Series Overview

Integrity is a virtue that we all support, but we don’t all practice it in our daily lives.
Not everyone in our society makes choices based on a sense of right or wrong.
As Christians, we’re called to follow God’s standards for living, not our culture’s
standards. Daniel provides an example of what can happen when we live with
integrity in everything we do.
Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of especially
moral or artistic values/incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition/soundness; or the
quality or state of being complete or undivided/completeness.” This three-week
series explores what a life looks like when it’s based on integrity. We will see how
Daniel’s life was defined by his integrity. He refused to compromise, even when
facing a life-or-death situation. We’ll look at practical steps your teenagers can take
to learn how to make choices and live like Daniel did.
Table of Contents
Week 1: Develop Discipline and a Work Ethic (Daniel 6:1-5)
Week 2: Integrity Under Fire (Daniel 6:6-17)
Week 3: Integrity Can Lead to Blessing (Daniel 6:18-28)
Series Objectives
1. WHAT: God wants us to live our lives with integrity. As Christians, we’re called to
be known and respected for our decisions and actions.
2. WHY: It’s important to learn to make tough decisions that may seem unpopular;
this is the right thing to do.
3. HOW: Students will be encouraged to pursue lives of integrity that honor God by
placing a healthy, dynamic relationship with God above everything else.
integrity: standing firm in tough times
Series Overview
for Leaders
A Word About Translations: It is important to choose a readable Bible translation to
use in your small groups. You don’t want to add unnecessary confusion or spend all
your time mastering pronunciation and trying to define unfamiliar words.
Although there are many great translations on the market (and your own church may
have a chosen favorite), we’ve decided to rely on the easy-to-read, teenage-friendly
translation called the New Living Translation (NLT). Editors for the NLT have done a
great job making God’s Word accurate and understandable.
Regardless of the translation you choose, it may be helpful for your own preparation
to read the assigned passage(s) in a few different translations to get a broader depth
to the text(s).
A Word About Media Clips: Some of our lessons include clips from movies,
TV shows, and other media. Please know that these are put here as suggested
options—they aren’t vital for the success of the lesson. If you choose to use them,
we strongly encourage you to review each clip prior to group time. We’ve done our
best to suggest clips that will generate meaningful conversations, but we understand
that using any type of media can be controversial. Because of that, we trust that
you understand the dynamics of your congregation better than anyone else and will
discern if our media selection will work with your group.
Your Feedback Will be a Gift to Others: This small group curriculum is an evolving
work-in-progress that will continue to take shape over many years. We know that
together we can continue to make it better—especially with your help. Your ideas
and feedback can improve this curriculum for other youth workers using this material
in the future. If you have a good idea that would improve it, please send it to us (no
matter how small the change/edit/idea might be). We understand that this will require
more work on your part, and the team at Simply Youth Ministry would consider your
input a gift to your youth ministry co-laborers. Send all thoughts and ideas to
ideas@simplyyouthministry.com. Thanks so much!

section descriptions
Each of our lessons has two sections:
1. Leader Preparation
2. Lesson Guide
Let’s explore these in detail.
1. LEADER PREPARATION
The first section—LEADER PREPARATION—is designed to give you, the leader, tools
to help prepare for each lesson. To create a meaningful, impacting experience for
your teenagers, we encourage you to spend as much time as you can in preparation.
No one better understands the value of a youth worker’s time than the team at
Simply Youth Ministry. Since day one we have been creating resources that save
you time so you can spend more time with teenagers. We’ve designed each lesson
to be easy-to-use, but you’ll still benefit from spending some prep time with this
curriculum. Actually, your preparation is vital to small group success. For you to be
effective with this curriculum, we believe it’s important to do four things:
1. Pray! Ask God to give you his wisdom for facilitating this material.
2. Read the LEADER PREPARATION section for each lesson. (10 minutes)
3. Choose which teaching points and questions you want to use from the
LESSON GUIDE. (10-20 minutes)
4. Determine a specific way that you will end the lesson. (10-20 minutes) We
don’t tell you how to wrap up each lesson—that’s up to you and/or your
youth ministry team.
Below, you will find a brief description of each component in the LEADER
PREPARATION section.
Lesson Overview
This provides a “big-picture” perspective for the lesson. It’s a quick summary that
will prepare you for what you’ll be discussing and sharing with your teenagers.
Lesson Objectives
There are three objectives for each lesson.
• The first objective answers the “what” question: What content will my
teenagers learn?
• The second objective answers the “why” question: Why is this content
important to teenagers?
• The third objective answers the “how” question: How might teenagers apply
this content when they leave small group?
Primary Scripture
This will be the main verse or section of Scripture used in each lesson.
Secondary Scriptures
This is a list of other selected Scriptures referenced in the lesson.
Teaching prep
We offer some ideas and insights that might be helpful for each lesson that will help
you gain a deeper understanding of the passage. You can pick and choose what you
will share with your group. Or you may not share any of it and simply digest it for your
own benefit.
the before & after [optional]
These are ideas you can use to get your teenagers thinking about the lesson prior to
your meeting and families talking after the small group experience.
Text Message Questions
These questions can be sent prior to the small group time to get teenagers
thinking about something that will be discussed in small group.
Parent Email
This is a short email the youth pastor or small group leader can send to
parents after the lesson. It provides an overview of the lesson along with a few
questions parents can ask at home to get students talking about what they
learned in small group. You’re encouraged to personalize and modify this
email to fit the needs of your youth ministry.
2. lesson guide
This is the content part for your small group lesson. Please feel free to (1)
personalize the illustrations, (2) rephrase the teaching points, and (3) pick-and-
choose what content you feel like you will be able to use during your particular small
group time.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND: We provide more material than you
can probably use during your small group time. You will need to be the editor of the
content. Don’t try to use all of it. [NOTE: If you’re a volunteer small group leader, we
recommend you submit to the teaching strategy/desires of the lead youth worker. He/
she may or may not give you the freedom to make changes within the lesson. Please
seek unity and support his/her leadership.]
You’ll want to review the LESSON GUIDE before each of your meetings to get a
clearer idea of the activities, teaching points, discussion questions, and overall
purpose of the lesson. In each LESSON GUIDE you’ll find the following:
Getting Things Started [optional]
This includes a quick illustration, an activity, or a few opening questions to warm
up, prepare, and focus your small group time. You understand the dynamics of your
teenagers better than we do so please adapt this section, modify it, change it, delete
it, or use as is. Some of the ideas require a little extra preparation prior to your small
group meeting.
You’ll also notice that the GETTING THINGS STARTED section is not included in
every lesson. We’ve only included it when we feel it’s beneficial. Again, if you create
an activity of your own, please send it to us at ideas@simplyyouthministry.com so
we can evaluate it and potentially include it in future versions of this product to help
other youth workers.
Teaching points
This part of the lesson provides you with an intentional interactive component. We
don’t believe that small groups should be lecture-driven. The best small groups are
the ones where the teenagers are talking and the small group leader is facilitating
conversation and discovery. When teenagers talk more than adults, that’s a
good thing!
Please understand, this material is NOT intended to be lecture. We’ve included
several questions designed to generate conversation. You’ll quickly notice that we
aren’t fans of closed-ended questions—you know, the ones that can be answered
with a simple “yes” or “no.” That’s why we offer questions that should cause
students to think, discuss, and debate. We encourage you to insert your own insights
during this discussion time as well, but primarily as a facilitator who is challenging
teenagers to learn/think. It’s sort of like a dance—let your students lead the
discussion a bit by wrestling with the teaching point, then insert your own insights
to help get the main teaching point across. There may be times when it’s best NOT
to give your own insights. Your small group doesn’t have to be like a sitcom where
all the problems are solved in 30 minutes. Most of the questions don’t have right or
wrong answers but will serve as a platform to help teenagers learn better.
additional discussion [optional]
This is an opportunity to continue the conversation by asking more open-ended
questions about the selected Scripture for this lesson. Or if you have a more
spiritually mature group, you could send your teenagers home to think about and/or
journal and/or message board their answers to these questions. [NOTE: Most groups
won’t have time for more questions since we’ve already provided several during the
teaching points.]
application
We have provided some “first step” ideas and/or questions that challenge your
teenagers to put what was discussed into immediate action (or in the days following).
The retention of a lesson will be dramatically increased when students—and you—
move into action immediately following the small group.
SUMMARY
We have intentionally designed this curriculum to be so flexible that the summary or
the close of each lesson is dependent on the small group facilitator. We believe that
good curriculum provides a foundation for healthy dialogue, but that the summary or
take-home challenge relies on the insight and wisdom of the facilitator who (1) knows
the content, (2) has heard all the dialogue, (3) knows the hearts/issues/struggles of
the teenagers involved, and (4) understands the big picture of the youth ministry and
what the leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching/discussion time.
THIS IS BIG! We’ve given you a lot of material and questions to ask, but the most
important part in all of this is narrowing down the questions you’ll ask to those that
best fit your group. This is where the caring, spiritually sensitive, personally growing
small group leader really makes a difference in teenagers’ lives. After doing this a
couple of times, it becomes easier, and when this curriculum was used in real, live
ministry settings, this proved to be the leaders’ favorite part—feeling empowered to
figure out a way to close out the session with wisdom, sensitivity, and challenge.
For Keeps [Memory Verse]
This is a selected verse that students can be challenged to memorize following
the lesson. We encourage you to return to these verses throughout the series to
facilitate long-term memorization. We also encourage you to join them in committing
the verses to memory. They’ll follow your lead. Again, because this curriculum is
adaptable and editable you may choose to have them memorize a different verse—
that’s great.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the LIVE Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996,
2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
This includes:
1. Leader Preparation
2. Lesson Guide
1. LEADER PREPARATION
LESSON OVERVIEW
News headlines are filled with stories about noteworthy people who have failed to
maintain personal integrity. But our teenagers don’t have to make choices that lead
them down the wrong path; they can make a commitment to pursue, develop, and
maintain personal integrity. God teaches us in Scripture that as Christians, our lives can
be defined by integrity. As we see in this week’s lesson, Daniel offers a clear example of
what God can do with an honest, faithful, consistent life.
LESSON OBJECTIVES
1. WHAT: Integrity is something you build every day through your choices and habits.
2. WHY: Your integrity is a measure of your spiritual maturity in Christ; integrity and
intimacy with God are connected.
3. HOW: Students will be encouraged to protect their integrity and look for ways they
can honor God by developing and displaying integrity in all areas of life.
PRIMARY SCRIPTURE
Daniel 6:1-5
SECONDARY SCRIPTURE
Matthew 5:13-16
TEACHING PREP
Daniel was a young Hebrew who had been a slave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
As we learn in Daniel 2, he became known for his interpretation of a dream and gained
the king’s favor. This young man served in the government under several leaders, and by
the time we see him in Daniel 6, he was probably an older man. King Nebuchadnezzar
Week 1:
Develop Discipline and
Work Ethic
The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to
convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you’ll definitely want to refer to it as you
lead your small group lesson.
integrity: standing firm in tough times
had been succeeded by King Belshazzar—who was killed at the end of chapter 5
and succeeded by King Darius the Mede. Daniel devoted his entire life to serving
God and building personal integrity; because of this devotion, God was able to work
through Daniel’s life in incredible ways.
Read Daniel 6:1-5.
We see here that King Darius had placed Daniel in an important position of
responsibility. Daniel and two other men oversaw all the princes of the kingdom, and
these three administrators reported directly to the king. Daniel’s continual favor with
Darius and the previous kings displays how God can bless people who display godly
character through their choices and actions.
Daniel demonstrated the value of working hard. Darius was so impressed by Daniel’s
hard work that the king planned to reward him with a promotion, making him higher
than all of his co-workers.
In verse 4, we learn that Daniel’s co-workers weren’t happy that he would soon be
promoted over them. They unsuccessfully tried to find some fault with his work
to prove that he didn’t deserve the promotion. Daniel had chosen to live a life of
integrity, and he did what he knew was right. He had proven that his work was above
accusation, so his co-workers attempted to get him to compromise his devotion
to God.
THE BEFORE & AFTER [optional]
Text Message Questions
We’ve provided a couple of different text message questions to send out to your students prior
to your meeting. Feel free to use one or both of the questions below. As with the rest of the
curriculum, edit these questions to fit the needs of your ministry.

• Are you known for your integrity? Come talk about it tonight at small group.
• Any idea how deeply Daniel from the Bible loved and obeyed God? Tonight
at small group we’re going to get some answers.
Parent Email
We’ve provided you with an email below that you can send to your parents following the lesson.
Our hope is to encourage parents to continue the conversation at home. Feel free to edit and
customize the email to fit your ministry needs.
Dear parents,
This week we started a three-week study in our small groups examining the topic of
integrity. News headlines are filled with stories about noteworthy people who have
failed to maintain personal integrity. But our teenagers don’t have to make choices
that lead them down the wrong path; they can make a commitment to pursue,
develop, and maintain personal integrity.
In this first week, our teenagers saw how Daniel 6:1-5 offers a roadmap for becoming
people of integrity. We discovered that because of Daniel’s work ethic he was
promoted and found favor with the king. We encouraged students to realize that they
too can make choices and live with the same integrity that Daniel demonstrated. But
it isn’t always easy to live with integrity; Daniel’s co-workers conspired against him
and even attacked his faith.
During the week, as the opportunity arises, discuss with your teenager what it might
have been like to have been Daniel. Here are some questions that could help launch
your discussion:
• In what areas of your life do you struggle the most in maintaining
your integrity?
• What are some ways you’ve grown in integrity? What choices or decisions or
habits have helped you?
• What’s something you could start doing differently at your job, on a sports
team, or at school that would communicate your integrity?
Talk with your teenager about how making a decision to be a person of integrity now
will have a huge impact for a lifetime. Have a blessed week!
2. LEsson guide
GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional]
Before your small group meets, conduct some research online or in your local
newspaper. Find four or five examples of people who have shown a lack of integrity:
business leaders, politicians, celebrities, ordinary people, and so on. Print out
or cut out the articles about these individuals, and bring this information to your
small group.
As you begin your small group, welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area.
Open in prayer, and then SAY SOMETHING LIKE:
I’ve brought along some news articles, and I’d like you to take a few minutes to read
about these individuals.
After your students have had a few minutes to look through the articles, ASK:
• What is most surprising about the alleged behavior of these individuals?
• Based on what you read, what are some specific ways these individuals
didn’t display integrity?
• What are some of the ways our culture sends an inconsistent message on
the importance of honesty and integrity?
• Why might some people in our culture believe the law or the rules don’t
apply to them?
• How are these examples similar to the challenge we face to follow God
faithfully and consistently?
SAY SOMETHING LIKE:
Having personal integrity can seem tough to do in today’s culture. We see people
in the public eye saying one thing but doing something else. While some people
in our world excuse certain forms of lying and dishonesty, God expects something
different. We are called to reflect God to a world that experiences spiritual separation,
so we can live as God would. People need to know that they can believe you. If your
integrity is compromised, others may not be willing to trust you.
Week 1:
Develop Discipline and
Work Ethic
integrity: standing firm in tough times
TEACHING GUIDE
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let’s spend a few moments taking a look at the importance
of integrity and having a good work ethic.
1. Hard work is rewarded
ASK:
• What’s the difference, if any, between working hard because it’s the right
thing and working hard to get a promotion or pay raise?
• How exactly does hard work honor God?
• What difference, if any, would God want to notice between someone earning
$50 an hour and someone earning $8 an hour?
• In what areas of your life do you struggle the most in maintaining
your integrity?
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: God wants us to do our best in all that we do, including
our work. It’s an incredible testimony when a Christ-follower earns a reputation as
a trusted and a faithful employee. When you see work as a way to honor God, your
employer will see your commitment, and it will be easier to reward your effort. Your
work ethic also will be a powerful testimony to non-Christians. This is really important
Read Daniel 6:1-5 together as a group. Consider allowing one or more of the teenagers to read
the text.
Remember: All throughout these lessons, it’s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you
use, and (2) the wording of the main points—keep ours, or change the wording to make it
clearer for your audience.
If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group,
and you’d like to share it with other youth workers, please email us at
ideas@simplyyouthministry.com.
The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with
more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen here are
(1) Hard work is rewarded, (2) Hard work may cause jealousy, and (3) Hard work
builds integrity.
to grasp during your teenage and young adults years, when you may be working
at minimum-wage jobs. These truths also hold true for other commitments you
make: to athletic teams, to musical groups, to your classes, and to other clubs and
organizations.
2. Hard work may cause jealousy
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: When you work hard because of your faith, not everyone
will like it. Some co-workers or teammates may become jealous or angry when you
excel. It might seem easier at times to go along with the crowd, but as a Christian,
you can surpass your leader’s expectations. This means doing what you know is
right—despite any criticism that you may receive.
ASK:
• Why might someone else become jealous if you work hard at your job?
When have you seen this in your job or other commitments, or when has a
friend encountered this?
• Why do you think Daniel’s co-workers decided to go after his religious
beliefs? What’s your first reaction when you feel “attacked” for your faith?
Explain.
• In what ways have you had to protect your integrity in life?
3. Hard work builds integrity
ASK:
• How do you define the word “integrity”?
• What are some ways you’ve learned integrity at home, at school, at work,
and in your other commitments?
• What hard choices have you made to grow in integrity? What hard choices
must you make to grow right now in your integrity?
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Being a person of integrity means living consistently and
faithfully, admitting when you make mistakes, and striving to do what’s right in all
areas of life. When we do what is right, even when it is tough, we will find favor with
God. We can follow Jesus’ example when it comes to making tough decisions. Jesus
didn’t choose to do the easy thing or give into the temptation to slack off. He lived
above reproach, just as Daniel did hundreds of years earlier.
additional discussion [optional]
ASK:
• What does Daniel 6:3-4 teach you about Daniel’s character and integrity?
• Why do you think Daniel had such personal integrity with his job? Who do
you know who reminds you of Daniel, and why?
• Read Matthew 5:13-16. How does this teaching relate to the idea
of integrity?
• What is the significance of salt and light in this passage?
• How might Jesus have used Daniel as an example of someone who was
“salt” and “light”?
application
ASK:
• What are some unique challenges or attacks on integrity a teenager might
face that an adult wouldn’t experience?
• Where are some areas in your life where you have to work hard? How well
are you doing: Are you working hard or do you need to work harder? What
are your biggest hurdles to working hard?
• How has your integrity, or your struggle with integrity, affected the lives of
people around you? How does living with integrity help others see who
God is?
Pair up with another person in the group for these questions.
ASK:
• How are you right now living like Daniel lives? How are you living differently
than Daniel lived? Share with each other ways you could live in
greater integrity.
• What are some ways you could demonstrate a solid work ethic and strong
integrity at your job, on a sports team, or at school?
Bring the group back together for this final question.
ASK:
• When all is said and done, one of the few things that you have control of in
this life is your personal integrity. How are you living this out daily?
SUMMARY
FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE]
He [Daniel] was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy (Daniel 6:4).
End your small group lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or take-home
challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the
lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the
big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the
teaching and discussion time.
Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below.
Daniel 6:1-5 (nlt)
1
Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120
provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each
province.
2
The king also chose Daniel and two others as
administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the
king’s interests.
3
Daniel soon proved himself more capable
than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of
Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the
entire empire.
4
Then the other administrators and high officers began
searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling
government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or
condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely
trustworthy.
5
So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding
grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules
of his religion.”
matthew 5:13-16 (nlt)
13
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has
lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out
and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that
cannot be hidden.
15
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under
a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives
light to everyone in the house.
16
In the same way, let your good
deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your
heavenly Father.
INTEGRITY: STANDING
FIRM IN TOUGH TIMES
Week 1: Develop Discipline and
a Work Ethic
Daniel 6:1-5 (nlt)
1
Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120
provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each
province.
2
The king also chose Daniel and two others as
administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the
king’s interests.
3
Daniel soon proved himself more capable
than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of
Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the
entire empire.
4
Then the other administrators and high officers began
searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling
government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or
condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely
trustworthy.
5
So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding
grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules
of his religion.”
matthew 5:13-16 (nlt)
13
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has
lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out
and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that
cannot be hidden.
15
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under
a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives
light to everyone in the house.
16
In the same way, let your good
deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your
heavenly Father.
INTEGRITY: STANDING
FIRM IN TOUGH TIMES
Week 1: Develop Discipline and
a Work Ethic
Develop Discipline and a Work Ethic
1. Hard work is rewarded
2. Hard work may cause jealousy
3. Hard work builds integrity
for keeps [memory verse]
He [Daniel] was faithful, always responsible, and completely
trustworthy (Daniel 6:4 NLT).
Develop Discipline and a Work Ethic
1. Hard work is rewarded
2. Hard work may cause jealousy
3. Hard work builds integrity
for keeps [memory verse]
He [Daniel] was faithful, always responsible, and completely
trustworthy (Daniel 6:4 NLT).

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