This Bible lesson for preschoolers is based on Mark 1: 14-20 when Jesus calls his disciples to follow him. It is designed to help these younger children learn what it means to follow after Jesus. Even the kids in your preschool Sunday School can be disciples of Christ.
This is the fourth lesson from a series for preschoolers on knowing Jesus through the book of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons. These free materials are ideal for your Preschool Sunday School lessons or any teaching setting for younger kids.
Bible Passage: Mark 1:14-20
Bible Lesson Title: Jesus Calls His First Followers
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (U.S. preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Four (35 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 1: 14-20
Exegetical Idea: Jesus announces the Good News and calls men to follow Him.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus desires for us to follow Him today and spread His Good News.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will understand what it means to follow Jesus.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel a desire to follow Jesus.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will memorize Mark 1:17 and ask an adult they know how they follow Jesus each day.
Memory Verse: Mark 1: 17, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’”
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Become part of the Bible story! Supplies: Simple Bible time outfits for each child made out of brown sheets, old cloths, paper bags, etc. Use your creativity if your church doesn’t already have little outfits!
- God Revealed (10 minutes) Description: Hear and enact the Bible lesson. Supplies: The sea of Galilee (made out of blue paper with fish or use a real tub of water with plastic fish), nets for fishing, Bible, soft blanket.
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Learn how we can be followers of Jesus today. Play follow the leader. Supplies: None
- Daily Knowing (7 minutes) Description: Memorize Mark 1:17. Supplies: Notecards with Mark 1:17 written on them for the parents. On the back, ask: How do you follow Jesus each day?
Before the children arrive, have the Bible outfits ready and the Sea of Galilee created and ready for fishing!
Begin today’s time with the preschoolers in worship through song: You Are by Mark Roach. The lyrics for this song can be found in the introductory lesson to this series, Knowing Jesus as Immanuel (5-10 mins).
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- State: I have a special surprise for everyone! Each of you are going to receive a Bible times outfit. In today’s lesson from the book of Mark (hold up your Bible, showing them the book), we are going to learn about how Jesus called men to follow Him. He calls each of us to follow Him too! We will put on our outfits and pretend we were one of His followers while He was here on Earth. We can pretend we are hearing Jesus teach just like His followers heard Him teach. Are you ready to follow Jesus through the book of Mark? (Pass out an outfit to each child.)
- Everyone gather around me on our soft blanket as we get ready to hear what Jesus told His followers such a long time ago!
2. God Revealed (15 minutes)
- State: I am going to tell you about what happened right after Jesus was tempted in the desert. Did Jesus sin when He was tempted by Satan? (No!). In Mark chapter 1, verses 14-20 Jesus begins proclaiming the good news of God! He told everyone that the kingdom of God is at hand, the time had come to repent (turn away) from their sins and believe the Good News. God’s kingdom was at hand because Jesus is the one true King. Everyone who chose to believe what He said and follow Him would one day be a part of His kingdom! This is the Good News!
- State: As Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw a man named Simon and his brother Andrew. Who would like to pretend to be Simon and Andrew? (if many children would like to play these parts, they may take turns). Andrew and Simon were fishermen. They were throwing nets into the sea, trying to catch fish. (Hand the children a net.) Can you pretend to catch fish in the sea?
- State: Jesus called out to Simon and Andrew, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!”
- Ask: Now what is a fisher of men?? Does anyone have any idea what Jesus meant? (Let them guess.) Jesus meant that instead of catching fish, they would begin to proclaim the Good News and invite people to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, and follow Him. It would be like catching people instead of catching fish. So, Simon and Andrew (referring to the children), “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!” What are you going to do Simon and Andrew?? (Hopefully they choose to follow.) That’s right! Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed Jesus.
- State: When Jesus, Simon, and Andrew had gone a little farther, Jesus saw James and his brother John. What do you think they were doing? (Fishing!) They were getting ready to fish too. Who would like to pretend to be James and John?? (Choose some children, allow them to take turns.) Here are your nets (Hand them nets that are folded up.) You have to prepare your nets to fish, so try to get them all spread out. As James and John were preparing their nets, Jesus called out to them to come and follow Him. What should you do James and John? Right! They also left everything behind and followed Jesus just like Simon and Andrew!
- Ask: Why do you think these men knew they should follow Jesus? (Time for answers.) God gave these men the desire to follow Jesus!
3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)
- State: Jesus calls each of us to follow Him too. Even though He is not here as a human anymore, we can still follow Him as our King and be a part of His kingdom! If we have the choice, usually we choose wrong and sin. But God can give us hearts that want to follow Him!
- Ask: Does anyone know ways we can follow Jesus? (Give time for answers.) We can follow Jesus through reading His Word (hold up the Bible), memorizing His Word, going to church, praying, and loving Him with all of hearts, souls, and minds.
- State: Following Jesus also means looking to Him as an example. In the game Follow the Leader, you follow the example of the person who is the leader. We are going to play a game of Follow the Leader now! (If the children do not know how to play, take some time to explain.)
- State: Okay, let’s sit back down! Jesus is our leader (our King), and just like you followed the leader in this game, He wants us to follow His example in things we do each day. We can only follow Jesus’ example when we know who He is, what He did, and what He has taught us. What are some things you know about Jesus that we can follow? (Examples: loving all people, kindness, obedience, knowing Scripture, telling other people the Gospel, etc.)
- State: You are called to follow Jesus our King, and you can follow Him each day of your lives! We can’t do it perfectly, but when we ask God through prayer to help us, He will always provide us with the strength to follow Him. Let’s go to Him and pray now! Would anyone like to pray? (Praise God for who Jesus is and ask Him to give you hearts that want to follow Him. Allow the children to pray after you. I encourage you to not use the traditional “bow your head, close your eyes” method every time, but to try lifting up your heads and/or hands, bowing down with your whole bodies, kneeling, etc.)
4. Daily Knowing (7 minutes)
- State: Memorizing God’s Word is one way that we can follow Jesus. Let’s learn God’s Word now together! Today we are going to memorize Mark 1:17. We can make up motions together to help us memorize this verse!
- After learning the verse, state: I want you find someone, either your mom and dad or a grown-up that knows God, and ask them how they follow Jesus each day!
- Make sure you review with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one. Encourage them to share this verse with their parents when they pick them up so their parents will be able to help them practice at home. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Mark 1:17 written on it and the question for the parents, “How do you follow Jesus each day?” If some children do not have parents who are believers, make a special effort to encourage them in every time you see them in their scripture memorization and pursuit of God.