The Middle Years Ministry

THE MIDDLE YEARS MINISTRY is a Site Dedicated to Providing Resources, Ideas, and Help to Next Generation Pastors, Leader, Directors, Teachers, Mentors. Our goal is to MEET YOU in the MIDDLE in the Middle Years
, the Pivotal 5th-9th Grade Years. The middle ground between children’s ministry and high school ministry. The age where 85% of people make their final life-long faith decisions.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Top 10: Reason Why I DON'T Do MS/JH Lock-Ins Anymore!?

Hello, my name is Dan and I am a recovering youth pastor.  I am recovering from a strange youth ministry addiction that has continued to sweep the nation and plague my friends and colleagues.  

It has been more ten years since my last...middle school/jr. high LOCK IN!


10. Liability: Tired kids playing, roller skating, bowling or honestly just walking across the room trying to chew gum at the same time is an accident waiting to happen.

9. Drama: Girls get catty and boys get cranky about 2am and it is ON! Nights fall apart quickly with a quick word or a quick swing!

8. Coupling: As the night drags on, the slight, usual restraint of fighting the desires of youthful lust while at church gives way to an evening of quietly sneaking off to a cozy spot of discussing each other's love language?

7. Boredom: We complain about not being glorified baby-sitters or entertainers.  Lock-ins are pretty much 10-12 hours of trying to keep everyone entertained and baby-sitting.  Inevitably, no matter how creative and amazing you are, you will hear- "I am bored!"

6. Tiredness/Recovery: For you as an adult and for your students.  It will take everyone a day or 2 or  even a week to recover from the "lock-in hangover".  Is it really worth it?   Is it fair to your own personal family?

5. Clean Up/Building Maintenance:  Nothing is more awesome than to be hanging around your building for another hour, after being up all night, cleaning up all the messes.  To top it off of course is the always the exciting conversation with your maintenance people,  board or boss explaining how exactly the sink got ripped off the wall (*true story)....or how during the game of "cops and robbers" the projector magically fell off the ceiling to hit that girl in the head (*true story)

4. Tradition: I stopped doing lock-ins because of "It is what we have always done" or "It is what the last guy did".  Sometimes things just need to take a break or die a quick death.  With tradition comes the need to outlive, live up to, or just plain live on in the past. Let's start trying new things?

3. Leadership: It is hard to get enough adults to adequately chaperone lock-ins.  Often it like "pulling teeth" to get anyone to volunteer or be guilted into coming.  Is it honestly the best use of your volunteers limited and valuable time.

2. The Pick Up: What is harder than getting adults to show up at 7pm and stay around until 7am the next morning?  Getting parents to show up at 7am the next morning to pick up their child! Nothing is better than not sleeping,  having another hour of clean up left and then waiting for parents who decide to sleep in, over-slept or are just getting in from a free overnight date night compliments of you!  (*See: "Top 10 REAL Reasons for Being Late for Pick Up?" ) 

1. Spiritual:  Some may argue with me, but I never found any great spiritual benefits from lock-ins.  None of the kids really want to listen to a sermon at 2am.  Worship earlier in the evening may be great, but after midnight it ended up pushing more emotions then deep intimacy with God.
     I just ended up having a hard time giving so much time, energy, resources, volunteers, and planning to something that really did not hold much spiritual value after it was all said in done.

You may disagree and that is fine.  These are just 10 of my own reasons why I don't do lock-ins anymore and have not done one is 10+ years.

1 comment:

  1. The value is kids love them and unless you purposely keep it quiet and only invite a handful of coarse students you will have visitors. Work that relationship and get contact information.

    Lock ins or the lead magnets of youth ministry. If you do them right you should have several students who have not been to youth in a while show up and at least one new visitor.

    So if you hold 3 lock ins a year you should be adding at least 6-10 students a year from it.

    More on that in the video.