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FORUM: Jesus Calls the Disciples, including: Jesus Calls Peter, Fishers of Men (People), Jesus calls Matthew, Us, etc

In addition to these public lessons and ideas posted below, our Writing Team has created an extra creative set of lessons on this story for our supporting members: Jesus Calls the Disciples ...and You!  The set's lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all.

This thread is for posting Video Workshop lessons, video resources and a-v related ideas for teaching about Jesus Calls the Disciples.

Some key "Call of the Disciples" stories:

Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:1-11
“Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” (fishers of men)

Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-28
"Follow me!"  The Call of Matthew the Tax Collector

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 19:27-28
Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”  Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

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Chris18 posted:

Movie Clip Suggestions - "Oh God"; "Evan Almighty"; and "Bruce Almighty"


There is a posting under the Abraham and Sarah ideas that uses "Oh, God" to compare John Denver's "call" to God calling Abraham. I haven't used this, but have had it in my mind for some time to use this idea somehow. I am preparing the movie lesson for Jesus Calls the Disciples. I am considering using a 12 minute segment of "Oh God"- where God is talking to Denver through the intercom and his car radio- along with a 6 minute segment from "Evan Almighty" - where the wood is dropped off and God tells him to build an ark.

Discussion along these lines: These are Hollywood ideas of how God might contact a person to help him out. Do you think they are realistic? How would you react if you were in these situations? How do you think God might really call YOU? How can you react when you think God is asking you to do something?

I'm looking for feedback on this concept. Do you think this could work? What could be more specific discussion possibilities, any potential problems?

Hi Chris -- I've shown clips of "Oh God" during our Abraham & Sarah rotation twice over the years, and it's been well received both times. I've used different clips; have used your 12 minute radio clip, as well as the scene when John Denver first physically encounters George Burns as God. I found that the older kids -- 4th & 5th graders -- were more receptive, and better able to understand the message we were trying to get across.

It's a great idea -- hope it goes well --

I think it would work well. You could also consider "Bruce Almighty." I think "Oh God" is excellent and very real.


Julie Burton

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Originally posted by Cynthia:


"Jesus" TV Mini-Series

We just finished a rotation on the disciples. We used excerpts from the "Jesus" TV mini-series video, where Jesus called the disciples. It's very realistic. You just have to be ready to hit stop when the zealots come charging into town and cut someones head off!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Video's that include clips on the "Call of the Disciples"

  • "Matthew" (Visual Bible)

  9   - Calling First Disciples;
19   - Jesus Calls Matthew;
24   - Jesus Sends out the Twelve.

  • "Jesus" Video - starring Brian Deacon DVD

Scene 12:  Miracle of Catching the Fish
Scene 14:  Jesus Calls Matthew
Scene 15:  Jesus Chooses the Apostles

"In this episode, Macky has to pluck up his courage to do something important and he hears the story of how Jesus invited his first followers to join him
The Bible stories are tucked into a larger story about children and their family/friends set in the Roman occupied city of Alexandria. They are refugees from Galilee. (The dad knew Jesus.) In each story line they come to two decision points where a Bible story is 'remembered' to them to help guide their actions. 
The Bible story portions are in a distinct 3D animated style, whereas the "kids adventure" storyline is in 2D cartoon style."

  Nicely broken down into short segments - three of which focus on the disciples call.

  • Fluffy, McDuffy, and Puffy - a comical object lesson about three very different sheep and how they each responded to the shepherd's call.
  • The Fishermen’s Call - illustrated story of Jesus' calling Peter and the apostles to service.
  • Jesus is Calling You - a visualized song about following Jesus.
Last edited by Luanne Payne

The Bible: Epic Mini Series


Produced by Roma Downey & Mark Burnett, Fox Faith, 2013, 024543823964.


We are using The Bible, the new one with Roma Downey, the new series.  It was a REALLY well done series.  We are watching disc 2, clip "Hope".  It was fantastic!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

The Miracle Maker

by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.  Now on DVD the 2002 release (012236103486), and the 2007 ( 9781400311958), at this time both are still out there.

We used "The Miracle Maker", scene 7 (calling of Simon, Andrew, James and John) and 1 minute into scene 9 (calling of Matthew the tax collector). I was an adult before I understood that not all Jesus' 12 disciples were called to be "fishers of men," so showing Matthew's call alongside the more well-known one by the sea is important, I think.

"The Miracle Maker" is a *great* video. It uses the stop-action animation technique. The figures are expressive and the theology is sound. It draws from all four gospels to tell the story of Jesus. 

Last edited by Luanne Payne

"Come Follow Me" is a really good 34 minute video focusing on Jesus' life and ministry with Peter by his side. Jesus and Peter talk a lot to each other in very wonderful way.

It has a strong "follow me" message and begins with the fisherman's call.

See my extended comments about it in our Peter forum at:

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus Calls Matthew

Jesus Calls Peter, Rock, Fisher of People

...two free and very short animated videos from Saddleback Kids' YouTube channel. Suitable for introducing a study or use in worship.

Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector, and Jesus' "call" to sinners, preaching mercy.

Jesus calls Peter, "The rock," Cast your net, Fish for People

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

moved here to consolidate posts

Jesus Calls His Disciples

Video Workshop Discussion Guide

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses the video: The Visual Bible: Matthew.
“Matthew” by GNN International Corporation and Visual Bible, LLC

Discussion guide for:

  • The Calling of the First Disciples, Event 9
  • The Calling of Matthew, Event 19
  • Jesus Sends out the 12, Event 24

Scripture: Luke 5:1-11, 6:12-16, 9:1-6

Life Guiding Verse: Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of people.” (New Century Version)

What we are learning in this workshop:

  • A disciple is a follower of a particular person and their teachings; an apostle is a person who acts as a personal representative of another.
  • Jesus had a lot of disciples; he called 12 of these disciples to be his apostles.
  • When Jesus called the 12, they couldn’t help but drop everything to follow him.
  • Jesus calls us all to be disciples; he also may call us to do special jobs.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and background ahead of time. Bible Background is found at end of this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • The Visual Bible: Matthew
  • Popcorn supplies.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Note: This DVD is a little quirky:

  • In the main menu, “Events” refer to what would normally be DVD “chapters.” “Chapters” refers to actual chapters in the Gospel of Matthew. Select scenes by episode.
  • Sometimes the DVD will randomly change to Spanish. When this happens, the only thing that will change it back to English is to eject the disk and reinsert it.

Adjust the discussion for k-2nd grade as necessary. Some adjustment is made for the last episode.

The Calling of the First Disciples, Event 9
22:20-24:50 (total time 2:30 minutes)
Mt. 4:17-22

  • Insert the DVD. The main menu will automatically load.
  • Choose “Search by Event.”
  • From the event menu choose “7-12” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Choose “The Calling of the First Disciples”
  • Press the “Display” button on the remote to get the time counter at the top of the screen. The scripture reference will also appear at the bottom of the screen.

Pause as Peter and Andrew are looking at each other.

  • I wonder what Jesus meant when he said, “I will make you fishers of men (people).”
  • I wonder what Peter and Andrew were thinking.
  • I wonder what they will do.


Pause as Zebedee (the father of James and John) is watching his sons leave the boat

Ask: I wonder what Zebedee is feeling.

Stop as the disciples run off to follow Jesus (24:50)
Discuss: I wonder what it was about Jesus that made Peter and Andrew and James and John drop everything to follow Jesus.

Say: Next we will see what happened when Matthew met Jesus. Matthew was a tax collector. The Jewish people didn’t like tax collectors because tax collectors worked for the Roman government and helped the Romans take their money. The Jewish people thought that tax collectors were traitors and terrible sinners. At the beginning of the scene we will see Matthew with a granddaughter, remembering when he met Jesus.

The Calling of Matthew, Event 19
01:01:05-02:36 (Total time 1:30 minutes)
Matthew 9:9

  • Push the “menu” button on the remote.
  • Choose “Search by Event.”
  • From the event menu choose “19-24” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Choose “The Calling of Matthew”

Pause after Jesus says, “Follow me.”

  • I wonder what Matthew is thinking.
  • I wonder what Matthew will do.

Pause at 01:02:25 after the narrator says, “And Matthew got up and followed him.”

  • I wonder what the other disciples are thinking.
  • I wonder why Jesus chose a man who was considered to be a traitor to the Jewish people.

Stop as the scene changes to a feast at 01:02:36

Say: In the next scene the disciples will become “fishers of people.” Jesus sent out his 12 Apostles to spread his message in Jewish towns, and to heal people of their sicknesses.

Jesus sends out the 12, Event 24 (k-2nd grades)
01:10:05—01:13:27 (Total time 3:25)
Matthew 10:1-10:20

  • Push the “menu” button on the remote.
    Choose “Search by Event.”
  • From the event menu choose “19-24” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Choose “Jesus Sends out the 12”
  • Stop at 01:12:24 when the reference at the bottom says 10:13 and Jesus says, “…let your peace return to you.”


  • I wonder how the Apostles felt about being sent out to teach and to heal.
  • I wonder if it was easy.
  • I wonder how they “caught” people for Jesus.
  • I wonder if the people were happy to be “caught.”

See theological note below.

Jesus sends out the 12, Event 24 (3rd -5th grades)
01:10:05—01:13:27 (Total time 3:25)
Matthew 10:1-10:20

  • Push the “menu” button on the remote.
  • Choose “Search by Event.”
  • From the event menu choose “19-24” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Choose “Jesus Sends out the 12”
  • Stop at 01:13:25 when the reference at the bottom says 10:20 and Jesus says, “…the Spirit of the Father speaking through you.”


  • I wonder how the Apostles felt about being sent out to teach and to heal.
  • I wonder if it was easy.
  • I wonder how they “caught” people for Jesus.
  • I wonder if the people were happy to be “caught.”

Theological note: “Fishing for People” shouldn’t be taken as coercion. In the Bible there is no pleading or manipulating. Notice in the video that when Jesus called someone, he called and then turned and walked off, leaving them to “stew” about it. It was their decision. Also note that Jesus’ disciples weren’t trying to get caught. First Jesus called them—then they came. Jesus’ call to us is the first step in following.

If time

Summary of additional stuff we did from another lesson plan on this site:
Magnet object lesson and fishy situations fishing game you can find here.


End with a prayer.

A lesson from First Presbyterian Church
Nevada, MO

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Jesus Calls Ordinary People

Background for workshop leaders and shepherds

Scripture References:

Luke 5:1-11 (Matthew 4:18-22, 10:1-4; Mark 1:16-20, 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16)

Life Guiding Verse:

“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of people.” Matthew 4:19 (New Century Version)

Setting the Stage:

After Jesus’ baptism by John, and temptation in the dessert, Jesus began his ministry in Galilee. As he preached and healed, he began to draw larger and larger crowds. It was during one of these sermons to a large crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Gennesaret) that this story takes place. It is likely that he already had some consistent followers, perhaps even some disciples who followed him around wherever he preached. We know from records later in the gospels that many women followed Jesus, and were considered disciples. From these many disciples, Jesus chose 12 ordinary men to train to be come apostles, or personal representatives of Jesus, after he was gone. This is the story of how four of those men came to follow Jesus.

In a Nutshell:

If you have ever had to talk to a large group of people outside without a microphone, you know how hard it is to be heard. Of course, a microphone wasn’t even an option in Jesus’ time, so he had to make do. People who live near the water know how well sound of voices is amplified across the surface of a lake. While Jesus was teaching to a crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee one morning, he spotted a couple of boats that were moored after the night’s work—a boat a little way out on the water would be the perfect place to teach and to be heard much better. He asked Simon Peter to row him out a short distance from the shore, and he finished his preaching from there. When he was done, he told Peter to go ahead and do some more fishing. Peter was skeptical. He had put in a full night of fishing with no success. Without much hope, Peter let down the nets. To his surprise, the nets filled with such a catch that he had to call his partners to help. The nets ripped and the boats began to sink. Peter, terrified, said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t come near me! I am a sinner,” in an echo of others, such as Jacob and Isaiah, who had found themselves in God’s presence. Jesus responded, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you will be fishers of people.” Peter, his brother Andrew, and their partners, James and John, left everything where it was to follow Jesus.

Using the Story With Children:

A disciple is anyone who does what Jesus taught. When we are baptized and join the church, we have made a statement that we will follow Jesus—that we will be disciples. This is different from becoming an apostle. An apostle is a personal representative, an ambassador of Jesus to the world. Some people think apostleship was limited to the leaders of the early church; others recognize apostleship in modern leaders. Regardless of the title, Jesus does call some disciples to special tasks. Like the first apostles, those whom Jesus calls are ordinary folks, perhaps even the most unlikely among us. What was Peter’s qualification? Only that he bowed before Jesus and admitted that he was a sinner. In this rotation, children will be learning that Jesus invites ordinary disciples to do special jobs.

Parent Newsletter

Scripture References:

Luke 5:1-11, 6:12-16, 9:1-6
Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John to leave their fishing nets to follow him; Jesus calls 8 others to quit their jobs and follow him, too.

In the verse we call the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commanded his followers to go to all people and make them His disciples. He didn’t say to make some of them disciples; we are all called into discipleship when we are baptized and join the church.
Our baptism is much like adoption into a family. As a member of the church “family” we have both privileges and responsibilities. Eternal life in God’s presence is one of the privileges; discipleship describes our responsibilities.

Just as we have division of labor in our homes, we also have division of labor in the church. We are all expected to “pitch in,” often according to what we are good at; other times we just do what needs to be done. All members of a family are expected to contribute as soon as they are old enough to follow simple directions. In this sense, discipleship itself is not a special calling.

Jesus had many disciples who followed his teachings. From those many disciples, he chose twelve men to be his personal representatives after he was gone. This role was called “apostle.”

This is similar to the way Jesus works in the church today. We are all called to do our part—to be disciples, following Jesus’ teachings in our personal lives and helping out in our local church with both our time and our money. We may also be called to special jobs in our local church, like teaching Sunday school or serving as elder. We may even find ourselves called to serve in other specific ministries such as missions, or pastoral ministry.

Sometimes we forget that discipleship is not a unique calling for some select few. And sometimes we forget that following Jesus means more than showing up to worship once in a while. Discipleship is for all followers at all times. It means personal sacrifice and stretching beyond our comfort zones. Discipleship means praying everyday, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

What Your Child will Be Learning:

  • A disciple is a follower of a particular person and their teachings; an apostle is a person who acts as a personal representative of another.
  • Jesus had a lot of disciples; he called 12 of these disciples to be his apostles.
  • When Jesus called the 12, they couldn’t help but drop everything to follow him.
  • Jesus calls us all to be disciples; he also may call us to do special jobs.

What your child will be doing:

  • Video Workshop: Children will see a video of the passage, and participate in a science experiment exploring the “magnetism” of Jesus.
  • add other workshops you've done....

  • our game idea Tic-Tac-Know has been moved here.

Editor's note: This video has been moved here from the "Lessons: Disciples of Jesus" thread to make it easier to find. It contains a short object lesson and video on Luke 6:12-19;9:1-6, Jesus Calls the 12. The object lesson would pair nicely with a card-making craft.

Bible images copyright Kirsty McAllister from Lamp Bible Pictures used with permission.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

This video contains an object lesson and short animated version of "The Calling of Matthew". We also used the lollipop to make a "Lollipop Butterfly" as a Valentine's Day craft. Super fun!

Bible images copyright Kirsty McAllister from Lamp Bible Pictures used with permission: Music is licensed by Digital Juice.

Illustrations for Jesus calls the disciples from the Annie Vallotton Bible Illustrations Collection


In Matthew 9 Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow him.


In Mark 3, Jesus chooses twelve disciples.

  Link to larger and higher resolution versions of the Vallotton illustrations and color background options as well in our Vallotton Bible Images Forum (Supporting Membership required, become one today). Copyright and usage information here.

There are also images of the call of disciples in the Jesus and Peter collection (larger resolution images here):


Jesus saw Simon Peter and Andrew fishing. (Matthew 4)


Jesus told Simon Peter and Andrew to follow him and be fishers of people.


Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. (Matthew 8)


Images (5)
  • Jesus-Chooses-Disciples-12-Vallotton
  • Jesus-Matthew-Collector-Vallotton
  • Jesus-Heals-Mother-Matthew8-Vallotton
  • Jesus-Peter-Follow-Vallotton
  • Jesus-Peter-Net-Resurrection-Vallotton
Last edited by Amy Crane

Free "Call of the Disciples" clip on YouTube from the Superbook video series

Here's a nice presentation of "Call of Peter" and "Fishers of Men" with explanatory comments included. The presentation style using signs and what looks like colorful paper could be used to create an art project, puppet show, or skit.

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