Explore and respond
Activities marked with an asterisk next to the activity title are in addition to the resources in the Ready to go sessions. Suggested timings for these activities are also shown. NB The inclusion of additional activities varies from week to week.
VERY YOUNG CHILDREN
Follow the leader
Play and explore watching and following
Play ‘Simon says’ where the children have to follow the leader. Lead some actions relating to the story, e.g. fishing.
Fish and people
Create a display of what Jesus asks us to fish for
Provide card fish and people shapes for each child to decorate with collage materials. Use these to create a display, in a large net.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Do something different game 10 mins E
Explore what risks we are willing to take
- Ask the group to line up along one wall facing into the room. Explain that you are going to ask a series of questions to see if they would take the risk and respond with a ‘yes’. If they would, they should take a step forward.
- Questions could include: Would you…? try a new food; learn a new sport; dive off a diving board; go on a protest; move to a different school; abseil; start a new activity; live in a different country? When individuals step forward, ask them what the risks might be.
- Finish by asking: Would you respond and say ‘yes’ to Jesus? Talk about what the risks of following Jesus might be.
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Make newspaper fish 5 mins W E
Think about what it means to ‘fish for people’
You will need: newspapers, watch/countdown timer, prize for winning team (Haribo™ freaky fish would be ideal!), pens.
- Divide the group into two teams. Give each team a newspaper and challenge them to make as many fish as they can in two minutes, by ripping up the newspaper. Award a prize to the winning team. NB You may want to save these fish for the prayer activity.
- Explain that Simon and Andrew were catching fish when they first met Jesus, and he invited them to fish for people which changed their lives for ever. Ask: Would you have responded so quickly to this invitation?
Social media followers 10 mins W E
Consider the cost – and reward – of being a disciple
You will need: access to the internet.
- Do an internet search for the celebrities with the most Instagram followers. Display or print pictures of the top 10 without their names and rank. Invite the young people to name the celebrities and put them in order, from the lowest to highest number of followers.
- Have a conversation with the group about who the celebrities are using some of these questions: Would you follow them? Why/why not? What does it mean to follow someone on social media? What would you have to give up/change to be a follower? What is the benefit of being one of their followers?
Fish prayers 10 mins E S
Pray for those who we would like to follow Jesus
You will need: paper fish or fish from Make newspaper fish.
- Give out the ‘fish’ and ask the young people to write names on them, either their own or someone they know who they would like to follow Jesus. Put the fish in a net and ask each person to pull out one each (not one they wrote).
- Invite the young people to hold the fish and pray for each of the people. They can keep them as a reminder to pray for this person through the week.
Check-in: Connecting faith with everyday, real-life issues
Last one’s out 5 mins E
Consider situations where we must make a quick decision
You will need: music and equipment to play it.
- Play some music and invite the group to move around the room. When the music stops, the last person to sit down is ‘out’.
- Explain that sometimes we must respond quickly, and if you hesitate, you lose! Explain that in today’s session we see how the disciples followed Jesus straight away. Ask the group why the disciples might have followed Jesus immediately. What was it about Jesus that made them want to follow him?