When I came to my current church the youth pastor before me was very big on events. The group had a tradition of several big events a year. One of these was a winter retreat that would be during the Christmas break where students would spend 2 nights somewhere off campus.
When I started 7 years ago I did a these for a while, and then got the idea of taking all of that stuff from the weekend and condensing it into one nigh where everyone stays up and we have like 4 sermons and go out to fun places. I was all excited because I had come up with a new thing. And then it dawned on me. That event already has a name.
It’s called a Lock-in.
I guess technically ours is a Lock-out, but the idea is the same. This is the third year we have done this and the second during which we have partnered with another local church. The event was last night and it was pretty amazing. Students are so much fun to be around and they were generally willing to engage and seek after God. We did a time where we used prayer stations and it was neat to see lots of people who had never worshiped in that way before connecting with God in a new way. That was also cool because we had 75 or so kids so we set up multiple spaces that kids could wander through. Maybe it was because it was after 2 in the morning, but the students just quietly moved from space to space praying and interacting with the stations. It was pretty cool.
Of course the biggest thing about this event is the tired factor. By the time we walk back into the sanctuary at 5:00 AM after bowling and try to have another lesson it really is just pointless. I think the whole thing should end at like 4:00 AM, but I can’t convince parents to come and get their kids that early. Next year we are going to have to figure out a better way of handling that last bit of teaching time.
Our theme this year was Peter: Rock Legend and the small groups were all 80s hair band names. The trailer is included below: