Maywood Covenant youth lock-in attendance increases tenfold in 4 years

IMG_9135Some might say that “youth ministry” and a “youth lock-in” go hand in hand. For many youth, few things are more exciting than staying up all night with  their friends being loud, eating junk food and playing crazy games. For youth pastors like Zach Klein of Maywood Covenant Church in Foley, MN, it is a strategic and potentially hugely influential event that is not for the faint of heart.

In 2013, when Klein started at Maywood, he was told that part of his job would be to host a lock-in for the youth group at the church. Although around 25 kids showed up to the first lock-in, Klein knew that he needed to do something different in order to bring more kids to this event and allow for the lock-in to play a bigger purpose in the lives of the students in Foley.

The following year, he decided to ask another local youth pastor, Nick Benson of New Life Church of Foley, to join forces to create a new level of excitement for the lock-in. They used the local high school’s swimming pool for part of the evening and planned for 60 students to attend. That year, the lock-in brought 93 students. They knew something was changing and agreed to keep planning for bigger and better.

The 2015 lock-in was a spectacular event. They were given permission to use the local high school for the entire night, brought in a speaker, and amped up the level of games and activities. The final count was 167 kids

“The night went off without a hitch, and we were very excited with how God worked that night,” Klein said.

IMG_9416Students had a blast, and most importantly, they deepened their relationships with Jesus. There were even several first-time commitments that evening.

God was doing huge things and Klein and Benson were ready to continue trusting that greater impact was in the future.

That is why in 2016, when 256 students showed up, Klein and Benson were not surprised. They rented inflatables, played games and even had a special concert from John Chuck & The Class. Students from the Solid Rock Discipleship Program at Lake Beauty Bible Camp were recruited to help out for the night. As an incentive to bring friends, Klein promised to let kids give him a makeover—including hair dye, makeup and waxed legs! The evening also included a special worship band and a guest speaker, Phil Johnson from the Twin Cities, who gave an altar call to which many students responded.

“This event has really shown me that God can use anyone,” Klein said. “Even two mid-20s guys can do great things for His Glory.”

After three great years at Maywood, Klein recently accepted a new call and has just moved into the position of Youth Pastor at United Covenant Church in Clear Lake, WI.