I don’t know if the lock-in will ever go away for student ministries. They seem to be less frequent than they once were. And I’ve heard many student ministry leaders vow to never, ever, again, have one.
But, the fact remains, they are an inexpensive way to build community, create memories and provide and opportunity to reach out to unchurched friends.
In case you are thinking of having a lock in, here are few thoughts:
You don’t have to do a 12 hour lock-in. Think about starting at 9:00 pm or after a school basketball game. Programming from 9:00 or 10:00 pm until morning is a little easier.
Families don’t mind picking kids up early – end at 6:00 or 7:00 am?
Have a Purpose:
It’s good to know your purpose for the lock in. Is it for outreach? Is it for more of a retreat for the students? Why not have lock-ins for specific goals. An example might be a lock-in for your student ministry team – the leaders in your group who would meet for the evening to help think about and plan for the future ministry. Or the evening might be used to plan for a student led worship service or other project.
Lock-ins are great opportunities to connect with friends of your students. Be sure to register kids, get their names and contact info. It’s a great way to stay in touch and pursue them for other opportunities for growth.
Just have a late night party:
Have a Monday holiday? Instead of an all out lock-in, just have a party from 7:00 – 11:00 (or whenever). You could even arrange rides back home or just have people come pick up their kids. You have all the fun, but save all the trouble that comes with the wee hours of the morning.
Involve a Team:
Plan early and invite people to take part. Get the snack team. Get the pizza cooking team. Invite your friends to help. Set up a schedule in shifts.
What about doing a creative lock-in in homes. Pick a couple leaders home and have the guys stay in one home and the girls stay in another.
Late Night Activity:
Bus the students to a skating rink or bowling alley. You can often get good rates if you reserve a late night block of time.
Over the past few years, we have done the first “half” of several lock-ins. We will arrive, open with a worship time (7:00 – 7:45), lead community / group games (7:45 – 9:30), take a break for pizza (9:30-10:30), then have a worship service with a message to close our time there (10:30 – 11:30).
What about your student ministry? Do you do lock-ins?