If you have been around preteens for any length of time one thing you will pick up on is they want to be part of something. They want to have a lot of friends, they want to be the smart one, and they want 100 likes on Instagram.

For a preteen, things like these mean one thing. That is – they matter. I mean how awesome are you if you get lots of likes on your selfie? You must really matter in this world!

The world we live in tells us time and time again what we must BE, must DO, must BELIEVE in order to matter to others.

Up to this point in life, preteens have always looked up and cared about what mom and dad thought, and that made them matter to just mom and dad. Now, they are looking toward their friends and the entire world.

Use this game and lesson to make preteens understand the only thing that matters is that they matter to God. Because in the end, what God thinks is all that really matters.

– Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry


Written by Rob Quinn


Bible: Luke 18:15-16

Bottom Line: You matter to God and you have a place in His Kingdom.


  • A deck of cards
  • Flat surface to play on


Divide preteens into pairs.

Each pair needs to choose a secret signal – without letting anyone else see what it is.

Once all the pairs have decided, everyone comes back together.

Game can be played 5-6 pairs at a time.

For larger groups: Play multiple rounds and the winners of each round will play in a final grand champion round.

Have students sit in a circle, directly across from their partners.

Deal out four cards to all of the players and put the remaining cards in a pile next to you.

Have everyone look at their cards.

GROUND RULES: Everyone’s goal is to get four of a kind (e.g. four Kings, four 5’s, four Aces).

If a person gets four of a kind, that person needs to signal to their partner that they have four of a kind.

Once receiving the signal, the partner will say “Bang”.

The first pair to say “Bang” receives one point for the round.

If someone catches a pair trying to relay the signal, the catcher says “Bust”, the round ends, and the caught pair loses a point.

If someone mistakenly says “Bust” and the pair do not have four of a kind, the round ends and the catcher’s team loses a point.

The game is played clockwise.

Each player can only have four cards in hand at all times.


You start the game by picking up one card from the pile next to you.

Take a glance at it.

You have the option of keeping the card or passing it on to the person to the left of you.

If you decide to keep the card, you have to exchange it with a card that is already in your hand and pass your discarded card to the next person.

The person to your left picks up your discarded card, takes a glance at it, and decides whether to keep the card or to pass it on.

Once the person discards their card, the third person does the same thing as the previous players.

This happens throughout the circle until someone says “Bang” or “Bust”.

The first team to reach 5 points wins the game.


Say: Congratulations to the winner and to everyone else for just having fun!

Let me ask you a few questions before we get started:

  • What was your strategy in the game? To watch others or get the 4 of a kind or both?
  • For those that said both, how hard was it to pay attention to everything?
  • What mattered more, watching others for their signal or getting 4 of a kind?
  • Did you change your strategy at all? Why?
  • Did it really matter which strategy you used? Why or Why not?
  • What matters to you in life? Why?

Say: In the game, you had to pay attention to so many things, and if you chose to pay attention to the wrong thing you probably missed something.

It really mattered what you were paying attention too.

Then, before you knew it, BANG or BUST.

Just like in the game, it can be really difficult to pay attention to everything this world tell us we need to do to feel important; to feel like we belong; to feel like we matter; or just make a BANG in this world.

In fact, this world is full of things that tell us if we don’t do these things we don’t matter or we will be a BUST.

But, I want to let you in on a little secret, YOU DO MATTER.

Not because you have tons of friends, not because you are a star athlete, not because you have 500 friends on Instagram, or 100 likes on your latest duck face selfie.

You matter for one reason, and you don’t even have to do anything to make it happen.

You matter because you matter to God.

Lets say that out loud: “I MATTER TO GOD”

Great Job!

Now, let’s yell that out as loud as we can – “I MATTER TO GOD”

How does that make you feel? Knowing you matter to God.

We live in this world that wants to tell you that you don’t matter.

You’re too young, you couldn’t possibly understand that, you aren’t ready for that yet.

What you think, believe, want, or know doesn’t really matter.

But, remember you matter to God.

Don’t take my word for it – take His!

Let’s read Luke 18:15-16.

“One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

Back in the day, it was common for parents to take their kids to Jesus for Him to touch them and bless them.

On this day, some kids came running to Jesus.

Now, we don’t know what else was going on at the time or what exactly Jesus was doing; maybe they were interrupting something.

But, His disciples, the people closest to Him, the ones that supposedly knew Him best, pushed the children away like they didn’t have a right to come up to Jesus, or like they didn’t matter to Him.

And I love what Jesus did here, I mean can you imagine how this was said to them?

I really don’t think it was all calm and peaceful way.

I think Jesus put a little power and attitude behind it or even kind of scolded them.

He was telling them that the Kingdom belongs to them also.

He is telling them that kids matter and they matter to Him and his Kingdom.

The world will try and tell you what matters and what doesn’t, and each of them are things that are going to require you to do something or believe something.

Eventually, something will change and what once made you matter, no longer does.

You will be asked to do more or think differently.

Take away today this one thing:

You matter to God and you have a place in His Kingdom.

And there is nothing you have to do to make this happen.

He simply made you, and loves you, and that’s all that matters to Him.

As you head home ask yourself this simple question: DO YOU BELIEVE YOU MATTER?

Close in prayer.


Like this game? Check out this…


About Rob Quinn, the Writer of this Game

Rob has nearly 10 years of experience in preteen ministry and is currently a junior high pastor. He is married to an amazing woman Jodi, who just so happens to be the Children’s Ministry Director at his church. They have one beautiful daughter Sydni, and an 8-pound attack dog named Lilly.


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