Children’s Ministry Option

United in peace, for the world, we are called to be and make disciples.

Scripture: Matthew 4:19-20

Key Verse:
“Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to fish for people.”

(For grades 3-5 add verse 20): At once they left their nets and followed him.

Materials and Resources

  • Flip chart (examples on ebibleteacher.com)
  • A kid’s fishing pole—with a fake hook and a “fish” on it (or better yet, a magnetic attachment to play a game of fishing with magnetic fish)
  • An image of a fishing boat of Jesus’s time period
  • Key words: Galilean fishing boat, drawing of fishing boat, craft for fisher of people, fishers of people object lessons

Preparation

Pre-draw the story (leaving a few places blank so you can add to the image as the story is told). Ebibleteacher.com has wonderful examples of flip chart Bible stories under the Sunday school resource section. Drawing the majority of the images ahead of time allows the in-class addition of small details while the story is being told and captures the children’s imagination.

Welcome, Opening Prayer

Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Sing “I will Make you Fishers of Men” (several versions are available on YouTube). Teach the motions.

As you gather, ask the students to remember what Unite means. How did they live out the idea of showing love toward others this last week? (Leader should have a personal example ready to share.) Have students partner to share what they did.

In the opening prayer, thank God for the opportunity they had to show love toward others (name a few in your prayer that were shared). Using a flip chart story would be an excellent way to share the story in a large group setting. Use a poster of the key verse to introduce the Scripture.

Grades K-2—Sing “I will Make you Fishers of Men” (several versions are available on YouTube). Teach the motions. Talk about the word disciple (note all ethnicities, all ages, all people are to be Jesus’s disciples).

Grades 3-5 (Add to K-2 if older students are present): If combined opening, have the older students help the younger students with the motions, or use a contemporary Christian song that they could engage with. Talk about the word disciple (note all ethnicities, all ages, all people are to be Jesus’s disciples).

Instead of just thinking about “catching” people the way we catch fish, we can share Jesus love by blessing them. 

Here’s how it works:

Do this together as a class

You can find a BLESS children’s resources here.

B: Begin with prayer—Pray for someone you know who may not know Jesus.
L: Listen with care—Practice by pairing up and listening to your partner sharing something that happened today.
E: Eat together—Share a snack and share what some of your favorite foods or activities are.
S: Serve in love—Have each child get a cup of juice or water for their partner.
S: Share your story—Share your thoughts about Jesus.

Bible Exploration

Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Use a children’s story Bible or You Version’s Bible for Kids app to tell the story from Scripture. Ask questions—Who was Jesus talking to? What were they doing? Why were they fishing? What would happen if they left the nets? How would they fish for people?

Grades K-2—Read the Scripture story dramatically. Use a children’s story Bible or You Version’s Bible for Kids app to tell the story from Scripture. Use a flip chart story if appropriate for your setting to pre-draw and add to the story while it is being told. Or identify an object lesson (key word: fishers of people object lesson to adapt to the opening time). Ask questions—Who was Jesus talking to? What were they doing? Why were they fishing? What would happen if they left the nets? How would they fish for people? Tie in the key verse to the discussion.

Grades 3-5 (Add to K-2 if older students are present)—Look up the verses, helping students find this in their Bibles or a classroom set. Read the Scripture—first on their own, then teacher read, then a student reads (practicing lectio divina—ask students to focus first on which word stands out to them, next on what it might mean, and last, on what it means to them). Follow up with statements: I wonder what would happen if they left the nets. I wonder what Jesus meant by “fish for people.” Then ask questions: what do you think this Scripture means? Who are we supposed to fish for? How?

Creative Set: Add templates for the boat, fish, people—create a sample.

Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—To the sensory bins add a tablespoon or measuring cup to “scoop” up fish (plastic fish, cutouts, even Goldfish crackers).

Hand out color sheets or cutouts—boat, fish, people, netting—to glue to construction paper. Write the verse on these. Practice saying the verse together as the kids color. Act out the story if space is available.

Grades K-5—Cutouts—boat, fish, people, netting—to glue to construction paper. Write the verse on these. Practice saying the verse together as the kids color. Act out the story if space is available or have one group do the craft and act it out, switching so everyone has the craft. Talk about the key verse.

Sending and Living: Pray with the students about this week’s lesson and the Unite theme.

Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Take home craft activity; use keywords as you say goodbye and connect with parents (i.e., if you have insight into how they experienced the lesson, make connections between what the kids learned and what the parent experienced). Say the verse and sing the song while waiting for pickup.

Grades K-5—Be sure to review the key verse. Practice the verse. Take home craft. Use the key words as you say goodbye and connect with parents (i.e., if you have insight into how they experienced the lesson, make connections between what the kids learned and what the parent experienced). Encourage kids to be disciples and make disciples. Talk about chalkboard brainstorm ideas—have kids write or draw these ideas as they wait (on the board). How might fishing for people unite our church?

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