Ten reasons why I love (and hate) our annual youth lock-in:

10. Seeing the student’s faces when they realize that they must “endure” a worship service before the real fun starts (did they actually think we would let 600 students have fun without hearing the Gospel first?)

9. Watching them genuinely respond during the worship service, minds opened to Christ, calls to ministry felt, hearts broken…then five minutes later moshing each other in the blow up obstacle course.

8. Eating enough pizza to meet my youth pastor quota each year, chances are I will eat more than one pie, just to stay awake…and midnight trips to Denny’s sure do help the heartburn.

7. Church van smells are wonderfully different– liken to the smell of McDonald’s fries mixed with dirty sock.

6. Hugging students who are sweating before 10 PM with 8 hours still left on the clock. This is where the awkward side-hug rule becomes your glorious friend.

5. Unlimited go-cart rides. It’s not the go cart action that’s my favorite, it’s the inhalation of gas fumes all night long that keeps things exciting.

4. The giant Ferris-wheel of prayer. Why prayer? Because all leaders are praying that no one is making out at the top when the thing breaks down for ten minutes.

3. Volunteers love lock-ins. It’s like the purple heart of youth ministry for them.

2. Burning red eyes keep us relevant…New Moon is coming out soon.

But the number one reason I love (and hate) our annual lock-in is…

1. The memories connect our students to our youth group for a long time (or scar them for the same duration). Either way, it’s a night no one forgets and the outcomes are definitely worth the five years of life I lose each year in spite of it.

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