Every day, a special job to do: Jesus sets goals for his new disciples
The SEAL theme suggested for the first half of the Spring Term is 'Going for Goals'. Jesus knew what his work was and he invited others to join him in bringing in God's rule. The first disciples discovered a new goal for their everyday lives, and this resource encourages children equally to discover who God wants them to be, and what work he has for them to do each day.
Use a pupil-friendly retelling of this Bible story from Mark 1:14-20.
You will also need some netting to represent the fishing nets in the hands of the fisherman, a freestanding signpost that can be moved to point in two directions with signs to hang from it for 'The Market' and 'The Sea of Galilee'.
Also have ready a child's school bag with a pencil, a lunch box and a book inside.
Finally you need a mini football goal or basketball net.
1. Invite the children in the assembly to mime with you your usual morning routine: waking up (yawning and stretching), washing your face (hands over face), getting dressed (mime putting on clothes), combing hair, having breakfast (add in some colourful details of your favourite cereal and so on), having a drink, brushing your teeth, driving/cycling/walking to work, arriving in school to a new day. End with a big sigh!
2. Most of us have routines to help us get the day going. We need these patterns to life to give shape to our living. Without them life could fall apart. But just getting from bed to school isn't enough reason for me to live every day. I need a goal!
3. Produce a mini football or basketball net. We all need something to aim at. It's the way we're made. If we don't have goals, then all we do becomes pointless, like trying to play the game of football without any goals or play basketball without a net.
4. Christians believe that God has given us goals to aim at. In fact there are two big goals:
to love God and to love other people.
That's why God made us.
Let's hear how Jesus reminded some fisherman by the lake once that there is a bigger reason for living each day than just catching fish. He invited them to join his special group of friends.
5. Read the story.
6. Now invite some children to come up and join you at the front to act out the story of the fishermen's routines. Give them some netting to hold to help them with the mime. Their typical day might include: packing the boat with a net, rowing the boat out to sea, casting the net, waiting and looking, pulling in the net, sorting the fish, rowing back to land, unpacking the fish and the net, taking it to the market and then sitting and mending nets.
7. This would be each day's routine! Use the freestanding sign to point first in one direction to 'The Sea of Galilee' and then in the other direction to 'The Market'. Move it back and forth in each direction again and again and again. Boring! And maybe these fishermen had become bored and were looking for something more when Jesus came.
He told them there was a bigger goal for their lives. It was to go and tell other people about God's love.
It will be like fishing, but this time it would be fishing for people so they could be caught in the net of God's love. These fishermen had a new goal for each day. They joined the group of Jesus' friends. Peter and Andrew, James and John were the first of his disciples.
8. And their new goal had a link to their old routine. It can be same with us.
Produce from a child's school bag several items which are used for life at school but which also have a link to a bigger purpose just like the nets did for the disciples.
Here is a pencil. It could be used to do your work in class but also to write a letter or draw a picture to encourage someone and share God's love.
Here is a lunch box. It will be used of course to feed us but we might feel we can share a bit with someone else as a way of showing God's love.
Here is a book. It can of course help us to learn to read but it can also give us a way of sharing a story with someone and so share God's love.
9. God's big goal for all of us is to love God and to pass on God's love to others. This can change everything we do. It gives us a real goal every day.
10. Hold up the nets or project a picture of a net with the following reflective questions caught in it, for a time of quiet and prayer:
I wonder why Peter, Andrew, James and John decided to follow Jesus?
I wonder how they felt when they left their fishing life to do some fishing for God instead?
I wonder how I can share God's love with other people today?
I wonder what things I have in my life that I can use not just for me but for others?
Jesus called his disciples to follow him.
Christians still follow Jesus today and share God's love in all sorts of ways.
1. Sit the class in a circle and invite everyone to participate in a warm-up mime of the children's own routines in the mornings before they come to school, taking suggestions for various activities from the children.
2. Put down various objects in the middle of your circle. How could these be used to help you to care for others and not just for yourself?
- a mobile phone
- a blank sheet of paper and pencil
- a postcard
- a bag of sweets
- a book
- a fold-up umbrella
- a box of tissues
Talk about the ways we can share good things with others as a goal for each day.
3. There are all sorts of goals we could set ourselves every day. In small groups talk about the following possible goals. Which ones do they like best and why?
- to learn a new word
- to make new friends
- to make someone laugh
- to be kind to someone you don't normally get on with
- to avoid losing your temper
- to listen when someone is speaking
- to wait patiently in a queue
- to smile more often
- to follow instructions more carefully
- to try your best in everything you do
- to try a new skill
4. But how can we know whether we've reached these goals?
Talk about how goals might be recorded in some way.
Jesus' goal was to spread God's rule everywhere, and where God ruled things changed for the better. Is this a clue to knowing whether our goals have been achieved? At the end of today's story crowds of people were coming close to Jesus and his friends. Things were changing for the better!
5. On the outline of a football goal or a basketball net invite the children to write or draw something that they want to make their goal this coming week. Talk about their choices and make a class display of their goals within a larger goal framework.