She Began to Serve

Follow Me!

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

Let us celebrate service today, but not as another call to do more, to give more, to work harder or to fill our overburdened schedules with work. Yes, there is always a call to more service. But instead, let’s celebrate service by saying “thank you.”

Note to the Teacher

The scripture today is the story of Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law. Our guiding phrase today looks at what Simon’s mother-in-law does after she is healed of her fever. In verse 31, we see that “she began to serve.” The ice breaker invites youth to practice serving in a fun and challenging way. The discussion encourages students to think about how God has healed us and how our response should be service. The activity allows youth to live out this service by making get well cards for people who are sick. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but can be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker: Serve Quick Challenge (10 minutes)

Before students arrive, come up with a list of things students can do to serve. This could be anything from cleaning windows to picking up trash. If possible, ask other ministry areas in your church if there’s anything they need help doing. If students are at home, ask them to look around their house for ways in which they can serve their family right now. Your group will have about ten minutes to serve. Take pictures, if possible.

Applaud students for a great job being “servers!” Then ask if anyone remembers the last time someone went out of the way for them. Have students share. What do they think was the motivation behind people going out of the way to serve them?

Digital Option: Video and Questions

Check out this video of random acts of kindness by two YouTubers:

Ask the following questions:

  1. Have you ever helped someone who was in need?
  2. Have you ever helped someone just because you wanted to?
  3. What is the most incredible act of kindness or service that you have witnessed?
  4. What if every time someone asked us for help, we responded as if Jesus was on the other side of the conversation?
  5. What did you notice in the video about the people receiving the gift or service? How did they react to the kindness? (Surprised, joyful, etc.)
  6. The two guys distributing the acts of kindness didn’t expect anything in return. Why did they not expect anything in return? Why is this important to note?

Transition to the scripture by saying, “Today we are looking at the story of Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law. As we read today’s scripture, pay attention to how she responds to Jesus’ healing touch.”

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today looks at the miracles Jesus performs while he’s at Simon’s house. While I read the scripture, listen for all the different types of miracles Jesus did. Pay close attention to how Simon’s mother-in-law responds to her healing.

Read Mark 1:29-39.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • The story we read today is broken into two parts. What are they? [1]
  • What was wrong with Simon’s mother-in-law? [2]
  • What was Jesus’ response to her? [3]
  • What was her response when Jesus healed her? [4]
  • How would you respond if Jesus asked you to do something?
  • How might serving become a way of life for you?
  • Tell the story of the time someone affected your life by serving.
  • What’s the hardest part about serving others?
  • What’s the difference between the way we serve in our homes (doing chores, etc.) and the way we serve at church or out in our community?
  • When Simon’s mother-in-law was healed, she immediately jumped into the serving mode. Why do you think that is? When have you had an encounter with Jesus that inspired you to serve?
  • Whom do we need to thank for their service? Make a list and add these people to your prayer time at the end of this meeting.
  • How can we cultivate a spirit of gratitude for the ones we have gotten used to ignoring, those who have become a part of the background noise in our lives?
  • If everyone in the world served one another the same way they would serve Jesus, how would our homes, schools, community, and world change?

Transition to the final activity where youth will take some time to pray over those who have served them. They will also pray and act out in service their gratitude for others.

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Part 1: Healing Cards

Use whatever materials you (or if digital) and your students have to make get-well cards. Use one of the groups of people listed below or another you come up with on your own:

  • Call a children’s hospital; get the number of children in one of the areas.
  • Get a list of church members in the hospital and recovery facilities.
  • Have students make a list of people they know who are ill.
  • Use your church’s prayer list.

Let your class know that you will be giving the get-well cards to actual people. After students have finished the cards, have the class pray over the people who will be receiving the cards.

Part 2: Acts of Serving Challenge

Have everyone take the notecards (or if meeting virtually, have everyone make their comments in the chat area; the leader will write down their acts of service on strips of paper or notecard.). Ask everyone to write down the first three random acts of service that come to mind. Tell students to not make these personal but something anyone could do. For example, anyone could make their family breakfast or offer to clean up a room in the house. Collect all the notecards and then randomly distribute them back to the class. (If meeting virtually, give students three tasks and ask them to write these down on a sheet of paper.) Challenge your youth to do at least one act of service this week as if they were doing it for Jesus. If your youth take on this challenge, have them report back through your preferred social media connection about how that act of service was received.

Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

50 minutes total time

Needed Resources:

  • Bible
  • Note cards
  • Artistic Supplies

[1] Verses 29-34 concern Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law. He also performed other miracles. In verses 35-39, Jesus gets up early to pray and then leads his disciples to the neighboring towns, so that he can perform even more miracles.

[2] She was in bed with a fever.

[3] Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up.

[4] Simon’s mother-in-law “began to serve them” (v.31b).

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes