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.

Calling of Apostles

Lesson Ideas

Summary of Workshops:

  • Video (k-5th grades): Matthew Visual Bible DVD (guide found below). 
    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 Call of the Disciples Science/Exploration Workshop
  • Computer (3rd -5th grades): Life of Christ Software - No Lesson Provided.
    Summary of what we did:
    Life of Christ—The format that works for us with this software: We start by going through the story together on one computer, pausing for clarification or discussion as needed, and usually discuss the question provided at the end of the story along with one or two we make up. Then the kids go 1-2 to each computer station to hear the story again and go through the quiz. I make them repeat it if they don't get at least 5 of the quiz questions correct. When they have completed the quiz they can do other stories or explore other aspects of the game until journaling time.
  • Art (k-2nd grades): No Lesson Provided
    Summary of what we did:
    Glue string fish nets over stick figure drawings on blue paper from Jesus Calls Disciples Ideas
  • Game (3rd - 5th grades):  Tic-Tac-Know Game. Directions and clues provided, not a full lesson.  Note: Should be scheduled last as a review.

 


Included in this set:

  • Overview of our Rotation (shown above).
  • Background for workshop leaders and shepherds.
  • Parent newsletter.
  • The Visual Bible: Matthew DVD discussion guide.
  • Tic-Tac-Know game questions.

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 rotation:

  • 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.

A lesson set from: First Presbyterian Church
Nevada, Mo

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Original Post

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.
  • Misc. Workshop (K-2nd grades): Children will get a sweet demonstration of evangelism.
  • Computer Lab (3rd - 5th grades): Using Life of Christ software, Children will explore the details of the story.
  • Art Workshop (k-2nd grades): Children will create fishnet art.
  • Game Workshop (3rd -5th grades): Children will play games to test their knowledge of the Apostles creed and of facts about the 12 Apostles.

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, Episode 9
  • The Calling of Matthew, Episode 19
  • Jesus Sends out the 12, Episode 24

For scripture and objectives - see above.


 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and background ahead of time. 
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • The Visual Bible: Matthew
  • Popcorn supplies.


 

Presentation

 

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, Episode 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.
Discuss:

  • 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.


Restart

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

Ask: I wonder what Zebedee is feeling.
Restart

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, Episode 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.”
Discuss:

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


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

  • 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, Episode 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.”


Discuss:

  • 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, Episode 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.”


Discuss:

  • 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.

 

Closing:

End with a prayer.


A lesson from First Presbyterian Church

Nevada, MO

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

 

Tic-Tac-Know Game

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!


Clues:

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

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

Answer: Andrew

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

Clues:

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

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