One of the greatest things God did when He designed us was give us the power to think.

We get to choose how our thoughts influence what we do, say, and how we live.

The downside of this is when we fill our thoughts with things that distract us from God’s ways and His beauty.

Use this lesson to remind preteens the value of their thoughts… and to “make sure you’re always thinking about what you’re thinking about.”

– Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry 



Written by: Rob Quinn

Bible: Philippians 4:8

Bottom Line: Make sure you’re always thinking about what you’re thinking about.



  • 4 decks of standard playing cards
  • 4 tables (big enough to display one entire deck of cards)
  • 30-second timer
  • Upbeat music


Shuffle all 4 decks of cards together and divide into 4 equal stacks.

Set-up the 4 tables around the room and place one stack of cards on each table in the middle of the table.

Take the top two cards from the pile and place them face up on the table.

Divide your students into four equal teams and have each team stand next to one of the tables.

Have one leader at each team to collect matches and make sure cards match.

On GO, one team member will run to any other table and flip one card over.

If that card matches another card, they will take that match, return it to their team, and give it to the leader.

If the card they choose does not match, they will leave it face up on that table, and return to their team tagging the next player to go.

For each player’s turn, they can go to any table, and choose a card.

If they know of a match at another table, they can run to that table and make that match.

They can only choose one table to try and make one match per turn.

Meaning that they cannot run from table to table trying to make matches in the same turn.

If they get to a table and no matches are there, they will leave that card face up on the table and return to their team for the next person to go.

Continue playing until all matches have been made.

The team with the most matches will with the game.

Play some fun upbeat music as the game is being played.


So, that game took a ton of brain power!

You not only had to think about the table you were looking at, but you then had to try and think about the other tables.

And then think about if you should go there and make a match… and if you got there, was the match still there? Or even the right table?

In the beginning, things moved a little faster, but as the tables got filled up and matches were made, you had to slow down a little and think.

What are some other things you have to take time a think about before doing?

Wait for answers.

Next, tell a personal story about a time when you did something without thinking about the outcome.

Try to make it fun or exciting; something age related.

As you can see, even I have done some things that if I would have just taken some time and thought about it beforehand, things may have turned out differently.

But, what determines what we do and what we think about?

Allow a few to answer.

I believe, that a lot of the things we do in life are an outcome of how, or what we think about.

I mean… that just kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Let’s face it though, we have a lot to think about.

We live in a world where media surrounds us 24/7.

We have cell phones, tablets, and computers, with TV, Netflix and Hulu.

We are in constant connection with the world.

We can become so connected that all we think about is what the world tells us.

When we let those thoughts consume everything, we end up walking a path that is not the path Jesus walked.

In the Bible, we see how God warns us against just this thing.

Read Philippians 4:8.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Here, we see that Paul, the apostle that wrote this letter to the church in Philippi, was actually warning about this very thing.

Paul knew that what we fix our thoughts on, guides our actions.

So, he tells us very clearly here what we should fix our thoughts on: things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

Paul knew that when think about these things, we will live this way.

So, now that we know what we should be thinking about and why, the next step is how.

Here’s the bottom line: Make sure you’re always thinking about what you’re thinking about.

What would happen if we took this as serious as it is?

If everything you thought about… you thought about first.

Suppose you were trying to decide between buying a new bike and anew Xbox… how do you figure out which one you want?

You think about it, you gather information, and you make educated decisions.

You thought about what you wanted.

So, you know that you want to keep you mind true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

Start thinking that way.

Stop thinking about all the junk the world tells you and start thinking about what you are thinking about.

Then, your actions will be the same because YOU will desire to act true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

Before we head to small groups, here is one question I want you to think about: What are you thinking about thinking about?


  • What are some things you love doing?
  • How much time do you spend thinking about those things you love to do?
  • What are some other things you think about? WHY?
  • What things may affect what you think about?
  • What do you think about when I say: Your thoughts dictate your actions?
  • Why is this important to know and understand?
  • How does this change your thinking?
  • How hard is it to think what you think about?
  • What can you do to make this easier?

End lesson.


About Rob Quinn, the Writer of this Lesson

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.

If you liked this lesson, then be sure to check out our brand new preteen series, The Gospels. It’s 4-week series that explains why each of the four Gospels were written, and what preteens can learn about Jesus from each one of them:


  • Sarah Lloyd
    4 years ago

    I am interested in The Gospel lessons but I buy nothing on a computer. Nothing! Is there a paper form or a number to call?

    • Hi Sarah, I’m sorry we do not offer our lessons in paper form. I will tell you that once you get the lessons and download them they are super easy to print out. Let me know if you have anymore questions!

  • Tina Wilhelm
    4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! I am new to preteen ministry and you have made it fun and interesting. I am looking forward to reading and doing more of your lessons. THANKS and GOD BLESS YOU!

  • Thanks so much for this amazing write up, it has really blessed me!