Have a set of keys for display each week. You can also create a set of construction paper keys with the word “key” written on each key, or simply use a set of real keys. Each week of this series, a “key” word will be introduced to the children. Use a reminder on the set of keys, so that you won’t forget to have the prop ready each week. The “key” word will depict one characteristic of following Jesus that connects the message to the adult worship series.
Mark 1:16-20, NIRV
16One day Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. There he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the lake. They were fishermen. 1 “Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to fish for people.” 18At once they left their nets and followed him.
19Then Jesus walked a little farther. As he did, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat preparing their nets. 20Right away he called out to them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men. Then they followed Jesus.
“Key” word of the day: follow – to be guided by; obey (Word Central online kids dictionary, http://wordcentral.com/cgi-bin/student?book=Student&va=follow).
Have you ever thought about what job you would like to have when you get older? (Let a few children respond.) Maybe keys will be a part of that job. Today’s “key” word of the day is follow. Follow means to be guided by or obey.
Let’s play a game of “Simon Peter Says.” I’ll be Simon Peter. Simon Peter says to touch your knees. Simon Peter says to march in place. Stop marching in place. Simon Peter didn’t say to stop. I noticed that some of you didn’t follow the rules of the game and stopped marching. I always enjoy playing a game of “Simon Peter Says.” Last one. Simon Peter says have a seat.
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and his brother John already had jobs. They were fishermen. But Jesus gave them new jobs. They would be his followers, which we call disciples. Jesus told them to follow him and become fishers for people, instead of fishers for fish. Do you think Jesus meant they were going to catch people with fishing nets? Instead, these disciples would tell people about how God loves them. By sharing this good news, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and all the other disciples would help other people follow Jesus.
Following Jesus is a job you can do right now. You don’t have to be a grown-up, because Jesus also wants children to follow him. Jesus wants you to fish for people by telling others about the love God has for them. This is the best job of all, and you can keep this job your whole life.
Let’s now play a game of “Jesus says.” Jesus says to march in place. Jesus says to fish for people (pantomime casting a fishing line and winding it back up, to suggest fishing). Jesus says to tell your neighbor, “Jesus loves you.” Stop telling your neighbor. Jesus didn’t say, “Stop,” and we should never stop telling others about his love!
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for offering me the job of being your disciple. Help me to follow you all my life. Show me ways to tell others about how God loves us. Amen.