Aim: To become disciples by considering some of Jesus’ first followers. Introduction: Jesus’ followers have always come in all shapes and sizes, have not always been great at listening to him, but all know him for who he is. We can learn a lot from the early followers and we explore their call and lives in these activities. The final activity also makes the ink between following a physical Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit, through using a short game. Taken from the BB Junior Pro Pack S-2-5
• Cones or Chairs
• Blindfolds (at least 2)
Activity 1 - Getting the Call
To think about how the first disciples were called and realise that we must respond to that same calling.
Have another leader briefed on what they must do. le, at a certain time they need to come into the room and just announce that the children should follow them and then leave.
• Play a game of Simple Simon (Simon Says) with the children until you have a winner.
• After the game ask if they always do as they are asked.
• Q. Do you always do what you’re asked?
• Q. If I asked you to run round the building, would you?
• Start reading Matthew 4:18-22. At this point the second leader should enter the room and just announce that the young people should go with them and then leave. See if anyone moves to go and then respond accordingly:
The disciples were called in a similar way. Explain the passage you had been reading. The first disciples were fishermen and they had been at work when Jesus simply said, Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In the same way, the children had been in the middle of devotions when the call to follow had come — Maybe they went, maybe they didn’t Either way, the disciples realised that Jesus was something special and responded to the call to be fishers of men. Jesus makes the same call today — How will you respond?
Activity 2 - Mary Magdalene
To see that Jesus’ followers were a diverse group united by a common faith and intense commitment.
Mary Magdalene travelled with Jesus and was very much one of His followers. She was also there with Jesus at two of the most significant moments in his life: the crucifixion and the resurrection, Explain that you are going to read a short story about Mary and they should listen carefully as there will be a quiz.
Mary grew up in a town called Magdala and had a difficult childhood. She was controlled by evil spirits, but when she met Jesus, the demons became powerless. From that point on she became a follower of Jesus. She was there at the crucifixion, trying to be a comfort to Jesus’ mother. After the crucifixion, Mary went to the tomb where Jesus had been put, but the body was not there. She met an angel who told her that Jesus had risen from the dead. When she returned later that day with the disciples, she saw a man she thought was the gardener and asked where the body had gone. When the man spoke, she realised it was Jesus and she
worshipped at his feet.
Have all the children stand in the middle of the room (you could put a cone down and have them come back and touch it before each question) and explain that it is a True/False quiz and assign opposite walls as true or false. As soon as they know the answer, they should run and touch the wall.
True or False:
• Mary personally knew the disciples (T)
• Mary was Jesus’ sister (F)
• Mary was freed from demons by Jesus (T)
• Mary was from Bethlehem (F)
• Mary was there when Jesus was crucified (T)
• The last time Mary saw Jesus was at the crucifixion (F)
• After the resurrection, Mary thought Jesus was a gardener (T)
Activity 3 - Listening to the Right Voices
To help the young people understand that even though Jesus isn’t physically walking the earth, we can still have a real relationship with a God who guides us.
Set the room up ready for the Blindfold/obstacle game described below.
After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and reassured and encouraged them. He then ascended to heaven to be with his Father. The disciples were obviously sad for losing’ their friend and also concerned about the future, but he had some reassuring words for them.
Play the Blindfold/obstacle Game:
• Divide the children into pairs.
• in each pair, one person should be blindfolded, and the other able to see.
• The room should be set up with a start line and a finish line, and between these two point, obstacles (chairs, cones etc.) placed randomly.
• When you say go, the person who is not blindfolded must guide their partner (by voice only) through the obstacles to the other side.
Reflect on the game a little: Was it easy to hear the person guiding you? Did you confuse their voice with anyone else’s? Explain that the disciples might have felt a little blindfolded after Jesus left. He had been their friend and leader, telling them where to go/how best to live. Suddenly, that voice guiding them had left. Read John 14:15-18. Jesus explained that he was sending them another friend — a counsellor — someone to guide them. They wouldn’t be able to see him, but he would be there guiding.
Explain that God still guides Christians today though, sometimes, we are too busy to hear his voice. As the game got on, it probably became easier to recognise the voice of the person guiding you, as you got used to how it sounded and what they were saying. And so it is with us. The disciples got used to Jesus and recognised his voice, and we can learn to recognise the voice of God as he guides us through prayer, his Word and through other Christians.
For full details see the BB Juniors Pro Pack S2-5