I first posted this idea back in 2010 but it’s very worth repeating!
A long time ago, I discussed fasting as a great discipline to introduce to college students. And while there are plenty of ways to make this “vintage” practice part of your college ministry, here’s one of the bigger possibilities:
Call a college ministry-wide fast in preparation for the upcoming school year.
I recognize most of your students are likely away for the summer. But getting in touch with them may actually be easier right now, plus you don’t want anyone to feel cattle-called or peer-pressured into this one, anyway. And it’s a pretty neat way to participate in spiritual community together, even while separated by thousands of miles.
The first exposure to fasting I remember was in our youth group, where our youth ministers held an annual 40-day fast before Youth Camp. Not nearly all of us – and very few (if any) of the students – chose to fast from food. But many of us fasted from something for those 40 days.
I remember that first time we did it – and I remember how God prepared me for what He wanted to do at Youth Camp. I entered Camp with a strong sense of expectancy AND saw God move in some really exciting ways that week.
Those are three of the potential benefits of a “anticipatory fast”:
- opening ourselves to God’s preparation
- entering a new season or event with expectancy
- and then – as God sees fit – watching Him respond in cool ways to the fervency of His people
If it fits your group right now and fits your purposes, I’d encourage you to consider calling your students to a fast as you approach the school year. It could prepare everybody for an astounding fall – or at the very least, help everybody start the school year in a very special – and anticipatory – way.
I listed a few resources for learnin’ about fasting on an earlier post. I’d love to hear about other ideas / resources, too!