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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.

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The following is an outline.  You can fill in with additional discussion details. It was based on a lesson idea by member Lynn Wood.

The Call of the Disciples "Science" Workshop


By playing with magnets and making their own electro-magnets, students will explore the idea of how God works through us to call and guide others to become his disciples.

Scripture Reference:

Matthew 4:18-22

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and Bible background sheets for this lesson.
  • Gather assorted size magnets and metal objects—small magnets; magnetic pin holders (from fabric or craft stores) safety pins, nails
  • Practice some magnet demonstrations (will it, won't it, how many, how strong is your magnet, etc etc)
  • Practice making a magnet powered by a battery and using it as described in the lesson outline below.

Supplies List:

  • Various magnets and metal objects big and small. 
  • Make Your Own Magnet: Bolts, Batteries, rubberbands, copper wire, and assorted metal paperclips (not aluminum)  -- enough for each student to make one and take home.  Have at least one 9v battery to make an extra strong magnet. Note that the more wire you wrap around the iron bolt, the stronger the magnet.

The following lesson outline has each student creating their own "electromagnet" using the following supplies as seen in the video. Please note that the "better" you make your magnet, the stronger it will be. The parts and construction of the magnet will all be metaphors to discuss in the lesson.

Lesson Outline


Welcome your students and invite them to play a quick game of "BLOB TAG."   Blob tag start with one person who is "it." When they tag someone, that person locks arms with "it." With each successive tag the blog grows. Only "it" can do the tagging. The game is over when the last person is tagged and locks arms with the "blob."  

Play the game again, only this time, change the name of the game to "Jesus Blob" and the rules as follows.  Designate the FIRST "it" person as Jesus. Designate the room as the fish pond. When Jesus tags a "fish" THAT player locks arms with Jesus and helps "surround" another fish for Jesus to tag. After playing, discuss how the game illustrates how Jesus helps us catch "fish" for him. (It's an interesting question as to whether or not WE do the catching, or the spirit does the catching THROUGH us?  2 Corinthians 5:20 says "God is making his appeal through us.") How is the church like a Jesus Blob? What's the "bait" on the hook? What happens when someone doesn't want to help Jesus?

Then read the Matthew 4 Call of the Disciples story together and discuss the following questions (which play on the metaphor for fishing). Feel free to expand on these metaphors.

  • Why does Jesus need us to help him "catch people"? 
  • What is Jesus catching people "for"?
  • "Catching" assumes it's not easy to convince people to follow Jesus. (You know this if you've ever tried to fish.)  What does it take to catch fish?    (bait, patience, technique)
  • What is the "bait" that attracts people to Jesus?  What doesn't work to catch people to Jesus?
  • You're one of the fish Jesus' disciples want to catch. Do you want to be caught? What's in the boat waiting for you?  What are we caught FOR?

Not only does Jesus want to "catch" us, he wants us to help him "catch" others. The rest of the lesson illustrates this concept.

Magnet Activity

Bring out the different size magnets. Talk about the power that a magnet has to pull things to it. It can even overcome a great power-like gravity. Demonstrate power in a variety of ways: how many pins or paperclips can you dangle from your magnet; how far away does the magnet still have pull; use barrier (paper, cardboard, the tabletop) to see if the magnet still has enough power to pull object . If you collected enough magnets and metal objects let the students ‘play’ experiment on their own. 

As you play with the magnets ATTACH A STRING to one and use it like a fishing hook to "catch the fish" (metal objects). As you visually demonstrate this, remind them of the story of Jesus calling the disciples and promising to teach them how to fish for people!

Ask: How do you NOT "attract" fish to become disciples of Jesus? What could we do to REPEL people from Christ? (by the way we act, by misrepresenting Jesus' teachings, by judging)

Demonstrate this idea:  How can the power of Jesus work through us to reach others?  Use your magnet to pick up a metal paper clip, and then let that paperclip pick up ANOTHER paperclip. Remind them of 2 Cor 5:20 where Paul says "God makes his appeal THROUGH us."  We are God's ambassadors -- the one paperclip that lets the magnetism flow through us to attract another. 

Make ElectroMagnets

  • Using video clip as your instructions, show students how to make their own electromagnet.
  • God is the battery. Is Jesus the copper wire?  Is the Word or Faith the wire?  
  • We are obviously the bolt. 
  • Notice that the more wire (Word, faith) wrapped around us, the strong the magnet. 
  • What happens when we "disconnect" ourselves from God?  How do people do that?
  • Write the following "called to do" ideas on some slips of paper and put them next to piles of metal objects. Slips could include: Stand up for what is right. Protest wrong. Heal. Help Others. "Justice, Mercy, Humbly" (Micah 6:8). 
  • Invite each student to make a slip and put it next to a pile of metal objects. Then go around the table having each student describe the thing a disciples is "called to do" and demonstrate "doing" using their electromagnet to clear the metal objects.
  • Have a heavy metal object that no one magnet can move. See if MANY magnets can move. What would you call "many" electromagnets?  The Church!


For a Blob by linking arms. Pray for God's power to flow through us to serve others and help Jesus gain more disciples.


Images (1)
  • mceclip0
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Lesson Extension Idea - Fishy Situations (for above lesson)


As an extension to this wonderful magnet activity, we put a "fishy situation" in each fish when we placed the magnet in the nose. The First-5th graders then took turns fishing. As they caught a fish, they read the "fishy situation" and the class discussed the situation to decide if the fish is a "keeper" or not--to show whether they are following Jesus. Some of the fishy situations were:

  1. When kids ask if you are a Christian, you say "No way, Man!"
  2. You forget to tell your sister that you scratched her favorite CD.
  3. You bring a friend to Sunday School.
  4. You made a mistake. Eventhough you'll get in trouble, you tell the teacher what you did.
  5. Kids are making fun of a new boy in school. You don't want to get involved.
  6. When your little sister asks you to play with her, you do. . .and you even have fun!
  7. You decide to try and read a Bible story each night before you go to bed.
  8. Betty starts telling others bad things about you. You tell Betty to stop and decide not to talk bad about her, even though it is very hard.

These fishy situations sparked some wonderful discussions about real-life situations the kids in our classes have been in.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

For another type of "magnet" "attracting others to Jesus" demonstration... (for above lesson)


Added by Neil MacQueen


Have the kids go fishing in your room using a short pole that has a string and magnet attached to it. Have various objects in 'the water' for them to cast and try to catch.


After they've had a bit of fun, begin to "modify" the magnets and objects to illustrate various analogous points:

  • things that get in the way of being able to reach out someone
  • some heavy things need multiple magnets, multiple poles.
  • some people are closer, more ready/willing to be "caught".
  • why do some people resist being caught by God?
  • baits:  what works? what doesn't? ...when trying to win people to God.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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