It seems many people have different definitions for “lock-in.” In fact my definition has changed quite a bit over the years. As a student a lock-in was a great event where I got to stay up all night having as much fun as I could get away with, and trust me I know how to get away with a lot. In college a lock-in was a great event where I could help students have more fun than they could possibly get away with. This was great because it added to my fun and they got busted for it, bonus. Having been through all of that I currently define a lock-in as that which must be avoided at all cost.
Now I have been very cautious to not use this phrase or anything to describe it. All of the youth pastors I work with are on the same page and we have a “no lock-in” pact. Despite all of that my students somehow came up with the idea. I don’t know if it was on their own or maybe a relative form out of the area mentioned it, but back in the fall some of them started asking about doing some kind of all night event at the church. It seemed like they were asking every week and eventually I gave them a mote of hope. I said we might do something like that for New Year’s Eve. Now I was hoping they would stop bugging me till it was too late to plan anything and then I would be able to brush it off till some later tomorrow that would never come.
Then God smiled on me with a New Year’s event that would meet my desire to avoid a lock-in and the students’ to have one. Some area churches planned a lock-in at a local multi-sport arena. It only cost $5 per person for the night and there was a lot to do so the students would be busy all night which equals less time to get in trouble. Well I jumped at it and the students got excited.
I expected about a dozen or so students so I didn’t really plan much for adult chaperons. It was just myself and one other adult. When I arrived to shuttle the students over I ad about what I was expecting and noticed a few students hadn’t shown up. I thought, great we’ll have 18 or so students, but then more and more came till we ended up with 26 total students. This is more than I could transport so we had a little logistical trouble, but I did some fancy youth pastor math and presto everyone fit in the allotted space for our short trip.
The events were great, we had soccer, basket ball, flag football, skating, dodge ball, volley ball, and a rock wall plus a bunch of other things going on. All together 240 people were there plus some event staff that didn’t have to sign in. My favorite was the rock wall. I climbed it a few times, but made the mistake of trying the hardest surface after I had climbed it a couple of times. I got to the inverted ledge and almost made it over but my feet slipped. I hung on with one hand and got my feet back on and my other hand onto the rock I was reaching for, but when I went for the next hand hold my feet slipped again and I completely lost my grip and fell. Still I feel I did good getting to the top on the second hardest run.
My students loved the trip and were all asking when the next one would be. I feel that it is well worth it so let me just say this, any youth pastors that read this, find something like this to do, your kids will love it and whoever cleans/repairs your church will love you for it.
By the way, I just want to say that at least one of my students was confused about the definition of lock-in. About 2 in the morning he asked me where everyone was sleeping. I’m pretty certain that I have never included sleep in with my definition and most people I know don’t either.
How would you define “lock-in?” Is it a good thing or bad and why?