Once a year, we have a lock-in for our youth group at church.  We stay up all night playing games, singing worship songs, sharing our faith, and enjoying everyone’s company.  It truly is a great time and it is a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with the teenagers in our congregation and their friends in the community. 

However, as the date of the lock-in creeps closer, I find myself getting more and more anxious.  By anxious, I mean excited.  I also mean uneasy.  Here are a few of my internal lock-in dilemmas.

1. Energy – Man, nothing gives you energy like running around with a bunch of teenagers running around on a sugar high.  For a few hours, I feel young again. 

However, nothing drains your energy like running around with a bunch of teenagers running around on a sugar high.  After a few hours, I want to find an empty room and sleep for a fortnight (I’m bringing that term back, by the way).

2. Emotions – Spending that much time with people in such an intense space makes it very easy for people to open up.  It is a great opportunity to get to know the teenagers and to really dig into their spiritual journeys.  It really gets to the heart of what youth ministry is all about.

Yet, spending 8-10 hours in a sea of teenage emotions can zap any bit of physical or emotional energy you have.  Totally, 100% worth it.  But boy is it draining.

3. One per year – It is great that we get to do these annually.  It is a wonderful opportunity to mix things up with an event that is unique and memorable.  That leaves the students wanting more.  Only having one per year also gives me time to heal and catch up on sleep.

With the level of relationship building that goes on at lock-ins, I really wish we could do it more often.  It would be great to be able to build on those connections we make and to dive deeper and deeper into their spiritual walks throughout the year.  However, I understand that special events do not work that way.  The fact that we only have one per year makes it special, memorable, and is the primary reason that attendance is always so high.

4. Soreness – There really is no upside to this category.  I am sore for weeks from all of the running up and down stairs, getting pushed around, and whatever muscles/tendons/ligaments that I may or may not pull.

Truth be told, the lock-in is my favorite event of the year.  I love being able to spend more than a few hours with the teenagers and getting to see more of who they really are.  It quickly becomes obvious why God loves them so much, and it is an enormous blessing that I get the chance to be a part of their lives.

Are you involved in any ministries that allow you to really give 100%?  Do you ever get anxious like I do?

3/15/2012 10:19:30 pm

Man, we just did Winterfest which is a Church of God big event that happens once a year in Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville. They bring in speakers and bands for Fri and Sat night plus Sunday morning. It felt like an extended lock-in getting 7 hours of sleep in 2 days, but so worth it. We were able to connect with the kids more than just a regular wednesday night. Pouring in 100% not only blesses them, it blesses us right back as we get to watch growth and progress!

Bailey McGuffin
3/24/2012 10:49:17 pm

Very nice Jamie!

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