Not a Dream Team (LESSON)



30 minutes



This lesson teaches about Jesus calling the apostles to join Him in the work of building the Kingdom of God.  The people He chose were not the people others would have chosen; they were not considered the “best” people in His day.  Some of them were actually considered “terrible” people or the “worst” people, but Jesus had a plan to use them in a way that everyone would know had to be done by God alone.



Mark 1:16-20, 3:13-19



  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Not a Dream Team – Slide” (Shows all the apostle faces in case you want to project them.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Apostle Faces and Signs” (Props for each of the volunteers to hold as you introduce the apostles.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Best-Worst People Signs” (Signs for each of the people groups mentioned in the lesson.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles.)
  • Paint stir sticks or large Popsicle sticks (32)
  • Paper plates (32)
  • Glue
  • Safety pins (12)
  • Clothesline or rope
  • Clothespins
  • OPTIONAL – 12 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)



  • Print apostle face pictures and signs, best-worst people signs, and fishers of men logos.
  • Create face and people group signs. (Glue pictures to paper plates and then to paint stir sticks to make handles.)
  • Make 12 “Fishers of Men” t-shirts by pinning the logos to the white shirts.  (If you don’t use the undershirts, you can just pin the logos on the shirts of the volunteers during the lesson.)
  • String rope across the teaching area at eye level or a little above, and attach the clothespins so that you’ll have them ready.



  • “When it was time for Jesus’ ministry here on earth, He went out and picked a team.”
  • “How many of you have ever played games before where you had to pick teams?” (Acknowledge show of hands.)
  • “Who do you always want on your team?”  (Expected answer: the best, the most talented)
  • “Right!  But Jesus didn’t think that way.”
  • “He wasn’t looking for the best or the most talented or even the best looking or the people with the most money; He was looking for those who would give their whole hearts to Him.
  • “Now, I’ve got to tell you something up front.  In Jesus’ day, people had opinions about what type of people were good and what type of people were bad.”  (Clip “Good People” and “Bad People” signs to the clothesline on opposite ends.)
  • “Good people were thought to be closer to God.” (Clip “God” sign on the other side of the “Good People” sign.  Ask for 11 volunteers to come to the front, and hand them two people-group signs each (some will only receive one – see below for which ones to give each person.)  Then, introduce them in the following order.
    • Volunteer 1 – Priests and Levites
    • Volunteer 2 – Prophets and Rabbis
    • Volunteer 3 – Fishermen and Women
    • Volunteer 4 – Gentiles and Pig Farmers
    • Volunteer 5 – Romans and Herodians
    • Volunteer 6 – Tax Collectors and Lepers
    • Volunteer 7 – Samaritans and Zealots
    • Volunteer 8 – Chief Priest and Sadducees
    • Volunteer 9 – Pharisees
    • Volunteer 10 – Scribes and Teachers of the Law
    • Volunteer 11 – Jesus)
  • “So, who where the good people?”
  • “Well, there were Priests, and the Levites.  These were people who served God in His Temple.”  (Have volunteer with these two signs hold them up so that they can be seen.  Position him/her under “Good People” sign.)
  • “And then there were Prophets and Rabbis.  They were men who brought God’s Word to the people.”  (Position under “Good People.”)
  • “Fishermen and Women weren’t considered Good People, but they weren’t exactly bad people, either.   They were more like Unimportant People, so we will put them in the middle between Good and Bad.”  (Position in the middle.)
  •  “I’m sorry to say, girls, that Women were not always considered to be very good people.  The men sometimes treated them badly.”
  • “Then there were the ‘Bad People.’”
  • “Anyone who wasn’t a Jew was considered a Gentile, and these people were generally thought to be ‘Bad People.’” (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “Pig Farmers were also considered to be among the “Bad People,” because eating pig was against the Jewish religion.”
  • “The Romans were soldiers and leaders from Rome who ruled over the Jews, and the Herodians were people who followed King Herod.  King Herod was King of the Jews, but he was a really bad one. (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “So we have the Good People and the Bad People, but there were others who didn’t fit in either of these groups.”
  • “For example, the tax collectors.  Among the Jews, few were hated as much as tax collectors, who regularly charged the people lots of money to pay to Rome but then also kept large amounts for themselves.”
  • “For tax collectors, the Jews had a special group.”  (Clip “The Worst People” sign on the other side of “Bad People,” and have volunteer stand under it.)
  • “They really didn’t like tax collectors!”
  • “With the tax collectors, the Jews would usually include Lepers, people with contagious skin diseases.  People were afraid of them, so they made them live together in caves and other lonely places.
  • “And there was a group of people called Samaritans that Jews really hated.  Samaritans had been Jews long ago, but they married with people who weren’t Jewish and who worshipped other gods, gods who weren’t real.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • “And the Zealots! They were a group that wanted to kick the Romans out of Israel, which sounds good.  But most of the Jews were afraid of them because they were so violent, and they didn’t like them because they caused the Jews trouble with the Romans.”
  • “Then there were the rich and powerful people. They thought they deserved a new group.”  (Put up sign that says, “The Best People,” between “God” and “Good People.”)
  • “The most powerful person was the Chief Priest. He was the leader of all the priests.” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “The ‘Best People’ also included a group called the Sadducees.
  • “They didn’t believe in Jesus or life after death, so they were ‘sad, you see.’”
  • “Then, there was a group called the Pharisees.
  • “They were always trying to trick Jesus, and they didn’t play ‘fair I see.’”
  • “These people were made up of powerful priests, who said that they believed in God but really just wanted more power and more money for themselves.  Even so, they were considered the ‘Best People.’” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “There were groups, called the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law.  They were teachers who studied and copied the Law, which is God’s Word. (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “So where do you think Jesus would have gone based on the opinions of the day?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • Jesus was considered to be either a prophet or a rabbi, so he started in the “Good People” group.”  (Position in “Good People.”)
  • “But by the end of His life, the rich and powerful people hated Him, because He would also tell them to stop doing the bad things they were doing.”
  • “They thought He was one of the ‘Worst People’ and worthy of death.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • So, this is what things were like while Jesus was putting together His team.”
  • “If He was going to put together a ‘Dream Team,’ which groups of people do you think He would go to?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “Right!  I think He would make a Dream Team out of the ‘Best People,’ but that’s not what He did.”
  • “Let me tell you about the team Jesus put together.” 
  • “Jesus selected a team and told them that they were the ‘Fishers of Men.’ They are a very special team – a team selected specifically by Jesus to take the Good News about Him to the world.” (As you select these team members, put a “Fishers of Men” t-shirt or pin a logo on each one of them.)
  • “There was Andrew – he was the first to come to Jesus; he was stinky fisherman #1.” (Go to your “Fisherman and Women” volunteer, and trade the Andrew sign and face for the signs he/she is holding.  Separate this volunteer from the group a little.)
  • “Simon-Peter” (Ask for a volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Simon-Peter sign and face and stand next to Andrew.)
  • “Andrew’s brother and stinky fisherman #2.  He has two names, because he can’t decide what he wants to be.  Simon means “listening and obeying,” but Simon-Peter spent too much time talking to listen.  Peter means “rock.”  He wanted to be a rock for the Lord, but when he was tested, he failed, and they say he would start to cry about his failure anytime anyone mentioned it. (Ask for two more volunteers from the audience, and give them the James the Greater and John signs and faces.)
  • “James (the Greater) and John – brothers and stinky fishermen #3 and #4.  They were hot-heads, who once offered to call lightning down from heaven to destroy a village.  They were always arguing about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder!”
  • “This one will surprise you!” (Go to your Tax Collector volunteer and trade him/her their signs for the Matthew sign and face.)
  • “Matthew – a tax collector!  One of the people the Jews hated the most!” (Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the James the Less sign and face.)
  • “Then there was James (the Less) – he was probably Matthew’s brother.  Being brother to a tax collector didn’t get you invited to parties.  They even called him,

‘James, the Less.’  Ouch!” (Ask for another volunteer, and give him/her the Philip sign and face.)

  • “Philip – he was a little slow and always had to be reminded who Jesus was and what He could do.” (Call for two volunteers from the audience, and give them the Bartholomew and Thaddaeus signs and faces.)
  • “Bartholomew and Thaddaeus – Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH? These guys are only mentioned when they join the team.  Other than that, we don’t really know anything about them.”  (Hand two volunteers signs that say Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH?, Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Thomas sign and face.)
  • “Thomas – he’s become known as “Doubting Thomas,” because he refused to believe Jesus rose from the dead until he personally saw Jesus alive and touched Jesus’ nail scars.”
  • “Here’s another surprising one!” (Go to your Zealot volunteer, and trade him/her the Simon the Zealot sign and face.)
  • “Simon – known as ‘The Zealot.’ Simon was another hot-head.  Remember, the Zealots were always fighting against the Romans, and they made everyone nervous.  He would have hated being on the same team as a tax collector, who stole money from Jewish people.” (Ask for one more volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Judas sign and face.) 
  • “Judas – he was the strangest person for Jesus to pick for His team, because Jesus knew that Judas wasn’t loyal.  Jesus knew that Judas was greedy and that he would one day sell him to the religious leaders and betray him with a kiss, but Jesus invited him to join the team anyway.
  • So what do you think of that team?  Definitely not a ‘Dream Team’ for Jesus.  We’ve got four fishermen (basically, unimportant people), a tax collector and a zealot – two of the ‘Worst People’ and a bunch of others that were most likely shepherds, tanners, and carpenters – just ordinary, unimportant people.”
  • “And even beyond the apostles, the others that were close to Jesus were often women and what the religious leaders would call ‘sinners.’
  • “He didn’t choose ‘The Best People’ or even who most would call ‘The Good People.’  He chose those others would say were not worth having.” 
  • “This is one of the reasons that the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Chief Priest, the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law got so frustrated with Jesus.”
  • “He didn’t play by the rules.”
  • “He didn’t set up a team with powerful and rich people.  He surrounded Himself with simple, unimpressive people.”
  • “They certainly weren’t a dream team, but Jesus made them into the Fishers of Men.”
  • “Jesus had a plan, and these were the perfect guys to help Him with it!”
  • “You see, Jesus didn’t put people in categories like ‘Bad People’ and ‘Good People’ or ‘Best People’ and ‘Worst People.’”
  • “He only has two categories: ‘God’s People’ and ‘Not God’s People.’”  (Remove the other signs from the rope (except the God sign), and replace them with the signs for “God’s People” and “Not God’s People.”)
  • “Those who love God and do what He says are God’s People, and they are very close to God.”  (Move all the Fishers of Men (the Apostles) over to the God’s People side.)
  • “Those who don’t love God and don’t do what He says are Not God’s People, and they are very far from God.” (Move everyone else over to the Not God’s People side.)
  • “God works very hard all throughout their lives to get them to come over to God’s People.” (Pick a few of the volunteers from any people group, and move them over to the God’s People side.)
  • “He tries to show His love to them, and He sends some of God’s People to them to help them know how He feels about them.) (Have some of the God’s People volunteers go and bring some of the Not God’s People volunteers back to their side.)
  • “But sometimes they just don’t want to come.” (Have a few of the Not God’s People resist and stay where they are.)
  • “Sometimes they feel like God couldn’t love a Bad Person like them, or sometimes they think they are the Worst type of Person and that God is terribly angry with them.”
  • “But it isn’t true!  God loves everyone one of us, no matter what we’ve done.”
  • “He doesn’t expect us to try to be a Good or Best Person to join His team.”
  • “He’s not looking for a Dream Team.  He just wants us to love Him and do what He says.”
  • “If we will just follow Him, we will get to be Fishers of Men, too!” (Thank your volunteers, and let them all take a seat.  To reinforce the lesson, you might want to have the group repeat the Rhyme Time below a few times.)



Rhyme Time

I may not be the best;

I may not be a dream.

But even when I’m messing up,

Jesus wants me on His Team!


1 Comment

Filed under Apostles, Body of Christ, Disciples, Jesus, Lesson

One response to “Not a Dream Team (LESSON)

  1. wow you did a great job with this, i bet it took a lot of time and effort

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