Use this children’s Sunday School lesson on Jesus calling His disciples to teach kids what it means to be a fisher of people.
Needed: Bibles, cardboard tubing or dowel rods, string, paper clips, fish pattern, scissors, crayons or colored pencils or markers, glue, fabric paint, blank t-shirts
Intro Craft and Game: Magnet Fishing
Before class, make a fishing pole out of dowel rods or cardboard tubing. Glue a piece of string to the end of the pole. Tie a paper clip to the other end of the string. Cut out some paper fish and glue magnets to the mouth of each of them.
As class starts, have students decorate the fish with crayons, colored pencils, or markers. Spread the fish out on the floor or in a kiddie pool and let students take turns using the pole to catch the fish magnetically.
Ask students, What do you think it means to be a follower of Jesus?
(Read Matthew 4:17-22.)
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.
“Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”
The first two men Jesus met, Peter and Andrew, were busy fishing. Jesus said, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If you were busy doing something and Jesus came to you and told you to follow Him, would you do it?
Part of following Jesus means putting Jesus first in our lives. He is most important. Peter and Andrew did the right thing when they stopped what they were doing and followed Jesus because that showed that Jesus was most important to them. They left their boats behind and their fish and everything because they knew that Jesus was more important than their boat or the things that they had. Is Jesus more important to you than your things?
The next two men Jesus met, James and John, were fishing with their dad. Jesus told them to follow Him, and they did. They even left their dad. James and John knew that Jesus has to be more important to us than even our families.
Jesus told these new followers of His that He would make them fishers of men. What does it mean to be a “fisher of men”?
To be a fisher of men means to help bring people to Jesus, just like bringing fish into a boat. Instead of pulling fish into the boat, we’re trying to bring people to Jesus.
What do you think are some ways that you can help bring people to Jesus? (Suggestions include telling people about Jesus, inviting them to church, etc.)
Game: Fisherman Tag
Pick one person to be the Disciple. They are It. When the Disciple tags someone, they then also become a Disciple and try to tag other people. The round ends when everyone has been tagged. The last person to be tagged is the Disciple starting the next round.
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Have each group decide on and act out a conversation in which someone tells another person about Jesus and invites them to come to church or a church event.
Craft: Disciple Shirts
Students step in fabric paint and then walk across a t-shirt. Afterward, have them write, “Followin’ Jesus” on the t-shirt.
Lord, we thank You for the people who told us about You so that we could be Your disciples. Now, we pray that You’ll help us to tell other people about so that they can follow You too. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.