I was talking with some Youth Minister friends, and I wasn’t aware of how touchy the subject of “Lock in” was. One of the group absolutely refused to do them. He told the church staff when they were interviewing him that they weren’t going to happen while he was there and that this wasn’t negotiable. That is a pretty wild stance.
Just for fun I thought I’d share why they are so dangerous.
The Youth know the church better than you
Let’s face it, Youth ministers don’t stay in church long enough to know every hiding place, but the lifers, the kids that were in cradle roll, they know every hiding place in the church. They know how to get under the platform, behind the baptistery, and even the secret entrance into your office. My advice is have the lock in, but put tracking devices on the lifers and record everywhere they go. This is your only hope of finding all the secret places.
Everything is breakable
If it says shatter resistant, this is not a guarantee. It is a challenge. You can pad the walls and only allow soft squishy things into the room, but that just raises the interest factor. Anyone can break a window with a baseball but it takes an Amp’d out Youth to break the window with a foam ball. There is really no way around this. Try to set out really cheap and extremely fragile object, but tell everyone to be super careful because they are for an upcoming wedding or something. They will all be broken by the end of the night, but hopefully nothing important will be as well.
Parents trust their kids
Parents would never let their kids bring anything dangerous, like knives, to the lock in, but they trust them enough to not perform a pat down before heading to the church. I’ve seen enough lighters and knives in Youth service to know better. As soon as the doors are locked have everyone line up for contraband searches. Look everywhere. Don’t underestimate the danger that can be hidden in shoes. TSA makes you take your shoes off and they have metal detectors.
You never have enough volunteers
I estimate that for each Youth at the lock in you need 5 volunteers, unfortunately you are doing good to have 1 volunteer for 5 youth. This is where knowing the enemy and a good plan come into play. You can’t play man to man coverage, but you can cover the known troublemakers and play a zone defense to cover the rest. Know the terrain as well as you can. If you have some idea where things will be going south you can watch those areas. Don’t be predictable either. Everyone is asleep and so you send out patrols every half an hour. This gives the Youth a set time they can be alone. Have your patrols randomly double back. This is war my friend.
Purple is the new black
So I learned a new phrase over at Stuff Christians Like., “Making Purple.” Apparently it was around years ago but I never heard it. If you don’t now, girls are red and boys are blue. When you mix red and blue you get purple. This is something you don’t want happening at your lock in. This is something your Youth want happening at the lock in. If possible attach shock collars to the guys and put zone transmitters on the girls. Then when the guys get within 5 feet of a girl they get a shock.
Power Drinks are from the Devil
Youth love power drinks … This doesn’t mean you should ban power drinks though. They will find a way to sneak them in. Instead provide the Monster until midnight. Then cut them off. The energy high will last about 1 hour followed by a crash. By 1 a.m. you will have a group of easily controlled and very sleepy teens.
I don’t know if I’m ready for a guy girl lock in. So far I can’t get people on board with the shock collars and without that I’m not sure how to stop lock in make outs. I think we will be doing separate guys and girls lock ins. That should be much safer.