Are the preteens in your ministry obsessed with their friends? Maybe they are starting to seek out advice from their friends rather than their parents, or maybe you see groups emerging that you suspect are going to be long-term friendships.

Whatever’s going on in your group, we know you have a front row seat to it!

Teaching preteens how to love others and treat them how God wants them to can start by introducing them to the idea of how to be a godly friend.

Use this free lesson on Proverbs 17:17, 27:9, and 27:17 to teach preteens all about how to be true friends to other by being loyal, giving encouragement and good advice, and helping others be their best.

Ministry to Youth Team

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Written by Joshua Thompson

BIBLE: Proverbs 17:17, 27:9, 27:17

Bottom Line: It takes doing the right things to help your friendships grow into a blessing!



  • Tape/hula hoops (zones for the game)
  • Plastic cups
  • Ping pong balls


First, break the preteens up into teams.

Give each team six to ten plastic cups and a ping pong ball. Tell them that their goal is to make a pyramid with the plastic cups at the other end of the room.

The trick is that they have to go one at a time to build the pyramid, relay-style. Each preteen will run down, place a cup, then run back and tag the next person in line, and so on.

You can mark the starting and ending places with tape, hula hoops, or another similar item.

Once they have successfully created a pyramid with their cups, the preteens must form a line and pass their ping pong ball from the front of the line to the back while sitting down.

(You’ll want to have some leaders hanging out with the kids, cheering them on and making sure they remember the directions!)

The first team to complete both parts of the challenge wins!


Teamwork is such an important part of most of the things we do, and I thought you all did an excellent job working together to complete the challenge of the game!

Now, who is familiar with the saying “the more the merrier”?

If you know it, would one of you mind sharing with us what it means?

[Give a preteen an opportunity to answer.]

It’s an older saying meaning that the more people in a situation, the better.  

So when it comes to friendship, it might be said that the more friends you have, the better off you are!

Today we’re going to talk about friendship … but not the surface level friendship that says “Oh this person is my friend” but you don’t really know them.

We’re going to talk about what it means to have friends the way God wants us to have friends.

Friendship isn’t primarily about how many people call you “friend” but about how you treat those who call you their friend.

In fact, Scripture never commands us to make friends but instead focuses on teaching us how to be friends to others.

Today, we’re going to focus in on learning how to grow good friendship the way God says to!

I want you to think of your friendships as if they were fruit trees you have planted.

If you don’t treat a fruit tree you’ve planted correctly – meaning you don’t make sure the fruit tree has water and sunlight and all that good stuff – then your tree isn’t going to do so well.

In the same way, if you don’t treat your friendships the right way, they will struggle to grow and won’t do so well.

But if you do the right things for your friendships, they will grow into a great blessing for both you and your friend.

Let’s look at some verses from the book of Proverbs.

We’re going to learn from these verses some very important aspects of friendship:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Encouragement and good advice
  3. Helping other be their best

These aren’t the only things you’ll find in a good friendship, but these are some really important foundational aspects of good and godly friendships.

Listen to this first verse about friendship:

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” – Proverbs 17:17, NLT

Hmm … a friend is always loyal …

It’s easy to be loyal friends with someone when everything is going well in life.

Instead of having to deal with negative emotions, both friends can relate to each other with feelings of gladness.

However, is it normal for every moment of a person’s life to be a good moment?

[Let the preteens answers.]

Absolutely not!

Everyone has times in their lives that are difficult and cause them to feel down.

Here’s where loyalty can play a really big role in your friendships.

It’s during the hard times that we are called to stick with our friends.

It’s easy to give in to the desire to avoid the awkward moments that happen when our friends are struggling with something.

But if we are going to be good friends that are always loyal, then we must have courage to be there with our friends no matter what.

Here’s another proverb that can help us grow good friendships:

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” – Proverbs 27:9, NLT

Here’s another version of that verse that helps make the meaning a little clearer:

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and a person’s advice is sweet to his friend.” – Proverbs 27:9, NASB

Here’s a fun question – do any of you have a favorite smell that makes you feel happy?

[Give preteens a chance to respond.]

Some people love the smell of certain foods cooking, others love the smell of flowers, and others like smells that remind them of a good time in their life.

Whatever that smell may be, it can uplift their spirits.

This is what this Scripture verse is encouraging us to do with our friends now.

If we are going to have good friendships, then we must speak words of encouragement to our friends that help uplift their spirits and point them toward the right thing to do with good advice.

By doing this, we make healthy environments for our friendships to grow.

Now, here is one more verse that helps us understand how to have good friendships:

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – Proverbs 27:17, NLT

If you had to choose between a sharp axe or a dull axe to cut down a tree, which one would you choose and why?

[Let the preteens answer this easy question to set up your point.]

That’s right!

You would choose the sharp axe because it is the most effective.

When an axe is sharp, it is at its best.

A similar message is found in this verse when it comes to our relationships.

If we are going to have good friendships, then we must seek to help our friends be at their very best!

However, it isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

To sharpen something requires it to be close and experience friction that can be uncomfortable at times.

When we seek for our friends to be at their very best, it will mean seeking what God’s Word says is what’s best for them because it is ultimately God who knows what’s best for everyone!

This will sometimes make the friendship uncomfortable because it’s not always easy talking about God.

Do you ever find it hard to talk about the Bible?

Why do you think it’s hard sometimes … even with our close friends?

[Allow time for preteens to answer.]

Here’s what I want you to know about that. Even though it might be uncomfortable the first time, the more we encourage our friends in the Lord, the easier it becomes.

And the more we do this, the more we build our friends up to be at their best.

Friendships will always be important to have because we are people created to do life with each other.

However, we must always remember that we must do our part to help our friendships grow into ones that are good and a blessing to both us and our friends.

Who can remember the three aspects of friendship that we covered today?

[Help the students get loyalty, encouragement, and helping other be their best.]

Great! Alright, let’s pray and head to small group time!  


  1. Why can’t you determine if you are a good friend or not based on how many people call you their friend?
  2. In our lesson, we compared friendships to a fruit tree because both friendships and fruit trees can grow. Have you ever had to take care of something so that it could be healthy and grow? What was that experience like?
  3. What is the hardest part to you about being there for a friend going through a tough time?
  4. What are some ways you can loyally be there for your friend as they deal with a difficult situation?
  5. As we talked about during the lesson, words of encouragement and good advice can really lift someone’s spirit. Can you share with us a time when you felt better after talking to a friend about something?
  6. How can you uplift your friends by what you say?
  7. As we came toward the end of our lesson, we talked about how growing good friendships means helping friends be at their best. What are some way you can think of to help your friends be at their best?
  8. Why do you think God teaches us in Scripture how to be good friends to others?

End lesson.

Looking for preteen ministry curriculum? Check out our…

Exclusive Preteen Curriculum – Year 1 & 2 now available. Get one year of new preteen ministry curriculum designed to help 4th-6th graders explore their faith and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

Exclusive Preteen Curriculum

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  1. Gina McCurdy
    • March 22, 2024

    Loved the game and transition into the biblical lesson


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