Home Youth Leaders 5 Steps to a Youth Lock-in That’s Perfect for a Small Group

5 Steps to a Youth Lock-in That’s Perfect for a Small Group

3. Provide protein to keep everyone from getting hangry.

Sleep deprived and hungry is a bad combination! If you don’t want hangry kids and even hangrier adults, don’t fill the place with candy and soda. Protein is a great stabilizer and an absolute must for a successful youth lock-in.

The perfect solution is breakfast at midnight. First off, it’s just plain fun. Second, it’s easy to serve in stations, so you can easily cater to dietary issues. Plus, eggs are cheap and filling, and breakfast burritos are super-affordable.

Make some scrambled eggs. Cook up some sausage. Buy tortilla shells. And you have the start of a Breakfast Burrito Bar. Set out some toppings, and you’re all set. Gluten-free kids can skip the shells. Dairy-free kids can skip the cheese. Kids who don’t like spicy can skip the salsa. They can make their meal to order and enjoy!

4. Clearly communicate your code of conduct and the rules.

This isn’t a glamorous topic, but you’ll be glad you covered it. We recommend this three-touch strategy:

  • collect signed codes of conduct,
  • get group agreement in the large group,
  • post the rules everywhere!

At the check-in table, we collect a Code of Conduct & Medical Release Form signed by every student and parent. Parents leave a phone number that will be available during the nighttime hours, in case of a medical or conduct issue.

We share the youth lock-in rules in between the early-evening mixers. And we get group agreement. We post these lock-in rules in every room in the church:

  • Kindness is mandatory. At all times.
  • Stay with the group. We should never wonder where you are. Do not go off by yourself.
  • Do not leave the building. (You will be sent home.)
  • Boys & Girls are never allowed to pair off alone. (You will be sent home.)
  • After 2 a.m., the Quiet Room remains quiet. If people want to sleep, let them.
  • No bad language or bad songs (references to sex, drugs, vulgarity).
  • PHONES: Keep your phones at your own risk. A cell phone caddy is available for your convenience. You MAY NOT hang out on your phones, you MAY NOT be on YouTube or watch videos. You MAY NOT chat with friends who aren’t at the lock-in. You MAY take photos. You MAY post appropriate lock-in photos to your social media accounts. (If you don’t adhere to phone rules, we will lock up your phone or send you home.)
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Laurie Acker is a ministry leader and pastor’s wife in sunny Arizona. She learned pretty quickly that small church ministry can leave you exhausted and deflated, especially when you’re using resources that were never designed for small churches! After 30+ years in ministry, including children, youth, women, and worship, Laurie’s having fun helping others in small churches go from frustrated to effective with tools and strategies that work in small churches. Since 2019, she’s encouraged thousands of women in her free Facebook community for small churches, founded The Creative Little Church website full of resources for small churches, and runs Small Church Summits, where she hosts online conferences just for small church ministry. Connect with Laurie at The Creative Little Church