Have a large rope or a really big net if you have one and spread it on the ground where you want the children to gather. Invite them to sit on the net or in the circle of the rope. That might mean that they will have to get cozy! Be sure to sit with them on the net or within the rope.
Say, “Today’s Bible story is kinda interesting isn’t it? The disciples go fishing as they are probably hungry. They don’t catch anything at all, all night despite being life-long fishermen. Suddenly a stranger on the shore yells out to them, “Hey put your nets on the other side!” It worked!!! They had so many fish that it nearly broke their nets! They realized that the stranger was Jesus! They went back to shore and Jesus had breakfast of fish and bread waiting for them. Do you remember another story of fish and bread with Jesus and the disciples? Yes, he fed 5,000 people with two fish and 5 loaves of bread! Jesus sure likes fish and bread! Then Jesus says something strange to Peter after breakfast: Jesus asks him three times if Peter loves him. What did Peter answer? Yes! Of course he loves Jesus! Then Jesus tells him to “Feed his sheep.” Now Jesus didn’t own sheep, but we call Jesus the good Shepherd who takes care of us and so Jesus told Peter that if he loves Jesus to care for those who Jesus takes care of-everyone!
Ask them, “Do you love Jesus?” (Hopefully they will say yes, but be prepared!) “I love Jesus too! So what should we do? Yes, take care of everyone whom Jesus would take care of-the whole world! Jesus gathers us all as his sheep or his people, just like the disciples gathered all of those fish in their nets. Jesus “caught” the disciples with his love and we are to “catch” everyone with the love of Jesus too! If they need food, feed them, if they need clothes, clothe them, if they need shelter, house them, if they are lonely, visit them, if they feel unloved, LOVE THEM!
Have a large net hanging on a wall or on a large table with simple cut out of fish (one for everyone in worship) and some pens and markers. Invite people to write on the fish who “caught” them (or showed them) with the love of Jesus in their lives. Invite people to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those people in our lives!
Jesus, you know that we love you. We don’t always show that perfectly to the world, but you are with us and love us so that each day we can try anew. Thank you for sending people to catch us in your love and may we catch everyone we meet in your love too! Amen!