What Lance Armstrong Can Teach Students In Your Youth Ministry: A Free Lesson Outline

Are any of us really that shocked about Lance Armstrong’s admission to Oprah and the world? But what can we teach students from this? Is it that no leader, sports personality, or authority figure can be honest these days? Frankly, I think that is what many of our students are learning in this current generation…

Lance Armstrong

So, how can we take this latest admission and turn it around for our the students in our ministries? Below are some thoughts and perhaps a starting place for us. Feel free to add to the conversation at the end of this post. You might even want to use this as an outline for a message?

1. The world’s wisdom tells us to win at all costs. We live in a world that live to compete and winning is everything to us. It’s what makes us and it’s also what breaks us. We are defined by the ‘win’ and we can also be destroyed by it. If we are not careful, we can become so consumed with success that it causes us pain as we seek any way to succeed. In what ways do we see people’s lives in misery because they are consumed with success?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36

2. The world’s wisdom tells us we can get away with anything if we just take the right measures. There must have been a time when Lance Armstrong considered the implications of getting caught. Perhaps he was consumed with the power, money, and winning that he failed to see his lack of moral clarity? Perhaps not. Given his admission, he knew exactly what he was doing and knew the measures he could take to get around the system…

In this day of rapidly changing technology it’s easy for our students to think that they can hide behind their smart phones and tablets as they sin in private. Yet, the truth is, sin always catches up with us. The confidence in technology and concise practices can easily lull us all into the false sense that we won’t get found out…

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

3. Our instincts tell us to hide. Even after Armstrong had been found out, he still chose to hide from the media and legal teams. Even when he was interviewed, he claimed innocence and pointed the finger at others. Hasn’t that always been the way since the birth of sin… As Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, they hid from God in The Garden of Eden.

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:10

4. Our instinct is to blame: One of the traits of this generation is to constantly blame someone else for the misdeeds. When we listen to Armstrong, although he admitted his ‘sin,’ he still chose to place blame on the “level playing field” within the sport and give the idea that others were doing it too. It’s imperative that our students realize that when they have been found out, they need to own their sin, confess their sin, and move on from their sin.

The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

5. Jesus takes the blame for us… Even though we seek success more than Jesus… Even though we pursue selfish gain and greed… Even though we think we are smart enough to get away with it… Even though we try to hide when we’ve been found out… Even though we blame others for our sin…

JESUS TAKES THE BLAME FOR US… Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

What is your take away from the Lance Armstrong situation? How can we turn his poor example into an opportunity to teach students truth and righteousness? What would you add to this? What videos or images could you show to your students if you used the above as an outline? Feel free to take this, adapt it, and use it in your student ministry.

Hope this helps you and your ministry!

Phil <><


photo credit: via

  • http://twitter.com/tomdshriver Tom Shriver

    This is great! I think this situation can be used to help us guide our youth that are in a similar situation (when they cheat on tests, games, or even their girlfriends). Thanks for the post.

  • philbell

    Thanks Tom! Yes, there are so many ways this transfers into their world. It’s imperative we give them a good alternative.

  • http://twitter.com/ryankleimola Ryan Kleimola

    This worked well with my Jr High kids. They didn’t really know who Lance was or much about the situation. They did know Livestrong though and half of the kids had bands on…

  • philbell

    Glad it worked out Ryan. Another example is the Manti Te’o situation…