Follow the Leader (LESSON)



30 minutes



This lesson teaches about what’s it’s like to be on Jesus’ team.  When you are on a team, you do what you see your leader doing.  Peter didn’t always follow the leader very well, and Jesus had to go after him several times to get Peter to stay on the team.



John 1:35-51; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-25



  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Follow the Leader – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles and one for you to wear as the leader.)
  • Safety pins (13)
  • Costume for Peter character (“Petey”) – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – a robe, possibly with a sash of some sort to go over one shoulder.  Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: 13 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)
  • OPTIONAL: Costumes for Andrew, James and John characters – tunics with a belt (I’ve used just a piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for the actor’s head to slip through and another strip of the same fabric for a belt.) Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: Something like a net that “Petey” can cast during the drama scenes.
  • OPTIONAL: Something to act like a boat for the drama scenes.



  • Print 13 copies of the “Fishers of Men” logos (preferably in color).
  • Make 13 “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.)
  • Put on your own ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt or logo.
  • Select a volunteer to play “Petey” (someone who can do some extemporaneous acting), and have them get in costume.  They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share teaching notes with volunteer so that he knows how he should respond during the lesson.
  • Select volunteers to play Jesus, James, John and Andrew, and have them get in costume.  (Because they are not speaking parts, you could use the same volunteers who come up to be Fishers of Men to play the roles of James, John and Andrew.) They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share the general teaching plan so that they will know when to listen for your cues and what to do.




Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “When Jesus was doing His ministry on earth, He put together a team of twelve apostles.”
  • “These twelve men followed Him everywhere He went and learned all they could from Him.”
  • “Then, when Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven, these men continued His work.”
  • “They did incredible things, like helping thousands of people to know Jesus, healing the sick, curing the lame and raising the dead to life!”
  • “Not everyone knows this, but Jesus is still putting His team together today!  And He wants you on it!”
  • “Let’s talk about what it means to be on Jesus’ team.” (Ask for 12 volunteers to come forward, and have them all put on a ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt (or pin the logo to the shirt they have on).)
  • Let’s say that I’m like Jesus, and these people are my followers.”
  • “Together, we make up a team called the ‘Fishers of Men.’”
  • “A follower is someone who does what he sees his leader doing, so I want you guys (addressing your volunteers) to do exactly what you see me doing.”  (Walk around the room in a funny way with exaggerated movements.  Make sure your volunteers mimic what they see you doing.)
  • “Now, if you saw all of us walking down the street like this, would it be hard to tell that we were together?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Could you tell that these guys were my followers?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not hard, right, because they are doing exactly what they see me doing.”
  • “These are really good followers.”  (Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “So, if we want to be on Jesus’ team, what should we be doing?”  (Expected response: “What we see Him doing.”)
  • “And what do we see Jesus doing in the Bible?”  (Expected responses: “Helping people, praying, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, telling people about God…”)
  • “Some of those things would be pretty difficult for us to do, but we could ask God to do them for us.  If He thinks it’s the best thing to do, He will do it when we ask Him to.”
  • “But even if He doesn’t lead us to do some of the really difficult stuff, I bet there are some easier things He did that He would also like us to do.  What do you think those things are?”  (Expected responses: “What we see Him doing.  Praying, helping people, telling people about God…”)
  • “Exactly!  If we are on Jesus’ team, we should be doing those things that we see Him doing in Scripture.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “You’ve got it!”
  • “But you know what?  Peter didn’t get it.”
  • “You know what Peter did after he first met Jesus?  After he saw Jesus turn water into wine and heal many people, including the son of a royal official?  And after he saw Jesus walk right through an angry mob that wanted to throw Him off a cliff? You know what Peter did then?”
  • “He went back to fishing!  Can you believe it?” (Have your “Petey” volunteer walk across the front of the room, dressed in fishing hat and vest with a pole and tackle box.)
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’”  (Have everyone ask out loud. Petey should say, “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  Don’t you remember that your brother Andrew introduced you to Jesus and told you that He was the Messiah?”  (OPTIONAL: Have a volunteer read John 1:41-42.)
  • (Petey should say, “Uh….well, yeah.  I do seem to remember that.”)
  • “And do you remember when Jesus gave you that cool new name that meant, ‘The Rock?’”
  • (Petey should say, “Yeah, that’s why you’re calling me Petey.”  (To kids)  “I used to be called Simon.  It meant, “to listen and obey,” but I’ve never been very good at that.  Jesus named me “Peter,” – “the ROCK!”)
  • “And do you remember all the cool miracles Jesus did?”
  • (Petey: “Yeah!  Those were cool!”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  Have him pretend to go fishing nearby.)
  • “Peter was definitely not doing what he saw his Leader do.”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Yep, Jesus went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  He should come back through room with “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew fishing, and he said to them ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (You can have your Jesus actor say this if you want.  It’s from Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18. Then have “Petey” and “Andrew” follow “Jesus” out of the room.)
  • “Without another word, Peter and Andrew got up and followed Jesus, and so did their friends James and John, who were also fishermen.” (Have “James” and “John” already sitting somewhere in the room.  At this point, they get up and follow the others out of the room.)
  • “And it’s a good thing they did!  They saw some cool stuff!”
  • “Jesus taught many people about God, cast out demons and healed people of all kinds of diseases.  He even healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever.” (Have “Petey” return and walk back through the room alone with his fishing gear.)
  • “Hey, kids!  There he is again!”
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’” (Have everyone ask out loud.)
  • (Petey should say: “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  How could you be going fishing again after all you’ve seen Jesus do?  Don’t you remember everything He taught you and all the cool miracles?”
  • (Petey: “Yep!  I remember.”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  He should join the Andrew character, who should return and pretend to be cleaning nets.)
  • “Peter’s still not doing what he sees his Leader doing!”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?”  (Expected response: “Went after him.”)
  • “Yep, He went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  All actors should be in the room at this point, but they shouldn’t be in one group.  “Petey” and “Andrew” should be together; “James” and “John” should be together but in a different corner of the room; “Jesus” should come in last and stand near to “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew washing their nets by the lake.” (Luke 5:1-11 – Have all the fishermen act like they are cleaning their nets.  From here on, they should act out whatever you say.)
  • “By now, a huge crowd followed Jesus everywhere He went, and they were at the lake wanting to hear more of what Jesus was telling them.”
  • “Jesus knew that they could hear Him better if He went out onto the water of the lake, so He got in Peter’s and Andrew’s boat and asked them to push out a little from the shore.”  (Have actors act this out.)
  • “From there, He sat down and taught the people many things.”
  • “When He finished, he turned to Peter, and He told him to go into the deep water and put his nets back in.”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.”)
  • “Peter was frustrated.  He was tired.  He had worked all night long with no sleep and no fish.”
  • “And now, Jesus is trying to tell him how to do his job.”
  • “Jesus wasn’t a fisherman.  He grew up doing what He saw His earthly father doing, and that was carpentry.”
  • “So, Peter had a decision to make right there.”
  • “Was he going to trust his own experience as an expert fisherman, or was he going to trust Jesus?”
  • “What do you think he did?”  (Expected response: “Trusted Jesus!”)
  • “Yes!  He trusted Jesus!”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.  But because You asked me to do it, I’ll let down the nets again.”)
  • “So Peter and Andrew rowed out to the deep water, and they let down the nets over the side of the boat.”  (Have Petey toss something like a net onto the audience if you have it.  He should then mimic pulling in a huge catch of fish.)
  • (Petey: “Fish!  We’ve caught fish!  ….And there are hundreds of them!  And big!  The nets are starting to break!  James!  John!  Hurry!  Bring your boat over here to help us!”)
  • “James and John, who were Peter’s and Andrew’s partners in the fishing business, quickly came over to help.”
  • “Together, they pulled in so many fish that both boats were completely full of them, and the boats were so heavy that they almost sank in the water!”
  • “When Peter saw this, he fell on his knees and said to Jesus…”
  • (“Petey”: “Go away from me, Lord.  I am a sinful man!”)
  • “You see, Peter was suddenly reminded of exactly Who Jesus was!”
  • “Andrew had told him before that Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One Who came to save people from their sins.”
  • “Peter had forgotten, but now he remembered!  And even though he probably didn’t yet realize that Jesus is God, he did realize that a righteous man of God was in his boat.”
  • “Jesus’ righteousness compared to Peter’s sinfulness made Peter feel unworthy to even have Jesus in his boat.”
  • “But Jesus told Peter not to be afraid because he would catch men rather than fish from that moment forward.”
  • “So Peter and Andrew, James and John rowed into shore, got out of their boats and left everything behind to follow Jesus.”  (Actors exit.)
  • “You mean, they left all those fish?  Those fish were worth more money than they had ever made in a day – maybe in a week or even in a month!”
  • “But they left them.  The Bible says that they left everything!”
  • “You see, Jesus had very important work for these men to do, and Peter’s job was going to be the most important.”
  • “Jesus wanted Peter to be the leader, so He tested Peter to see if he was ready.”
  • “In fact, Jesus tested Peter three times on this fishing trip.”
  • “The first time was when Jesus asked to use Peter’s and Andrew’s boat.  Jesus wanted to see if these tired fishermen were willing to do something for Him just because He asked.”
  • “The second test was when Jesus asked Peter to let down his nets.  This was a test of Peter’s faith.”
  • “The third test was when Peter and his friends caught the biggest catch of fish in their lifetime.  This was a test of Peter’s heart.”
  • “Jesus wanted to know if Peter would be satisfied with a miracle or if he wanted the Miracle-Maker.”
  • “Peter chose the Miracle-Maker, and he left that incredible catch of fish behind to go and be a fisher of men.”
  • “And I’m happy to say that from that day on, with only one exception (after Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter went back to fishing), Peter started doing what he saw his Leader doing.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “Touch as many people as you can and say, ‘I’m gonna be a fisher of men!’”  (You may want to have the group recite the following rhyme to reinforce the lesson.)


Rhyme Time

I follow my Leader;

I do what He does.

I’m a fisher of men,

And I catch with God’s love.


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Filed under Apostles, discipleship, Jesus, Lesson, Obedience, Peter

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