Church deems lock-in a success

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Church leaders at "Light of the World Church" are calling Sunday night's youth lock-in a success.

They had planned for 1500 attendees — their theme was "No Teen Turned Away" — but 2000 youth showed up.

"I came here because I felt inspired," said Abraham Keita. "I heard the word of God and I was really anxious to know about it. I think this is a great opportunity for us to get close as one and become a family."

"Light of the World Church" on North Michigan Road planned the youth lock-in from 8:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. to help keep teens out of trouble and teach them a message of peace, building on the success of a similar event held back in March when nearly 1,000 teens — some from rival gangs — came together under one roof away from the violence.

Once the church hit capacity Sunday night, youth began to congregate outside the building, and that's when church leaders had to call for police.

Those who were outside were sent home to their parents, but those who were able to get in were allowed to stay.

Unfortunately, not all of the teens turned away left peacefully. A few fights broke out.

Police were called to deal with a few scuffles outside.

Inside, a peaceful celebration included a brief message from the pastor, Dr. David Hampton, and a dialogue with IMPD Chief Rick Hite and other officers about how do interact with police peacefully and respectfully.

"(We want to) spread the love of Jesus Christ and also want to give the kids an outlet," said Hampton. "These are some very talented, intelligent, articulate young people ... just an opportunity for them to express themselves in a safe environment."

The church says the situation in Ferguson, Mo. brings up a lot of issues that need to be dealt with in many communities, including Indianapolis. Giving teens positive outlets and educating them about responsible decisions can go a long way toward accomplishing that.

But, the church knows it can't do it all alone.

They would love to partner with other churches and hold a city-wide lock-in to meet the needs of every youth in the community.

"Of course, we're a church, we believe if you have a relationship with God that he can turn those things around," said Anderson Smith, a representative withe the church. "We kind of challenged the kids that if you aren't happy with how things are going, give the church and give God a try. We had 40 or 50 kids that either for the first time made a confession of faith or re-committed to join church or commit those lives to God. So, to me that alone was worth it right there."