The Call of the Disciples
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Use song to learn the names of the disciples. Use music and movement to reinforce the story.
Mark 3: 7-19
Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me and I will make you fish for people”
Workshop Objectives: Children will learn:
- That Jesus called 12 disciples out of a larger group of followers, which included women.
- To understand the terms: call, disciple, and (for 3rd grade & up) apostle
- The names of the 12 disciples
- That Jesus calls us to be disciples today.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Prepare an opening and/or closing prayer in case you need one.
- Gather the materials.
- Sashes or headdresses (one per student) - strips of fabric with names of disciples written on them.
- For older students: Recording and sheet music for The Twelve Apostles by Kim Thompson, Karen Hilderbrand, and Hal Wright. Twin Sisters Productions, Inc. 2000. Enlarge the lyrics and cut them apart line by line.
- Ribbon sticks: dowel with ribbon or crepe paper attached at the top.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Teach the song I Will Make You Fishers of People
[Note that we used “people” instead of the word “men” in the song. Hear this song, and see the words, at http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/i119.html
Recite the memory verse with animation and enthusiasm. Have the children repeat. Then say: “Jesus first spoke these words to four ordinary, hard working fishermen. He asked them to drop their fishing nets and to be his followers, messengers, and friend. Jesus wants us to be his disciples as well. In the book of Isaiah chapter 43:1 , it says ‘ I have called you by name, you are mine.’ Jesus calls each of us today.”
To each child say, “Come (______), follow me and I will make you a fisher of people.” (This will help you learn their names.)
Sit in circle. Have children open their bibles to Mark 3:7-19. Begin reading aloud. (Read the story to younger students.) In verses 7-8 point out that the crowds following him came from far and near and included people of all ages (young and old) and men and WOMEN. In verse 14 we are introduced to the word “apostle”. Discuss how it is different from “disciple”. (Disciple is a follower or learner. Apostle is a person who is sent, a messenger, or representative.) How were the apostles messengers for Jesus? (preachers, writers, healers) Explain how Jesus chose them to “be with him”- in other words to be his companions and friends. Ask the children about the importance and role of their friends in their lives.
When you get to the verses where the disciples are named – with each name read - tie a sash or “headdress” labeled with a different disciples’ name on each one, around the head of a child – appointing them one of the 12 disciples.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Activity: Teach and sing song The Apostles (to the tune of Jesus Loves Me). Have the appropriate disciple stand when their name is sung (the name on their sash).
The Apostles (to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)
Jesus called them one by one,
Peter, Andrew, James and John
Next came Phillip, Thomas too
Matthew and Bartholomew.
(chorus) Yes, Jesus called them,
Yes, Jesus called them,
Yes, Jesus called them,
He called them one by one.
James, the one they called the less,
Simon also Thadaeus
Twelfth apostle Judas made
Jesus was by him betrayed.
Activity: Lyric Strips – used only for older students (4th-6th)
Shuffle the prepared strips of lyrics, and distribute them to students at random. As students hear their lines, they come to the front of the room with their lyric strips and stand in order. (Note: you may need to keep a finger on the “pause” button to give students time to approach the font of the room.) When the entire song is represented along the front of the room, play the recording once again, so that students can check their position. (Note: This song has a repeating refrain so only distribute one set of refrain lyrics. Every time the refrain repeats after verses, the students holding the refrain lyrics must migrate to their new place down the line. This is where the fun comes in!)
Activity: Finger Play/Song – used for younger students (also appropriate for preschoolers).
Using the song Come Follow Me sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel, add appropriate simple actions. Find the words the words and the finger play at:
Leader begins singing and doing the motions alone then invites children to join on the actions and later to join in the tune. After a couple times, bring out a ribbon stick to replace some of the actions (movement on word “sea”, “fishermen”, and “come).
Continue with the song and pass out ribbon sticks to children. Workshop leader shifts to singing I will make you fishers of people (song used at beginning of workshop). Invite children to stand and form a line. Sing the song while moving around the room, moving the sticks to the music. You can change leaders and various movements of the sticks.
Additional Activity if needed: Be leaders and followers, brainstorming ideas for movement as well as ideas for how we can be disciples in our world today.
Use the song Walk and Follow by Faith L. Johnson (Copyright 1988 Jenson Publications, Inc.) Sing one verse of the song to the class and then ask them for some ideas as to how we can be disciples today. Sing the song, changing the style of movement and leader with each verse.
Lesson Poster’s Note: to give you an idea of how this song works (without violating copyright laws), a verse might go: Come on walk, walk, walk and follow me… Other ideas to replace “walk” might be words like “skip” or “jump”, or ways to be disciples: Love the Lord, or Shout Amen or Spread God’s Love, or Live in Peace.
Review the song The Apostles and memory verse. Close with prayer. Take any prayer requests and volunteers who may want to pray. Tell children: “Remember, Jesus knows you by name and has called each of you to be his disciple. Now go out and make disciples.” Send them off singing “I Will Make You Fishers of People.”
- trinity-reformed.org/fishers.html (site no longer active)
- Jenson Publications, Inc. PO Box 248, New Berlin, WI 53151
A lesson written by S. McDermid and L. Eliason from: First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
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