Follow Me

Follow Me!

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

How do we convince people that following Jesus is not simply about a state of being, but a call to doing? Certainly, there is a need for training, for preparation, for growing as disciples; but the end is always an outward focus, always looking for ways to connect, to widen the net.

Note to the Teacher

The scripture today is the calling of the first disciples from the book of Mark. Our guiding phrase today will be “follow me.” The ice breaker invites youth to play a fun game of “Simon says,” which is perfect, since the first person noted in the scripture that Jesus sees is Simon; then his brother Andrew. The discussion encourages students to see that they have a part in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. The activity allows youth to see the importance of following a strong leader, especially when that leader is Jesus. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but can be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker: Simon Says (10 minutes)

Tell students that you are going to play an old-fashioned game of “Simon Says!” If you are playing this game virtually, be sensitive to the fact that some students may have connection issues, or their screens may freeze. Make sure to give grace if this happens. It is totally OK to give a list to the caller; just make sure the game continues in a timely manner. Here’s a list of interesting things they could call for inspiration.

  • Peel an imaginary orange and eat it.
  • Score the game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl.
  • Climb an invisible ladder to an ice cream shop.
  • Hit someone in the face with a pie
    • It’s pumpkin pie, your favorite; take a bit off the person’s face and eat it.
  • Light a campfire using gasoline.
  • Take your pet mouse on a walk.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today is about Jesus and the calling of the first disciples. While I read these verses, listen to what Jesus says. He doesn’t say a lot, but he makes a huge impact with the few words he does say. What were they and why were they so effective? Discuss after the reading.

Read Mark 1:14-20.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • At the beginning of our story, Jesus is walking along the Sea of Galilee when he asks Simon and his brother Andrew to “follow me.” What were Simon and Andrew doing? [1]
  • Jesus says, “I will make you ‘fish for people.’” Why do you think he says it this way? What does it mean to “fish for people?” [2]
  • Why do you think Simon and Andrew dropped everything they were doing to follow Jesus?
  • In verse 19, James and John drop everything as well; however, verse 20 notes that they left their father with his hired men on the boat. Why do you think James and John left so abruptly? How do you think their father felt about them leaving to follow Jesus?
  • Have you ever stopped doing something abruptly to go and do something else? What was it and why did you leave what you were doing so quickly?
  • What images come to mind when you hear the phrase “fish for people?”
  • Who do you know that is a “fisher of people?" Describe that person and what he or she does.
  • Ask the group if anyone has ever fished before. What does it take to be good at fishing? What tasks and skills do you need to be successful? (Make this list on a whiteboard or in the chat room in your virtual space.)
  • How is fishing like discipleship and growing people for Christ? Jesus didn’t say, “Come and watch me fish.” He said, “I will make you fish for people” (v. 17). What is the significance of this statement? [3]
  • How can we encourage one another to be active participants in the sharing of the gospel?
  • How can we continue to grow in our faith in the weeks ahead? How might this group help?

Transition to the closing activity that is a little more lighthearted. Thank the group for their good discussion and encourage them to continue growing in their faith.

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Follow the Leader – Have your group sit in a circle (if virtual, have everyone turn their screens on if screens have been off). Ask for a volunteer to leave the room. (If your group is meeting virtually, have the leader move one person to a waiting room or remove them from the call completely. They will join again in just a minute the same way they originally joined.) Choose a leader and tell the group that they will be doing everything the leader does (for example: clapping hands, stomping feet, etc.) The leader should change what he or she is doing every 30 to 40 seconds. Try this with the group before you bring the student back to the group. Once you’ve brought the student back, have that person stand in the middle of the circle. (If you’re doing this virtually, it doesn’t matter where the person is on the screen.) Explain to the volunteer that the group is following a secret leader and it is the volunteer’s responsibility to find out who the leader is. To make this game harder, allow for only three to five guesses, depending on the size of the group. Repeat with different volunteers; make sure to change the leader each time. Ask these questions after you have played several rounds:

  • How easy was it to figure out who the leader was?
  • How easy was it to follow the leader without making it obvious you were looking at that person?
  • What was the most difficult part of this game?
  • Who was the best leader in our group?
  • Why was it so easy to follow that person?
  • When is it hard to follow Jesus? When is it easy?

Jesus is the greatest leader of all time! When we follow him, we bear witness to who God is; that is what being a follower of Jesus is all about!

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.

Total time: 50 minutes

Needed Resources:

  • Bible
  • Posterboard and markers (if applicable)

[1] Fishing

[2] “Fish for people” is referring to Jesu’s call to tell the world about Jesus’ grace and love. He uses this phrase as a way of relating to Simon and Andrew, who were fishermen.

[3] Jesus is inviting the disciples to a life of engagement and active participation in sharing of the good news.

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