When we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in sin, we soon find that we can’t break free!
Leader Preparation Notes:
For this agenda you will need the following supplies:
- 15-20 rolls of Toilet Paper
- Note cards for every student
- Pens or pencils for every student
-Enough copies of this agenda for every small group leader
Bring it Together:
- Provide hang out time. Make sure you schedule into your program a block of time (15-30 minutes) that simply allows students to “hang out.” This hang out time allows them to simply “be.” Plus, it affords you and your adult leaders the opportunity to get to know them!
- Make all students feel welcome. During this time, learn their names and interests. Ensure that each new person receives a Basic Info Card (available by clicking here). Tell them that you are sincerely glad they chose to come.
(After your hang out time) Simple tricks for bringing students into one area of the room include flashing the lights, playing some really cool music over the sound system, simply using a mic to call students together, or all of the above.
If technology affords you the opportunity, you might say, “Hurry up and grab a seat where you can see the video screen. We have a hilarious video clip we want to show you, starting in 10 seconds!” Just do something that brings the students’ attention to the group leader (tell a joke, do a card trick, offer a live animal sacrifice…whatever!)
After you have gained their focus, welcome them to the night. “Hey, glad to see you all here. Welcome to INSERT NAME OF YOUTH GROUP
!” This moment provides a perfect opportunity to:
All Tied Up:
- Make important announcements. Events or opportunities that affect the life of the whole group (summer camp, mission project, fundraiser, etc.) should be highlighted. (For your sake, invest a few moments of creative energy into how you present this important info.)
- Do a giveaway. Let’s face it; EVERYBODY likes to get something for free! Even the tightest youth ministry budget can afford a package of Skittles or Starbursts. Cooler gifts, that are a little more costly, include a movie pass, a gift card to students’ favorite local restaurant, or a CD. You can simply toss them out into the crowd, disperse them through a drawing, or invent a challenge by which to distribute them. (“The first person to give me a dime coined from the 1980’s will get this CD!”)
- Play a game. You can visit the “Games and Icebreakers” portion of the website (by clicking here) to choose a game. There are loads of great games that you can use to plug into your program, making it that much more experiential. We at The Source fully believe that it is completely permissible by God to play a game for the sake of having fun…and nothing else!
Choose two students (girls work best here) to come forward and stand in front of the group. Have one of the girls wrap 2-3 layers of TP around the other. Then ask to see if the wrapped-up girl can break free. She will be able to easily break free.
Now invite 4 more students to come forward. These 4 students are to be broken into pairs and assigned to the original two girls. The new pairs are to wrap up the first two girls with LOTS of TP when you say go. Tell them that you will give them 4 minutes to complete the task. If their wrapped up girl cannot break free after 4 minutes, they win.
NOTE: This will NOT work if the two wrappers try to make the girls look like mummies. They only need to wrap the TP around the girls’ arms, thus restraining them, and not around their entire bodies. Tell them to focus on the torso. If they try to wrap the girls’ entire bodies up, they will run out of time, run out of TP, and not have enough layers to make your point. If the wrappers focus their efforts, the girls will not be able to break free.
During the 4 minutes the pairs spend wrapping up the girls, you can have an adult leader come up and tell a story about an adventure he/she had in TP’ing. (Let’s be honest, every youth leader in ministry today has TP’ed somebody’s house or car…or both!) Hype up how much fun they had while making a huge mess for somebody else to clean up.
At the end of the 4 minutes, stop the pairs who are wrapping. Ask the girls to try and break out. If they cannot break free, say, “That’s funny. She had no difficulty breaking free from the TP a moment ago. It’s weird how something so small, and easy to break, can totally imprison us if there are enough layers.”
If one or both of the girls can escape, say, “That’s funny. She had no difficulty in breaking free from the TP a moment ago. But this time it took a lot more effort for her to break free.”
TP has hardly any power at all when it is wrapped around us only two or three times. But when many layers are wrapped around us, we saw that it was difficult-maybe even impossible-to break free. The same is true of sin. When we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in sin, we soon find that we cannot break free!
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups so we can talk about this a little further. Then we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, tell everyone your name and whether or not you have ever been a part of TP’ing someone’s house or car.
- ASK A FEW: Did you think that the two girls would be able to break free? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Were you surprised at how much they struggled and still were not able to escape?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think that sin does this same thing to us sometimes? In other words, it seems simple or harmless, but we get totally wrapped up and can’t escape.
- ASK A FEW: What is sin?
- ASK A FEW: Are there certain sins that lots of people your age are “wrapped up” in so tightly that they cannot escape?
Read the following passage:
ASK SOMEONE: According to this passage, is God responsible for tempting us or leading us to sin?
ASK SOMEONE: In this passage, James points out a “process” with sin. What is it? (leaders-according to James, first comes temptation. If temptation is acted upon, then sin follows. And after sin comes death. No one is worried about temptation or sin in life until, like our volunteers from the TP activity, they cannot break free from whatever it is that has them tied up. Temptation can lead to sin, which can lead to lots of sin, which will lead to death.)
ASK A FEW: So, what do we do about sin? How do we deal with it?
Read the following passage:
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
ASK SOMEONE: What is the first action this passage instructs us to do? (leader-“throw off” sin)
ASK A FEW: Suppose two athletes who exercised, ate, and trained the exact same way were to run a race against one another…but one runner was draped in a cargo net. Which one would win?
ASK A FEW: What does it mean for us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles?”
ASK A FEW: What would your life look like if you were to actually “throw off EVERYTHING that hinders you and tangles you up?”
ASK A FEW: What will your life look like if you do NOT “throw off” your sin?
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Pass out note cards and pens/pencils. Say, “You cannot live a life with God that pleases Him if you are constantly wrapped up in sin. Just like TP, sin wraps us up and makes a mess out of life. We must get rid of it.”
Have the students confidentially write down on their note card which sin(s) have been “wrapping them up.” Tell them that they do NOT have to put their name on the card. Give them a few moments and ask them to fold the cards in half and bring them up front or place them in a jar in the middle of the room (whatever makes it as anonymous as possible). This is helpful for two reasons. First, it makes your students actually name what sin is wrapping them up. Secondly, after the small group is over, you get to do a quick survey of your group and find out common struggles.
Say, “The writer of Hebrews says we should ‘throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.’ If you have sin that is constantly ruining your life by wrapping you up, you need to get rid of it. It’s garbage, and the best place I know to put garbage is in the trash. So, next week we are going to ‘Trash the Garbage.’ What does that mean? Simply this: if you have something in your life that is always wrapping you up from living a life that is close to God, bring it with you next week and we will allow you to throw your trash in the garbage. For instance, you may have a DVD collection that breaks God’s heart. Bring them in and put them where they belong. Maybe you have junk music you listen to. Bring those CD’s with you and toss them in the can. Maybe it’s video games or magazines. Whatever it is, you’ve got to put the garbage where it belongs…in the trash.”
Tonight we saw what happens when enough layers of TP are wrapped around someone; they can’t break free. Hopefully, you saw in your small groups the same thing concerning sin. When there is enough sin wrapping you up, you can’t break free.
Jesus is the only One who can rescue us from sin and its consequences. However, in large part, it is up to us to avoid giving into sin that will wrap us up and bind us to the point we cannot break free. We must “throw off” the sin that holds us back.
I hope you take advantage of the offer for next week to “Trash the Garbage.” It will be a time when we can “throw off” the things that hinder us from having a life with God that He wants so bad, He gave the life of His Son to have with us. If you need to talk about this further, grab one of the adult leaders before you leave tonight. We would love to chat with you about this some more.
Close in prayer.
By David R. Smith