Object Lessons, Topical Curriculum

Being Pruned by God

Several small shrubs or plants (about 1 plant per 6 students)
2 pairs of shears/pruning scissors per shrub
Stands or tables to place the plants on around the room
1 printed copy of John 15:1-5 per shrub/plant
1 large trashcan in the center of the room

Set Up:
After you have gathered the necessary supplies in the proper amounts, spread the plants out around the room. Utilize the corners of the room, and any large open areas of the room. (This helps students be a little more private during their worship experience. Also, it prevents crowding and unnecessary waiting.) Make sure every table has 1 or 2 plants on it, along with enough pruning scissors for students to use. Also, make sure every plant has a copy of John 15:1-5 printed off and taped to the table in front of the shrub.

Now you’re ready to begin.

Say, “If you happen to know anybody who gardens, you may have heard them talk about “pruning.” When a gardener prunes his plants, flowers, or trees, essentially he is cutting away dead or dying branches that will otherwise harm the plant.

“A gardener must prune the branches of plants in order to make them healthy. Plants that are pruned will experience earlier blooming, as well as increased amounts of flowers and fruit size. Pruning also helps control diseases, and corrects faulty habits of growth.

“On the surface, it looks painful…having to cut off a branch or a twig or a stalk of your beloved plant. But in reality, if a gardener doesn’t prune the dead branches away, he is not really caring for the plant or tree in the best way possible.

“Every living thing needs to be pruned so it can reach its fullest potential, including you and me.

“I want you to think about your own life for a moment. Do you have any kind of “dead branches” hanging onto you, holding you back? These might be bad habits, sinful choices, ungodly practices. What are these dead branches costing you? In what ways are they holding you back?

“Ask God to show you those dead, dying or unhealthy areas of your life that needs to be pruned away in order for new life to grow. Listen for images, thoughts, or memories He may bring to your mind.

“When you are ready, walk over to one of the tables spread out around the room and read the passage printed there. Reflect on its meaning for a moment and then pick up the pruning shears and trim away a small piece of bush. Hold it in your hand, and thank God for being willing to prune away unhealthy areas of your life. Take the twig or branch with you and throw it in the trash can in the center of the room as a symbol of your commitment to finally separate yourself from the dead branches in your life. When you are finished, thank Jesus for this time. Quietly return to your seat and wait for others to finish.

Where to go from here:
We suggest studying John 15:1-5 together. Ask a few questions and talk about the things that your teenagers want God to prune away from them. Ask them for VERY SPECIFIC ways they will let God do this. Then close in prayer.

Idea by Harvest Ministry


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Jon forrest
    April 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Used it this morning in chapel. Actually I found it personally helpful. The verse (I think it’s 6) that says, "without me youcando nothing." really blessed me. Thanks

  2. Tracy T
    July 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

    This touched my heart. Using it tonight for Youth Class. Thank you!

  3. odera stephen
    September 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Great message.

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