Family faith-sharing tip:
Jesus calls us to disciple our children. We need to be fishermen who attract our children to Jesus, and shepherds who nurture our children’s faith. Make two lists. Write one list of the ways in which you have been a fisherman in the past and some ideas for how you can be a fisherman in the future. Write another list of the ways in which you have shepherded your children, and some of the ways in which you can continue to shepherd your children in the coming year. Pray that Jesus will help you fulfill His Great Commission in your own home.
- Matthew 4:19; John 21:15-17
- Jesus invites us to be His disciples today. Disciples are people who follow and learn from Jesus. They have two special tasks—one is to be fishermen and “catch” other people for Jesus, and one is to be shepherds, who “look after” people for Jesus.
- Scrap magazines, paper, and several old newspapers
- Writing or plain white paper
- Paper clips or other magnetic metal that can clip onto paper
- Magnet tied onto a piece of string
- 2 boxes (pretend fish tank and barn)
- Bowl of water, or something to represent water
- Green cloth or something to represent grass
- Paper glue
- Blue paper or background that looks watery
What you do:
- Cut some magazine pages into 10 fish shapes, attach a paper clip or other magnetic metal to their mouths and put them in the box.
- Cut some white paper into sheep shapes and lay them on the floor.
- In one corner of the room place something to represent water and in another corner something to represent grass. In another corner lay one box on its side—a barn.
- Now you’re ready to begin. Read aloud Matthew 4:19 and tell the children they are catching “fish” for Jesus.
- Invite the children to use the magnet on a string to catch the fish in the box and transfer them to the glass bowl. Each time they catch a fish they must tell the fish something wonderful about Jesus.
- Talk about how this activity is like trying to bring people to Jesus. And how it is not like bringing people to Jesus.
- Now read John 21:15-17 aloud and give each child a newspaper. Have them work together to herd the paper sheep to the grass, then to the water, and finally into their barn. But they must not hit the sheep with the newspaper. They can fan them and hit the ground next to the sheep. But if they hit one sheep they have to take all the sheep back to the starting place and try again.
- How is being a shepherd like—or not like—looking after people and helping them stay close to Jesus? (It takes time, it’s not always easy, need to make sure they have everything they need, they need to be encouraged to go in the right direction, etc.)
- Cut some more simple fish and sheep shapes out of paper if necessary.
- Write the names of people you want to “catch” for Jesus on the fish shapes.
- Write the names of people who need to be nurtured and shepherded on the sheep shapes.
- Stick the fish shapes onto the blue, watery background, and the sheep onto the green, grassy background.
- Take turns praying for the people you have named.
- If the Holy Spirit gives you ideas about how to be a fisherman or shepherd to these people, write them on the paper too.
- Ask God to help you in these special tasks that He has given you to do.