When I first got hired, there hadn't been a youth pastor here, but my students knew about lock-ins. They asked if we could have them, and told them that we could...then I came to my senses.
I don't do lock-ins. Here's why:
- What's the Win? If the win is fun and no sleep...check! But for us, if it's not building community, or pushing our students towards serving opportunities, then it's not worth investing massive amounts of time and energy into. You could argue that lock-ins are a great opportunity to build community. And I would argue that, "have you seen when one sleep deprived junior higher hopped up on Mt. Dew can do to another?"
- What's the cost? Everything costs. It might not be a huge money cost, but it will definitely be a huge energy cost...with lots of money on top. Again, I want to put my energy and resources towards things are more than just fun. Sure, lock-ins can provide way more than just fun, but for us, there's a better avenue for that.
- Where's the growth? Most lock-ins have some sort of spiritual element to them. Usually at the end. Usually when they're exhausted and ready for some sleep. So when you're third invitation, with "I Surrender All" played on the acoustic by the cool worship guy the students start flooding down to the altar...because they just want it to end. For us, I never want to trick a student into a decision because they're exhausted and emotionally charged. I want decisions made with a sound mind, with some real emotion along with that.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Why do you love them? Why do you hate them?