As followers of Jesus, every day is Valentine’s Day.

Because love is a priority in our walk with the Lord, extending it to others should be part of our daily routine.

In fact, we “wear” love like an essential part of our wardrobe that brings everything together.

Use this junior high Valentine’s Day lesson, based on Colossians 3:14, to teach students that love brings us together in unity.

– Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry

JUNIOR HIGH LESSON ON VALENTINE’S DAY

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Bottom Line: Love brings us together in unity.

Bible: Colossians 3:14

SUPPLIES

  • Wooden clothespins (4 per student)
  • 2 Laundry baskets
  • Painter’s tape
  • 20 Socks filled with flour and tied off with a rubber band (10 socks per team)
  • 2 Whistles

OPENING GAME: PIN IT TO WIN IT

GAME PREP

Use the painter’s tape to create a line across the middle of your gameplay space.

Divide students into two teams of equal size and assign each to a side of the space. 

Place a laundry basket in the middle of each team’s space. 

Give each student four clothespins and instruct them to attach two onto each of their shirt sleeves.

Place ten flour filled socks beside the laundry basket of each team.

The flour will create minimal mess that can vacuumed up after the game is over.

Give two of your youth leaders a whistle and assign each to watch one team throughout the game.

Instruct the leaders when someone is tagged with a sock, that person will have to sit by their team’s laundry basket until their team has scored a point.

The leaders can use their whistles to alert the students when they have been tagged.

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME

Say: We’re going to play a game called, “Pin It to Win It.”

You have been assigned to a team and each person has been given four clothespins.

Those clothespins should be attached to each person’s shirt sleeves.

Your team’s laundry basket is located on the other team’s side.

When I say GO, you will try and toss or actually attach for your clothespin onto your team’s laundry basket.

At the same time, the other team can try and snatch a clothespin off a player on the other team, pin it on their own shirt, and then put it in the basket.

Each team will choose a “laundry guard.”

Your laundry guard will stand by your team’s basket and try to tag players from the other team with one of the flour-filled socks. 

If you are tagged by a laundry guard, you will have to sit by your team’s laundry basket until your team scores a point.

If you toss your clothespin into the laundry basket, your team will get one point.

If you attach it TO the laundry basket, your team will get two points.

Here are a few things to remember:

You can only tag people on the arms or legs with the flour socks.

You cannot remove clothespins once they are in or on a team’s basket.

You can only hold one clothespin in your hand at a time.

I’m going to give you a couple of minutes for your teams to come up with a strategy.

You might want to have a couple of people who are just trying to get clothespins from the other team’s sleeves.

Or you might choose a couple of people who are only trying to score points.

The choice is yours.

Decide how long you would like to play the game. Make a clear stop and start time. 

We recommend a ten-minute game, broken into two halves to give the students a chance to regroup in the middle of the game.

After the game is finished, count how many clothespins each team has scored and announce a winner.

TEACH

Say: Raise your hand if you enjoy doing the laundry in your home.

For those of you who raised your hand, tell me why you enjoy it.

For those of you who did notraise your hand, tell me why you do not enjoy it.

Allow a few responses from students.

Although there are a few of you who enjoy washing and folding clothes, it’s definitely not the majority.

Doing laundry is a necessity and it’s important.

Your clothes will become smelly and gross if you don’t wash them.

If you’ve ever had a giant pile of clothes on your floor – actually… raise your hand if you havea giant pile of clothes on your floor – that’s what I thought.

Back to my point – doing one load of laundry isn’t too bad, but when you have a ton of stinky, dirty clothes laying all over your bedroom that need to be washed, dried, and folded or put on hangers, it can take hours and hours.

And what about the times you don’t hang or fold your clothes – they end up back on the floor with the dirty ones.

Once they are all mixed together, you just have to wash all of them.

Can anyone relate?

You might be wondering why I’m talking about laundry in a lesson about “Valentine’s Day” – but I promise there is a connection.

Let’s read Colossians 3:14.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Here’s the same verse in The Message version…

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. 

Never be without it.

Let’s break it down…

In order to wear clothes, you have to own clothes – true? Of course.

In order to clothe yourself with love, love has to be part of your “wardrobe.”

You can’t wear something you don’t own.

Ask: So, how does “love” become something we own and wear – part of who we are? 

Allow a few responses from students.

I really like what The Message version of that scripture says about love – “it’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

As followers of Jesus, we can’t say we live for him and then refrain from demonstrating his love in our actions – love is a necessity.

When we buy clothes, most of us try to purchase items that are basics that will go with everything. 

Why? Because a good basic clothing item can bring outfits together and usually, they never go out of style.

That’s what love does – it brings everything together and no matter what it is always useful in every situation.

Sometimes our love for each other begins to wear thin – we get tired of caring about others and decide to put the focus on ourselves.

Most of us have experienced a friendship that was once really great and now, it stinks.

Lies, hurt feelings, and selfishness can turn our relationships into a big mess.

Let’s face it, just because we come together as a church, doesn’t mean that we always get along.

But God can take the messes and mistakes we make, clean them up, and make our love for each other new again.

In our relationships with others, love has to be a priority.

God’s love “binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

His love pushes past quarreling, anger, jealousy, and resentment.

God’s love isn’t self-centered; it thinks of others more than itself.

When you care about other people, you don’t have to have the loudest voice or the right opinion.

Instead, you put your own feelings aside and lead with love.

That kind of attitude builds bridges instead of pulling people apart.

So, let’s allow our love to build each other up, allowing God’s love to be at the center, rather than being self-centered.

The world observes Valentine’s Day with chocolates, roses, and stuffed teddy bears for the ones they love.

As Christians, we can choose to love everyone, whether we know them personally or they are a stranger, by demonstrating God’s kind of love – the love that brings us all together in unity.

Close in prayer.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. How does the world (those who do not believe in God) view love differently than Christians (those who follow Jesus)?

2. How does love bring people together in unity, or as our Bible verse says, “harmony”?

3. How can you “wear love”? What does that mean?

4. How does a lack of love for someone, or a group of people, fight against the unity God desires?

5. In our youth group, are there areas where we are not unified? 

How can we work towards becoming unified?

6. Do you see unity or quarreling at your school? 

Does it feel different when you are at church than when you are at school? How?

Take a moment to pray for the student’s schools.

7. How can you work towards unity in your family? 

How does showing love and grace to each other change your family relationships? 

Take a moment to pray for the student’s families.

8. Why will this world never be fully unified in love? Explain your answer.

9. Has a relationship ever been so broken that you think God can’t fix it? 

Have you ever seen God repair a broken heart or relationship?

10. How can you demonstrate God’s love this year on Valentine’s Day?

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