Here is a free youth group lesson on Psalm 23 helping students understand that the Lord is our shepherd who leads and guides us through life.

Includes a fun opening game to drive home the main idea.

Enjoy!

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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PSALM 23

Bible: Psalm 23, John 10:11, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 11:28-30

Bottom Line: The Lord is our Shepherd who leads and guides us through life.

OPENING GAME

Supplies: 4 blindfolds, candy for a prize (optional)

Game Prep: Create an obstacle course in your designated area before your group meets. Use everyday items like chairs or tables to create an obstacle-filled path. You can even scatter some candy across the path to confuse the racers. 

How to play the game: 

Divide your youth group into 4 teams (or however many works for the size of your group) and appoint a “racer” from each group who will be blindfolded. The objective is to get through the obstacle course the fastest. The remaining teammates will stand at the end of the obstacle course, shouting directions to help them get to the finish line first. Be prepared for the room to get very chaotic with everyone shouting! Once a player makes it to the end, do another round. 

For round two, pair each racer with one individual who will walk with them throughout the course and give them directions. They cannot touch the other person, only give verbal directions.

At the end of round two, ask the racers:

  • Which round was easier? Why? 
  • Was it difficult to listen to directions when everyone shouted all at once? Why or why not?

TEACH

Have you ever been on a trip or somewhere new and gotten lost? 

(Leader Note: Consider sharing your own story here.)

These days, whenever we get lost, our phones can help us get back on track. Most Apple products now come with a “Find my iPhone” feature that assists you in locating your device if you’ve lost it!

However, life can feel a lot more confusing. There are a lot of voices shouting at us about how to live our lives. Voices from social media, friends, movies, TV shows, etc. We are constantly bombarded with others telling us how to live our lives.

It can all be so confusing. 

Let’s take a moment to read Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along the right paths, bringing honor to His Name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

This Psalm was written by King David, who spent the first part of his life as a shepherd, tending to sheep. 

Sheep need a shepherd, and require lots of love, attention, protection, and guidance. 

For David to call God his Shepherd, he recognized the need for God’s direction and guidance in life.

In John 10:11, Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd:

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.”

In this wild, confusing world, we have a guide who will lead and direct us. We have the Good Shepherd

Let’s take a closer look at four things we can take away from this passage in Psalm 23. 

First, we have everything we need in God.

Social media constantly tries to convince you that you need something to be happy. It’s constantly trying to sell and persuade you that life would be better if…

The first part of Psalm 23 reminds us that in God, “I have all that I need.”

Philippians 4:19 also says, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Now, let’s be clear: God is not a vending machine. This doesn’t mean God will give you everything you want or desire. It doesn’t even mean that you’ll always get what you think you need. Over and over in Scripture, we see that God’s ways and thoughts are so much bigger than our own. He sees the whole picture when we don’t.

The closer we get to Jesus, the more we realize He is all we need. My favorite example of this in Scripture is a look at the life of Job. 

Job lost everything according to human standards. If you just read the first couple chapters of his book in the Bible, you see that he had it all—riches, servants, animals, children. He was living the good life. And in a few moments, all of it was taken away. It looked as if he lost everything. 

And it doesn’t make sense why he lost it all! Throughout his prayers to God, he asks why, and he’s angry and confused at times. But when you come to the end of the book of Job, you see a Job who still has hope because his everything was actually in God. At the end of the most challenging time in his life, he knew God better because of it. He was closer to God coming out than he was going in. (Job 42:5)

No matter how hard life can feel, we know that in God we have everything—Savior, Friend, Comforter, Healer, Shepherd, Guide, and so much more. 

Second, God gives us rest and renewed strength when we follow Him.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus reminds us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Our desires and plans, if not in line with God’s will, can be a heavy burden to carry.

Jesus promised that when we come to Him, He gives us rest. In Psalm 23, we see the same image—that God lets us rest, leads us in peace, and renews our strength.

Have you felt tired recently? Maybe you’ve felt extra burdened or even lost? 

When you surrender to God, you’re saying, “Okay, God, I can’t do this on my own anymore. I need Your help. I need Your guidance. I want You to renew me and help me walk the right path.”

It is then that your surrendered heart will find rest.

Third, you are never alone. 

None of us are strangers to the hurt and grief of life. David, who wrote this Psalm, was no stranger to this either. He had experienced betrayal and broken trust from people he loved. He had even experienced the fear of running for his own life. 

Yet in Psalm 23:4, David confidently states, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.”

David recognized that no matter how dark life got, God was always near.

Let’s think back to the earlier game for a moment. For those of you who played, was it easier to navigate the course when your friend walked right beside you? Of course, it was! At a distance, it took a lot of work to distinguish their shouting from everyone else’s, and it felt loud and confusing. But it was so much different when they got into the obstacle course with you and walked beside you. Similarly, that’s how God walks beside us. 

God comes into the middle of our lives and walks with us. He leads us and protects us as a shepherd does their sheep. A shepherd doesn’t watch from a distance and hopes a wolf doesn’t come to attack their flock. Nope, they walk with their sheep. God does the same for us.

Finally, God’s unfailing love always pursues us. 

We live in a world that teaches us we must perform to get love. We must do better, look better, act better, talk better—you name it—to receive love. 

God tells us a different story. His love is not based on how good we are or what we do. His love is entirely based on who He is. He IS love. But not just any love. The Hebrew word for God’s love is AGAPE. 

Agape is a Greek word that refers to the highest form of love. It’s a pure love, a sacrificial love. It’s not a noun to describe but an action to be expressed. It’s a choice to give and pursue and pour out unfailing love. 

That’s the kind of love that God has for you. It’s the kind of love God has for all of us, and what a beautiful reminder that no matter what we face in life, we’re facing it with a God who loves us unconditionally. 

Psalm 23 shows us God’s presence, protection, guidance, mercy, and love. It reminds us that God is everything we need and is always with us. When we follow Him, He will give us rest and renewed strength.

Maybe you’ve never before made the choice to let God lead and guide you. Or perhaps you have, but it’s been a while, and you’ve spent a lot of your time trying to do things your way. 

It’s never too late to come to the Shepherd. 

Let’s take a moment to pray together.

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever visited a new place and tried to figure out the directions on your own without using help? How did that turn out?
  2. In Psalm 23 (read again if needed), which verse stands out to you the most and why?
  3. How is God like a shepherd in our lives? How are we like sheep?
  4. Have you ever experienced God guiding or leading you to do something? Explain.

(End lesson)

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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 Worship

7 Replies to “YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PSALM 23”

  1. Diane Cooper
    • October 18, 2023

    This is great lesson
    I thank you for sharing
    I will be using it

    Reply
  2. peninnah
    • October 18, 2023

    Thank you for sharing. I am teens teacher unfortunately am not in a position to buy a one year series can someone help? you a reach curriculum that can make an impact in teens ministry

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Lucy
      • June 7, 2024

      it is amazing!!!!
      it has really helped me because i am going through a tough time right now.

      Reply
  3. Ruth Burrus
    • October 19, 2023

    This is a great lesson. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Iva
    • October 19, 2023

    Yes, very good lesson. I hae looked at all your correspondence and try to build my own curriculum around the suggested topics.

    unfortunately, as a small church, we are unable to buy your resources. For now we have to create or tailor make our own resources. Thank God I am from a teaching background with many years of experices – this helps along side God’s direction

    Thank you and God continue to bless you for your gift

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Rebekah Martinal
      • January 27, 2024

      Check out the source 4 youth ministry. Lots of free resources

      Reply
  5. Iva
    • October 19, 2023

    Yes, very good lesson. I hae looked at all your correspondence and try to build my own curriculum around the suggested topics.

    unfortunately, as a small church, we are unable to buy your resources. For now we have to create or tailor make our own resources. Thank God I am from a teaching background with many years of experience – this helps alongside God’s direction

    Thank you and God continue to bless you for your gift

    Reply

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