this year will be my 18th year for an event i created early in my ministry – 24 hours 4 Him. this is a “disciple-now type of event” where children spend from 6p.m. on friday to 6p.m. on saturday at the church in: Bible study, interactive worship, creative activities, service and much more. this year our theme is “first & greatest”, focusing on matthew 22:37-38.
while this event is well received by parents and loved by kids, there is one rule that i put in place about 10 years ago that still gets me many questions. i hope to express my purpose and heart for that rule here.
rule: children must attend all 24 hours of the event. no coming and going for other extra-curricular activities.
one exception – we do allow younger children to go home at bedtime and come back for our first event on saturday morning. this helps those that may get homesick and will get more out of the event the next day if they sleep at home with mom and dad. to clarify, this event is not a lock-in. all children go to bed at graduated bedtimes depending on age.
God deserves our being all in – there is no doubt in my mind that God deserves our commitment and focus.
minimizes disruptions – when you have various children coming and going from a classroom, worship service, service time, or activity for various reasons it inevitably disrupts what is going on for the children and leaders that do remain on campus for the entire event.
safety – we try to lock down the church to provide the safest environment possible. when children come and go at multiple times during the event, doors get left unlocked and the flow of people in and out of the building can become a safety issue.
life is full of choices – whether the child decides to come to the event or not, this rule opens the door for family conversations about choices. this is, on a small scale, a chance to discuss, decide, and practice how to make decisions and choices.
i often get the question, “could you just make this one exception?” yes, i could, but for me to remain true to my word to all those who sacrificed another event to come, i have to say no to bending of the rule. this doesn’t always make me popular, but i truly believe this is a chance to put God first and this rule also provides the best environment possible for kids and leaders.