I remember going through a lot of ups and downs as a teenager.

I was on cloud 9 when I found “the love of my life” as a 15 year old. Then, three months later we broke up. I was devastated.

As you know, the key to attaining true joy is found in our relationship with God. And that can be experienced regardless of the circumstances of life.

Yes, for a teenager, that’s easier said than done. I get it.

But it is possible for this to happen, which is why we created this free lesson for your youth group.

Enjoy!

– Nick Diliberto, Creator of Ministry to Youth

Youth Group Lesson on Joy

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

Scripture: Romans 15:13

Use this lesson to show students that with the God of Hope, it’s possible to have joy in all circumstances.

Supplies:

  • Glow sticks
  • Tape
  • Balls (soft, ones that wouldn’t hurt if they hit a student)

Opening Game

Before the game, tape the glow sticks to all of the balls except for one.

Split the group into two teams, and have each team split into four groups, with the two groups of each team standing facing each other, a couple steps apart.

Show the students the ball that does not have the glow stick taped to it. Ask them if they think throwing it and catching it between the two groups of each team seems possible.

Get a leader to turn the lights off.

Ask the group if they think it’s possible now that the room is dark. If they do, ask them if they think it will be harder without the light.

Then, bring out the balls that are glowing from the glow sticks. Ask if they think it is possible now, with the glow sticks.

Give the balls to one group from each team. Have them toss the balls to the group across from them. Anyone who does not catch a ball is out, and all the balls that were not caught are out of play.

Have that group throw the balls back. Again, the students who do not catch any are out. Continue with this pattern until all of the students on one team are out.

The last team standing wins!

After the game, discuss these questions:

Before I explained that there were glow sticks, did you think that catching the balls in the dark was going to be impossible?

Have you ever experienced circumstances where it seemed really hard to have joy?

Do you think that it’s possible to have joy when you’re not feeling happy?

Teach – Joy

So when I first asked you if you thought throwing balls back and forth was possible, it seemed pretty obvious, right? It’s something we all learned pretty early on. But when the element of light was taken away, it suddenly seemed very difficult. Something that had just seemed very possible moved into something that seemed impossible, just because of the circumstances.

It’s like that with joy sometimes, isn’t it? When things are going good, joy seems easy. You don’t even have to think about it, it just comes! But when you take away the good circumstances, joy turns into something that seems very hard, and at times even impossible.

But just like the glow sticks introduced a way to make something that seemed impossible, possible, I’m going to introduce you to something that makes joy possible at all times, even when the circumstances are bad.

Read: Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Say: That’s a pretty cool image, isn’t it? An image of God filling you with joy. See, that verse doesn’t say, “May you have joy all the time.” It doesn’t say, “May God help you keep your joy.” No, it says, May God FILL you with joy.

There are going to be circumstances in your life where you just don’t have any joy, no matter how hard you try. Just like in the game we played, there are going to be situations where life seems so dark, you can’t imagine joy being possible.

And that’s when you have to turn to God.

This verse calls Him the God of hope, because that’s exactly what He is. He is our hope. And it’s because of that hope that we’re able to have joy, no matter what the circumstances are.

I don’t know about you, but overflowing with hope sounds like something I want to do! And doesn’t joy seem like something that would just happen if you were overflowing with hope?

Just like those glow sticks provided a way to toss the balls back and forth in a dark room, the hope that God gives us provides a way for us to be filled with joy when our circumstances seem dark.

Discussion Questions

What’s an example of a way God is your hope?

Is joy something that is hard for you to have sometimes?

Have you ever asked God to give you joy?

Can you remember a time where it didn’t make sense that you were joyful, but you were able to have joy because of God?

Do you think it’s truly possible to have joy, no matter what?

Wrap Up

While it would be nice to never have to go through any hard times in life, we know that we will. They’re going to happen, it’s just a fact of life. But as Christians, we also know another fact—that we can have joy no matter how hard things get.

When you lose your joy, remember where your hope comes from. Remember that it comes from God. Ask Him to fill you up with joy, and He will!

He is your hope. No matter how dark life gets, He will be there to light it up with joy.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

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