens to be challenged. This brings perspective to the difficult circumstances our brothers and sisters face and can help develop compassion. Raising awareness through Project: FAST brings attention to World Missions in a new way for teenagers and can encourage their support through self-denial giving and participation in experiences like Summer Mission Team and Global Mission Team.
While the program is still relatively new, it has been used by corps like Oak Brook Terrace where the youth group has held Project: FAST events with significant outcomes. “I have been learning that I like helping people with nothing in return,” said one teenager who participated. “It has made me understand God’s love a little bit better.”
A comprehensive leader’s manual which contains fundraising ideas and plans for games, learning exercises, schedules and more is available. Contact the world missions department for your copy at [email protected]