This demonstration helps participants understand that what they do as leaders often communicates much more than what they say.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Everyone stand up.”
- “Take your right hand, and hold it up like this.” (Hold up your right hand about the level of your ear so that everyone can see it.)
- “Now, touch your index finger to your thumb like this.” (Demonstrate what you’ve asked them to do. Your right index finger and thumb should be in a pinching gesture.)
- “Good, hold your fingers like that, and touch your chin.” (Demonstrate the action, but this time, don’t touch your chin with your fingers. Instead, touch your right cheek as you tell them to touch their chins. Most of the participants will model what they see you doing even though you’ve told them to do something different.)
- “Okay, let’s do it again. Take your right hand, pinch your fingers and touch your chin.” (Again, touch your cheek as you do this.)
- “Everyone stop and hold your hand right there.”
- “What are you touching?”
- “Are you touching your chin like I asked you to do, or are you touching your cheek like you saw me do?” (Participants will usually laugh at themselves for making the mistake.)
- “So what can we learn from this activity?” (Responses should include that what people see us doing is a more powerful influencer than what they hear us say. If our actions don’t match our words, they will be more likely to follow our actions.)
Peter was worried about not being able to pay the required tax to the Temple. Jesus knew what was bothering him even before Peter could say anything and told Peter to go fishing, which is what Peter did best. In the mouth of the first fish Peter caught, he found a coin that allowed him to pay the tax for both Jesus and himself. Children will “go fishing” in a pool and try to catch all the fish with coins before they catch too many without coins.
- “Fishing pole” (You can use a simple dowel rod with a string attached and a magnet at the end of the string.)
- Dowel rod
- String (about 3-foot long)
- Strong magnet
- Tape to stick the string to the magnet (unless there is a way to tie them together)
- Children’s plastic pool (the kind toddlers can sit in)
- Flat, toy or paper fish with strong magnets attached (24 total – 8 of which should have coins taped or glued to the bottom)
- Fish (24)
- Magnets (24)
- Coins (8)
- Create the fishing pole.
- Tape magnets to all the fish.
- Tape coins to eight of the fish.
- Place all the fish at the bottom of the pool with the coins on the bottom. Make sure to mix them up so that it won’t be too easy to find the fish with coins. It’s okay for some to overlap.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
· “One day, the tax collectors (the guys like Matthew, one of the apostles) from the Temple came up to Peter and asked, ‘Does your teacher pay the temple tax?’”
· “Peter answered, ‘Of course he does!’ but the truth was, he wasn’t sure.”
· “So he quickly went to see Jesus and ask Him about it.”
· “But before Peter even had a chance to speak, Jesus knew what he was about to ask.”
· “Jesus said, ‘Peter, so that we won’t offend the tax collectors, go down to the lake and throw in a fishing line. Open the mouth of the first fish that you catch, and you will find a coin. Take the coin and pay the tax for both of us.’”
· “So Peter did just as Jesus said.”
· “He went down to the lake and threw in a fishing line.” (Pretend to cast your fishing pole.)
· “Almost immediately, he felt a fish on his line, so he tugged at it as hard as he could and pulled the fish in.” (Pretend to struggle reeling the fish in. Be careful not to accidentally reveal one of the fish with the coin attached to the bottom.)
· “When he opened the fish’s mouth, he found a four-drachma coin! (That’s a coin they used back then.)”
- “That was just enough to pay both Jesus’s and Peter’s tax!”
- “That’s amazing, right!”
- “Well, let’s play a game based on this story.”
- “Here’s how it works.”
- “Each one of you will get three chances with this fishing pole to try to catch a fish with a coin attached.”
- “If you catch a fish without a coin attached, you should put it back into the pool.”
- “If you catch a fish with a coin, you can pull it out.”
- “After three turns, we will let someone else try.”
- “There are eight (8) fish with coins attached.”
- “We will keep fishing until we catch all of them.”
- “The one who catches the most wins.”
- “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions. Then let the children play. The first person to try can be the person with the next birthday. After you’ve played the game, you can use the debrief questions below to reinforce the teaching points.)
- Have you ever caught a fish with a coin in its mouth?
- Why do you think Jesus had Peter go fishing in order to pay the Temple tax for Peter and himself?
- What was Jesus trying to help Peter understand about who Jesus was?
- What should this experience teach Peter about worrying about things?
- What should we do when we are worried about some problem in our lives?