For those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away.

During this time of the year I like to reflect on the many things in life I am grateful for. One of them being my family.

We had a rough year in September of 2019, when my wife was hit by a truck going 50mph while on her bike. As you can imagine, that kind of trauma affects everyone in the family. (She’s now doing much better.)

In March of 2020, COVID hit. Whew. What a crazy ride that was for all of us.

Then, in the summer of 2020 we moved 1,800 miles from New Orleans to San Diego. It’s been quite an adjustment. Although they love California, Jena (wife) and Emma (daughter), have had a difficult time with the change. Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of ups and downs for us all with the move.

Our family has gone through a lot together, and we’re closer and stronger because of it. God showed up over and over again. I am so grateful for my family, and the fact that God has given us strength over and over again.

What are you thankful for?

Well, now is the perfect time to teach students in your ministry about “gratitude”. Share with them what you’re thankful for. Use this lesson, based on Luke 17:11-19, to help them cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”.

Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

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Bible Passage: Luke 17:11-19

Bottom Line: Because of all that God has done for us, we should respond with an attitude of gratitude.


Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we’ll soon be gathering together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday.

When you think of Thanksgiving, what comes to mind?

(Take responses that might include football, turkey, grandparents, family, etc.)

Thanksgiving is about all of those things, but the main purpose of Thanksgiving is to pause from our busy lives to give thanks back to God for who He is and what He has done for us.

Gratitude means expressing thanks for someone or something.

So, what do you think it means to live with an “attitude of gratitude”?

(Allow students to respond)

Living with an attitude of gratitude means that you live in a way that shows thankfulness for everything – both in the good and bad circumstances in life we face.

Open your Bibles to Luke 17.

If we all take the time to think about it, we have lots of things for which we should be thankful.

The problem is that we take these things for granted.

Instead of living with an attitude of gratitude, we go on with our day and forget to give thanks for these blessings.

This is what happens in the Bible story we’re reading today.

Jesus was traveling on his way to Jerusalem when he came across a group of lepers.

Now, leprosy is tough stuff. It is a skin disease that causes the person to have sores all over their body.

The disease would spread and worsen until eventually the person would be crippled by the pain and irritation.

It was a nasty disease.

Those who had leprosy were outcasts.

They were pushed out of their homes, their cities, and they were forced to live with other lepers away from normal life.

Needless to say, being a leper meant a miserable life.

When Jesus came passing by, these lepers knew that He would possibly heal them. Let’s read how the story unfolds.

Read Luke 17:11-14

What did the lepers want Jesus to do? (Have mercy)

What do you think they meant by “mercy?”

These ten lepers wanted Jesus to heal them from this disease.

Can you imagine the sight of them running into town with no more leprosy and being reunited with their friends and family that they haven’t seen in years?

Jesus had just spoken the words and they were healed, but let’s take a look at how they responded to what Jesus had done.

Read Luke 17:15-19

Only one out of ten came back to thank Jesus.

How do you think Jesus felt when He saw that only one had returned?

Jesus had healed them of a horrible disease, he made a way for them to return to their homes and live a normal life, and yet only one of the ten took the time to say “thank you.”

By asking where the other nine where, Jesus shows that he is shocked and disappointed by their reaction.

Our bottom line for today is: Because of all that God has done for us, we should respond with an attitude of gratitude.

The one that returned is a great example of living with an “attitude of gratitude.”

When he realized what Jesus had done for him, he stopped everything that he was doing and he returned to give thanks to Jesus. He fell at Jesus’ feet and, ”with a loud voice,” began to express his thankfulness through praise.

He was thankful because God had changed his life.

God has done so much for us.

He loves us, provides for us, protects us, and guides us.

And most importantly, He sent His son to die on the cross for us.

We know that God has done these things, but we often forget to express our thanks.

We need to remember that God deserves our gratitude.

Because of all that God has done for us, we should respond with an attitude of gratitude.

Let’s say that together: Because of all that God has done for us, we should respond with an attitude of gratitude

This means that we need to live in a way that shows thankfulness to God for all that he has done.

We should take time in our day to thank Him when he protects us, guides us, or simply reminds us of His love.

We can show our thankfulness when we pause before lunch to thank God for providing food, or when we pause after a test to thank God for giving us wisdom.

When you realize what God is doing, take a moment to say ‘thank you’ to Him.

End Lesson

[Break up into small groups for discussion]



As a small group, discuss the lesson using the following questions:

Do you think the other 9 lepers were thankful for Jesus’ healing? If so, why do you think they did not return to thank Him?

How hard do you think it was for the one man to leave the others and be different (return to Jesus)?

How do you think the others reacted to his actions?

Who do you identify with most in this story: the one man who returned or the nine who did not? Explain.

What excuses do people usually use for not being more thankful or saying ‘thank you’ more often?

What is one thing that God has recently done in your life that you could thank Him for today?


End lesson.

Looking for youth ministry curriculum? Check out…

ADVENT & CHRISTMAS BUNDLE – Save 59% on $167 worth of youth ministry lessons & games for Advent & Christmas!

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Youth Group Lesson on Unity

9 Replies to “Youth Group Lesson for Thanksgiving”

  1. Kristy Preston
    • November 11, 2018

    Carletta, we are so glad to hear that you found this lesson useful in your ministry. God Bless!

  2. Stephen John
    • November 4, 2020

    Thankyou for this wonderful lesson. It not only for youth but it’s for everyone..!! Sometimes as mature man or woman we distracted from God & Stop giving Thanks to him for what he has done & doing for us. Thankyou for sharing. Please share more lessons. God bless you and your Team.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kate Forkel
      • November 8, 2020

      Thank you for your words of encouragement!
      Have a great week!
      – Kate Forkel, Ministry to Youth

  3. Suzanne Coker
    • November 13, 2020

    This is a great lesson. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply 1 Response
    1. Kate Forkel
      • November 18, 2020

      We are so glad that you enjoyed it!

      – Kate Forkel, Ministry to Youth

  4. Hannah
    • November 25, 2020

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I adapted this lesson into more of a devotional format to share with my middle schoolers and their families for Thanksgiving. I’m very excited with the result. Incredibly grateful for those willing to share their awesome resources with other youth leaders 🙂 Thanks again!


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