Here’s an awesome, yet unconventional, youth group lesson on the Fruits of the Spirit.

But before you dive into the lesson, here’s a quick story…

Awhile back, I was driving my car on a two lane road, each lane going in the opposite direction.

The car behind me didn’t like my speed. He repeatedly honked his horn and yelled at me (actually I just assume he was yelling because in my head he was).

He drove his car just inches from mine and continued to honk.

This infuriated me. I went from calm Nick to angry road rage Nick in just seconds.

Next, he tried passing me up. I didn’t like that and turned into the opposing lane (no one was coming towards me) preventing him from passing me up.

This angered him even more, and in return escalated my anger as well.

So, I stopped my car and got out yelling at him face to face.

When I looked into the drivers seat I saw a man in his 70’s yelling back at me.

At that moment, I came to my senses.

What the heck was I doing?!?! Yelling at an old man!! Goof ball.

I got back in my car and allowed him to pass me.

We all have those moments in life when we mess up. When we fail to live like Jesus.

It’s a part of being human.

A Different Angle on the Fruits of the Spirit

So often when we talk about the Fruits of the Spirit the core of our message is…

Be more loving, kind, forgiving, etc.

The problem is that we’re not designed to live that way in our own power.

It’s only when we stay connected to Jesus that those characteristics flow out of our lives.

Instead, the message needs to be…

Stay connected to Jesus and good stuff comes out of your life.

When we nurture our relationship with God, we become more loving, kind, forgiving etc. It’s what naturally happens as a result of what God is doing in and through us.

That’s the core message of this free youth group lesson.


– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

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Youth Group Lesson – Fruit of the Spirit


Bible: John 15:5, Galatians 5:20:22–23, Proverbs 16:32, Matthew 5:43–48

Bottom Line: Stay connected to Jesus and good stuff comes out of your life.



  • Masking tape
  • 2–3 beach balls (more if your group is large)


Split the group into two even teams and mark a line down the middle of the playing area with masking tape. Each group takes one side of the playing area.

Players spread out wherever they want on their side.

The game will consist of beach balls being thrown (or hit) and caught between the two sides.

Players attempt to keep the balls moving and not allow the balls to hit the ground on their side of the playing area.

If a ball hits the ground, the opposing team is awarded points.

The team that has the most points at the end of the game wins.


  • If your group is large, consider adding more beach balls.
  • If your group is really big, consider dividing it into four parts instead of two.

After the game, say:

In life, we often react to others in the same way we are treated.

If your brother hits you, you hit him back. If your parents yell at you, you yell back.

Sort of like what happened in the game we just played.

If one team hit the ball hard, the other team reacted by hitting it hard too.

If one team got real competitive, the other team did too.

Today, we’re going to explore how we can react differently to others.

We’re going to discover how we can break the cycle.

If someone is mean to us, we’re going to learn the secret to how we can react in love rather than hate.

Let’s get started!



  • Jar of small pickles
  • A few trash bags
  • Bag of large marshmallows
  • Good, ripe fruit
  • Rotten fruit

Say: To get started today, I need two volunteers.

Choose two volunteers to come up front. Have them stand about 10 feet apart.

Give one volunteer an open jar of pickles.

Put a trash bag over the other preteen (so their clothes don’t get pickle juice on them).

Place trash bag or plastic sheeting over the floor where the volunteer is standing.

Give the volunteer an open bag of large marshmallows.

The volunteer then attempts to throw a pickle into the mouth of the other volunteer.

Next, the other volunteer attempts to throw a marshmallow into the mouth of the other volunteer.

They must stay 10 feet apart while throwing the items. Continue, throwing a pickle and marshmallow.

Keep track of how many marshmallows and pickles land in the mouth of a volunteer.

After the activity, congratulate each volunteer for their effort and ask the audience to give them a round of applause.


Believe it or not, if someone throws a smelly pickle at our faces, we can learn to throw a soft delicious marshmallow back at them!

What do I mean by that? I mean that it is possible for us to react in love rather than anger.

We can forgive rather than seek revenge. But, we can’t do it by ourselves.

Let’s look up a verse in the Bible that helps explain this.

Read Galatians 5:22–23 (NCV):

But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong.

What do you think these verses means? (Get responses)

A lot of times people misunderstand these verses.

They think God is saying to be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. God is saying more than that.

He is saying that those characteristics are formed in our lives when we stay connected to Jesus.

Let’s take a look at another verse that will help us understand this concept.

Read John 15:5 (NCV):

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.

Jesus is saying that a branch needs to stay connected to the vine in order for fruit to grow. Good fruit will naturally come out of a branch that is connected to the vine.

[Show good, ripe fruit]

The branch doesn’t need to try and create the fruit in its own power. Its job is to stay connected to the vine.

When it does, good fruit will be produced. Like this fruit I’m holding in my hand.

Jesus is saying that we are like the branch. Our goal is to stay connected to Jesus.

If we stay close to him in our everyday lives, then good fruit will come out of us.

The good fruit is the characteristics we read about in Galatians 5:22–23 – love, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.

Like a branch can’t make the fruit, we can’t simply choose to be loving, patience, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and have self-control.

It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to create those characteristics in our lives. Our job is to stay connected to Jesus.

When we do, good characteristics flow out of us.

We find ourselves naturally reacting to the bully at school with love and compassion. We are more likely to forgive our friends. We are more patient.

Sure, it’s a choice we make. But ultimately, it’s God working through us to make us more like Him.

[Show bad fruit]

So, what happens when we don’t take the time and effort to stay connected to Jesus?

Well, bad stuff comes out of our lives. Much like if you were to break off a branch from the vine, the fruit goes bad.

Our lives begin to look like rotten fruit, like in this fruit I’m holding. Yuck.

The Bible actually talks about what this bad fruit looks like.

Read Galatians 5:20 (NCV):

…worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people…

So, when we’re feeling jealous, angry, and selfish or causing drama around us, those things are the bad stuff coming out of our lives because we are not connected to Jesus.

We’re unconnected to Him.

We’re not spending time with God in prayer, worship or allowing God to speak to us from the Bible.

Here’s the bottom line of today’s lesson: Stay connected to Jesus and good stuff comes out of your life.

When we choose to surrender our lives to Jesus, the pollution of sin in our lives is cleaned up.

We now have an opportunity for good stuff to come out of our lives.

We have an opportunity to live the way God wants us to live.

We won’t be perfect. We’ll mess up often. That’s just a part of being human.

In order to have good stuff come out of our lives, we have to stay connected to Jesus.

When we do, the Holy Spirit will make us more loving, kind, patient, etc.

We’ll b e able to return a sour pickle with a soft marshmallow.

We’ll be able to react differently than we were treated. 

[End Lesson]


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26 Replies to “Youth Group Lesson – Fruit of the Spirit”

  1. Eleanor J. Pease, PhD
    • May 1, 2018

    The lesson is good–and needed. The lesson title is correctly stated: “The Fruit (singular) of the Spirit;” however, this is not consistent throughout your email–in some places you have “the fruits (plural) of the Spirit. There is a great difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit because Paul is referring to a package, not individual qualities. Please make this correction. Thank you.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Becky Forkel
      • May 3, 2018

      Hi Eleanor. We appreciate your comments about the Fruit of the Spirit lesson. Thank you for taking the time to send us a message!

      Reply 1 Response
      1. Victor Samuel Nii Obodai
        • September 11, 2023

        GOD BLESS YOU.

  2. Dave helmstadter
    • May 1, 2018

    thank you good lesson

    Reply 2 Response
    1. Becky Forkel
      • May 3, 2018

      You’re welcome Dave!

    2. Nicola
      • May 30, 2019

      Thank you for this awesome material ut just checking where the rest of the fruits are this only seems to be half of them.

      Reply 1 Response
  3. Christi
    • May 8, 2018

    I appreciate all your input about Hods Word! I use a lot of the free lessons on Wednesday nights with my youth group! I am so grateful!!

    Reply 2 Response
    1. Christi
      • May 8, 2018

      I meant Gods! I hate auto correct?

      Reply 1 Response
      1. Becky Forkel
        • May 10, 2018


    2. Becky Forkel
      • May 10, 2018

      That’s awesome! Thanks for the message Christi!

  4. Serena
    • November 24, 2018

    Great lesson!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 1 Response
  5. manj
    • March 5, 2019

    Thank you, really helped me prepare for a youth session.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kristy Preston
      • March 5, 2019

      Hi Manj, We are so glad to hear that this lesson helped you. Please let me know if I can further assist you. God Bless!

  6. Nerissa
    • May 5, 2019

    Thank you for writing this and sharing it. I’ll use it for Sunday school this morning.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kristy Preston
      • May 7, 2019

      Hi Nerissa, Thank you for reaching out to us! We are glad you can use the lesson within your ministry. God Bless!

  7. Heather
    • May 10, 2019

    So great! I love the practical application for their lives. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kristy Preston
      • May 10, 2019

      Hi Heather, Thanks for reaching out to us! We are glad you all enjoyed the lesson.

      Reply 1 Response
      1. Sarah
        • August 2, 2019

        Yay! Thank You for sharing!! Def taking notes!! ?

  8. Robert Smith
    • April 5, 2021

    Great Lesson still ringing true here in 2021. My wife and I just here recently were called to the youth and it’s a journey to say the least stepping out of familiarity of small groups with adults to leading youth in the ways of our God. I look forward to reading some more of your lessons if you have anymore along with subscribing if there is that option as well.

  9. Stacey edgecombe
    • July 6, 2021

    Incred!!! Thank you so much

  10. Joan O'Connor
    • July 17, 2022

    I am teaching children, but never want to dumb down a lesson! So I look at lessons for teens and this lesson was helpful in the application level. I’ll be writing to some Christian colleges now as many parents ask that the word “sin” be used in vocabulary of teachers of Youth. It seems we do say ” sin” instead of ” mess up” to children but then forego that scriptural word when they need it MOST….teen years. Moral compass must be right on the mark!!! It is a sin to lessen the severity of what Jesus labels severe! Choice of vocabulary must be scriptural when one is called to be a Bible teacher.

  11. Victoria
    • August 20, 2022

    Thanks so much for this lesson. It’s great, not only for youths but for adults as well. I find it very practical and engaging.

  12. Tammie
    • August 31, 2022

    Y’all are doing God’s work here in our earthly journey. What I’ve read and studied through your lessons are right on mark. Thank you for using your gift forGod’s purpose. Will be using these with our teens on Wednesday nights.
    Btw….. is that a pickle on your shirt?

  13. Chidi Ekpeluchi
    • November 23, 2023

    Thank you so much for making this lesson available to anyone that needs it. The teens in my church will benefit from it. God’s blessings 🙌.


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