In my opinion, which I hope you’re asking for since you’re reading this post, lock-ins are a great tool in a small church’s youth ministry tool box. When the budget can’t afford a weekend retreat, this will do. I am still a fan.
Wearing my YM consultant hat for Youth Ministry Architects this weekend, a church asked me if I would put together a lock-in for them as part of their visioning workshop weekend.So I did…and I loved it!
I had a blast with 13 students at FUMC in Richlands, Va. Seriously! Here are 5 important pieces for planning a lock-in:
1) Theme: Giving the night a theme or personality allows room for doing cheesier things. Playing regular spoons is no big deal; playing with candy corn cards and using candy corn instead of spoons gives it an unexpected twist. Especially when people forget and eat the corn.
2) One off-property active event: During the evening, we went to a corn maze. This component fills the waking hours, tires them out, starts the event w/ a cool/fun factor and requires little on your part except for making a reservation and arranging rides.
3) A movie: Have your students get into their pj’s, grab their pillows, and put the DVD on about 1:00 or 2:00 am. More than half will fall asleep.
4) Breakfast by parents: I ask parents to come in and have breakfast ready about 6:00 am. It’s my sneaky way of getting more parents involved and guarantees that at least those parents will be on time for the 7:00 am pick up.
5) Midnight worship around the altar: It’s just cool. Students get into the glow of God in the out-of-the-norm setting. I ask yet another parent to decorate the altar with the theme in mind. Ferments the message into their minds and hearts.