Note to the Teacher

In the opening line of the Philippians passage used for this lesson, Paul tells the Christians in Philippi to follow his example. Everyday our students are bombarded with messages telling them who to follow, and they are told if they choose the “right” person to follow, life will be easy.

Paul, in a sense, is saying the same thing: “Follow me as we strive to live for Christ.”

Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but can be adjusted as is necessary.

10 min

1. Ice Breaker: 2 Options

Option 1:  Copycat

Ask your students to stand in a circle.  Ask one person to leave the room; this person will be the guesser for the round. While he or she is gone, the group decides who should be the “leader.” The leader will be the one who sets the movements for that round. When the leader is chosen, invite the guesser to come back.

The guesser stands in the very center of the circle.

When the round begins, everyone starts swinging their arms up and down. The leader will eventually begin to do other movements, and everyone else mimics the leader’s actions, without being too obvious so they don’t reveal who the leader is. The leader can do just about anything he or she wants, such as: clapping, making a kicking motion with his or her leg, jumping up and down, singing a line from a song, patting his or her own head, a dance move, etc.

The guesser, remaining in the middle of the circle, gets 2 minutes to make 3 guesses of the identity of the leader. 

Play as time allows.

Option 2:  Follow the Leader

This is a great game if you have a large area or a building where you can freely roam.  Choose someone to be the leader, and have the rest of the group line up behind that person.  The leader then walks around, with the rest following, while doing fun movements; they can skip, hop, jump, sing a song, etc.  The leader can lead the group in a circle, up and down stairs, or wherever the space allows.

After a minute, an adult should yell, “Switch”, and the leader goes to the back of the line while the second person in line becomes the new leader.

Play as time allows.

 15 min

2.  Read Scripture & Discuss

Begin exploring the scripture by asking students to talk about the most influential people in their lives.

  • Who are some people who influence you and the way you live? These can be positive influences or negative influences.
  • How do people influence you?
  • Do you think you are influenced more by people you know personally, or people you know through media, movies, music, etc.?

Read Philippians 3: 17 – 4: 1. You can have one person read, or you can break it up and have two or three people read.

  • Who are the people who have guided or are guiding you in your faith?  What have they taught you and how have they taught you?
  • Are there people who you are guiding and mentoring in their faith?  If so, how do you do this?
  • Which has been more important in your faith, Christian mentors or experiences?  Give examples.
  • In verses 18 through 20, Paul paints a picture of people who live in a “worldly” way verses people who live as a “citizen of Heaven” way.  What do you think is the difference?  Give some examples of both kinds of people.
  • It is almost like Paul is setting up an “us versus them” situation.  Are there times when we, as Christians, need to look at what we face in this way?  If so, when?
  • Paul reminds us in verses 20 and 21 that it is Christ in us that allows us to live the way we are called to live.  What are some ways that you have leaned on Jesus when you have faced trials and temptations?  If you can think of and are willing to share some examples, do so.
  • Sometimes when we live as a follower of Jesus, things can get tough.  Let’s be honest, it isn’t always easy to do what Jesus calls us to do!  In verse 21 Paul states that our power to live as a Christian comes directly from Christ.  How can we tap into that power?  What are specific ways we can stay close to Jesus and continue to grow in our faith?

20 min




3. Activity

Living as a Follower of Jesus

Paul tells the Philippians to follow his example in the way he lives his life as a follower of Jesus.  Paul is not doing this out of arrogance.  He is offering encouragement. 

As a group, make a brief list of some of the things that you have been taught by others’ examples and words to live as followers of Christ. 

Take this lesson to the next level by helping students engage their creativity in exploring how we are called to live as Christians by using the resource Improve Case Studies by the Youth Worker Collective (

5 min  

4. Closing

Close by having each student share a goal that he/she is going to strive for in his/her faith during this coming week. Examples might include praying for someone they don’t get along with, spending more time reading the Bible, or reaching out to someone in need.

Share other prayer requests as there is time.

Close in prayer.

50 min


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