At this stage in life, preteens are just starting to make efforts to build their character.

They are suddenly aware that the decisions they make are based on who they really are on the inside.

Here are some great ways to encourage preteens to begin building a foundation that will allow their character to withstand whatever the world throws at them.

Use this lesson to teach preteens to take time to invest in building good character.

Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry



Written by: Rob Quinn

Bible Verse: 1 Timothy 4:12-13

Bottom Line: Take time to invest in building good character.



  • 4 Jenga games
  • 4 different tables
  • 5-minute timer
  • High-energy music


Line up the tables on one side of room

Put one Jenga game on each table (in a pile; not set-up to play).

Divide your group into four equal teams and have them stand on the opposite side of the room from the tables.

On GO, one player from each team will race to their table and begin building a Jenga tower.

They will choose ONE piece and place it down.

Next, they will run back and tag the next person to go.

That person will do the same thing; take one piece and continue building the tower.

The only rule on how to build your tower is that you can only use your Jenga blocks.

The team with the tallest tower when the time is up wins.

IF the tower falls down during the race, they must start over immediately.

Play high-energy music while the race is going on.

If time allows, play a few rounds.


Well, that was certainly an interesting race, wasn’t it?

Your towers were amazing… even those that fell over from time-to-time seemed to do okay… at least until they fell over!

The thing that was really interesting, was those of you that took a little more time to make sure your foundation was good and solid – you were the ones that seemed to do the best, most of the time.

There were a few that got pretty tall without a solid foundation, but let’s be honest… a strong wind would probably tumble that tower right over!

This game reminded me of the time we should take to build our character.

If we want our character to withstand the hard times, we need a sturdy foundation.

There will be times in life that your character is what will sustain you.

But wait, let me ask you a question, who knows what character is?

I’m not taking about a character in a novel, movie, or play.

I am talking about your personal character, what is that?

Wait for a few responses.

Those are great answers and you are on the right track.

The definition of character is: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

So, your character is your individual moral qualities that make it a little easier to understand.

Your individual character will be different from everyone else’s character because each of us are different.

You may have some of the same character traits as others, but your character is unique to you.

Most people want to have great character traits; we all want to have strong moral qualities.

But, we can’t underestimate the importance of a strong foundation.

Lets face it, in this crazy and ever-changing world, the one constant is that everyone wants to be liked and accepted.

The problem with that is when we focus on those things we tend to do things, say things, and become someone we really aren’t, just to fit in or be accepted.

Then, when we decide to change, the ‘real us’ comes out.

That gives people the opportunity to call us out for being someone were really aren’t, or people question our character.

Let me give you an example…

Tell a personal story about a time when you tried to fit into a group.

Be open and honest with them about how it felt and keep it age-appropriate.

See, even I tried to fit in when I was younger, even though I knew it went against all I knew was right.

I questioned my actions, but the idea of fitting in was so much better to me at the time.

Here’s what happens: When we decide to go against our moral character to fit in, we begin to build a foundation that goes against the character God wishes for us to have.

When that foundation is pushed, it will topple over faster that your towers did in the game earlier.

But, don’t take my word for it, lets see what God has to say about this.

Read 1 Timothy 4:12-13.

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”

WOW! This verse is speaking to young people, or at least you can look at it that way.

A perfect foundation starts with the strongest materials.

In these verses, God is giving you the basic materials to build your character foundation.

First of all, don’t think because you are young, you can’t have good character, or displaying good character can’t change things around you.

God is making a point here to tell you to never under estimate yourself.

Have confidence in yourself, stand up for yourself, and show your good character.

Next, He is giving you a list of the things that should be standards of your character and cannot be called into question.

Think about what you say, are you constantly swearing or using bad language?

Are you lying to try and sound cool or fit in? or are you always talking about other people?

What we say affects our character in so many different ways, and if we aren’t careful it can damage it quicker than we can imagine.

The next point is how we live – are you living the way Christ lived?

I know this is an impossible question, but are you truly giving it your all?

Think about how that looks to others… if you say you are a believer, but you only believe and are not following Christ with your actions.

Next, is your love: Are you loving others the way Jesus did.

Or do you only love those you want to?

Your faith: This is probably one of the harder ones because let’s face it… we like to be in control!

And when we want to fit in, want more friends, or just be happy, we tend to try and make that happen on our own.

What does it say about your character if you truly have faith that God will take care of all those things?

Last, is your purity: This world tells us that purity is silly and to do what make you feel good.

But, if you want others to respect your character, you need to respect it first.

If your purity can be called into question (because you don’t respect yourself to keep yourself pure), then how can others?

So, all these things sound great, but how do we build this foundation to do so?

Here are a few steps to get you started:

1) Surround yourself with others that want the same strong character traits as you desire.

See if you are around others that are constantly trying to tear you down, you will never be able to build the strong character you want.

If you make your closest friends those that strive to have those strong biblical character traits, then they can help you when you begin to struggle…. And, you can be there for them as well.

2) Don’t give up when you make a mistake.

The things we talked about in 1 Timothy 4:12-13 are building blocks to make your character strong.

Don’t be discouraged when you make a mistake and your character takes a hit and falls over.

God knows you are not perfect and doesn’t expect you to be.

He only expects you to keep trying and never stop… that’s a great character trait!

3) Be in constant communication with God.

Never stop talking to Him; one of the best way to build a great character is giving all your problems, hardships, and issues to Him.

The only way to do this is to get to know Him and by talking to Him.

Even knowing we will mess up and knock our tower over, God will always be there to help us put it back together.

So, remember that if you want to have strong character, remember it all starts with the foundation.


  1. What is your favorite TV or MOVIE character?
  2. Why are they your favorite?
  3. What character traits do you want to have? WHY?
  4. What’s the hardest thing keeping you from having great character?
  5. Do your friends challenge your character? How?
  6. What’s something you need to do to strengthen your character foundation?
  7. Who is someone that can help you develop your character?

About Rob Quinn, the Writer of this Lesson

Rob has nearly 10 years of experience in preteen ministry. 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.


Liked this lesson? Check out this…

Preteen Ministry Lesson on Fitting In

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