Whether you have a group of students who are hard-core gamers or you just have some students who like to play the latest football and basketball video games, the home video game console is still a popular feature in many homes and youth ministry spaces.

So, here’s a game that challenges students’ knowledge of some of the most popular consoles in recent history while allowing them to earn points like many video games do. It’s called “Level Up!”.

This game includes a lesson on humility based on Philippians 2:3-4. The game sets up the lesson perfectly.

Enjoy the game!

Mike Sheley, Junior High Ministry



Topic: Greatness and Humility

Bible: Philippians 2:3-4; John 3:30; Mark 9:33-35


Colored construction paper (red, yellow and blue) – One set per person. You can cut sheets in half or quarters to get more for your money.

Gaff or painter’s tape to mark 10 lines or “levels” in your space


If you have lots of small colored paper, and are willing to let students play based on an honor code, this can be an individual game.

Or, you can divide your students into two teams and play that way.

In your space, use the tape to mark 10 lines on the floor.

Designate each as “Level 1”, “Level 2”, etc. all the way to “Level 10”.

Each round, explain what that color represents.

They are described next to each answer in the questions below.

All students or both teams start on “Level 1”.

That is the lowest level they can reach.

If they get a question correct, they “level up” by moving to the next higher level.

If they get a question wrong, they “level down” and move to the next lower level.

The goal is to see who can reach the highest level in the game.

If you are playing this game as an “all-play” with individual cards, then they each move up or down based on how they answer.

If you are playing this game with two teams, you can have a captain represent the team; you can have players take turns representing the team; or you can have the whole team move together.

So, let’s play!

Question #1

Which consoles were released in 2013? (Hint: There were two.)

PS4 (red)

Wii U (yellow)

Xbox One (blue)

Answer: PS4 (red) & Xbox One (blue)

Question #2

Which console was released in 2012?

PS4 (red)

Wii U (yellow)

Xbox One (blue)

Answer: Wii U (yellow)

Question #3

Which console features a “Gamepad” controller with a touch screen?

PS4 (red)

Wii U (yellow)

Xbox One (blue)

Answer: Wii U (yellow)

Question #4

Which console was originally released in black, then in 2016 an updated version was released in white?

PS4 (red)

Wii U (yellow)

Xbox One (blue)

Answer: Xbox One (blue)

Question #5

Which console featured a DualShock 4 controller with an integrated “touch pad”?

PS4 (red)

Wii U (yellow)

Xbox One (blue)

Answer: PS4 (red)

Question #6

Which consoles were released in 2006?

PS3 (red)

Wii (yellow)

Xbox 360 (blue)

Answer: PS3 (red) & Wii (yellow)

Question #7

Which console was released in 2005?

PS3 (red)

Wii (yellow)

Xbox 360 (blue)

Answer: Xbox 360 (blue)

Question #8

In 2009, IGN named the Top 25 Video Game Consoles of all time, which one was 6th?

PS3 (red)

Wii (yellow)

Xbox 360 (blue)

Answer: Xbox 360 (blue)

Question #9

In 2009, IGN named the Top 25 Video Game Consoles of all time, which one was 10th?

PS3 (red)

Wii (yellow)

Xbox 360 (blue)

Answer: Wii (yellow)

Question #10

In 2009, IGN named the Top 25 Video Game Consoles of all time, which one was 1st?

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (red)

Sony PlayStation 2 (yellow)

Atari 2600 (blue)

Answer: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (red)


Which was the first console to use the Blu-ray Disc as its primary storage medium?

Students have to write down answer and reveal with no options given.

Answer: Sony PlayStation 3

When the game is done, have everyone take a seat and prepare for the lesson.

Say: In most video games, whether you play them on your portable device like an iPhone or iPad or you play them on a console in your home like a PlayStation or Xbox, everyone wants to get to the highest level.

You don’t see anyone bragging about not getting past level one.

That’s embarrassing!

Ask: Over winter break, did any of you spend a serious amount of time on one particular video game trying to “level up” as high as you could?

As we start the new year, do any of you have a goal of conquering a game you own?

Say: It’s funny how sometimes video games reflect real life.

People don’t start a new job at a company hoping to stay at an “entry level” position.

If you look ahead to high school, no one wants to stay a freshman for all four years!

Even as a junior higher, you might love your teachers, school, or classmates right now, but you are planning to be promoted to the next grade level when this school year ends.

However, sometimes, something humorous can actually remind us of a sad truth.

It’s not natural for us to live the way Jesus wants us to live.

Our desire and motivation for advancing in games doesn’t translate to the best strategy for living a life that looks like Jesus.

So, let’s take a few minutes and look at what I call “Jesus’ Backwards Game Strategy.”

Read Philippians 2:3-4 (New Living Translation) 

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

Say: This is pretty much the opposite of how you play games and how we just described how we live our lives.

We very much try to impress others.

Think about it this way: When you talk to your friends after break or the weekend, is your goal to find out what they did?

Or is it to tell them what you did?

When you text your friends, do you usually start by asking how they are doing?

Or do you start by telling them something about you?

Or when you log into social media accounts, is your first priority to see what’s going on in your friends’ lives so you know them better and can be praying for them?

Or do you see first how many followers or likes you have before looking at their accounts?

Or do you try to be sneaky and go around liking other people’s posts hoping they will like yours and drive your numbers up?

Our goal today is not to make you feel bad.

What I’ve just described happens often with us adults too, similar to how it does with you junior highers.

However, all of us should be trying to live more like Jesus. How do we do that?

Let’s take a tip from Jesus’ cousin, a preacher by the name of John.

He had his own followers.

They saw what Jesus was doing and came running to him one day and said, “everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” (John 3:26)

John’s response included this awesome little phrase:

Read John 3:30 (New Living Translation) 

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

Say: John realized that what was really important was more people knowing God through Jesus, not his own number of followers.

And he humbly celebrated that!

Think about this.

His number of followers was going down.

He was not “leveling up.”

He was actually “leveling down,” and John was happy about it.

So, if Jesus is where our focus is supposed to be, let me end with this short description of what happened with him and his own disciples:

Read Mark 9:33-35 (New Living Translation) 

“After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Say: When it comes to video games, play hard and level up as high as you can.

That’s the point of the games!

But, when it comes to life, let’s learn from Jesus and his cousin John.

Let’s make sure that we are living humbly, and helping others to get to know Jesus.

It’s ultimately not about how many followers we have, but how many followers He has.

Let’s pray.

End lesson

P.S. – Our sister website, Ministry to Youth, is about to launch a huge bundle of youth ministry lessons and games this Friday, January 13 at 12pm noon eastern U.S. time. You’ll get a $1,200+ discount on nearly 3 years of youth group lessons, plus 90 games. Awesome prizes for the first to order the bundle on opening day. The bundle includes 3 brand new series: Counter Culture, Perfectly Imperfect & A Life of Faith & Adventure…plus nearly everything else on their website. If you want to check it out, then:


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 17 years with most of that time focused on preteen and junior high students.