The calling of the disciples is central to the gospel story and it comes up in all four of the gospels. The fact that Jesus chooses people and equips them for his work is as true for us today as it was back then. We want the kids to know that Jesus is on a mission to save the world and that he has invited us to be part of that incredible mission! Sometimes it means leaving things behind, but we will never be disappointed.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
– Matt. 4.9 (NIV)
Lesson Intro (Superbowl)
The story could go something like this, but feel free to personalize it (you would need to think of your own story of having to give something up) and get creative with your props, etc:
Hey kids, do you guys know what really big sporting event is happening next Sunday? It’s the Super Bowl! That’s where the two best Football teams in America come together to play each other to see who’s the best of the best. So, how do you get chosen to play in one of those teams? Like, could I just decide to go play for the Atlanta Falcons or for the Seattle Seahawks? No, I would need to be especially chosen and they wouldn’t choose me if I wasn’t one of the best of the best players. If I went there and I told them that I also want to play they would probably laugh at me and say: “We’re on a mission to win the Super Bowl and we can only win if we have the best of the best players on our team.” Maybe they would also say to me: “You’re more than welcome to sit on the sideline and watch, but you have to be very rich to buy a ticket for $3,500.”
So, that’s how the world works, but the kingdom of God works very differently!
Now, in this week’s story we see that Jesus is carrying on his mission to save the world from sin and he started to put a team together. Let’s see how he chooses the people on his team:
Tell the story from Luke 5:1-11
Along the way you can explain:
Fishermen: ordinary people doing ordinary things.
Follow me: learning from Jesus and letting him change your heart.
Fishers of men: being part of God’s mission to save the world.
Jesus was putting together a team to save the world but he called Peter and a bunch of fishermen and other very ordinary people to be on his team! If I were putting together a team to save the world I would have chosen a few really strong soldiers who know about fighting, or maybe some very rich or famous people who can pay for weapons and supplies, and maybe some very clever people who can think up the best ideas. But is that the way that Jesus did it? No, Jesus didn’t think like that. Jesus worked in a very different way. Jesus chose people who were ordinary, who didn’t have special training or special powers. Jesus chose people who loved God and were prepared to follow him with all of their heart!
The wonderful news for us is that Jesus has invited each one of you to be on his team as well! Each one of you are special to him and he wants each one of you to know him and to follow him. As you follow him he will make you part of the greatest mission ever in the history of the world, greater than the Super Bowl, greater than anything you can ever imagine!
Prayer: Thank God that he has invited each one of us to be a part of his team and that God has called each one of us to follow him. Pray that the children would hear God’s voice and find the courage to follow him the way that Peter did.
- Why did Jesus go out of Peter’s boat?
- What did he tell them to do after he finished speaking to the crowds?
- How did they respond?
- Why do you think Peter was so upset?
- What do you think it means to be a fisher of men?
Supplies: Fish photocopied onto colored paper, paperclips, small magnets, straws or wood dowels for poles, tape, and string.
Craft: Each child gets to cut out a fish from a sheet of colored paper, (one half the class gets one color of fish and the other half another color. Try to keep it even!). The children then decorate their fish with felt pens/crayons, googly eyes or stickers and put a paperclip on the nose of the fish. Have them write their name on their fish. Volunteers collect the fish, separating the two colors. Pick one color of fish and write one word of the memory verse on each one and the reference. Do the same to the second color of fish. (If there are more fish than words, write the words Obedience, Trust, Humility and Exciting on the extra ones.)
Game: Make some fishing rods from dowels, strings and magnets. Outline a string/rope or tape pond onto the floor. Split the kids into two teams depending on what color of fish they made. Have them line up on one side of the room with their fishing poles. Spread out the fish in the pond mixing the two colors. Have teams relay to the pond and fish for one fish of their team color and bring back to their line. If they catch the wrong color, they have to return the fish to the pond and keep fishing until they get their team color. Once they’ve caught all their fish have them put the words in order to make the memory verse, putting any extra words at the end. The winner is the team who finishes first.
Image Credit: Raphael, “The Miraculous Draught of Fishes” (1515)