Archives For Advice

Lock-In Ideas

Robert Thomas Quiring —  September 2, 2015

Tis the season… Lock-In season! Lock-Ins are a really amazing tool in the youth ministry tool box. My motto is don’t take it too seriously and learn from each one – even if it is your 100th. Here are some fun and serious Lock-In activities I’ve added in recent years:


Fun Ideas

  1. Whip Cream Toss – did you know when you squirt some whipped cream in your hand and fling it up in the air it Whipped Cream Tosswill fly as one cohesive unit? Split youth into pairs, give each person a can of whipped cream, and then have them take turns trying to fling the whipped cream into each other’s mouths. It is a beautiful site to see. Warning: this can turn into a rather messy affair.
  2. Frozen T-shirts – put a T-shirt in a gallon zip lock bag. Fill the bag with water. Throw it in the freezer for 24 hours. Split youth up into small teams and then give them the frozen zip locked T-shirt. The first team to put the shirt on with the body, head, and arms in all the correct holes wins. I always say they can only use their hands and the sidewalk. I use some personal old T-shirts because these shirts will be destroyed.
  3. Pizza Delivery Race – a cool way to make snack time into an activity is to have a pizza delivery race.
    • Find 3-5 pizza delivery places – write out their phone number and what you want the youth to order on separate sheets of paper.
    • Split the group up so that there is a group rooting for each pizza place.
    • Have all of the orders placed at the same time.
    • Wait and cheer as each delivery person arrives as you are doing a different activity.

    Warning: If you are going to do this for dinner then remember that if the youth whose pizza place arrives first get to eat first and the youth whose pizza place arrives last get to eat last – you will have some grumpy youth. So, plan accordingly.

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One mission trip to Honduras. One high school youth conference. One middle school youth conference. One mission trip to Sunset Gap, Tennessee. Add them all together and what do you get? My summer. (Do I hear “Amen” echoing across the reaches of the blogosphere?)

After packing and re-packing—sometimes with only a week in between—I realized how grateful I am for those items I’ve discovered that make the preparation for and experience of mission trips, conferences, and camps smoother. While I desperately wish I had Oprah-esque powers to give you all my favorite things, I can only point you in their direction.


Earplugs: While sleep is in short supply on most church trips, earplugs can drown out everything from middle school giggles to your co-leader’s supersonic snoring. Most are sold in large packs that will last through multiple trips. Some even have fancy carrying cases. Get them at your local pharmacy or my happy place, Target. Continue Reading…

I have had a couple of conversations lately that started out with someone asking me something along the lines of: “What app do you use for [something]?” or “How can I do [insert your dilemma] with my phone?” So today, I thought I would simply offer up some of my favorite go-to apps that I use all the time in the hope that they might assist you in your ministry or life.


  • Dropbox … if you are not yet using this – you need to! It eliminates the need for USB flash drives and I no longer have to email myself updated versions of sermon from home to the office on a Sunday morning. All you do is download the program, install it on your computer/tablet/phone, and then you have instant access to all the folders and files that you store. It functions as another storage drive on your device and is simple to use. Dropbox offers pay versions with additional GB storage, but the free one is plenty to get started with and they offer many incentives to get additional space if desired.

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