What does it mean to be a winner according to the world? What does it mean to be a winner according to God? This study looks at how our perceptions and our lives are changed as we are transformed by God working in our lives. This study works well as a series or at a retreat.

Topics: Christian Life, Faith, Following Christ

Download PDFs of the study below. If you use it, let us know in the comments!

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4


Session 1: The World’s View vs. God’s View

Small Group Time

  •  What have you ever won in your life? Think of different situations (an award, an event, a prize or a competition).
  • Discuss the different levels of accomplishment. Discuss what it means to win a gold, silver, or bronze medal?
  • How does winning a chess tournament compare to the quarterback throwing the winning touchdown?
  • Have you ever lost in a spelling bee? Do you remember the word? Why do you remember that situation?
  • What other situations do you remember being in where you were a “winner” or “loser”? Think of common situations from daily life (racing down the street with a friend, biggest Lego tower, climbing the tree, etc)
  • Make a statement defining the worlds view of who you are as a “winner” or “loser”.
Have students open their Bibles and read together the theme verse Matthew 16:25. Ask:
What does this verse mean to you? (Any answer is right for you; no answer is wrong, answers are personal.)

The point of this section is to help students recognize Gods view of a winner and how it differs from the worlds view.

Talk about it

Read Romans 12:2

  • What do you think the “pattern of this world” means?
  • Why are we drawn into this pattern? Why do we do it?
  • What tools are we given to be transformed? And, why should I be “transformed”? Why should we be “different”?

Main Point: This transformation produces the joy and contentment we have living in faith versus living in the world. The rewards we receive in faith outweigh any temporary fulfillment the world offers.

Have a brief discussion to check students’ understanding.

Our faith is one way, the world is another. Living in our faith, our life is actually happier.

Session 2: Reveal

World vs. Faith

On two big sheets of paper, with the large group, brainstorm “All About me” vs. “Follow Me”

  • Ask volunteers if they know the 7 deadly sins (and work together to list them out: Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony) What words could we use to describe these? (Self-satisfaction, pride, popularity, rich, “cool”, lazy, etc)
  • Ask everyone to look up Galatians 5:22 and list the “Fruits of the Spirit” under the “Follow Me” category
  • Discuss examples of these traits in your own lives (When are you at peace?, When have you learned to be more patient?, etc)
Talk about it
  • What are your strengths? Why are you glad you have those strengths?
  • What would you like to improve upon?
  • How do you think that will benefit your life?

Attitude: In addition to the fruits of the spirit, we are called to have an attitude like Jesus Christ.

Read Philippians 2:1 5

List some examples in your own life where you can change your attitude.

Session 3: Training

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    1. Spiritual Training
      •  What are we running for?
      • What are we running to?
      • What training regiment is available for our spiritual lives?
      • Here is the opportunity to emphasize the Means of Grace (exercise and proper nutrition) in the life of young people. (See 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
  1. Sacrament (Small Catechism Quote, Sacrament of the Altar, “Who receives this sacrament worthily? Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: ‘Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.'”) The real presence of Christ, forgiveness and live, in this meal is the proper nutrition we need to run!
Session 4: Closing the Gap…Winning the Race…Getting the Prize
Read Revelation 1:3, 1:11-18, 2:17, 3:6, 3:19

 Say, “There will be NO pain, no popularity contests, no sports star. We all win. There will be no flaws in character or body, etc.”

For discussion in small groups:

    1. According to Revelation 1:3, why bother reading the Bible? What benefits does this verse describe?
    1. Who and what does John see in Revelation 1:11-18? Describe. What does He [Jesus] say? Why is that important to know?
  1. According to Revelation 2:17, 3:6, and 3:19, which phrase is repeated in these verses? Who do we listen to? What is the prize in Revelation 3:20? Which side of the door do you keep Jesus on and why?