This session is the first in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included in the mix. The activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able.
This first session explores the way Jesus called his first disciples; ‘come, follow me,’ and how He calls each of us today to follow, from the very young to the very old. In this session, we explore what we mean by the word ‘disciple’ and what it means for us to follow Jesus, whatever our age, experience or stage in a journey of faith, discussing real life situations and experiences.
Where possible, begin the time together with a shared meal, or if this is not possible, some light refreshments. Use this time to build friendships and get to know one another better. Talk about your experiences from the past week. Use this time to introduce an all-age atmosphere, by gathering all members together in a shared time of food and friendship.
Give each member of the group a small lump of clay or playdough, or a few pipe cleaners if you prefer. Ask them to think about what the word ‘disciple’ means to them. Using the materials provided, they should take a few moments to create a shape, image or word which best represents what they first think of when they hear the word ‘disciple.’ Encourage the group that there is no wrong answer here, this is simply about looking together at some of the different ideas and images we hold in this group.
As they complete their simple model, gather them together in the centre of the group and discuss some of the different images here. Use this time to encourage one another and share how each of the different models help us to get a different insight into what it means to be a disciple.
Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read together Luke 5:1-11. Glance back together at the previous chapters and note how at this point Jesus has recently begun His ministry, following the time He spent being tempted in the desert. He was already making a name for Himself, speaking in the synagogue, where He was rejected, driving out evil spirits and healing the sick. As this passage begins, we can see that a crowd had gathered, wanting to hear what Jesus wanted to say.
Provide a story basket with toy boats and blue scarves to represent the water. You could also offer a selection of children’s picture book Bibles, as well as a magnetic fishing game, perhaps.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate. Be intentional about including all ages in this time of discussion, so far as you are able, rather than expecting them to listen quietly while the adults talk. If the children should drift away as the discussion continues, gather them back together at the end to join together in the praise and prayer sessions.
Some groups may be ready to go deeper in their study, in which case look together at Luke 5:27-28, and discuss:
Some groups enjoy a time of shared sung praise together, whilst for others this is not helpful. Treat this time as optional, depending upon the needs of your group. For younger children, this can be a great time for joining together with the adults in praise, perhaps using percussion instruments, scarves or ribbons as you sing.
Some song suggestions for this session include:
Provide paper and pens and invite everyone to draw around their foot or shoe, before cutting out their foot shape. Ask everyone to pause and be very still, and to think about where they are at on their discipleship journey. Perhaps they are in the crowd, listening to what Jesus has to say? Have you said yes to following Jesus? What might be the next step He is calling you to make. Either hold onto your foot shape as you pray this through quietly, or write a word or a prayer, or draw a picture on your shape to represent this. Gather the foot shapes together in the centre of the group to pray for everyone gathered that they would hear Jesus’ invitation to follow and be courageous in saying yes to Him.
With the one another’s consent, invite each member of the group to take home a model created by someone else which has resonated with them this session, or helped them to have a different, better understanding of what it means to be a disciple. Encourage the group to display these somewhere at home this week, where they can see it as they think about their own walk of discipleship right now.