Jesus Calls Peter, James, John and Us
to become Fishers of People
Write the word YES and NO on opposite ends of the classroom. Tell your kids to move to the answer that matches their response to the following questions.
Read a question and have students go stand next to the answer that best matches theirs. The questions are in a specific order and designed to illustrate the difference between our good intentions/beliefs, and our actual practices. After each vote, poll one or two of the kids to explain their vote. Each question/vote is an opportunity to introduce the idea of “following” Christ, and what that means.
The Voting Questions:
- I am a Christian.
- I believe a Christian should worship God every Sunday. How about every day?
- I consider myself to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ, someone who follows his example.
I pray at least –once a month, -at least once a week, -almost every day, -more than once a day.
- I read my Bible more than once a year, –more than once a month, –more than once a week.
- I think Jesus wants us to share our faith in him with others.
- I have invited a friend to come to my church who doesn’t have a church of their own –at least once in my life, –at least once in the past year.
- If Jesus walked in here right now and said, “leave your family, friends and school and come with me to teach and serve others, I would do it –without hesitating, –only if I had my parent’s permission.
Turn on Life of Christ software and navigate to Lesson #16: Four Fisherman (Luke 5:1-11). When they’re done viewing the narrated presentation, have them take the quiz, and retake it, until they get all six quiz questions right. Then, hand them the following 3 questions, asking them to discuss and write down their answers –which they will present to the class.
What is the difference between believing Jesus was a great teacher, and believing he is also your Savior?
What was it about Jesus that made these men willing to leave their boats and lives behind and follow him?
What activities and behaviors does Jesus ask us to “give up” in order to be his disciples?
My Notes: Question 1 is complicated and important. Jesus wants us to know who he really is, and some people treat him like he was just a great teacher or philosopher. Question 2 gets at the idea that something other than “a nice invitation” moved these men. Jesus’ presence was powerful then, and is today. Question 3 looks at what Peter, James and John gave up. While we don’t expect our kids to leave home, there are certain behaviors and attitudes they are called to “give up” if they want to follow Jesus. Throughout your discussion, remember to promote the idea that Jesus looks in our hearts, and that it’s not about winning brownie points or just obeying a bunch of rules.
This reflection activity used my “Stand and Deliver” Q & A technique for Let’s Talk CD where the teacher asks the class a question, and the kids respond by making the computer speak aloud their answer through an onscreen character they create. From the teacher’s point of view, it’s simply another opportunity to dig in deeper with follow-up. The phrase “Stuff Peter/Jesus Never Said” is a fun way to think about the question.
Instructions: Return to the computers and turn on Let’s Talk software. Go into the “Talk Now” module and create a character and give him or her a name. As soon as you are ready, I am going to give you three or four minutes to come up with an answer for the first question. Type your answer into the Talk Now screen and be ready to play it back for the class to hear when I cue you.
Talk Now Question 1. “Stuff Peter Never Said”
Come up with a reasonable excuse that Peter could have given Jesus to say “no” to Jesus’ call to be his disciple. End your excuse with the line, “Of course, Peter never said this.”
Follow-up: After each playback, ask the students, “How would Jesus answer that excuse?”
Talk Now Question 2: “Stuff Jesus Never Said”
Come up with a reasonable requirement some people think is needed in order to be a follower of Jesus. End your requirement with the sentence, “Of course, Jesus never said this.”
Follow-up: After each playback, ask the students, “Why isn’t that a requirement of being a disciple?” And then, “Are there any requirements for being a disciple of Jesus?” (This is an interesting question. A person could be a weak disciple and yet still try hard to be one. We know Jesus would love them just the same. The word “disciple” means “learner.” So if you are not trying to learn from Jesus, you might be fooling yourself that you are his disciple.)
Tips: The first time you ask these challenging question students will likely be perplexed, so repeat, rephrase, and give examples. Write down on the board some of the things they come up with so that you can use them in your closing.
The phrase “Stuff Jesus Never Said“ comes from a favorite Facebook page of mine by the same name. By putting the wrong words into Jesus’ mouth it highlights some of the wrong thinking about the nature of discipleship that some people believe in.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “Committed Disciple” and 1 being “Not a Disciple,” go stand on our imaginary line to mark where you rate yourself as a disciple of Jesus. (After they vote, ask them why they ranked themselves that way.)
Vote 2: Now change their thinking…
Tell them that the scale of “discipleship” Jesus pays attention to is this: are they trying, are they learning, do they care. Tell them “10” is now “I’m trying my best” and “1” is “I’m barely trying” and see how they line up then. Interview those who changed.
Jesus knows we won’t be perfect disciples, but he loves us, forgives us, and wants us to keep LEARNING and trying to follow him.
Finish with everyone at the “10” end of the line and this prayer:
Jesus we hear your call to follow you. Forgive us when we fail and keep teaching us how to be your disciples. Amen.