Preteen Ministry Game: The Power of Words

When I was a preteen I was picked on a lot. I was uncoordinated, skinny, had big glasses, a mop-like hairdo, and braces twice the size of my teeth.

I remember being called a lot of bad names. Those words stuck with me for a long time. In fact, it wasn’t until early adulthood that I embraced my nerdiness.

The preteens in your ministry need to know the power of their words, both to tear down and uplift others.

Use this game in your preteen ministry to set up a lesson (based on James 3:7-11) to teach students the power of their words.

Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry



Game Title: Crepe Paper Shoot Out

Topic: The Power of Words (James 3:7-11; Ephesians 4:29)


3-4 Colors of Crepe Paper

3-4 Water Guns

Rope or board (the length of the stage or a wall)

Plastic to protect items from getting wet

Tape or Staples (to attach crepe paper to rope/board)


Before the activity, choose 3-4 colors of wide crepe paper for the game.

Cut several 5 to 6 foot strips of each color crepe paper.

Stretch a rope/board across a wall or stage and place plastic behind for protection.

Tape or staple the crepe paper strips to the rope/board in a random order making sure that the colors are well mixed across the stage.


Divide preteens into 3-4 teams and assign each team one of the colors.

Give each team a single-stream water gun to use during the game.

Have the teams stand on the other side of the room from the crepe paper and make sure they are just near the max distance of the water gun being used.

When the game begins, one team member from each team must shoot water at the other teams’ crepe paper strips.

When the leader calls switch, the shooter must give the water gun to the next person in line.

When a team loses all their crepe paper strips, they are out of the game.

The team with their crepe paper still hanging will be declared the winner.

After the game, ask the following questions:

How did you decide which color to shoot at first?

How did it feel when you made a strip of paper fall?

How did it feel when your team was eliminated?

Did you accidently hit another color or your own color?

As you were shooting down the paper of other teams, I couldn’t help but think of how powerful our words really are and how we often use them to cut others down instead of building them up.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

That is just not true.

Words have the power to hurt people very badly.

Insults, lies, and other comments can ruin the relationships you have with others at school.

The Bible warns us about how dangerous our words can be.

James 3:7–11 says,

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

Our words can be dangerous weapons that cut others down.

Do you remember how the water would also hit other strips of paper—even when you weren’t aiming at them?

The same is true with our words!

Our negative words may be directed at one person, but they have negative effects on so many more people!

God’s desire is for you to use your words to build up others, not tear them down.

Using words to build others up requires discipline.

God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us work towards this goal.

Insults, critical comments, and gossip can really hurt people’s feelings.

Instead of tearing them down, find ways to lift them up with your words.

Ephesians 4:29 says,

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Even when there is not much to be positive about, find something uplifting to say that will encourage the person to keep growing.

Think before you speak and make sure that your words are going to build up, not tear down!


Written by Matt Morgan, who oversees the preteen ministry at Fellowship Bible Church in Arkansas.

If you like this game, then you’ll love this…

Preteen Game: Puck of Destiny


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