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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 Game Workshop Lessons and Ideas for teaching the Call of the Disciples, "fishers of people" stories.

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.

Disciple Bingo

Member mabethea posted:

Objective: To learn the names of the disciples.
Make a grid 3 squares by 4 squares. Type in the twelve names of the disciples. Copy the grid and then delete the names.

Each child and the leader gets one copy of grids with names. Children cut apart and tape or glue in any order on the blank grid. The leader uses theirs to call out names for children to cover in Bingo fashion. 3 in a row across or 4 in a row down wins. Play several times to reeinforce names. At the end, you might want to see who can name the most disciples.
If you would like me to email you the one I made, contact me at

Member psalm_77 posted:

In case you would rather have the cards preprinted, here's the site of a bingo generator. There is a spot to click that will shuffle the words, so you can print however many different cards you need. You can get a 9 space or 25 space card.

Life Size Tic Tac Toe Game Idea

CreativeCarol posted:

We put masking tape on the carpet to make a big tic-tac-toe game board. The kids were divided into 2 groups - the X's and the O's. Each group had a chance to answer a question about the story. If they got the answer correct, they got to form themselves as a X or O (depending on their team) on the game board. Maybe this could work for you. The questions could be specifics about the Bible story or more along the lines of, is a statement about following or not following Jesus (example: sleeping in on Sunday morning).

Fishing Game Ideas for "Call of the Disciples"

Further down this page is post about a new "fishing pole" scripture memory game with a graphic showing you how to make a simple pole that catches fish (or other objects) using a washer and magnet.

With a pole, you can cast and catch words or phrases to assemble, or questions to be answered. With two poles you can turn it into a race to assemble the verse (and answer the question fish afterwards). 

Pond Fishing with a Clothespin "hook" for use with YOUNG children

Cover a table with a blanket and place a kid behind it as your helper. When the soft weight or clothespin is cast by a student over the table, the student sitting in the "pond" behind the table ATTACHES a "do or say, or recite" card/message that you have created in advance. (When a kid is done casting, it's their turn in the pond.) The pond helper tugs on the line to signal it's time to reel in the card, then the fisherman has to do/say/recite as the card dictates. Messages can include: "say the memory verse" "summarize the story" "name four disciples" "name someone in your family who is a follower of Jesus" "name someone at church you think would be a good role model/faith mentor"  "say out loud how you are going to invite a friend to join you in church next Sunday -what you will tell them to expect, how you will plan to pick them up and take them to breakfast afterward" etc etc.

Fishing Finale:
Have them fish for "stuff" that reminds them of Jesus. (Oriental Trading Co is a great source of this kind of stuff cheap and in bulk. You could also make Fish Beads out of pipe cleaners and beads.

Optional "WEIGHT & BUCKET" casting method

You can simply tie a small weight to the end of a line and have the kids cast it into various BUCKETS that you have arranged in front of them. In the buckets can be parts of verses, actions to perform, questions to answer, etc.


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  • fish bead
  • fish key chain
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Twelve Disciple Trading Cards

cardsThe Rotation Writing Team's Call of the Disciples Bible Games Lesson has a terrific free set of Disciple Trading cards illustrated in a modern style with info about each. The WT's lesson plan is built around several games that use the cards and explore their content.

The Team has also posted a public link to free Trading Cards so that everyone can use this free resource. The link is in Games Workshop Summary section of the Call of the Disciples Lesson Summary. 


Tradiing Card images copyright and courtesy of


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  • cards
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Fisher’s of Men Parachute Game

I came up with this parachute game for VBS a few years ago.
  • Parachute (size will depend on the number of children you expect, 6', 10', 12', 20' - size indicates handles as well).Toy Foam Fish
  • 8 Sponge Sea Creatures (pictured - hand size water toys - usually sold individually or in a pair, in stores during summer season)
  • Name Tags  (sticky back)
  • CD Player
  • CD – Gospel Light Kid’s Bible Fun Songs - #8
    - “I Want To Follow Jesus” has a nice beachy sound or any call of disciples song you have.

Advance Prep:

  • Write out name of Disciple on a name tag – do one for each Disciple (if you have more than 12 children or less – either write more tags of each name or put double tags on children to use up all 12 or if you only have a very small number of children pick major disciple's names you want to focus on).
  • Write up a list of disciples names and leave room to check off each time you call, so you don’t miss calling any of the disciple's names!
  • Have parachute laid out prior to class in centre of floor.
  • Have sponge fish creatures in bucket ready to toss into parachute.
  • Have CD Player ready with song queued.

To Play:

Give each child a disciple name tag (or two - if you have less than 12 children) to wear.

  1. Tell them they are going to become Fisher’s of Men – they will leave their nets and everything they own behind and go and tell the Good News.
  2. While the music plays they will try to shake all fish out of the net. 
  3. PAUSE MUSIC when the last fish flies out. EVERYONE FREEZES.
    If they hear their disciple's NAME they must let go of the net and run around collecting fish (making THEM fisher’s of men) and TOSS them back into the net, then GO back to an open HANDLE around the net. 
  5. Optional: Children whose names are not called need to sing the chorus to song, found below, while other children are collecting fishers of men.
  6. START MUSIC, continue until everyone has had their disciple's named called at least twice.
  7. For added fun - call out names of people who were not part of the 12 Disciples - Moses, David, Daniel, Jonah, name of a teacher, and so forth. 
    If you call out Jonah, they have to throw up the parachute and sit under it (being swallowed!)


 The 12 Disciples Song 

(Sung to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)

Jesus called them one by one,
Peter, Andrew, James and John,
Then came Philip, Thomas too,
Matthew and Bartholomew.


Yes, Jesus called them. Yes, Jesus called them.
Yes, Jesus called them, and they followed him.

James his brother Thaddeus,
Simon then came Judas.
Twelve disciples here in all,
Following the Master’s call.

Note:  there are some good discussions/questions in the ART forum that talk about how they can talk to others about Jesus that would be a good follow up to this game.


Images (1)
  • Toy Foam Fish
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Editor's Note:  Below we've copied member Heather Fogle's fishing lure photo from the Disciples Art Workshop to this Game Workshop topic and adding a game note about how you can use it. For more related ideas, see the Call of the Disciples Art Workshop posts which have some "fishing" ideas in it.

Game Ideas: 

Disciple "Fishing hooks" made by students for a "fishers of men" game where kids could try and hook different dolls (labeled with different backstories about who they are and why Jesus is calling them) and objects (that had a message or question attached to them for immediate discussion). Have a number of objects that reveal things Jesus doesn't want to call!  (such as a bad attitude or selfish person).

Use a real fishing rod or dowel rod with yarn (so the kids can take their "Disciples fishing gear" home with them after the game.



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  • HeatherFogle-Lures

A Scripture Memory Fishing Game

The following fishing pole graphic was created for the Writing Team's "Jesus Feeds the 5000" Bible Skills and Games lesson (open to supporting members).

In the Team's lesson, they created a "scripture memory fishing game" that uses a homemade fishing pole to catch scripture "fish" that have magnets attached to them and are scattered in the "pond" (a blue tarp). The kids cast the line to catch parts of the verse and assemble it.

You can adjust the game rules to let kids only catch "the next correct word" in the memory verse, or any word they can catch they can keep until they get them all and assemble them in the right order. You can adjust the game to have two poles and make it a team race to cast and assemble the verse parts.  You can also have them "catch questions to answer" which you have written on fish.

Fish can be made out of paper to which you have attached a magnet, or plastic fish to which you have attached a magnet.


Browse the Writing Team's menu of extra creative lesson!


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

moved here to consolidate posts

Tic-Tac-Know Game

A lesson idea from First Presbyterian Church
Nevada, MO

The way we played it:

  1. I marked a 3 x 3 grid on the floor using safe-release tape.
  2. If you have enough kids they can be the markers, but we had to use X's and O's cut from card stock.
  3. We divided the group into 2 teams.
  4. The teams took turns guessing the correct Apostle from cards we made using the clues below.
  5. If they got it right, they got to place a marker on the grid.

Note that we used it as a last review in the rotation, so (theoretically) they'd had full exposure to the Apostles.

What made it extra fun that day was that we had a child on speaker phone who wasn't able to be there in person that day because he was sick.

They really really had fun with this--we will use this format again!


I was a fisherman
I was Peter’s brother
I introduced Peter to Jesus

Who am I? (Hint: John 1:40-42)

Answer: Andrew


My father’s name was Alphaeus.
Another disciple shares my name.
I was known as “The Younger” of the two of us.

Who am I? (Hint: Luke 6:15)

Answer: James, son of Alphaeus


I was also known as Nathanael
Philip introduced me to Jesus
When I first heard about Jesus I said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?

Who am I? (Hint: John 1:45-46)

Answer: Bartholomew


My father’s name was Zebedee.
Before I followed Jesus, my brother and I were Peter’s fishing partners.
Jesus called us “Sons of Thunder.”

Who am I? (Hint: Luke 5:10)

Answer: James, son of Zebedee


I wrote 5 books in the New Testament, including one of the Gospels.
My brother and I tagged along with Jesus and Peter a lot.
I took care of Jesus’ mother after he died.

Who am I? (Hint: Luke 5:10)

Answer: John


I kept the money bags for Jesus and the Apostles, and sometimes stole from them.
I betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities.
I didn’t live to see Jesus rise from the dead.

Who am I? (Hint: Matthew 26:14-16)

Answer: Judas Iscariot


When I met Jesus I was collecting taxes for the Roman Government.
After Jesus called me to follow Him, He ate dinner at my house.
I am also known as Levi, and I wrote one of the Gospels.

Who am I? (Hint: Matthew 9:9-11)

Answer: Matthew


I introduced Nathaniel to Jesus.
I was originally from Bethsaida.
I knew Jesus was the one the prophets had written about

Who am I? (Hint: John 1:43-45)

Answer: Philip


I was a fisherman known as Simon when Jesus met me.
Jesus changed my name to “Rock.”
I gave the very first sermon after Jesus left and the Holy Spirit came.

Who am I? (Hint: Matthew 16:18)

Answer: Peter


My nicknames are “Didymus” (the twin)
I am also known as “The Doubter” because I wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen until I saw for myself and touched his wounds.

Who am I? (Hint: John 20:24-25)

Answer: Thomas


I was called “the Zealot” because I belonged to a political party that was trying to overthrow the Roman government.

Who am I? (Hint: Matthew 10:4)

Answer: Simon


My father’s name was James.
I was also called Judas, but don’t get me confused with Iscariot!
I was only mentioned three times in Scripture.

Who am I? (Hint: Matthew 10:3)

Answer: Thaddaeus

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Casting a Fishing Net to "Catch" People for Christ

Fishin poles are a fun idea, but Peter, Andrew, James, and John, the four fisherman disciples called by Jesus in Matthew 4:18-22, would have thought Jesus was talking about CASTING NETS to "catch people." Indeed, the scripture says they "left their nets" to follow him.  Net fishing doesn't involve luring, it involves SURROUNDING, and that raises the question "surround people with what?"   Jesus would have said "surround them with love."

small-cast-netHere's a Net-Casting Demonstration that can be used in a Sunday School classroom as well in as a Children's Sermon or special evangelism Sunday

Having lived by the ocean and on an island, I'm very acquainted with the sight and practice of "casting" a fishing net.  And with a little bit of practice, it's not hard. (What's hard is finding fish to cast over!)  And if you've ever seen people throwing nets, you know people love to watch.

A number of years ago, I invited a net-casting-fisherman in our congregation to cast his net in our sanctuary for a children's sermon about the Call of the Fisherman. After his demonstration, we even let him gently cast his lead-weighted net over a small group of children (with their heads down for protection). The applause that rose up when he perfectly cast over the kids made this one of the more memorable children's sermons I've ever been part of. And when he took his "catch" and sat them in the front row of the sanctuary, the kids couldn't have been prouder.

Small casting Nets aren't expensive and can easily be learned. See my notes below.


We talked about:

What should we "surround" people with? (love, care, appreciation, kindness), and by so doing, we were demonstrating to them AND encouraging them to "do likewise." (This was the very same "call" Jesus issued to the Pharisee to whom he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Loving others is the second half of the Great Commandment.)

We concluded with the idea that "one way we surround people with love" is to invite them to our loving and caring community -- i.e. church -- where they could learn more about catching the love of God shown to us through Christ, thank God for his love, and join us in sharing it with others.

Things to consider:

1. Real cast nets have lead weights, so this demonstration has to be done in a clear area, or by a really good net thrower!  If kids are going to be "caught" by the throw at some point (and they should, its fun), give them thick wool hats or helmets (of some sort) and/or tell them to put their heads down during the casting (and cast from a very short distance). We just told our kids to put their heads down and nobody got hurt because the lead weight were small and thrown closeup by someone who knew what they were doing.

2. If you don't have a cast net, you can get a small one for under $20 on Amazon.  See image below!   Makes a great classroom reminder prop too.

3. Learn how to throw it yourself! There are many how-to videos on YouTube such as this one by "Captain Mike."

4. Kids will be EAGER to try and cast the net. Let them! Teaching them "how to" is a great opportunity to segue into "how do you catch people"?

Here's a $15 net casting net on Amazon:


Surrounding people with love...

Here are a couple of images I created using Bing's AI Image Creator using various keywords like "fishing net of hearts" and "a net surrounding with love."

As you can see, there are some visual ideas here that could be applied to your actual net to make the connection.


BTW:  Fourteen feet of "Decorative" Fishing Net is under $10 at Oriental Trading Company. Must be an art project here somehow using it with some hearts. I'm also wondering how each student could go home with their own "surround them with love/kindness" net, but that idea is for another day and post!


To me, the interesting idea here is what we mean by "catch" --which is the idea of catching people by surrounding them with the message and practice of love. I think God would call it a win if his children simply loved each other.

Obviously, the whole "fishing analogy" breaks down once you bring the fish out of the water. I assume Jesus knew this and wasn't suggesting we kill and eat his disciples. That' kinda funny and gross, though, which would make it a perfect point to make with older kids!

P.S. This would make a great Pentecost or Evangelism Sunday lesson and demonstration, both in class and in worship.

It would also make a great "Fall Sunday School Kickoff" activity -- talking about how Sunday School "surrounds" our kids with good people and great messages.


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  • Fishing4People-CastingNet
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  • DecorativeFishNet
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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