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For The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

By Sally Ulrey

Key verses: John 10:4-5

His sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will not follow a stranger…because they do not
recognize a stranger’s voice

Objective: To help youth understand the way to discern God’s voice among others is to
KNOW God well, using several analogies about what is real vs what is fake
The Set up: Minimal

The Plan:
 Hook: Real vs Counterfeit (20 mins)
o Show several items and have the youth guess if they are “the real thing” or imitation, and how
did they know
 Book: “My sheep know my voice” (5 mins)
o Looking at John 10, make the case that the way we know God’s voice vs everyone else’s is by
knowing God well (not by knowing counterfeits well)
 Look: Discerning God’s voice (15 mins)
o Discuss how we can know a message is from God and how we know it’s not
 Took: Imitate Christ (10 mins)
o Using fake money as a reminder, talk about how we are called to imitate Christ; we’ll never BE
Christ, but we can still follow as closely to his example that other see him
The Supplies:
 Copy of lesson
 Pens
 Baby doll (or a mannequin!)
 Real money
 Fake money:
 Real plant and fake plant
 Coke and Storebrand “Cola” (or Dr Pepper and Dr Thunder OR Coke/Dr Pepper and Diet Coke/Diet Dr Pepper)
 AV equipment to play a clip of a dog barking and someone imitating a dog barking
 Bibles
 Blindfold
 Cups

“Counterfeit” by Sally Ulrey

for the Diocese of Atlanta
Real vs Counterfeit (Hook, 20 mins)
In this section, youth will have to guess which is the “real thing” and which is an imitation. Sometimes it will
be easy, and sometimes it might be a bit more challenging. We’ll use this as an illustration about how
knowing the real thing REALLY well is what will help them figure out which is real and which is the imitation,
and it’s the same with trying to discern God’s voice. When we know God well, when we study “the real thing,”
it’s easier to figure out which messages are from God and which are not.

 Get several things ready to display.
o A mannequin/baby doll and a real human being
o Real and fake money (see here if you need a source for realistic-looking fake money):
o Coke and Storebrand Cola (or Coke and Diet Coke, etc)
o A real and fake plant
o A dog barking vs A person imitating a dog barking (just play sound; don’t show video, play from
24 secs to 33 secs):
 Round 1: Hold up each item and have the youth make a guess if it is “real” or “fake” just by looking at
it. Don’t hold up the two comparable objects next to each other either. Ask them to tell you how they
know. For the dog one, don’t show the video, just ask them if they could tell which was the real vs fake
dog just by listening and how they knew.
 Round 2: allow students to use their other senses (touch, taste (for the soda), smell, etc.) to determine
which might be real or fake, and to hone their guesses. They can compare them to each other in this
round, also. You can show the full video
 Round 3: You’ll need some volunteers…
o A volunteer who’s willing to be blindfolded and make guesses about which person is YOU (this
will be last)
o Several volunteers who are willing to try to imitate you/your voice
Let the blindfolded student hear the people who are trying to imitate you, changing their voice to
do so if they can, and mix your voice in there as well. Let the blindfolded student guess whether or
not it is you, and ALSO, if they can, guess who it actually is.
 Points of Discussion you may want to highlight (that will come into play later):
o They might know the mannequin/baby doll is fake up close, because it can’t move or they
touched it and it was plastic, but imagine if they were aliens from another planet, or even
viewing it from a distance…they might still think it was a real human.
o The fake money looks real, but it doesn’t quite feel the same, and it’s smaller. If they weren’t
able to compare them side-by-side or touch them
o If they are regular Coke drinkers, they would know immediately which is real and which is fake,
but those who don’t regularly drink that might have a harder time
o Depending on what kind of fake plant you got (some are VERY realistic), this might have been
hard, even if you touched them… You might have to get down into minute details like if it’s
been watered recently.
o Without watching the video, it may have been hard to tell which was the real dog and which
was the fake dog!
o One way they may have known whose voice they heard is they’ve heard all those voices a lot!
“Counterfeit” by Sally Ulrey
for the Diocese of Atlanta
Transition Statement: One way you know which one is the real thing, is because you know the real thing well,
so if a fake comes up, you can tell. Did you know that people who study counterfeit money don’t spend most
of their time studying new techniques for counterfeiting?…Instead, they just study the real thing really, really
closely, and then they can spot any counterfeit, even if it’s a new technique. Think about all those examples.
One of the best ways to know if something is fake is not to study all the fake things that might be out there,
but to know really, really well the REAL thing. Same goes with us being able to know God’s voice in our lives
and what God is calling us to do… If we know God well, we’ll be able to recognize God’s voice.

“My Sheep Know My Voice” (Book, 5 mins)

In this section, we take a look the analogy Jesus uses (about sheep and shepherds) about how we know to
follow Him and not a stranger or someone who is imitating the Good Shepherd…it’s because we know HIS
voice, and that’s how we can recognize the counterfeits.

 Read (or have a volunteer read) John 10:1-5 and 11 (below for your reference)
 Ask…how do the sheep know which one is the shepherd and which one isn’t?
o Hopefully they will respond with some version of “they know the shepherd’s voice”

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by
some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The
gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads
them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because
they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do
not recognize a stranger’s voice.”… 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Transition Statement: So Jesus is saying that we’re just like those sheep, and WE know which voice to follow
because we know the true voice of the shepherd…we’ve spent time with Him, and we know Him well…then
we can recognize Him in other contexts. We study the truth about who the Shepherd is and what He’s really
like from Scripture, and then when we get out in the world, in real life, we’ll know when it’s God calling us and
when it’s not. We’ll know when the message is true and when it’s not. Just have to know Jesus, then we’ll
know His voice and be able to follow Him!

“Counterfeit” by Sally Ulrey

for the Diocese of Atlanta
Discerning God’s Voice (Look, 15 mins)
In this part, they will reflect on ways to know if something is from God…mainly if it lines up with the “voice”
they hear in Scripture about who God is and what love truly is… Then they’ll talk about ways to know God’s
voice better.

 Put them in groups of 4-6.

 Give them about 5 mins to make a list of messages society tells you about love or what makes you
Give some examples to get them started, if needed, like:
o “Love is how you feel when you don’t ever want to be away from someone”
o “When it comes to love, if it feels good, do it”
o “Successful people are ones who have lots of money”
o “You know you’re beautiful if others find you attractive”
o “Your value lies in what you add to society”
 Allow them to share some of their answers with the larger group
 Tell them that John 10 tells us that true love is laying down your life for someone, and that their true
value comes from the fact that God loves them enough to do that, not because of what they’ve done
to earn that, but just because God has decided that we are all worth that sacrifice!
 Tell them that now that they know the truth of that, they’ll be able to recognize it as counterfeit if
someone tells them their work “isn’t bad FOR A GIRL” or that they’re “attractive for a smart person” or
anything else that tries to assign them value based on anything other than that they are a child of God!
 Give them time in their small groups to discuss the following small group questions:

Small Group Questions

1. Based on God’s voice of truth that true love is sacrificial, and that you are valuable because God loves
you so much….which of the messages you came up with earlier have a ring of truth to them (God’s
voice might be in there) and which are false/counterfeit?
2. What would happen if you followed some of those counterfeit messages?
3. What are some ways that you can know God’s voice better, so you can recognize it and follow it? How
can you better know “the real thing”?

Transition Statement:
SO we want to be able to recognize what is God’s voice and what is NOT God’s voice in the world, so we can
follow God’s voice and not something else!

We need to be able to recognize the real thing vs the counterfeits. However, we are also called to be
IMITATORS of God…not counterfeits, not fakes, but following Jesus closely enough that others can SEE what
we’re trying to imitate. Just like the mannequin or the fake plant or the fake money. They were close enough
to the original that we could see what they were trying to be. The difference between a counterfeit and an
imitator, for our purposes, is that a counterfeit is trying to trick you, and an imitation is trying to point you to
the real thing. We know we aren’t Christ, but we can show others a little bit about Him, and hopefully point
them to the real thing.
“Counterfeit” by Sally Ulrey
for the Diocese of Atlanta
Imitate Christ (Took, 10 mins)
This is the reminder that even though we’re not Christ, we are called to be imitators of Him. Not fake, not
counterfeit, but following His example closely enough that others can see something of Him in us.

 Read Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also
loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God…”
 Pass out some fake money to each person
 On one side, have them write: “No Counterfeits”
 On the other side, have them write: “Imitators – Eph 5:1-2”
 Remind them that we do want to know God’s voice so we can be wary of those that might try to trick
us away from following God.
 Remind them that we want to imitate God’s love in the world so we can point others to the real thing.

Close in prayer, asking God to help us know God better and better, that we might walk more closely with God,
following after the Good Shepherd who loves us; asking God that we might recognize the things that try to
draw us away from God’s love; asking God to help us be imitators of Christ, that we might help draw others to
the “real thing.”

“Counterfeit” by Sally Ulrey

for the Diocese of Atlanta

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