Spiritual Growth Agendas
The Real You
In life, we have the option of wearing masks or being real. If we choose to wear masks, we should know that life will be more difficult for a number of reasons. So, we should just be genuine.
Night of Masks
While lots of youth leaders may use this idea around Halloween, it really works well throughout the entire year. It’s simple to pull off, and yet, makes a powerful point. All you need are those cheap little black paper masks available at party stores. If you want, you can make markers and/or gel pens available to students to decorate/personalize their own masks.
When students arrive, give each one of them a mask and tell them they must wear it throughout the evening. (It will really help the cause if all leaders wear the masks, as well.) They can decorate them before they put them on, but from that point in time, they need to keep them on.
You’re basically done, now. Just make sure that you’ve got several activities planned BEFORE the small group time. You might want to play an UPFRONT GAME (or two), or even indoor baseball – anything that will be difficult to do in a mask. You might want to have light snacks provided to give them an opportunity to try to eat while wearing their masks. You could even plan a simple service project like stuffing toiletry bags for the homeless in the community. Whatever; the key is you want to make the students have to do several things…while wearing their masks.
So, tonight, we’ve done a lot of cool, fun things together. We leaders hope you’ve had a great time doing all the activities. We sure did. But, as some of you talked about, all these things we’re a little harder to do while wearing a mask. During the game, I saw several of you wrestling with your masks so you could see better. Heck, a few of you even ripped off your masks because you grew tired of them bothering you. That’s the point: in life, we have the option of wearing masks and pretending to be someone else, but we shouldn’t. We should throw away our masks because life gets more difficult when we choose to wear them. God wants us to be genuine people. You may now all take off your masks as we head to our small groups to discuss this further.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward 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 get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite Halloween costume from our childhood.
- ASK A FEW: Did wearing a mask make our night’s activities more difficult or easier? Why?
- ASK A FEW: How did you feel when you were able to take the mask off a second ago?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think a majority of people, or a minority of people, “wear masks” in real life? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Why do people even “wear masks”?
- ASK A FEW: What are some of the problems that come with “wearing masks” in life?
Read the following passage:
NOTE: You may want to share a small bit of context with your students BEFORE reading this passage. Just highlight the fact that the very first church in the world, the one in Jerusalem, has just begun. Jesus has just left Earth and ascended into Heaven. So this whole “church idea” was just getting underway, and like an infant baby, required exceptional care.
ASK SOMEONE: If you had to retell this story, how would you do so in your own words?
ASK A FEW: In what ways did Ananias and Sapphira pretend or “wear a mask”?
ASK A FEW: Why do you think they were trying to copy Barnabas?
ASK A FEW: What price did they pay for being fake and living a lie, AKA, wearing a mask?
ASK A FEW: What price do people pay today for wearing masks today?
ASK A FEW: How do you think God feels about His children wearing masks?
ASK A FEW: What masks do you wear?
ASK A FEW: What are those masks costing you? In other words, how are those masks hindering you?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: How will your life change if you took off your mask tonight?
Acts 4:33 – 5:11 (NIV)
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. 3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." 9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
In our time together, I hope we’ve clearly showed you the dangers of wearing masks in life. Not only do they make hanging out, playing games, and eating unnecessarily difficult, but we also learned that people who wore masks in the Bible paid a huge price for them, too.
In our small group time, we asked you about the masks you’re wearing. I know, I know, most of us would deny wearing masks. But let me just tell you, at some point or other, we ALL wear masks. If you don’t believe me let me tell you a story.
(Tell about a time you wore a mask and what it cost you: reputation, relationship, closeness with God, etc. )
Honesty compels me to tell you that I’ve worn masks. At times, I can pretend, and just like I told you, I paid a price for it.
We don’t want you to pay a high price for wearing a mask. But the only way to avoid that is to take off the mask. You don’t avoid paying the price by getting good at wearing masks, or by trying on a smaller mask. No. The only way your life changes is by taking the mask off.
Let me re-ask a question you were just challenged with: What would your life look like if you took off your mask tonight?
(Give them time to reflect.) Now, let me ask another question: What will your life look like if you keep wearing your mask?
(Give them time to reflect here, too.)
Our leaders are ready to help you tonight, but the only way they can is if you’re willing to take off your mask. Will you let us help you? Think about talking with one of us after we close in prayer.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith