The main objective of this message is to communicate to children that following Jesus is not always easy, but it is worth it. Sometimes we have to let go of things that we enjoy or love. Being a “disciple” means putting Jesus first before anything else. The good news is that we are promised life with Christ is worth it. We might have to leave certain hobbies or practices if they get in the way or our relationship with God. But the love and strength of Jesus give us something way better!
Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus called His disciples, drawing to Himself followers who would help Him in His work and continue to spread His good news. These men didn’t know what would happen by following Jesus, but they were willing to leave their jobs and lives they knew, in order to serve this teacher. In doing so, they gained new life in Him. The disciples were not special because of training or talent, but because they committed to follow the Lord. When we follow Jesus, we can trust that He will provide for us and love us every day of our lives.
Optional Materials: Items that represent a hobby, career, or passion (sporting equipment, a game, sewing tools, magazines, etc.).
Bible Passage: Mark 1:14-20
Message: (Note: adjust to your particular preferences and needs! You might emphasize sports, cooking, playing an instrument, sewing a blanket…use something that will take time, passion, and effort. Make it fun and personal)
More Teaching Ideas for Children’s Ministry
- Watch our video demonstration of this children’s sermon on YouTube
- Watch the demonstration of these craft ideas and Sunday School lesson on Mark 1:14-20
- Compare our preschool Bible lesson on “Fishers of Men”
- Compare the lesson on this passage from rfour.org
Mark 1:14-20 Children’s Sermon: Being a Disciple is Worth It
Greet students, carrying or browsing items of choice
Hello, children of God!
I was just looking over some of my equipment here for one of my favorite things to do… See, I just love… (Here, insert the passionate element you wish to share. It could be a sport, hobby, job, etc. Go into detail about what you are willing to sacrifice in order to pursue your passion. Props are highly encouraged!)
What about you? Do you have any special hobbies or talents you like to participate in? Do you play sports, or cook or sew, or have a group that you’re a part of? (Allow students to share responses.) That’s great! Now, what would you do if someone told you that you had to give up that thing you really enjoy doing, just drop it all of a sudden? You might be a little sad, right? But what if they told you that be letting go of that one hobby you love, you would be really great at doing something different? It might be hard to imagine what could be better than your favorite thing, huh…sometimes we lose our favorite without much choice, actually…but I want to share with you the number one thing we should be focused on. Do you have any idea what it might be??
It’s Jesus! In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus was gathering His group of friends, His disciples. Usually, a disciple (or student) would try to seek out a teacher, but in this case, the teacher was finding His students. Some of the learners Jesus chose were fishermen. Jesus came and found them working, and He told them to follow Him. He told them He would make them fish for people! That sounds a little strange, doesn’t it? But guess what the disciples did… they didn’t ask Jesus to wait for them to finish out their payroll period. They didn’t write a two weeks notice or make a costs/benefits analysis sheet. They didn’t even question what Jesus might have meant about fishing for people. These guys left their fishing gear and their jobs, and went with Jesus. The Bible says they “immediately” left their nets and followed Him.
Now, it’s likely they had heard about this Jesus guy, and knew He was something pretty incredible, someone they’d want to follow. You know, it’s possible they weren’t even that great as fishermen to begin with. But the point is, they left what they had and what they were doing, and they went with Jesus. They didn’t know every detail of what life would look like. They didn’t know this teacher was going to die in a few years, or that almost every one of them would die for their faith in Him. But they knew that following Jesus was the most important thing that they could do. They were willing to take the risk, to set aside their other priorities, and to spend time with the Messiah while they could. They knew it was better and more meaningful than anything else they would do.
So what about us? Do we have to set aside everything else we might do, and not have a career or any hobbies at all, if we want to follow Jesus? No, not necessarily. We need to have jobs, after all, and it’s good for us to pursue activities. But sometimes we might need to make sacrifices. If soccer games are always on Sunday mornings when church happens, you might have to skip a season so you can attend Sunday School. If your job wants you to do something that goes against God’s rules or hurts your family, you might have to seek out a different job. If your hobby is taking up so much time and attention that it takes the place of prayer and worship, it might be time to set that aside. We need to put Jesus in the top spot in our lives. We need to be willing to let go of some things, so that we can serve Him wholeheartedly. And you know what? It’s worth it! Life with Jesus is better than anything else we can do or even imagine. Following Him isn’t always easy, but it brings us true joy and peace and everlasting life. Jesus promises to be with us and to provide for us. He uses us to share His love and good news. So trust in Him. Trust in His word, and be ready to obey and serve Him, whatever it might take. It’s worth it!
Children’s Prayer Moment:
(Have kids repeat each line, if desired)
Thank you for your Word, the Bible
Help us to understand and follow it
Help us to follow Jesus
Even when it is difficult
Thank you for being with us no matter what
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
Thank you for Jesus
In His name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference: Mark 1:14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
–Mark 1:14-20 ESV