Preteen Ministry Game on Discipleship

As many of you know I’m training for a Spartan Race, which takes place just outside of San Diego at the end of January.

For those of you not familiar with the Spartan Race, it’s the toughest and baddest of all the mud obstacle course races.

I get nervous about it just doing a Google search for “Spartan Race Obstacles”.

spartan race

The obstacles include crazy stuff like: crawling in the mud under barb wire (see above pic), jumping over fire, climbing a 25 foot wall covered in slimy mud, throwing a 15 foot spear at a target, carrying heavy objects up a hill, endless burpees, and so much more.

The one I’ll be doing is a Spartan Sprint, which will be a 3-5 mile course that includes 20+ obstacles.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been training really hard.

My primary goal is to just finish the course. I’m not concerned with time.

My secondary goal is to complete all the obstacles. If you cannot complete an obstacle, then you have to do 30 burpees as a penalty.

And I really hate burpees, so the less I have to do the better.

I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how I do at the Spartan Race, so stay tuned in late January for a blog post about it 🙂

Now, imagine if I didn’t train for the Spartan Race at all. 

Imagine if I didn’t even exercise, ate potato chips, fried chicken and drank Coke all day long.

If I showed up on race day, I probably wouldn’t do very good.

The same is true when it comes to discipleship.

It’s important for the preteens in our ministries to “train” themselves to be like Jesus.

That means they need to stay connected to Him in their every day lives.

They need to follow disciplines and form habits that enable God to change them from the inside out.

They cannot simply decide on will power alone to be like Jesus in their actions.

However, the more they encounter God, the more he shapes and molds them to be like Jesus.

Use this free game, which includes a mini-lesson on discipleship, to help drive home that point to preteens in your ministry.

Nick Diliberto, The Preteen Ministry Guy

Preteen Ministry Game on Discipleship


Bible: Luke 9:23

Say: Today we are going to learn about discipleship.

It takes training and discipline to become like Jesus.

We don’t train more by trying harder, but trusting more.

It requires you to get out of the drivers seat of life and let God take the lead.

The more we live connected to God, the more we trust Him and become like Jesus.

It takes training and discipline to set aside time to pray, read the Bible, talk to God throughout the day, listen to God’s voice and journal.

Those activities keep us connected to God, which helps us trust God & become more like Jesus.

Read Luke 9:23 (The Message):

“Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” Luke 9:23 (The Message)

Discuss the following questions in small groups:

What does this verse have to do with today’s topic?

Why is it hard to allow God to lead us?

What benefits are there to allowing God to take the lead?



20 balloons per group of 3 or 4 preteens & lots of masking tape.

Preteens blow up their own balloons or have them already blown up beforehand.

On each balloon, preteens write down ways to live like Jesus.

If you are preparing them beforehand, then write ways to live like Jesus on each balloon.

How to Play

Break up preteens into groups of 3-4.

Give a roll of masking tape to each group.

Preteens work together to wrap one player in each group with masking tape (sticky side out) from the top of their knees to their arm pits.

Once wrapped with masking tape, players begin putting on the balloons until all of them are sticking to their teammate.

The group that finishes first wins.

After the game, say:

Our goal as followers of Jesus is to live like Jesus.

The balloons represent living like Jesus.

The more we “train” to be like Jesus, the more we become like him in our actions and attitudes.

The way we train to be like Jesus is to stay connected to Him in our daily lives.

The more we experience God in our lives, the more we become like Him.

When our friends look at us, they should see the attributes written on the balloons (patience, kindness, acceptance, etc).


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