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Jonah 3.1-5,10; Psalm 62.5-12; 1 Corinthians 7.29-31; Mark 1.14-20

Children's session

As Jesus begins his ministry, he asks four fishermen to come with him and immediately they say yes. For them to respond without hesitation requires a lot of courage; it is life-changing. They are prepared to leave what they know behind and learn to ‘fish for people’ with Jesus. 

This week we explore responding without hesitation to Jesus.

Extra ideas including resources for very young children can be found by using the Jump to this week's menu on the right.

Prepare
Childrens Session

Read Bible notes on Mark 1.14-20

How easy would it be to respond to a life-changing call so quickly? Notice, however, that not everything changes. Jesus offers to take their skills and use them for kingdom building. Have you experienced God using the skills you have in a new way?

What changes might the children have experienced in their lives? How might doing something ‘different’ be challenging, and how might it be exciting for them?

Provide the following play materials for very young children throughout the session: toy boats and a water tray.

Worship under Covid-19 restrictions
See the general advice and tips on using ROOTS weekly resources for online worship and children's sessions, which includes specific notes on using this week's children's resources.
Gather

Use the song, prayer and activity to gather the group and introduce the theme. (5 mins)

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

 Gathering song

Sing to the tune: Hickory, dickory, dock

We have a friend we can trust,
who shows us that faith is a must.
When things get tough, and life feels rough,
walk even closer to God. 

Childrens Session

A prayer for others (for children)

We pray, Lord Jesus, for those who need to make decisions today:
give them courage.
We pray for those who long to do something different:
give them hope.
We pray for those who are doing their best to follow you:
give them reassurance.
Amen.

Draw a map of the week W E

 You will need: pens and paper.

  • Ask the children to draw a picture map of their week including school, sports, clubs, days out, time with friends and family.
  • Ask the group if there were any times in the week when they had to quickly change what they were doing, or leave things suddenly to go and do something else. Ask: How does it feel when our plans change?
Share the Word
Childrens Session

Read the story and pause at the  to share these points with the children (see Stop and share below). Then use the activity to explore the passage together. (10 mins)

 

Click on the image to view a PDF.

 

Stop and share

  • Remind the children that John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin.
  • Explain that ‘repent’ means being sorry for what you have done; having a change of heart.
  • Ask the children what they think Jesus meant by ‘fish for people’. Discuss how Jesus was asking the fishermen to invite other people to follow him.

 

Freeze-frame the story    W E

You will need: props to represent nets and boats (optional).

  • Create freeze frames of different key points in the story, asking children to be the different characters.
  • Look together at the freeze frames and notice what is happening. Ask: How do you think the fishermen felt at each point? Look at the end freeze frame. Ask: How do those who have been left behind feel?
Explore and respond

Use these ideas to help the children make connections between the Bible passage and their lives. (20 mins)

Children's Session

Quick response game    E

See how quickly we respond to a signal

You will need: a large cushion, a bell or alarm.

  • Place a large cushion in the middle of the room and play the bell/alarm to the group.
  • Encourage the children to move around the room in different ways, e.g. walk, run, hop. But also ask them to listen for the bell/alarm. When they hear it, the first child to touch the cushion is the winner.
  • Repeat the game to see how quickly the children respond. Revisit the passage; point out that the fishermen responded immediately.

Childrens Session

Make an invitation      W E A

Create something to ask others to follow Jesus

You will need: folded sheets of A5 coloured card, pens, craft materials, stickers, glue.

  • Give each person a folded A5 piece of card. Ask them to write ‘You are invited to follow Jesus. Will you respond?’ on the outside, and on the inside, write ‘R.S.V.P.’ leaving space for people to write (pre-prepare for younger children).
  • Provide everyone with pens, stickers and craft materials. Ask them to make the card look like an invitation to the greatest party.
  • Encourage everyone to take their invitation home and invite the whole family to write their names under the R.S.V.P. if they want to respond to Jesus.

 

Sing

Key to abbreviations for hymn book titles

I’m going to take a step of faith (CPR 87)

Find more suggestions on the Hymns, songs & music page.

 

Talk together and talk to God

Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage and then bring your thoughts together by praying to God.

Talk together

  • Why is it sometimes hard to make decisions and respond immediately?
  • How would you feel being asked to leave lots of things behind as the fishermen did?
  • In what ways do you think we are asked to follow Jesus today?

 

Talk to God: Fish prayers    E S

Make and pray about responding to Jesus

You will need: strips of coloured or patterned paper L10cm x W2cm, scissors, pens.

  • Provide each child with a strip of paper and show them how to cut a slit about 1cm from either end, at opposite sides of the paper. Ask the children to write their name on one side of the paper and fit the slits together to make a fish. If the children hold the fish up and then let it go it should spin as it falls.
  • Ask everyone to stand holding their fish and say the prayer together.
    When you all say ‘Amen’ they can let go of the fish and watch them spin to the ground.

    Pray:
    Jesus, we want to respond when we hear you call our names.
    We want to live our lives with you.
    We want you to be with us.
    Amen. 

 

Activity sheet

Go with God

Consider together what you have explored, what that means for each of you and how it might influence your daily lives. (10 mins)

Childrens Session
  • Place a piece of netting in the centre of the group. Give each child a piece of ribbon. Ask them, in their own time, to come and fix their ribbon to the net.
  • As they do so, ask everyone to think about what they would say to Jesus’ call of ‘Follow me’. Ask: Would you respond immediately, or would you need time to think about it?

 

A sending out prayer for children

When opportunity beckons: be bold.
When Jesus calls: be ready.
When we are asked to do something different: be prepared.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

 

Go with God 24/7

Encourage the children to put their faith into action

What could you do differently to show you are following Jesus? Decide on one thing and respond by making a change.
E A

 

ROOTS at home resource

Before you finish, give out the ROOTS at home resource to encourage faith at home.

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

Sing

To the tune: This old man

As we go, we must show
all the ways God helps us grow.
We’ve a toolkit, stop and think, what would Jesus do?
He’ll always be guiding you!

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Read our Spiritual Styles articles
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