Youth Group Lock-in’s + a giveaway

youth pastor meme

Yesterday, we shared this Youth Ministry Meme on our Facebook page, and it got a pretty great response from people sharing and commenting on it all day. But it also pointed out two huge school’s of thought when it comes to Youth Ministry Lock-In’s.

When people commented on this picture, it was almost always along the lines of “LOL so true” or the opposite “They talked to the wrong Youth Pastors, I love Lock-in’s.”

So we wanted to get more peoples thoughts and opinions on Lock-in’s: for them or against them?

Vote in our poll, but then share your thoughts in the comments, tell us WHY you like Lock-ins or WHAT it is about them that you loathe.

One random comment will be chosen Friday at 5 pm EST using random.org and will win a sweet “Youth Ministry Lock-in readiness” prize package:

[list type=”bullet”]

  • $10 Starbucks gift card (you know, to stay awake when you hold that lock-in or take your spouse on a date)
  • $10 iTunes gift card (for new music for the lock-in, or rent a movie with your spouse)
  • And a copy of Mark Driscoll’s “Doctrine”

[/list]

Congrats to Ryan Honeycutt! You were the 2nd comment, and 2 was the number drawn on random.org! We’ll be getting in touch with you shortly to get your prize to you!

90 Comments

  1. Ugh, I would so rather be in bed. I think Lock-ins can be extremely effective, if done right, at deepening student/leader and student/student relationships, as well as building new ones, but the only way I would do any more is if I got that Sunday Morning off.
  2. Ugh, I would so rather be in bed. I think Lock-ins can be extremely effective, if done right, at deepening student/leader and student/student relationships, as well as building new ones, but the only way I would do any more is if I got that Sunday Morning off.
  3. I really do enjoy lock-ins. They are a great way to draw in youth who may not come to other events. Our last lock-in was spectacular, in fact it was too well attended!! We had 100 students (had only planned for about 50). If/when we do another lock-in we will have to split it up between MS and HS.
  4. I really do enjoy lock-ins. They are a great way to draw in youth who may not come to other events. Our last lock-in was spectacular, in fact it was too well attended!! We had 100 students (had only planned for about 50). If/when we do another lock-in we will have to split it up between MS and HS.
      • I had 4 or 5 of my core students really get on board and inviting everyone they knew. They did a facebook blitz and all that got some excitement going for it!
  5. I am actually in the process of planning our FIRST ever lock-in with the 6th-12th graders in 2 weeks! I think I am more excited than the students are(or at least AS excited) for this epic event. I am looking forward to fun games, food, conversations, and movies with the youth that I care so much about. Bring it on!!
    • Separate the 6,7,& 8th graders to a different night and change the games and talks to be age appropriate. Leave the high schoolers for their own lock-in, games, talks, worship, etc...
  6. I am actually in the process of planning our FIRST ever lock-in with the 6th-12th graders in 2 weeks! I think I am more excited than the students are(or at least AS excited) for this epic event. I am looking forward to fun games, food, conversations, and movies with the youth that I care so much about. Bring it on!!
    • Separate the 6,7,& 8th graders to a different night and change the games and talks to be age appropriate. Leave the high schoolers for their own lock-in, games, talks, worship, etc...
  7. I've loved the lock-in's that we've done in the past! We do them in New Year's Eve until New Year's day at 9 am. They are a blast until everyone starts running out of energy around 3-4am. They then become less of a blast, but always memorable for sure.
  8. I've loved the lock-in's that we've done in the past! We do them in New Year's Eve until New Year's day at 9 am. They are a blast until everyone starts running out of energy around 3-4am. They then become less of a blast, but always memorable for sure.
  9. I love the results of a lock-in retreat. Especially since going to camp retreats can be more difficult and costly to set up. It also appeals to more students in their schedules and safety concerns to be a one-nighter, local. But OH, when they are leaving in the AM all the youth will say," Ms. Charlie let's do this again next month!" As I am dragging my dark shadowed, red eyes to complete the clean up and go home! Lock ins are very draining on YM and core team spiritually and physically.
  10. I love the results of a lock-in retreat. Especially since going to camp retreats can be more difficult and costly to set up. It also appeals to more students in their schedules and safety concerns to be a one-nighter, local. But OH, when they are leaving in the AM all the youth will say," Ms. Charlie let's do this again next month!" As I am dragging my dark shadowed, red eyes to complete the clean up and go home! Lock ins are very draining on YM and core team spiritually and physically.
  11. Very well thought out lockins can be very effective in building closeness and community for the students and adult volunteers... but "very well thought out" are the key words there. Yes there needs to be down time or hang out time but even that can be purposefully planned. I've seen too many lockins turn into a free-for-all around midnight and end up frusterating everyone involved. They also don't have to be super deep or turn into a cry-fest to be effective. Just know what you're trying to accomplish with it from the start and prepare/plan accordingly. But event still... for me, I don't often do them. If ever. In fact I work hard to avoid them. There are many other ways to effectively reach students for Jesus and build community without making the church smell like sweaty gym socks for 2 weeks.
  12. Very well thought out lockins can be very effective in building closeness and community for the students and adult volunteers... but "very well thought out" are the key words there. Yes there needs to be down time or hang out time but even that can be purposefully planned. I've seen too many lockins turn into a free-for-all around midnight and end up frusterating everyone involved. They also don't have to be super deep or turn into a cry-fest to be effective. Just know what you're trying to accomplish with it from the start and prepare/plan accordingly. But event still... for me, I don't often do them. If ever. In fact I work hard to avoid them. There are many other ways to effectively reach students for Jesus and build community without making the church smell like sweaty gym socks for 2 weeks.
  13. My key focuses: 1. Tie lock-in to something bigger than just games (30 hour famine, morning service project, youth sharing their faith - we call it "spotlight night" where they give testimonies). 2. Find balance of "all plays" where interaction is forced and you have to connect with people you don't know well, and free time with parameters for where you can go with supervision. Overall, they can be great times for extra growth relationally and spiritually if they aren't just focused on super crazy fun. I'm for them - if they have a bigger purpose. The "just fun" lock-ins have done far worse in getting new kids to come back then lock-ins with actual depth. The purposeful lock-ins with depth show new kids that this is all for something bigger than fun (which they can have anywhere).
  14. My key focuses: 1. Tie lock-in to something bigger than just games (30 hour famine, morning service project, youth sharing their faith - we call it "spotlight night" where they give testimonies). 2. Find balance of "all plays" where interaction is forced and you have to connect with people you don't know well, and free time with parameters for where you can go with supervision. Overall, they can be great times for extra growth relationally and spiritually if they aren't just focused on super crazy fun. I'm for them - if they have a bigger purpose. The "just fun" lock-ins have done far worse in getting new kids to come back then lock-ins with actual depth. The purposeful lock-ins with depth show new kids that this is all for something bigger than fun (which they can have anywhere).
  15. Love Lock Ins. They allow outsiders to connect and allow you to offer a positive way to spend a weekend evening. Also, they are ridiculously easy to plan. Pizza + Movie + Dodgeball + Laser Tag = Lock In. DONE
  16. Love Lock Ins. They allow outsiders to connect and allow you to offer a positive way to spend a weekend evening. Also, they are ridiculously easy to plan. Pizza + Movie + Dodgeball + Laser Tag = Lock In. DONE
  17. I believe your endurance and love is proven when you can stay up all night, play ping pong, hide-and-seek, capture the flag or whatever it may be with your youth which then opens the door to true ministry! We've got to meet them where they are, and they love staying up all night! This weekend will be my first time as a youth pastor doing a lockin!
  18. I believe your endurance and love is proven when you can stay up all night, play ping pong, hide-and-seek, capture the flag or whatever it may be with your youth which then opens the door to true ministry! We've got to meet them where they are, and they love staying up all night! This weekend will be my first time as a youth pastor doing a lockin!
  19. It's one of our biggest outreach components of the year. Gotta love them for the sacrifice of my leaders and their sleep. Once a year is enough for us.
  20. It's one of our biggest outreach components of the year. Gotta love them for the sacrifice of my leaders and their sleep. Once a year is enough for us.
  21. I actually REALLY like them. It's seriously one of the best ways of getting people from the community in. We like to do 30 Hour Famine, so they stay up all night starving. An even greater idea--smelly and STARVING teenagers! ;) They actually get REALLY into it. And I don't mind staying up all night. Caffeine and I are bffs.
  22. I actually REALLY like them. It's seriously one of the best ways of getting people from the community in. We like to do 30 Hour Famine, so they stay up all night starving. An even greater idea--smelly and STARVING teenagers! ;) They actually get REALLY into it. And I don't mind staying up all night. Caffeine and I are bffs.
  23. I'm all for Lock-ins that involve sleeping. My students know I love them, but its tough to love them at 4 in the morning.
  24. I'm all for Lock-ins that involve sleeping. My students know I love them, but its tough to love them at 4 in the morning.
  25. I'm actually still recovering from a lock-in we did last night. One of our key students is moving out of state this week and she requested it as a parting gift. A fun thing I tried for the first time was a "paint fight" - everyone showed up in old clothes and brought some form of (non-toxic) paint with a method of attack (water pistols, a bucket with a stick, squeeze tubes, etc.) and we turned them loose... I got a few comments that it was "the most fun they had ever had, ever." Clean-up took some time, but everybody got a cool souvenir of a paint splattered shirt to take home. I don't mind the staying up all night, but I have noticed that as I get older I don't bounce back nearly as quickly. We do two or three a year on average, one of which is 30 Hour Famine, and I agree completely that having a "cause" is always preferable to a random lock-in for the sake of staying up all night... starving teenagers are a bit more quarrelsome than over-caffeinated sugar soaked ones though...
  26. I'm actually still recovering from a lock-in we did last night. One of our key students is moving out of state this week and she requested it as a parting gift. A fun thing I tried for the first time was a "paint fight" - everyone showed up in old clothes and brought some form of (non-toxic) paint with a method of attack (water pistols, a bucket with a stick, squeeze tubes, etc.) and we turned them loose... I got a few comments that it was "the most fun they had ever had, ever." Clean-up took some time, but everybody got a cool souvenir of a paint splattered shirt to take home. I don't mind the staying up all night, but I have noticed that as I get older I don't bounce back nearly as quickly. We do two or three a year on average, one of which is 30 Hour Famine, and I agree completely that having a "cause" is always preferable to a random lock-in for the sake of staying up all night... starving teenagers are a bit more quarrelsome than over-caffeinated sugar soaked ones though...
  27. Our students love lock-ins.......there is no other event that they request besides a lock-in! So we have begun tying in a cause like 30-hour famine and make the "lock-in" part of that. It is amazing to see teenagers FAST and try to stay up all night! So if your a YP looking to settle your students down late at night, tie it into 30 hour famine hahahaha the lack of food will take a toll on their energy.
  28. Our students love lock-ins.......there is no other event that they request besides a lock-in! So we have begun tying in a cause like 30-hour famine and make the "lock-in" part of that. It is amazing to see teenagers FAST and try to stay up all night! So if your a YP looking to settle your students down late at night, tie it into 30 hour famine hahahaha the lack of food will take a toll on their energy.
  29. As a non-American, I wasn't familiar with the term lock-in till a few months ago when I came across it in a post. Can someone explain to me what a lock-in is exactly? I'm gathering it has something to do with spending a night with teens?
    • Classic Lock-in is students arrive in the evening and are picked up in the morning and chaos ensues between. When I was in Youth Group, they would often have movies playing in one room, games in another room, and whatever you want in a third room. Sometimes, the whole group would participate in activities together, but more often than not, they wouldnt. That to me is the classic lock-in, put a bunch of teenagers in the same space and fill them with sugar to stay up all night.
      • Ok, thanks for clearing that up. I figured as much, but just wanted to make sure. We've done this a couple of times in my youth group in Holland (esp all night movie fests) but not that often.
  30. As a non-American, I wasn't familiar with the term lock-in till a few months ago when I came across it in a post. Can someone explain to me what a lock-in is exactly? I'm gathering it has something to do with spending a night with teens?
    • Classic Lock-in is students arrive in the evening and are picked up in the morning and chaos ensues between. When I was in Youth Group, they would often have movies playing in one room, games in another room, and whatever you want in a third room. Sometimes, the whole group would participate in activities together, but more often than not, they wouldnt. That to me is the classic lock-in, put a bunch of teenagers in the same space and fill them with sugar to stay up all night.
      • Ok, thanks for clearing that up. I figured as much, but just wanted to make sure. We've done this a couple of times in my youth group in Holland (esp all night movie fests) but not that often.
  31. All-nighters (as they are called around here) are great ways to get to know the youth more. It's nice to observe the youth interacting with each other for more than a couple of hours, and there are some great conversations that happen.
  32. All-nighters (as they are called around here) are great ways to get to know the youth more. It's nice to observe the youth interacting with each other for more than a couple of hours, and there are some great conversations that happen.
  33. I hate doing just a lock in, after a while its getting boring just playing hide and seek, or last man standing...when a lock in is full of activity and tied in with something then its great
  34. I hate doing just a lock in, after a while its getting boring just playing hide and seek, or last man standing...when a lock in is full of activity and tied in with something then its great
  35. I love lock ins because at what other time do you get to see trees being themselves for 10-12 hrs at a time? These events are great for building the relationships needed to have an effective ministry.
  36. I love lock ins because at what other time do you get to see trees being themselves for 10-12 hrs at a time? These events are great for building the relationships needed to have an effective ministry.
  37. I'll be honest, deep down I hate lock in's, but at the end of the day I know they are great activities for teens and can be great outreach opportunities. The thing I hate is when that 2am time rolls around, the jr. high students are bored from all your "planned activities" and start to make their own crazy ones which usually ends in someone getting hurt.
  38. I'll be honest, deep down I hate lock in's, but at the end of the day I know they are great activities for teens and can be great outreach opportunities. The thing I hate is when that 2am time rolls around, the jr. high students are bored from all your "planned activities" and start to make their own crazy ones which usually ends in someone getting hurt.
  39. I love me a lock-in. I just love them once or twice a year. Any more then that is just crazy. My students would do them more. Hard to find enough leaders for those. I always have new students show up at them.
  40. I love me a lock-in. I just love them once or twice a year. Any more then that is just crazy. My students would do them more. Hard to find enough leaders for those. I always have new students show up at them.
  41. I have 4 kids at home. As awesome as lock-ins can be, there is zero chance that my little kids are understanding why dad has to sleep all day and miss another day with them. So, we do all-nighters, students love them, I think they are a great new kid tool, but I try to include some sleep for me at some point.
  42. I have 4 kids at home. As awesome as lock-ins can be, there is zero chance that my little kids are understanding why dad has to sleep all day and miss another day with them. So, we do all-nighters, students love them, I think they are a great new kid tool, but I try to include some sleep for me at some point.
  43. Even though the night itself is often times super painful, I just can't argue with the results. We get a huge amount of students from the community to come and hang out all night, and get exposed to the Gospel during it. I will say this though, if something else of equal impact worked, I would definitely do that! hah
  44. Even though the night itself is often times super painful, I just can't argue with the results. We get a huge amount of students from the community to come and hang out all night, and get exposed to the Gospel during it. I will say this though, if something else of equal impact worked, I would definitely do that! hah
  45. Lock-ins tend to be a poor use of volunteer resources. I'd rather my volunteers spend 24 one-hour experiences with teenagers than one 24-hour experience. We're in this thing for the long run, so it makes sense for us to keep that focus as we spend our resources.
  46. Lock-ins tend to be a poor use of volunteer resources. I'd rather my volunteers spend 24 one-hour experiences with teenagers than one 24-hour experience. We're in this thing for the long run, so it makes sense for us to keep that focus as we spend our resources.
  47. I agree 100% with Bill Murawski. We do have over night events, but they always involve sleep. I would rather 24 effective, everyone at their best, 1 hour moments than 1 24 hour experience where half of it is filled with drama and everyone tired. Does that mean we won't do them? No, but it's not high on our priority list.
  48. I agree 100% with Bill Murawski. We do have over night events, but they always involve sleep. I would rather 24 effective, everyone at their best, 1 hour moments than 1 24 hour experience where half of it is filled with drama and everyone tired. Does that mean we won't do them? No, but it's not high on our priority list.
  49. I love lockins! At our last one, we scheduled shifts to "escape" with the teens to the McDonalds across town. They absolutely loved it.
  50. We do one lock-in a year, on new Year's Eve from 8 pm to 7 am. A few years ago, we were doing that lock-in with about 20 kids and questioning whether we should quit them. But we decided to refocus and keep them up and a few years later, we have approx. 160-180 teens, many of which have never been to our church before. And we've had several students a year connect to our ministry beyond the event. So it's become an annual year-kickoff event that we wouldn't miss! (but having said that, we only do the ONE lock-in! Lol)
  51. We do one lock-in a year, on new Year's Eve from 8 pm to 7 am. A few years ago, we were doing that lock-in with about 20 kids and questioning whether we should quit them. But we decided to refocus and keep them up and a few years later, we have approx. 160-180 teens, many of which have never been to our church before. And we've had several students a year connect to our ministry beyond the event. So it's become an annual year-kickoff event that we wouldn't miss! (but having said that, we only do the ONE lock-in! Lol)
  52. Being fairly new to youth ministry, I have not had the opportunity to do a lock-in yet. They seemed to be fairly common at the church before I arrived, but, from what I can tell, were nothing more than excuses to play hide-and-seek in the church. I have four small children, so I would rather be at home where I am needed than sleeping in our scary old building.
  53. Being fairly new to youth ministry, I have not had the opportunity to do a lock-in yet. They seemed to be fairly common at the church before I arrived, but, from what I can tell, were nothing more than excuses to play hide-and-seek in the church. I have four small children, so I would rather be at home where I am needed than sleeping in our scary old building.

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