Love and relationships are always hot topics, but especially in February.

To top it off, the Olympics are on TV right now.

Mash those two together, and you have a prime opportunity to deepen your students’ understanding of what love is.

Here’s a lesson you can utilize or tweak however you’d like.

Hope it serves you – thank you for loving students!



Explain that you’re going to begin your lesson by encouraging them to try to listen to God through two popular songs you’re going to play back to back. The goal for this time is not that they sing along or be entertained by something they may have heard on the radio, but that they try to consider the two different types of commitment being shared here. Dim the lights to minimize distraction, and play these two songs:

  • “Say Something” by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  • “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

[ Option: Combine these two into a video that guides them during this time: http://youtu.be/5-8nHjnPHg4 ]


Talk with the students about what they gained from that time.

  • Which of those two songs symbolizes the type of love you’ve seen modeled growing up in our community or culture?
  • Which of those two songs symbolizes the type of love you’d like to experience or give another person?
  • What do you think it takes from someone to say something that the lyrics in the first song?
  • What do you think it takes from someone to say something that the lyrics in the second song?

[ Download this Power Point slideshow for the following ]


Ask students to read the following Bible verses out loud and pause after each one to brainstorm the role that truth might play in a committed relationship, such as marriage.

  • Psalm 34:18
  • Hebrews 12:15
  • Philippians 4:12


Use the Power Point slides to cycle through these points as you share them.

Say something like:

[slide]  “The Olympics may have started recently, but reporters, athletes and tourists from around the world began checking into the Sochi hotels even before that.

[slide]  Many began describing appalling conditions in the housing there. Hotels are still under construction. Water, if it’s running, isn’t drinkable. This has spilled over into some of the conditions the athletes are enduring, too.

One person said it this way: ‘Almost every room is missing something: light bulbs, TVs, lamps, chairs, curtains, WiFi, heat, hot water. Shower curtains are a valuable piece of the future black market here. (One American photographer was simply told, “You will not get a shower curtain.”) In one hotel, the elevator is broken and the stairway is unlit, with stairs of varying and unpredictable heights. Outside another hotel, there is a bag of concrete in a palm tree, leaking grey down the trunk. Inside, some of the electrical outlets are just plates screwed into drywall.’

[slide]  One famous picture is of a sign outside a toilet… the person who posted it said, “People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It’s this. Without question… it’s… THIS.” A sign that says “Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet. Put it in the bin provided.”

[slide] One person spoke about his experience with the hotel lobby… which was non-existent.

“OK, so my hotel doesn’t have a lobby yet.”
“For those of you asking, when there’s no lobby in your hotel, you go to the owner’s bedroom to check in.”

[slide] One woman wrote, “My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says “do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”

[slide] She later updated, adding, “Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like.”

[slide] Another woman warned, “What your step #Sochi2014 – I’ve noticed on walkway and on sidewalks that not all man holes are covered.”

[slide] A man observed, “Spa and Fitness Center at Gorki Grand Hotel… you get in shape by putting it together?”

[slide] Another guy said, “Good news. I have internet. Bad news. It’s dangling from the ceiling in my room.”

[slide] Other pictures showing the unique conditions the athletes are staying in have also been made popular.
This is certainly not the standard many people would expect of the Olympics, let alone your basic Holiday Inn Express.

[slide] So let me ask an obvious question… why would an athlete, journalist or even a visitor stick this out?

You know the answer, don’t you? It’s the Olympics… even in harsh conditions, it’s the Olympics.

Sure, things are hard. People are experiencing circumstances that would make them want to leave. Yet they aren’t leaving. They’re still there – the athletes, the reporters and the tourists.

Now… how about an honest question – how many of the marriages you know about in your family or extended family… your friend’s moms and dads… your neighbors… how many have approached their marriage realizing that they’re in an Olympic level relationship? That things may not be ideal, but there is a more important Story worth hanging in there on to enjoy?

How many of you realize what’s on the line one day if you get married… that there will be times you will say, “Yeah, these circumstances are less than ideal, but I’m in this for the gold.”

[slide] It reminds me of one more passage of Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (read it)

BRAINSTORM: This is a passage about what it means to live life as a Christian, but there are some great principles here about relationships. What from this passage could you apply into what a God-honoring, Olympic-level love kind of marriage could look like?

(let students come up with ideas – affirm them, and then share this summary)

[slide] You all had great ideas. Let me sum up what I see in this passage:

  • Understand you are in a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Push yourself past your perceived limits.
  • Run toward a real goal – no “Wii” running
  • Cross the actual finish line.

Wrap Up:

Remind them of the songs from earlier, and ask them to identify how these ideals either do or don’t play into each song. Ask them to identify what (in their opinion) is the number one quality they need to actually live this out. Let them struggle with this a bit, and then guide them to the realization that they won’t be motivated to love this way until they’ve experienced love this way. This is the kind of love Jesus offers us. He sings the second song over us each day, and models what we see in 1 Corinthians.

Reread the three Bible verses from earlier. Ask students to consider how God is with us at every step of our journey in knowing His love and in how we love others. Invite students to respond to the grace and love of Jesus Christ – this is a great opportunity to help them make a decision to receive Him as Savior/Lord.

If you have time (and if it makes sense to your group), dare them right then and there pray for the relationships now and the potential future marriage they might have one day. Encourage them to even pray for their future spouse – that God would strengthen and love on that person even now.

A follow-up to last week’s guys eHarmony video for the guys is this week’s over the top dating profile for the ladies. Died laughing!


In your ministry, you have influence. You can use this influence to shape the way each student views learning about Jesus; His love, creation and His expectations of us. You can create engaged and active learners who are eager to learn more. Instilling the love of learning in those you minister to can be done by engaging your students through their creativity and simply by loving them!

Engaging your students through their creativity

  • Look for ways to be a blessing – Take a stuffed teddy bear to someone who isn’t feeling well, bring a copy of last week’s sermon to someone who missed church, smile when you pass someone by, buy someone a Bible. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple is powerful.
  • Build things together – Houses for the homeless, a set for a ministry video, build a new podium for your senior pastor. When you build things together, you are learning about teamwork and about caring for other’s through skills you may or may not have had before.

If you are not so creative, delegate tasks to the students who are, they would love to put their talents to work! Someone great at designing t-shirts, have them design some for a fund raiser. Someone great with woodwork, have them design a set for a play geared toward teaching other’s about Jesus. Someone great with the camera? Have them take some pictures for a new ministry photo album.  Short on ideas? Ask the creative ones, they will have many ideas on how they can use their talents to serve the ministry.

Simply love them!

  • This means showing grace in what may seem to be the worst situation. Things happen. They are here today, done with tomorrow. Loving others should be our focus. Remain at peace through the storm and let God handle the details.
  • Listen – Sometime we are so busy teaching and talking, we forget to listen. Take some time out to hear what they’ve got to say.
  • Be transparent – Be real with them. You have struggles just like them.
  • Spend time with them with no expectations – Let time spent with them flow whether it be into conversation or into a crazy fun game night!
  • Be involved in what they enjoy – When you enjoy being around someone, you’ll make the time to be involved in what they enjoy. It could be you showing up at their soccer game, going to the mall with a group of students or going to the arcade. Spend time in their world.

When you engage your students through their creativity and simply love them, they are actively learning about Jesus; His love, creation and His expectations of us. They will leave your ministry with the tools needed to equip others with the love of lifelong learning as well. Which is so important because this is how we grow in spirit and in stature, we’ve got to be actively engaged and eager to learn more for all of our lives.

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

I love this funny little reworking of The Notebook.

If a girl has seen the real movie…then she has imagined how her life will/should play out like the movie.

Girls can have an active imagination about love and relationships which are often fueled by romantic movies, books, shows…really anywhere that is telling a story of love and belonging. Most of the time these stories inspire us because they speak to our loneliness or to our deepest fears of being unlovable. And while they may have moments of truth…they are not truth.

We get to tell the BETTER story of what love is and what relationships can be in our lives.

The Greatest Love of All 

We get to show students what it means to know the one who is LOVE.

We get to invite students into a relationship with their Creator AND into the biggest family ever.

We get to experience a love so big that it overflows to those around us.

And when they have learned those truths…they will begin to tell a BETTER story of what love and relationships can be in their lives.

By the way…We showed it!

We showed this video. We laughed at the silliness of it but it paved the way for a conversation about love and relationships.

What fun clips are you using to get your students talking?

When God places you in a role of leadership, it is not to be taken lightly. He wants to live through you and wants to make a life changing impact in the lives you come in contact with. To do this, you have got to be willing to lead by example so they will have someone to imitate. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)

Living in transparency
We all have short comings. It is important to allow others to see that in you. It is especially when you are in a role of leadership and all they ever see is the perfect side of you. I like to invite the children in my ministry into my world and allow them to live in my imperfect world if only for a moment. I show them it is okay to be imperfect and God can and will still use you anyway. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Love when it hurts
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8) Love does not stop loving when it doesn’t feel good anymore. Love keeps on loving even when it hurts. It goes to enormous lengths to comfort, to guide, to protect and to lead. With God’s love, we can lead our youth to Jesus.

Speak life
Whether with your youth at church, at a concert or at home; you should watch the words you choose. Words have the power to either lift someone up or drag someone down. It is never okay to speak down on someone even if it is only meant for fun. We are raising up planet shakers and our words should reflect just that. Speak life into your youth group. Speak life to the kid who no one would give a second look. God has incredible plans for each of them. Speak life, see life.

Let’s take our leadership role seriously and choose to lead by example, allowing God to use us to positively impact the lives of the youth of tomorrow.

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

One of the things I love if gathering ideas and content that I can use for whatever project I am working on or topic I want info about.  I am dialed in to a few news apps and RSS readers that help me sort and gather content and recently found a google tool to add to that arsenal. Click over to www.wdyl.com and search an interest, it is a pretty cool and helpful tool.

Love Your Spouse

Josh Griffin —  February 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

Married? Not married? Not married, and haven’t had a date in years? Wherever you find yourself today, here are some thoughts about loving your current…or future…spouse.

Love unexpectedly.
Youth workers love surprises–but too often our spouses end up with the predictable and stable part of our lives. While there’s nothing wrong with stability, it’s also a good idea to take the same creativity that helps you think up crazy games and invent an unexpected way to love your spouse. This week, make it a goal to love your husband or wife in an unexpected, surprising way.

Love your spouse in front of your students.
There’s nothing wrong with letting your students see that you love your husband or wife. That doesn’t mean you need to incessantly refer to them as “hot” (that’s actually a pet-peeve of ours, and our wives ARE hot), or make out with them in the church van on the way to the retreat. But it’s important to remember that your students are watching your relationship; it might be the most important lesson you teach them all week.

Love your spouse in front of your kids.
Same thing goes with your own children (if you’ve got them). They need to see you in love with each other, too. That doesn’t mean that everything in the home is perfect, but through the good, bad, and the ugly you share a loving commitment to each other and to Christ.

Love your spouse when no one is watching.
A consistent loving relationship can’t only show up when people are watching. Make sure you love your spouse when you aren’t trying to be a role model to your teenager. Youth ministry takes a toll on marriages. Sadly we’ve seen it first-hand far too many times. One of the best ways to model healthy marriage within your ministry context is to do the hard work of building a healthy marriage behind the scenes.

Love wins every time!

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Our friends at youthministry360 are giving away a FREE Valentines lesson. It’s a solid lesson that uses the story of Ruth and Boaz to talk about the God-centered love we see in the Bible versus the broken image of love the world bombards students with. The lesson also makes the connection that the aspects of love seen in Ruth’s story are perfected in the love we see in Christ. The lesson features a really cool, really interactive PowerPoint slideshow as well as a Leader’s Guide. If you want to teach the lesson, all you have to do is roll over there to check it out.