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Reply to "COMPLETE LESSON SET: Feeding the 5000 from FUMC, Ann Arbor, MI"

Jesus Feeds 5000+

Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Learn story details by playing a quiz game using the game wheel and the room-sized game board. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]


For scripture, objectives, and background - see above.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Easel, appropriate marker
  • Purple Adventure Bibles ; one NRSV Bible
  • One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
  • Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
  • Life-sized game board – canvas tarp with painted spaces (4 colors)
  • Game wheel (with corresponding 4 colors)
  • A piece of fabric to cover the game wheel
  • Game questions (see end of lesson)
  • Invitations to the bean soup event

Before Start of Class:

  • Layout the life-size game board on the floor.
  • Distribute Bibles in a circle around the game board.
  • Cover the game wheel so it won’t distract the students during storytelling.
  • Write on the easel: “What this miracle teaches us”




Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Invite everyone to take their shoes off and have a seat on the floor around the game board. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]

Ask: What is your favorite food to have for lunch? (allow a few replies)
If you brought a small lunch to an event with lots of other people, would you share your lunch? (accept any answers)

Say: Our Bible story today is about a young boy who was at an event with his lunch. We don’t know if it was his favorite lunch but it was a small lunch and he shared it. Let’s find our story in the Bible.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Adventure Bible with tabs.]


  • The Bible is divided into two sections, what are they? (Old & New Testament)
  • Will someone explain why the Bible is divided into two testaments? (the Old Testament is the Bible that Jesus learned when he was a child; New Testament was written after Jesus was on earth)


  • Where in the Bible would we read a story about Jesus? (in the NT)


  • What are the first four books of the New Testament?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are a collection of books called what? (the Gospels)

Say: If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the “Gospel” section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]

Say: Our Bible story is one of the many miracles that Jesus did.


  • What is a miracle? (accept a few answers)

Say: A miracle is an amazing event that can teach us something about God. Our story is unique in that it is the only miracle, besides the story of Jesus’ resurrection that is told in all four of the Gospels. We are going to find the version of the story told by the John. John was one of Jesus’ disciples. As we hear about our story, keep in mind what this miracle teaches you about God. [Refer to the easel.]

Have them find the story in John, chapter 6, verses 1-14.

[Remind those who are struggling, the quick way to find the New Testament – dividing the Bible in half gets them near Psalms. Dividing the back half in half again gets them near the New Testament.]
On the first week of the Rotation…
Begin to tell them the story…
Say: Jesus had taken a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. He had wanted to find a quiet place to be by himself but, the crowds followed him. They knew that Jesus did great miracles. They wanted to see Jesus. I am going to start reading from the Bible at verse 5. Follow along if you’d like to do so.

Read to them John 6:5-14.

On the 2nd and 3rd weeks…
The students will be more familiar with the story. Have them locate the scripture in their Bibles. Then ask them to tell you the story. Fill in any missing details by using their Bibles. Read any portions that aren’t clear.

If scripture has been read, when you are finished…
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us…
The class says: Thanks be to God!

Remind the class that those are the words that are spoken in the worship service after the Bible is read. We say those words in class so that we will be used to saying them when we hear a Bible story read in the worship service.


  • Why do you suppose Jesus did this miracle? (accept a few answers)

Say: Jesus wanted people to believe in God. He didn’t do miracles just to wow the crowds or just so that people would follow him to see what he’d do next. Jesus used his miracles to teach about God.

  • What does this miracle teach us about God?

Write down their answers on the easel. Try to raise the following points:

  • that God is powerful,
  • that God cares about peoples needs,
  • that God wants us to share even if what we have is little,
  • that age doesn’t matter – everyone can share.

Say: Let’s play our game. [Leave Bibles available. Allow at least 8 minutes for final discussion and closing.]

Play the Game:
Explain that students will work in teams to move across the game board – squeezing onto spaces as needed. The object of the game is not to be first to reach the end, but for all teams to reach the end, or to get as far as time permits, and to have fun doing it.
Please make sure everyone takes off his/her shoes.

Ask the Shepherd to help you divide the class into teams of 2 or 3 players each.[Preferably in 2’s but 3 is ok if needed.] Have the team with the person whose birthday is closest to today’s date go first.


One member of the team spins the wheel. While the wheel is spinning, ask the question of the team. All the people on a team should confer/work on an answer. Checking Bibles is OK! Remind the children that only the team in play should be talking. Take time for any discussion that occurs! If the team answers correctly they get to move to the color that was spun.

Note: it is OK to start groups of kids from different ends of the game board.

Stop to allow time for more discussion:

  • Have you discovered the features that are in these purple Bibles?

Say: Look at the “Did You Know” note that is on the page where this story is told in the Gospel of Luke. Look up Luke 9, which is where Luke tells this story (page 1137).

Have someone read the first part of the note “Why did Jesus feed 5000 people?”

Say: Sharing and caring about other people is an important theme in this story.

  • What do you have to offer to share with Jesus?

[Note: Lead the children to understand that Jesus doesn’t always ask us for material things. He also asks for our faith, our love, our kindness, and our forgiveness of one another…]

Say: One way we can share is to give our time to support a mission. I would like to invite each of you to participate in a mission project. A group of women in this church, called the United Methodist Women or UMW, put together bean soup mix, which they then sell to raise money for missions. These missions help people around the world who are hungry and in need. There will be an event on a Friday night in November to help UMW put together bean soup mix that you can then help to sell. Share this idea of helping out with your family and plan to come if you are able.

Give each student an invitation to come to this event.

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for teaching us about miracles. Thank you for miracles that still happen today – the miracle of new birth, the miracle of people’s change in their attitude about your love. Thank you for the miracle of your son Jesus who came to earth and taught us to pray... (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Extra Activities (in case you have extra time)
If you have time:
Have different groups of kids look up the other versions of this story in the other Gospels. (See scripture references on page 1). Talking about the differences. A few they might see:

  • Mark & John start with Jesus crossing the sea.
  • Matthew mentions why Jesus was going into retreat- he’d just heard about John the Baptist’s death.
  • Luke identifies the town – Bethsaida.
  • Luke talks about a concern for lodging & provisions.
  • Luke has the people sitting in groups before being fed.

Be sure to note where all four gospels agree: on the number fed (5000 men), the use of 5 loaves and 2 fish, and the number of baskets leftover (12).

Game idea borrowed from an older game post by Gail Smith at

Attachment: Game Questions

Answers in bold. First ask the questions without giving any of the multiple-choice answers. Give answers if kids seem stumped. You may choose to vary the game rules – they can move forward to the color spun if they answer correctly without hints and they can only move forward one space if the hints are needed.

1. In what book of the Bible can we find this story?
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Luke and John

2. Where does this story take place?

On the shores of Lake Michigan
On the banks of the Jordan River
On the shores of the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1)

3. Why was there a big crowd of people there that day?


Because it was a pleasant day to be outside
Because they had seen Jesus perform miracles on sick people (John 6:2)
Because Jesus paid people to hang around him

4. How many people were there that day?


5000 men, so more than 5000 (John 6:10)
exactly 5000
about 500

5. The Gospel of John doesn’t tell us but the other Gospel stories do – what Jesus was doing with the crowds? (If kids struggle with how to find this info suggest they look up John 6:1 in an NRSV of the Bible. This version includes at the top of the story, a reference to where the story is found in the other Gospels.)


Teaching & healing (Luke 9:11, or that he was teaching Mark 6:34, or he was healing, Matthew 14:14)
Playing the guitar
Answering questions about the stock market

6. What did Jesus say to Phillip?


I’m hungry; let’s order pizza.
Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (John 6:5)
Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy food.

7. What was Philip’s answer?


They don't need to go away. You give them something to eat.
How many loaves do you have?
Eight months of pay couldn’t buy enough for everyone to have one bite of food. (John 6:7)

8. Why do you suppose that Jesus tested Philip?


He liked to play games with his disciples.
Jesus had told them that there would be a quiz.
No one correct answer; probably wanted to see how Philip was doing on his faith (John 6:6)

9. Based on Philip’s response, how would you rate Philip’s faith?


No one correct answer; probably pretty poor.
Excellent job.
Sounds like he’s trying hard.

10. Who volunteered to share their lunch?


An old woman
A young boy
An old man

11. The Gospel of John doesn’t tell us but the Gospel of Mark does – how did the disciples discover the boy’s lunch?


They found it under a rock.
It was in a large, red lunch box – couldn’t miss it.
Mark 6:38 – Jesus asked the disciples how many loaves they had; Go see. Presumably they asked people.

12. Who else besides Philip doesn’t show much faith in this story?


No one else.
Andrew, by his response in John 6:9 – how will so little an amount of food help the situation.

13. How much lunch did the young boy share?


Five loaves of bread and two small fish (John 6:9)
Two loaves of bread and five small fish
A couple dozen pepperoni pizzas

14. What did Jesus do to the boy’s small lunch?


He distributed it.
He distributed it and then remembered to say grace.
He gave thanks for the food and distributed it. (John 6:11)

15. What miracle happened?


The lame were healed and the blind saw.
The blind saw and the sick were cured.
Accept all of the above (if offered as the correct answer, plus) help the lunch fed over 5000.

16. What happened after everyone had eaten all they wanted?


Everyone said thank you.
Jesus asked the disciples to collect the leftovers – 12 baskets worth. (John 6:12,13)
Everyone burped.

17. Have you experienced (or has someone you know experienced) a situation where God stretched your resources beyond what would have normally been possible?


Accept all answers.

18. Why do you suppose there were leftovers?


Accept all answers. Perhaps Jesus wanted us to see that when we shared a little, God could make a lot come of it.

19. When have you faced a difficult situation and been like Philip and Andrew – didn’t remember about your faith in Jesus?


Accept all answers.

Written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.



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