Jesus Feeds the 5000
Bible Skills & Game Workshop
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this particular Bible Skills and Games Workshop lesson, I incorporate both the Bible study, along with skills, and reflection in the game stations.
You'll create various "Game Stations" for teams to go and accomplish certain tasks before moving on. Some stations require/teach Bible Skills, and will cover basic content in the Feeding of the 5000 story.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Become familiar with the games.
- Gather the materials.
- Verse Pages
- Fishing pole with magnet
- Question cards with magnets
- Large Sponges
- Large Basket
Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
You can have 2 or more students per team. Be careful that certain students don't dominate the activity. At the end of these "Olympics" you will draw everyone together for final Bible study and reflection.
Divide into teams and then go over the instructions. Prizes will be at your discretion, but certainly giving candies is not ungodly! At the end of the games, MULTIPLY all the candies just as Jesus did.... piling together the prizes and then demonstrably ADDING your own stash of candy to their pile. Make sure there is "candy left over" for them to give to their parents.
Assign helper/referees to each station. Give each referee a scorecard to write down each team's score. Compile scores when all teams have finished so nobody knows which team is really winning. Adapt the stations for your class sizes and needs. TEAMS ROTATE BETWEEN STATIONS until all have completed.
You can have teams rotate together one station at a time, or split up the teams to different stations. Depends on your size and setup.
Game Station One: Bible Story Shuffle ==ALL TEAMS BEGIN HERE--
Prepare ahead of time a set of Feeding of the 5000 "Verse Pages" using the following verse sections from John 6. Give each team a set of these verses, and explain the game. Instructions: After hearing the teacher read the scripture, when you say "go", they turn over their verse sets and assemble the story in the correct order. Have a helper (who knows the correct order) announce when the team has put them in the right order. Award 50 points for 1st place, 30 for 2nd Place, 15 for 3rd Place, and 10 for 4th.
Now have them turn their pages upside down and shuffle them. Read the story again and time them again for more points.
The Bible Passage for this station's activity:
John 5: 6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Game Station Two: The Fishin' Game
Teams use a fishing pole that has a magnet on the end of the line. They cast into a pond to retrieve discussion questions that have both a point value just for 'catching' the question, plus 10 bonus points for answering the question correctly (to the satisfaction of the teacher). Each team can only make 5 casts, so you'll need about 10 possible questions to cast for. Tape a small piece of metal to fish shaped paper that have questions written on them. Spread the questions from each other so that they only "catch" one when retrieving their magnet lure.
Here are four starter questions, add three more of your own, and label three others as "super bonus point" fish that don't require an answer because they have no question! (A "Grace" fish)
20 pts: It's not like they were going to starve! What was Jesus trying to show people that day?
20 pts: The people had been listening to Jesus all day. What does that tell you about Jesus?
20 pts: After the people left that day filled up, what do you think they went home and told others about Jesus?
20 pts: If you had been that small boy, what would you have wanted to do after that day to follow Jesus?
Game Station Three: Read and Compare All Four Gospels
Students will write Down as many differences or unique things found in the Gospel as they can find. Suggest they divide up the Bibles, open to all four Gospels, and have someone read Matthew aloud. Stop at the end of each verse to see if the other Gospels have something different. Have a team leader write down the differences as kids say them. (A teacher may need to facilitate this).
For early-readers, use different Bible storybooks, or eliminate/substitute this station with something else. Provide Bibles, flipchart, and markers.
Passages they compare:
Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15. Award 50 points for 5 or more "significant differences", 25 points for 3 or more significant differences, and 10 for 2 or more significant differences. You may decide what constitutes "significant". See Neil's Bible Background doc for suggestions, but differences include: Where did it happen? What town? Who was there? What did Jesus say? What happened afterwards? Who said what?
Game Station Four: Collect the Bread into the Baskets!
Place three lines on the floor at 5, 10 and 20 feet away from a rather large basket (closer for younger students). Have several "loaves of Bread" (large sponges or bricks of dense squoosh foam). Each student gets THREE TOSSES. They can choose to toss the bread into the basket from one of the three lines. From the 5 foot line they get 10 points. From the 10 foot line they get 20 points. From the 20 foot line they get 50 points. Depending on age group and size of your basket, you can adjust "# of throws". They are throwing for total team score.
Now here's the kicker:
To receive a loaf of Bread to throw, the student has to answer one of three questions which you have conveniently posted on a poster board:
#1: Tell us part of the story of the Feeding of the 5000.
#2: Tell us something about Jesus Christ that's important.
-or #3: Tell us something we can do that helps us learn more about Jesus and serve him. ...and...
Rule: They cannot repeat what other students have already said.
Have a helper make note of some of the things the kids say, and use these in the closing.
Walk to each station with all the teams and ask the Helpers to mention something unique they learned there from the students. When you get to the "Station Three: Compare the Gospels", point out why we have four slightly different versions of the Gospel. Ask "Why do you think all four writers would remember this story? What was so important to remember?"
If you have time, have each student cut out a fish and give them a sticky magnet to put on it for their home frig. Have them write a fun saying on the fish, such as, "Feed Me Jesus!" and "Soul Fish from Jesus" and "Hooked by the Lord".
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen
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