Last month we released a new back to school series – How to be Awesome.

It’s a 4-week series on loving and serving others this school year.

This series is only available as a part of our Exclusive Youth Curriculum.

Get one year of strategic youth ministry totally done for you! 52 teaching lessons, 77 small group lessons, 4 youth group events and 6 training sessions. 

Learn more here

Below is lesson 2 of the series. Totally free!

Use it as a sample of our Exclusive Youth Curriculum.

Or if that’s not for you, then simply use it as a stand alone lesson in your youth group.

Enjoy!

Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON FRIENDSHIPS

Bible: “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17)

Bottom Line: You have to be willing to take a risk to really love and serve your friends.

OPENING GAME: BFF’S

Supplies:

  • BFF Photos (download the photos here)
  • Keep in mind that you do need WinZip software (or one similar) to open and view the photos in the zip files.
  • If you do not have WinZip, then you can download a free “trial” version, which will enable you to view/open the photos in the zip file.
  • If you’re on a PC, then go here to download WinZip for PC.
  • If you’re on a Mac, then go here to download WinZip for Mac.
  • To our knowledge, there is no WinZip option for iPad or iPhone. We recommend you download the photos on a PC/Mac desktop or laptop.

Game Prep:

  • Prepare a way to present the BFF photos. Print them out or add them to the slides of whatever presentation software you use. The names of the pair are the names of the image.
  • If you have access, add a few photos of you and/or the volunteers on your team and their BFFs.

How to Play the Game:

Say:

  • Most of you have a BFF.
  • My BFF is … [Tell briefly about your BFF]
  • Some BFFs are famous. 
  • Check out these pictures, and see if you can identify these famous BFFs.

Show each photo, one at a time, playing up the picture and taking guesses.

Eventually, someone will get it right. Celebrate each right answer.

Or you can break up students into small groups and have teams compete against each other. For each one guessed correctly, award the team 100 points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

TEACH

Welcome back to week 2 of our series called “How to be Awesome.”

You’re already awesome just for showing up tonight, but in this series, we’re talking about how to love and serve people, which makes you really awesome!

Last week we talked about yearbooks; did anyone bring theirs for us to look at? [Depending on your group size, this could be a fun few minutes of sharing old photos from yearbooks. If your group is virtual, have students hold their yearbook photos up to the camera.]

If anyone wants to bring an old yearbook next week for us to look at, we’d love to see it! 

We talked about yearbooks because even though you won’t get until the year is over, the things that show up in there are things you start doing today.

And the way people will remember you at the end of the year starts with how you’re living today.

The best way you can live is to love and serve the people around you; that’s what this series is all about.

Does anyone remember how we defined “love”?

[Give students a chance to share. If someone gets it right, make a big deal out of it and restate the definition. If no one gets it right, share the definition again.] 

There are lots of ways you can define “love,” but for this series, we’re keeping it simple: you love someone when you want that person to live his or her “best life.”

The “best life” is ultimately a life chasing after Jesus, but it includes things like love, joy, peace, and purpose.

Our series is about loving and serving others.

Does anyone remember how we defined “serve”?

[Same drill: Give students a chance to share. If someone gets it right, make a big deal out of it and restate the definition. If no one gets it right, share the definition again.] 

There are lots of ways you can define “serve,” but for this series let’s keep it simple: you serve someone when you HELP that person live his or her best life.

There’s not a formula for this; it requires you to get to know someone and get to know what that person is like.

This week we’re talking about how you can love and serve your friends.

Let’s start with some “mandatory fun time” –turn to someone around you and answer the question, “Out of all the pictures of BFFS we showed earlier, which is your favorite pair and why?”

[If your youth group is still meeting online, say: Let’s have some “mandatory fun time”–in the chat window, type in your answer to the question, “Out of all the pictures of BFFS we showed earlier, which is your favorite pair and why?”]

[Give time for students to share and debrief.]

Let’s do one more … turn to your partner again and answer the question, “What makes a good friend?”

[If your youth group is still meeting online, say: Let’s have some “mandatory fun time”–in the chat window, type in your answer to the question, “What makes a good friend?”]

[Give time for students to share and debrief.]

We all have friends. Some we are close to and some we just see at school.

When you were younger, you may have been friends with people because they were popular, or they had a swimming pool–something shallow like that. (See what I did there … shallow?!)

As you’ve gotten older, you start being friends with people because you actually like them.

It’s funny. There’s no way to predict who you’ll connect with.

Maybe you have a lot in common with them, and that’s why, or maybe you have nothing in common with them, but you like them anyway.

Maybe you think they’re funny, and you like that or they’re serious, and you like that.

There’s not a consistent reason why we like some people more than others, but we do,

And your closest friends may not be the people you have the most in common with or the ones that you’re most alike, but they are usually the people you like the most, for whatever reason.

So, when we talk about loving and serving your friends, this is probably easy for you because it’s easy to love and serve someone you like.

But you’ve got to be willing to take a risk to really love and serve your friends.

I’m hoping today we’ll dive a little deeper into that idea as we think about our definitions of loving and serving our friends.

How did we define “love” again?

[Give a minute to answer.]

And how did we define “serve” again?

[Give a minute to answer.]

Perfect!

Let’s start with a Bible verse.

The Bible has a book in the Old Testament called “Proverbs.”

Does anyone know what a proverb is?

[Give students a chance to respond.]

A proverb is a short, simple, wise saying.

Proverbs aren’t commandments, which are things that God wants us to.

And they’re not promises, which are things God said he would do.

Proverbs are general guides for wise living. 

Most of the proverbs in the Bible were written by a dude named Solomon, who is widely considered to be the wisest person who’s ever lived.

Will someone read Proverbs 17:17 out loud for the group?

[I LOVE having students read from the Bible. If it doesn’t work for your group, feel free to read it yourself or have another adult read it.]

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” – Proverbs 17:17 

Even though the verse says “brother,” this applies to guys and gals. 

Lemme get a few of you to help me out here … what does it mean to be loyal?

[Give a minute to answer. If the students’ responses lend themselves to it, ask a follow-up question to push them to think more deeply.]

Those are great responses. Thanks for sharing!

I think this Proverb is saying that a good friend is always there for you—no matter what—in good times and in bad times.

We probably all agree with that – it sounds pretty good!

But what does that really mean?

I’ve got four things we can do to love and serve our friends and to be there for them no matter what.

FIRST, be happy when they’re happy. 

The Bible also has some letters in it written by a guy named Paul. 

Paul had a crazy experience that led to him following Jesus.

His faith led him to go all over the known world telling people about Jesus.

He would stay in an area for a while, explain to the people what it meant to follow Jesus, then help them organize themselves as a church.

Paul hoped the followers of Jesus in an area would continue meeting together after he left town.

Often, Paul would hear stories about these places and send them letters of encouragement or correction.

One of those letters was to the church in Rome, and we have that letter in the Bible in the book called “Romans.”

Would someone read the first part of Romans 12:15 for us? [Again, if this doesn’t work for your group, you (or another adult) read it.]

“Rejoice with those who rejoice…” Romans 12:15a

That seems self-explanatory, but I wonder if we actually do it.

It’s probably easy to celebrate when your BFF gets a good grade on their Chemistry test … but what if you didn’t get a good grade, and you studied way harder than your BFF did?

It’s probably easy to congratulate your buddy who makes the volleyball team …but what if you tried out for the team too, and you didn’t make it?

It’s probably easy to high-five your friend who gets into the college they want … but what if you didn’t get into any college?

It’s easy to rejoice when things are great for you, but it’s a lot harder when things are tough in your own life.

But that’s what a good friend does.

If something is a big deal to your friend, try to make a big deal out of it too. 

If they’re successful at something, try to celebrate it.

I know it can be difficult, especially when they’re succeeding at something you didn’t achieve.

But ask Jesus to help you through your jealousy, so you can be happy when your friend is happy. 

The SECOND thing you can do to love and serve your friends is to be there for them when they’re sad. 

Let’s read the second half of Romans 12:15 – will someone read it out loud for the group? [Again, if this doesn’t work for your group, you (or another adult) read it.]

… weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15b

Most of you probably do this already, so let me just give you some thoughts on how to take this kind of compassion to another level.

When someone shares a painful experience with you, slow down and give them some space to breathe.

Most of us avoid getting in our “feels” as much as possible; it’s a heavy, uncomfortable feeling.

But it’s also an important part of living life to the full and processing our pain.

So, when one of your friends shares something like that, resist the urge to say something brilliant, and instead, just sit with them.

If you feel like you have to say something, consider things like this:

  • I know that’s hard to share. Thank you for trusting me enough to share it.
  • I’m proud of you for sharing that.
  • That sounds really painful; I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.

Those phrases may not seem very helpful, but they show that you are honoring your friend’s pain, and you’re grateful that he or she shared it.

A THIRD thing you can do to love and serve your friends is to be truthful, even when it’s tough.

Remember what I said at the start of our message today: you’ve got to be willing to take a risk to really love and serve your friends.

Will someone read Proverbs 27:5-6 out loud for the group? [Again, if this doesn’t work for your group, you (or another adult) read it.]

“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! 6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” – Proverbs 27:5-6

Sometimes we avoid tough conversations because we don’t want to offend someone or hurt their feelings.

In this Proverb, Solomon is telling us that if we really care about someone, we wouldn’t “hide” our love by not saying difficult things to them.

In fact, because we love them, we should be willing to say the things no one else will say.

And because we love them, we should be willing to help them get the help they need by talking to the adults in their life who care about them.

Look, I’m not saying that you leave here and go blow up all your friendships by telling everybody exactly what you think they’re doing wrong or telling their parents everything you know.

What I’m saying is this: if you want your friends to live their best life, and you’re willing to help them, then sometimes you’ve got to be willing to have tough, honest conversations.

The FOURTH thing you can do to love and serve your friends is to pray for them AND pray with them.

The Bible book writer Paul didn’t just write letters to churches; some of his letters were to his friends.

He wrote two letters to his buddy Timothy. Will someone read 1 Timothy 2:1 out loud for the group? [Again, if this doesn’t work for your group, you (or another adult) read it.]

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1

You can pray for people even if they don’t know about it.

But sometimes, the Holy Spirit will nudge you to ask them, “Hey man, can I pray for you?”

Pretty much, everyone I’ve ever asked that question has said “yes.”

Maybe one in a million people will say “no,” and that’s okay… I do it anyway ☺

But if they do say “yes,” then you can ask, “Is there anything specific you’d want me to pray for?”

Then just do it. Pray for them right then and there!

It doesn’t have to be pretty and poetic; just be honest before the Lord.

You’d be surprised how God uses those simple moments to help people open up to God and share things that are weighing them down.

So those are my four ways to love and serve your friends:

  • Be happy when they’re happy,
  • Be there for them when they’re sad,
  • Be truthful, even when it’s tough, and
  • Pray for them and pray with them.

In your small group today, you’ll talk about those four things. Then, we’ll give you a chance to share some other ways you can love your friends.

Don’t be afraid to open up in small group today. We were made to learn from one another.

Remember, you’ve got to be willing to take a risk to really love and serve your friends.

[End in prayer and dismiss into small groups.]

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Which was your favorite pair of BFFS from our opening game tonight? Why are they your favorite?
  2. Who was your best friend when you were a little kid? Why was he/she your best friend?
  3. Tell about a time you had a serious fight with a really good friend that eventually made you closer.
  4. How can jealousy get in the way of loving and serving your friends?
  5. How can avoiding your “feels” get in the way of loving and serving your friends?
  6. Why is it so important to be willing to have tough conversations with your friends?
  7. How can you make praying for your friends more a part of your everyday life?
  8. We listed four ways to love and serve your friends:
  • Be happy when they’re happy,
  • Be there for them when they’re sad,
  • Be truthful, even when it’s tough, and
  • Pray for them and pray with them.

9. What are some other ways you can love and serve your friends?On a scale of 1 (not much) to 10 (pretty solid), how good a job do you do loving and serving your friends?

10. What can you do this week to love and serve your friends better?

[End lesson]

This is lesson 2 of our new back to school series – How to be Awesome. This series is only available as a part of our Exclusive Youth Curriculum

Get one year of strategic youth ministry totally done for you! 52 teaching lessons, 77 small group lessons, 4 youth group events and 6 training sessions. 

Learn more here

3 Replies to “YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON FRIENDSHIPS”

  1. Trudy Fritzler
    • August 3, 2021

    Would.like to.get just the awesome series, is there any way to.do this?

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Cindy Ramirez
      • August 10, 2021

      We would love to get the just awesome series–however, it sounds like you have to purchase the a huge bundle of which we don’t need –I am using this as a supplement for a Sunday night Bible study–I wish we could get –it would be a great Sunday night study

      Reply
  2. Laura B Marcum
    • September 7, 2021

    I was looking at the “Back to School Bundle”. I have read through the free lesson on Awesomeness. I don’t understand why I would have to also purchase the WinZip software ($30) or other software in order to get the photos. It seems like there would be a better way. I saw that you said you could try the free trial, but wouldn’t I continue to need this to access the resources in bundle as well?

    Reply

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