Music is everywhere! From downloads to streaming services, from concert festivals to marching bands at football games, and from soundtracks to movies – to that song you played during a game at church last week.

So, let’s harness the popularity and fun of music in game form.

Here you go! The game is called “Peculiar Playlists”.

This game includes a lesson on “Celebrating and Honoring God with Music” and is based on Psalm 40.

Enjoy the game!

Mike Sheley, Junior High Ministry

Jr High Game: Peculiar Playlists


Topic: Music and Worship

Bible: Psalm 40:1-3


2 iPods/iPhones or other music players or computers with music

WiFi access (optional but REALLY helpful)

Bluetooth speaker or sound system

Dry erase boards or paper (2)

Dry erase markers or pens (2)

Prize: Serious prize-gift card for iTunes/Spotify/etc.  Funny Junior High prize-Can of baked beans (musical fruit)


Divide your group into two teams. Girls vs. Boys would be fun for this, but not essential.

Make sure each team has a device that can access music, especially a streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify.

Give both teams 5 minutes to put together a playlist of 10 songs.

They should be popular enough that students in the room can guess them and have content that is appropriate to play in church (at least 30 sec of appropriateness).

They are to list out the name of the song and artist for their playlist – in order – on the dry erase board or paper.

At the end of five minutes, connect one device to your speaker or sound system.

Have a person from that team ready to play the device.

Pick three people from the opposing team who will be the official guessers.

Others from the team can give them suggestions, but these are the only three you have to listen to for the answer.

Play 30 seconds of each song.

While the music is playing, the “guessers” are trying to get the name of the song correct.

If they get it correct they get 10 points.

They can get 5 bonus points if they also know the artist within that 30 seconds.

When time is up, switch and let the other team guess.

Add up the points. The team with the most points wins.

If you have a tie, let one of your leaders pick a song from when they were in middle school.

First team to guess the title correctly wins.

(Award the winning team the prize! And the losing team the funny prize if you have both.)


We probably have as many different artists and styles of music we enjoy as we have people in this room.

In fact, I bet if we let each person create a “Top 10” playlist, we probably wouldn’t have any that were exactly the same.


How many of you love music?

How many people in here play or are learning to play an instrument?

Who in here likes a very different style of music than your friends? Than your parents?


Music is a huge part of our daily lives.

Videos from the big screens of the theater to the content on your mobile device almost always have some kind of a soundtrack.

Some of the most popular items in stores right now are devices that play music and speakers or headphones to listen to that music.

Did you know music also has an important part in the church?

We could spend days working through all the Bible has to say about music. But today we’re just going to look at three verses in Psalm 40:1-3.

Psalms is a book of poetry that are actually song lyrics! Let’s see what these say:

Read Psalm 40:1-3 (New Living Translation) 

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what He has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.


The writer of these lyrics was having some difficulty in life and God stepped in to help him.

These lyrics point very clearly to God’s power and involvement in his life.

And then afterwards, he wrote, “He has given me a new song…”

This song was about what God had just done! How do we know that?

Look at the verses that follow:

“Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

This song that he will sing will tell the story of what God has done and help the people who hear it get to know God better.

Do you have some songs like that in your favorite playlist?

They can be what we think of as “worship songs,” but they don’t have to be.

There is a wide variety of great music out there that celebrates Jesus and the life of those of us following him.

Music is more than just entertainment.

Quite often, it shares a story through its lyrics.

As you try to live a life that gets closer to Jesus, it would help you to have some songs that remind you and others about Jesus through the lyrics.

And as you are reminded, you’ll be challenged and encouraged to celebrate and honor Him in your everyday life – which is the definition of worship!

Let’s pray.

BONUS: Create a playlist that you can share the link to at the end of this night so students can get samples of some of the great music that is out there.  (Radio Stations like Air1 and KLove have some great resources to help you get started.)


If you liked this game, check out this…

Junior High Game – A Corny Race (Includes a lesson on Experiencing God)


Mike Sheley is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders.  He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 16 years with most of that time focused on preteen and junior high students.