Here’s a youth group lesson on peer pressure. The big idea: Following the crowd may be easy, but it’s not always the best way to go. Bible: Matthew 26:69-75; Galatians 1:10 and Daniel 3.

Includes a fun opening game to set up the lesson.

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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PEER PRESSURE

Bible Verses: Matthew 26:69-75; Galatians 1:10; Daniel 3

Bottom Line: Following the crowd may be easy, but it’s not always the best way to go.

OPENING GAME: TO FOLLOW THE CROWD OR NOT FOLLOW THE CROWD?

Game Supplies: 

  • Bag of candy for the winning team to share
  • Random supplies from around your youth room and church building for skit props

Game Setup: 

Write 2-5 situations of peer pressure on pieces of paper, depending on your group size and how you want to split them up.

Some examples: 

  • Your friends convince you to vape because it’s cool and everyone is doing it. 
  • You don’t pray at school before lunch because your friends think it’s weird. 

How to Play the Game: 

Split your group into teams of 3-6, depending on your group size.

Students’ goal will be to create a skit with their team based on their written prompt. 

The funnier and more interactive, the better. 

Give your students ten minutes to look over their peer pressure example and scavenge around your youth area/your closet/church building for supplies to include in their skit. 

Send youth leaders along to ensure everything can be returned to its proper place afterward. 

Youth leader participation in the skit acting is also encouraged! 

When their ten minutes are up, have each team perform their skit and rate them on creativity, props, and acting. 

Their skit can either end with making the right choice or following the crowd, and they must explain why they chose the ending they did. 

The winning team gets a bag of candy to share!

TEACH

Great work on your skits tonight. They were funny and engaging. 

But how many of you know that when you encounter these situations in real life, it’s not funny at all? 

You’d much rather run and hide. 

By a show of hands, how many of you have encountered a situation in real life like one in our skits?

Pressure from our peers can cause anxiety and stress. 

It can cause us to wonder if doing the right thing is all that important.

Tonight, we’re going to look at a guy named Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. 

We will read his story of giving in to the crowd around him and the pressures he felt. 

Peer pressure and fear caused him to do something that he deeply regretted. 

We’ve all been there. 

Once we’re done reading his story, we’ll take some time to look at how we can respond in the face of peer pressure at school or with friends. 

Let’s start by opening our Bibles to Matthew 26:69-70:

69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

So here we find Peter already in a tricky situation.

Peter had spent the last three years of his life following Jesus. 

He spent those three years dedicated to Jesus, believing in Jesus, and being close to Jesus. 

Only a few verses earlier, in verse 35, Peter promises this to Jesus: 

35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

So, what changed? 

In between those verses, Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest, a situation that would end in His crucifixion. 

The disciples already knew these people wanted Jesus dead, and they probably knew how this would turn out, so they were all afraid. 

As Peter stood outside of where Jesus’ trial was happening, a bunch of people had questions for him about who he was.

Let’s keep reading Matthew 26:71-75:

71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[a]

72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

Three times, Peter denied the truth. 

Three times, Peter went back on what he vowed to Jesus, that he would never deny Him, even if he had to die. 

Why? Because of the pressure of those around him, because he was scared. 

He was more scared of them and what they thought than he was concerned about doing the right thing. 

Peter knew that if he were associated with Jesus, it would be very easy for the crowds to push him into the trial and kill him alongside Jesus, so it was easier to lie. 

It was easier to go with the crowd and convince them that he never even knew Jesus. 

When he realized what he’d done, he went out and wept bitterly. 

How often do we do the same thing? 

How often are we like Peter?

We come to church on Sundays or Wednesdays and declare our love for Jesus. 

Maybe we raise our hands during a good worship song or fit all the right words together for group prayer. 

Maybe we’re the first to open our Bibles for the message. 

We say we love Jesus. 

We say we’re committed to following Him.

But what does our Monday look like? 

What does our Friday look like? 

What do all the days in between look like?

Are we Peter? 

Do we promise to be willing to die for Jesus, but when the pressure gets hot, we back out and say we don’t even know Him?

What do our actions say about our hearts?

Galatians 1:10 warns us of this: 

10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

If pleasing people is what I focus on, I’m not serving Jesus.

Peter was focused on pleasing the people around him. 

He was focused on making sure they didn’t kill him. 

He was focused on blending in with the crowd. 

What are you focused on today?

Every single person will tell you that doing the right thing, especially if it goes against the crowd, is hard

It’s scary even, but it’s worth it. 

In case you’re wondering how Peter’s story ends, I can tell you that he eventually learned to make the right choice, even if it was hard. 

He became bold with his faith. 

He declared Jesus boldly, even when it put him in scary and life-threatening situations. 

He didn’t follow the crowd but instead walked a different path. 

Eventually, Peter was put to death for preaching about and following Jesus.

Most Biblical scholars believe Peter was crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to be killed in the same way as Jesus.

So how do we get to that place? 

How do we learn to go against the crowd, fight through peer pressure, and make the right choices? Well, here are three things to consider. 
1. Find accountability.

How many of you surround yourself with friends or even mentors who will hold you accountable for the right thing? 

You guys live in a world that wants to convince you stuff is entirely normal and okay when it’s not.

This world wants to convince you that you can make your own truth and that following what the Bible says is lame.

Who can stand with you when the pressure is on? 

Who can help hold you accountable to make the right choice? 

In Daniel chapter 3, we see a beautiful example of this with three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 

These three men had a choice. 

The king raised up a giant golden statue, and everyone was instructed to bow down and worship this thing or face a terrible death.

Everyone around them decided it was better to get on their knees than to die in a fiery furnace. 

These three guys, however, decided to stand firm in what they believed, go against the pressure of those around them, and remain loyal to God. 

It wasn’t easy, but ultimately, He was with them in the fiery furnace and kept them safe. 

The three of them stood together. 

Who do you have to stand with you? 

Maybe it’s someone from youth group. 

Maybe it’s a peer who is also dedicated to following God and making the right choice, even if it’s hard. 

Or maybe it’s an older adult you can look up to who has been in your shoes. 

They’ve been teenagers before and can offer you wisdom and guidance when life feels hard and your peers’ pressure feels too much.

Maybe tonight, you can ask one of your youth leaders to be a mentor for you. (Prepare your youth leaders ahead of time for this to make sure they’ll be up for the challenge.

Consider asking them to pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable to make the right choices at school, at home, and with friends. 

We aren’t meant to do life alone. We all need others to walk with us, especially when it comes to making the right choices. 

2. Let go of the past.

It’s easy to convince ourselves, “Well, I already messed up. I already vaped with my friends once last week, so I might as well do it again this week.” 

Or “I haven’t prayed over my lunch all school year, and if I do it now, everyone will look at me weird.”

Whatever situation you have compromised in before does not mean you have to continue compromising in the future. 

Peter messed up big time. 

He compromised and failed to follow Jesus when the pressure from others got tough.

But he didn’t stay stuck there. 

He didn’t let that one mess up become the thing that defined the rest of his life.

So, what about you?

Will you let go of your past compromises and mistakes and make different choices moving forward? 

Just because you messed up yesterday doesn’t mean you have to mess up today. 

Just because you followed the crowd last week doesn’t mean this week can’t be different.

Let go of the past and make different choices today. 

3. Grow your relationship with God.

If you ate dinner tonight and then waited until next week to eat dinner again, wouldn’t you be starving?

You wouldn’t make it! 

Your body can only go so long without food and water.

So why do we think that coming to youth group and cracking open our Bibles one night a week is enough to get us through the other days of the week?

It’s not enough. 

Coming to youth group is a great way to help you with our number one point of accountability. 

But your relationship with Jesus needs to be deeper than a Wednesday night faith if you want to stand for Jesus against the pressure of your peers. 

Spend time reading your Bible every day. 

Maybe at first you only have five minutes to give. 

That’s okay. 

It’s a good place to start. 

You don’t have to start by reading seven chapters a day in the Bible. 

Start with one. 

Or maybe even start with one verse and think about it throughout the rest of the day.

See what God does with that one verse in your day.

Spend each day talking to Him. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy; you don’t have to use big words. 

All God wants is to hear your voice. 

So, talk to Him. 

Tell Him about your struggles and the pressures from those around you. 

Ask Him to help you stand firm. 

Don’t make your relationship with God survive on meeting with Him one night a week.

To wrap up, three ways we can fight against peer pressure are to find accountability in friends or mentors, move on from the past and make different choices today, and grow our relationship with God beyond Wednesday nights. 

Following Him and making the right choice isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Let’s pray together. 

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
  1. What’s the #1 influence in the life of the average person your age? Explain.
  2. What’s the #1 influencer for you? Is that influence mostly positive or negative? Explain.
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how much are you influenced by your friends? Explain.
  4. Share a time at school or with friends when you felt pressured to do what everyone else was doing—even if it wasn’t the right thing? (Leaders, be willing to share your own story as well.)
  5. Why do you think we all want to fit in? What does “fitting in” look like to you?
  6. What’s one thing you can do this week to resist the urge to follow the crowd?

End Lesson

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out the…

2024 SUMMER BUNDLE – Save 78% on $450 worth of youth ministry lessons and games for the summer and beyond!

Want another free lesson? Check out this…

Youth Group Lesson on 1 Timothy 4:12

6 Replies to “YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PEER PRESSURE”

  1. Juliet Mitchell
    • November 2, 2023

    This is great and can be adapted for younger children up to teens.

    Reply
  2. Darleene Smallwood
    • November 8, 2023

    This is fabulous choice for the children in my Sunday school classes. I love the fact we can teach to younger & older children. This way as a family & everyone will know what the other classes are learning.

    Reply
  3. George Omondi
    • November 11, 2023

    Wonderful indeed

    Reply
  4. Angel T.
    • March 10, 2024

    Thank you for producing this invaluable lesson! I’ll use it for my children’s homeschool Bible Studies lesson.

    Reply
  5. Amie
    • March 17, 2024

    A blessing to give me a great example of how to approach the subject.

    Reply
  6. AK
    • June 7, 2024

    So helpful. Thank you!!!

    Reply

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