This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 1:14-20 when Jesus begins to call His disciples. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry.
If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, Gospel Reading – Mark 1:14-20.
Opening Activity – Drop Everything – Most Important Matching Game
Supplies – index cards, writing utensils
Give each child 4 index cards and something to write with. On each card, have them write one item/pet/person they would bring with them if they had to flee their home, and write their name.
Collect all of the cards, mix them together, and lay them out face down on the table. Play a matching game to see what everyone thought was important, and what the most popular items are. A match consists of choosing two cards with the same item, or choosing two cards written by the same person. (Keep in mind that you may end up with unmatchable cards near the end. Once you reach that point, just turn over each additional card to see what is written.)
Lesson – Drop Everything
It’s interesting to see what everyone thought was important, isn’t it?
And I thought it was hard choosing just 4 items. I mean, 4 items! Am I the only one, or did you want to pick more too?
What about all of my family? And pictures to remember all of our adventures? What about my wallet with all of my money? Would I need to bring food? Clean clothes? My phone? A blanket? A flashlight…
It’s so hard to think of leaving so many things behind. Part of me feels sad, because I would miss everything. And another part of me feels scared. What if I needed something that I left? What if it got really cold and I didn’t have anything to keep me warm?
Thankfully, we don’t have to make those choices right now, but in today’s Bible story there are some people who left EVERYTHING behind to follow Jesus. I mean EVERYTHING.
And speaking of EVERYTHING – every time you hear that word I need you to make a surprised or shocked face. Let’s see if you can listen well enough to catch them all. Ready?
Right after Jesus was baptized He began his ministry, and He chose some men to come with Him as He traveled and preached. There were 12 of them, and we know those men as the 12 disciples or the 12 apostles.
You might think these guys were special somehow; like maybe they had EVERYTHING in the Bible memorized, or they spent more time praying than sleeping, but the truth is, they were just regular guys just like us. They sinned just like we do, they weren’t perfect, and they didn’t do anything to deserve traveling with Jesus and becoming one of His disciples. But they did do one thing that made them kind of special; they dropped EVERYTHING.
The first two men Jesus called were actually brothers, Simon and Andrew. Simon and Andrew were fishermen, so they spent their days out on the Sea of Galilee together casting nets and catching fish. Fishing was very important in two ways. 1. It provided them with food to eat. I’m sure they sometimes wished they could eat something else for dinner, but at least they wouldn’t starve. 2. It provided them with money. Any fish they didn’t eat they could sell at a market. Then they would have money to buy food, clothes, fishing supplies, and EVERYTHING else that might pop up.
So for Simon and Andrew fishing was EVERYTHING. It took up all their time and provided them with EVERYTHING they needed to survive. But remember what I said, they dropped EVERYTHING.
Jesus saw them casting their nets and called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1:17 NIV)
And they did. They left their nets, their fish, their home, their friends, their money. Simon and Andrew dropped EVERYTHING to follow after Jesus.
But that’s not all. Just a little while later Jesus saw another group of fishermen out in a boat. There were brothers named James and John fishing with their father. Jesus called out to the brothers, and immediately they left, leaving EVERYTHING behind, including their father. James and John dropped EVERYTHING to follow after Jesus.
I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for them, leaving EVERYTHING and everyone they ever knew, including their dad, to follow a stranger.
We are blessed that we don’t have to drop EVERYTHING in order to follow Jesus. We still have homes, toys, money, and refrigerators filled with food.
Instead of dropping EVERYTHING, God asks us to drop somethings. Can you think of anything God might want us to get rid of? Maybe disobeying your parents, or saying ugly things about someone. And if you are super busy God might want you to drop something so you can spend more time reading your Bible, or praying, or going to church.
This week I want you to try doing one special thing for God. Maybe you could learn a Bible verse instead of watching TV, or maybe pleasing God by being a helper to your parents or teacher. It might not seem like it’s big or important, but to God it’s EVERYTHING.
Activity A – Drop Everything – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 1:16-20
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – Drop Everything – Feet Following Jesus
Supplies – construction paper, pencils, markers, scissors, tape or wall putty
Give each child a piece of construction paper and a pencil. Have them stand on the paper and trace the shape of their foot. After cutting out the shape of their foot, have them write their name along with something they can do to follow Jesus. It could be something they give to make more time for Jesus, or correcting a bad behavior to be pleasing to God.
Once all of the feet are completed, mount them on the wall as a reminder.
Closing Prayer – Drop Everything
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask to thank God that even though we aren’t perfect, we can still please Him and follow Jesus.