Kickoff Summer with a Lock-OUT

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Your students are ready to be out of school and enjoying summer break.  Let’s be honest, we are ready for it too!  Every week at youth as the school years draws closer and closer to closing, you can feel the excited, restless tension in the air with students.  

Summer time is a prime time for youth ministry between trips, laid back schedules, and such this is a good time to cultivate relationships with students and help them accelerate in their faith!  However, every youth leader faces the same predicament each summer of what exactly is the perfect kick-off to start the summer.  

Every summer I begin the same way, with a lock-OUT.  Yes, I know it is tiring, but here are all the reasons to do one as well as some tips!

1) Last Day of School

What better way to begin the summer than the last day of school being locked OUT of the church having some fun?!

2) Intern Initiation

This is a great night to baptize the summer interns by fire in youth ministry!  They will be with students all night long getting to know them, helping, and learning the dynamics of the student ministry.

3) All of the activities you can never find an excuse to do, you finally have it!

Every 2 to 3 hours we switch activities: Pool party at a house, laser tag, bowling, putt putt, movie theatre, take over Waffle House, and worship at sunrise at a park!  A lot of these things you can knock out in 1 night of fun!

4) Cost is low

Due to it being group rates on everything, I got away with all of those activities for just $25 a piece last year!

5) Roll out the summer theme

At the sunrise worship, I have a student or 2 lead acoustic worship, and then I roll out our summer theme and verse!  It is a great way to set the pace for summer.

6) Shifts, shifts, shifts

I always have volunteers who will stay with myself and the students all night long.  However, this is the perfect time to have fresh leaders show up at each activity.  They can be involved without having to drink an extraordinary amount of Mountain Dew.

7) Post Lock-OUT crash

Let’s face it… after a busy school year our students really do need to catch up on sleep.  The whole idea of summer break is to get an actual “break.”  The sleeping that will happen the following day will help them begin the break rested.


Caroline has served in student ministry for almost 10 years, and is currently the Youth and Young Adult Minister at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, FL and co-founder of WAVES Girls Event, a conference for girls ages 14-24. Getting a call into youth ministry at age 16 in Nashville, TN led to Caroline getting a degree in Youth and Family Ministry and a certificate through PREPARE/ENRICH for Premarital Counseling at Abilene Christian University in 2009. She got her start in full time student ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. Caroline loves to encourage students in their faith, and see them be lights in their community. Some things Caroline enjoys is time on the beach, reading, sushi, coffee, traveling and time with her friends and family. You can follower her on her blog, called “Big Hare & Big Faith,”, or on Instagram and Twitter: @CarolineHare