No one is born brave. We choose to be courageous every day, and in every circumstance, one decision at a time.

I recently went to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City.

In total, 343 firefighters died instantly when the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11 2001, along with 60 police officers and eight paramedics.

Furthermore, the FDNY documented 863 firefighters and ambulance workers with cancers certified as relating to their work on September 11 2001, according to the New York Post.

In fact, here’s a fire truck that was crushed when one of the Twin Towers came crashing down (I took a picture of it at the museum). All 11 people in the unit were immediately killed:

These men and woman sacrificed their lives in an attempt to save others. No doubt, this is the ultimate act of courage. We honor and celebrate the great sacrifice these courageous people made.

They can teach us a thing or two about having courage in our day to day lives.

Preteens might not jump into a building on fire, but they are faced with tough situations at school, home and with friends.

In the Book of Psalms, David repeatedly reminded himself of who he was and who gave him the strength that he needed to live a courageous life.

Use this lesson to teach preteens that they can choose to be courageous, based on who God is, rather than the situations they face.

– Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry



Bible: Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

Bottom Line: We can choose to be courageous, based on who God is, rather than the situations we face.


  • A pack of Solo cups for each team
  • Tables – two teams per table
  • Prizes for the winning team – candy always works!


The goal of this game is to stay as calm as possible, while trying to work together, as a team, to complete a task.

Divide students into teams of 5 people.

You will need a pack of Solo cups for each team.

Two teams will share a table while completing the task.

Say: I have an interesting game for us today… it’s called “Don’t Panic!”

I’m going to give each team a pack of Solo cups… and all you have to do is stack the cups and make a tower.

Sounds easy, right?

Well, there are a couple more things that I need for you to do.

Your team is going to make a tower, as high as you possibly can, using your pack of cups.

We’re going to have two teams share a table to make it a little more challenging.

Now, I’m sure that you will be careful not to move the table too much and cause the tower that the other team is building to fall down. 🙂

Just remember that if their tower falls, yours will probably fall too!

Also… while you’re building, you can’t talk louder than a whisper.

Oh, and you won’t just be whispering to each other, your whole team will actually be whispering the lyrics to Happy Birthday as fast as you can – the entire time you’re building your tower.

If your team’s volume becomes too loud, I’m going to knock your tower down and you will have to start over again.

And the last thing is – you only get a minute to build the tallest tower.

No pressure.

On GO, you will begin to build – GO!

Have your leaders walk around the room and ensure that the students stay quiet – and if they aren’t quiet, make them start their towers again.

At the end of the minute, have students step away from their towers and see which one is the tallest. 

Award a prize to the winning team. 

If you have more prizes, and the students are having fun – play it again!


Was it hard to stay calm while you were stacking cups, whispering, and trying to work together? Why?

Wait for responses.

In real life, it’s just not typical for people to stay calm and relaxed when the pressure is on.

The truth is that the more that’s going on in our lives, often, the more panicked we become.

Throughout the Book of Psalms, we read about the mixed, and sometimes panicked emotions, that King David felt.

In one chapter, he’s full of joy and giving thanks for all that God has done.

In the next chapter, he is in the depths of despair, with nowhere to turn and unsure of how he can go on in life.

But, we also see that David becomes aware that his feelings are only temporary.

As a result, David develops the habit of reminding himself that things are going to be okay as long as his focus is on God.

Read Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

“Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.”

This verse reminds us that our courage, strength, and hope ALL come from the Lord.

But, it’s not enough to just remember to make an effort to be courageous, we also have to trust God to give us the strength that we need to face whatever we encounter in life.

So, how does courage come into play in our every day lives?

Allow responses.

Does it take courage to wake up and go to school?

Sometimes, it really does… especially depending on what’s going on at school.

You might have a bully that you face everyday, maybe you don’t feel smart enough, or you have a hard time standing up for what you believe.

All of those things, and more, take courage. defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear.”

So, David says – Be of good courage… and God will strengthen your heart.

You can face whatever comes your way, not because you are brave or fearless, but because we realize our strength comes from the Lord.

And unlike us, God can do anything!

Today, I want you to think about this – if you knew that God was walking with you and giving you strength in everything you say and do, would you be more courageous?

Allow responses.

Well, you need to know and have confidence that God IS walking with you and giving you strength… in everything you say and do – so be courageous!

Today, you can choose to have courage, but not because you are brave and you can do everything, but because God is with you!

Close in prayer.


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