Mark 1:16-20 - Jesus calls his first disciples
Jesus calls us
If you are meeting early in the day, ask everyone to look in their bag and find today’s activity.
Ask “Do you like bananas?” and “Do you think you will enjoy your smoothie?” If you are meeting later in the day, ask people how they got on making their smoothie. “Was it tasty?”
Ask someone to read out today’s family activity Bible passage from Psalm 34:4-8.
Explain that while we are all together online today, we are going to think about a story from the Bible. In this story Jesus asks his first group of disciples (followers) to come and follow him: they were to be with him all the time and do what he was doing.
Read the Bible passage for today, Mark 1:16 – 20. Ask everyone to listen very carefully because you are going to read it again in a few minutes and there will be some things they have to remember!
One 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. “Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Then 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. Right away he called out to them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men. Then they followed Jesus. (NIRV)
Say that you are going to read the passage again but this time you are going to change some words. There will be eight changes. When they hear a wrong word(s) ask them to write it down and write down beside it what the right word (s) was. Ask everyone to mute their microphones while you do this. Then read:
One day Jesus was walking beside A ROAD. There he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were PLAYING A GAME OF FOOTBALL. They were POLITICIANS. “Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to GIVE OUT LEAFLETS.” At once they left their FOOTBALLS and followed him.
Then Jesus walked a little farther. As he did, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were ON A MOTORBIKE preparing THE ENGINE. Right away he called out to them. They left their father Zebedee ON HIS MOTORBIKE with the hired men. Then they followed Jesus.
Ask one household at a time for one of the changed words. What was the word that changed and what should it have been? Once they have identified all the changed words, read the Bible passage again.
Tell everyone that this story is all about following and so you are going to play a game that needs everyone to follow. One household needs to be sent away. If you are using Zoom you could send them to a breakout room, or simply ask them to mute the call and look away from the screen. While they aren’t looking, appoint someone else on the call as leader. The leader will start doing actions and everyone else in the call must follow them. Once everyone is following, the household you sent away will be brought back in and they must guess who the leader is. Who is everyone following? Once they have guessed choose another household to send away so you can choose a new leader. Keep doing as long as you want to!
Say that Jesus still calls ordinary people to follow him. We can’t follow him the way Simon, Andrew, James and John did, but we can still follow him – doing what he asks us to do and telling other people about him.
Ask everyone to get a piece of paper and pen or pencil. Then ask everyone to write the following words at the top of the piece of paper:
Jesus said, “Come and follow me”.
Ask everyone to write or draw below these words how they want to respond to those words from Jesus. How does it make them feel? What do they want to do? What do they want to say?
Give everyone enough time to do this and then pray this prayer:
Thank you that you ask me to follow you – just like you asked Simon, Andrew, James and John.
Help me to answer.
Help me to know that I can go to you always.
Say goodbye to everyone and that you look forward to seeing them tomorrow.