Note to the Teacher
The scripture today is from the second part of the passage on Jesus as the true vine found in the Gospel of John. The ice breaker involves a fun game where students tell one another they love them more than, fill in the blank. The discussion section dives deeper into what it means to love deeply, and the final activity combines love and Mother’s Day for a fun way to close out the time together. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: So Much Love (10 minutes)
In this ice breaker, students play a quick game involving students telling other students they love them. This is a fun yet challenging game that’s sure to “break the ice” in any group. Here’s how it works: Have everyone sit in a giant circle. If you’re meeting virtually, the leader will want to call students according to where they are located on the screen. The person to the right of the leader will go first. Have students start by saying to the person to the right, “I love you more than . . .” followed by something that begins with the letter A. Then that person will say to the person on the right, “I love you more than . . .” followed by something that begins with the last letter of the word the previous person said. Continue until you have gone all the way around the circle once.
Variation 1: Play the game the same way; however, have students go in alphabetical order as they go around the circle or Zoom screen. To make it even more difficult, have the students remember each of the previous student’s “I love you more than . . .” words.
Variation 2: Play the game the same way; however, change the direction from right to left. Now have students say, “I love you more than . . .” something that starts with the letter A. However, the something must be from a specific category. For example, the category could be food. A student would say, “I love you more than apples.” The next student could say, “I love you more than bananas.” Other categories could include sports and sports teams, restaurants, musical groups, and so on.
Feel free to play as many rounds as you see fit for your group. Remind students that this is just a fun game, so telling someone else you love him or her comes from a place of friendship, not romance!
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
The scripture reading today is the second part of the “Jesus is the true vine” passage found in John’s Gospel. In today’s reading, encourage students to listen to how Jesus refers to his disciples. Listen for the changes that take place throughout this passage.
Read John 15:9-17.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
What commandment does Jesus give in the reading today? [Answer: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).]
- Why do you think he says, “This is my commandment”? What do we know about commandments in the Bible?
- Jesus says to love one another as he has loved us. Describe what that means. How has Jesus shown us his love? What other verses or stories do you know from the Bible that show or tell us more about Jesus’ love?
- Verse 13 can be confusing for some. What do you think it means to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends?”
- Have you ever heard the term “sacrificial love”? What do you think it means?
- During the pandemic, where have you seen sacrificial love at work?
- Jesus is talking to his disciples in this passage when he says that they are his friends and that he will not call them servants any longer. What is the difference between the two? [Answer: “The servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my father” (John 15:15).]
- In verse 16, Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” What do you think this means? What do we know about our Christian purpose or calling? Have you ever heard someone say he or she is being “called” into ministry? What do you think that means?
- Jesus starts and ends our reading today by referring to loving one another as commands. What is significant about this?
- Is it ever okay not to love someone? What if they have really done you wrong? Is there anything that is unforgiveable? Why do you think that?
- What makes loving someone hard sometimes? What makes loving someone easy? What are some of the similarities and differences between the two? (Note: You may want to write these down on a whiteboard or piece of paper.)
The command Jesus gives us is to love one another. This is an every day, every hour, every minute kind of command. Love one another no matter what. Love those you like; love those you hate. Love those who make you happy; love those who make you sad. As we transition into our final activity today, think about people in your life who may need to know the love of Christ and how you can be a vessel of that love.
4. Activity and Discussion: Love and Mother’s Day (20 minutes)
The activity today will combine a lesson on love with Mother’s Day. Have students start by making a list of all the things their moms do (or if you have a student or students who have had moms pass, list things a motherlike person does). Tell students to think outside the box. What do moms do for their children every day? What do they do weekly? Monthly? Yearly? This list should be HUGE! If you are doing this activity virtually, you may want to share the screen so students can see better for the next part of the activity.
Tell students they will participate in a Mother’s Day love song writing competition! Have students use the list of things moms do that they just made to help them create songs that show their mothers how much they love them. Siblings may want to work together on this project. Be sensitive to those students who may have lost a mom or don’t have a good relationship with their mother. If this is the case, have them write their song to a grandmother or foster mother or another mother figure. You know your group members and their needs best. Allow students anywhere from five to ten minutes to work on their songs. When you feel they have had enough time, ask students if they would like to share their songs with the group. Bonus points if they sing the songs! If singing isn’t their thing, having rhymes that they can share is just as good.
Encourage your students to sing their songs to their moms when they get home and video it with their phones. Have them post the video on social media and tag your student ministry. Thank your students for coming up with some great songs and remind them to be extra nice to their moms and mother figures today!
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Paper and pencils or pens