Here’s a free youth group lesson on being fishers of men, based on Matthew 4:18-20 and Matthew 28:19-20.

We all have a desire deep inside of us to be a part of something more—something bigger than ourselves. Jesus offers this opportunity when we share his message with others. 

This free lesson, which includes a fun opening game, encourages students to write out their Jesus story and share it with others.

Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

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YOUTH GROUP LESSON – FISHERS OF MEN

Bible: Matthew 4:18-20; Matthew 28:19-20

Bottom Line: We are called to tell others about Jesus!

OPENING GAME: JUST A MINUTE

Game Supplies:

  • Small pieces of paper
  • A pen
  • Optional: prize for winner (candy, $5 gift card, etc.)

Game Setup: 

Before youth group, write out random topics on small pieces of paper. 

It could be silly things like “Taco Bell vs. Chick-fil-A,” “Mint flavored ice cream,” or “Toilet Paper.”

You could even throw in some popular music artists to make things interesting. 

How to Play the Game: 

Allow each student a chance to play, or if you have a larger group of students, decide how many you will select to play ahead of time.

Hand each student playing a piece of paper. 

They will take turns “ranting” about the topic they were given for just one minute. 

Use a phone or clock to time them.

If they were given “Taco Bell vs. Chick-fil-A,” they could rant on for one minute about why Chick-fil-A is better (or why Taco Bell is better)!

The sillier and more convincing, the better! 

The top three students who gave compelling “rants” move on to the finals, where they will be given a new topic and one minute. 

The audience can vote on the winner. 

Consider candy as an optional prize or a $5 Target gift card. 

TEACH

We all have a topic that we could rant on and on about forever. 

In the game we played, you may have struggled to think of something to talk about related to the topic you were given.

Or maybe you were given a topic like “Chick-fil-A” or “Taylor Swift” and knew you could rant about it for longer than a minute.

Think about that topic, whatever it may be, that you love and get so excited to tell others about. 

Once you have it in mind, I have a question for you.

Is Jesus ever one of those topics?

I don’t say that to make you feel guilty because I’d be the first to admit that I’d be quick to rant about Taylor Swift, but maybe not so much about how Jesus has saved me. 

I ask that question to get us thinking. 

I want us to look at the story of two guys, Peter and Andrew. 

They were brothers and two of Jesus’ first disciples. 

I want us to hear the call that they received from Jesus and talk about the call that Jesus has for each one of us. 

Let’s start reading in Matthew 4:18-20:

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Peter and Andrew were fishermen. 

They hung out on a boat and fished all day to earn their living. 

Their workday was probably pretty smelly. 

But I’m sure if you asked either one of them to talk about fishing for a minute, they could probably have gone on and on about fishing for a long time. 

Fishing was their topic. 

This was what they knew. 

It was familiar and comfortable. 

Maybe it was even their favorite topic.

And then here comes Jesus.

And He walks in, and He sees them doing their thing—throwing nets out to catch fish. 

And He presents this weird idea to them. 

“Follow Me, and I’ll show you how to fish for people.”

What? What does that even mean? How do you fish for people? 

But neither one of them asked. 

They just immediately dropped their nets and walked after Jesus. 

I’m pretty sure that if I were Peter or Andrew, I would’ve had a couple of questions before dropping everything I knew and loved to follow someone I didn’t even know. 

My first question for sure would’ve been about this fishing for people business. 

But Peter and Andrew don’t ask questions. 

It was as if Jesus was speaking their language. 

And if I had to guess, it was because Jesus was offering them meaning. 

He was offering them more than what they were doing right now. 

Maybe they loved to fish for a living. 

But maybe it also felt a little meaningless. 

They weren’t out saving the world after all. 

Maybe the idea of “fishing for people” gave them a sense of hope and meaning for their lives.

Because let’s face it, as much as we could talk about Chick-fil-A all day long, at some point, we realize there’s more to life than chicken nuggets and waffle fries.

We all have a desire deep inside of us to be a part of something more—something bigger than ourselves. 

Jesus was offering them that opportunity. 

He was calling them to leave behind the things they’d known and to walk into a new business—the business of leading people to Him, the business of leading people to the throne of God and “catching” souls for the Kingdom of God.

They were made for more than just catching fish. 

They were created not only to have a relationship with Jesus—their Creator—but to share that relationship with the people around them and invite them into a relationship with Jesus, too.

You were created for the same. 

But maybe the idea of “fishing for people” sounds weird to you or even like too big of a task. 

Maybe it seems overwhelming. 

Like, “Okay, but HOW do I lead people to Jesus?” 

Let’s talk about that by splitting it into three different ways you can start “fishing for people” today.

First, deepen your relationship with Jesus.

Let’s point out that Peter and Andrew didn’t immediately go off on their own and start telling people about Jesus and who He was. 

They first spent three years alongside Jesus. 

They spent that time eating dinner with Him, having conversations with Him, helping Him in ministry, and watching Him perform miracle after miracle. 

They spent three years immersed in a close relationship with the One they would have the opportunity to tell the world about. 

To share Jesus with someone, you must know Him yourself first. 

Maybe you love Taylor Swift and could list all the lyrics to your favorite songs and rant for more than a minute. 

But that’s because you’ve spent a very long time listening to her music, watching her videos, seeing her Instagram posts, whatever it may be. 

If you’ve never listened to Taylor Swift before, it would be incredibly difficult to get up here and rant about her for more than a minute. 

Spend time close to Jesus. 

Spend time getting to know Him.

Dig into your Bible. 

Open it on more than just Sundays or Wednesday nights. 

Pick some passages you really love and challenge yourself to commit them to memory. 

Set aside specific time to pray and talk to God. 

If you schedule a time to hang out with a friend or grab Starbucks, you keep that time, correct?

Do the same thing with Jesus. 

Pick a time of day that works best for you. 

Maybe it’s on the school bus ride in the morning or in the afternoon, at night before bed, or first thing when you open your eyes in the morning.

Whatever time it is, pick that time to be your “Jesus time” and stick to it. 

(Leader, consider sharing what time of day you have dedicated to personal time with Jesus.)

If you have trouble finding time to read your Bible but listen to music the whole way on the school bus ride, consider playing through the Bible on audio.

You can listen through your headphones to the Word of God!

To share about Jesus, make sure you’re spending time to get to know Him better.

Second, take time to write your story.

Now, I know this can seem scary or even like a daunting task. 

Maybe you’re saying, “But I don’t even know what my story would be!”

We often think that to share our testimony, we must have a big story about how we were trapped in sin like drugs or alcohol, and then God saved us out of it, and we’re clean now.

And for a lot of us, probably especially at your age, we don’t have a big story like that. 

If you do, that’s great. 

But most of us probably have grown up in church our whole lives.

But we all have sin. 

Let’s define our testimony as this: A testimony is the story of our relationship with Jesus.

If you’ve asked Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life, you’ve started a relationship with Him. 

Maybe you’ve never done that, and that’s okay; let’s have a conversation about it later.

Or maybe you remember starting that relationship a long time ago but haven’t built on it much since. 

We can have that conversation later, too.

But if you’ve started a relationship with Jesus, you have a story and a testimony to share.

Like I said, we’ve all sinned. 

We’ve all made mistakes, and we all have something in our lives that Jesus’ blood has saved us and rescued us from. 

Your testimony or your story doesn’t have to look exactly like someone else’s. 

Each of our testimonies will look different. 

But take the time to write yours down. 

Maybe you need to outline it first. 

To get started, ask questions like: When did I first hear about Jesus? How has my life changed since meeting Jesus? What is my relationship with Jesus like today compared to when I first met Him? What has Jesus rescued me from?

Start with those and see where it goes, jotting out your testimony.

And then, finally, look for opportunities to share your story. 

Be open to opportunities to share your Jesus story with others.

When friends ask why you go to church, tell them your story.

When people ask why you’re so loving and caring towards others, tell them your story.

We, as followers of Jesus, have the best news ever to share with others. 

Just as Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him and become fishers of people, He tells us to do something similar in Matthew 28:19-20:

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

You also have been called to fish for people—to draw new disciples to follow Jesus. 

How cool is that? 

We get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, bigger than we could’ve ever imagined.

The world is hurting, and Jesus has the comfort it needs. 

You never know, but the person you share your Jesus story with could be the person Jesus is calling you to lead into His Kingdom specifically.

Let’s close in prayer.   

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
  1. What things do you enjoy doing that deepen your relationship with Jesus?
  2. If you had to sum up your Jesus story in a couple of sentences, what would you say? (Leaders, share your own.) 
  3. Have you ever shared your Jesus story with someone else? How did it go?

End Lesson

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2024 NEW YEAR’S BUNDLE – Save 80% on $489 worth of youth group lessons and games for New Year’s, Easter and beyond.

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The Power of Words

2 Replies to “YOUTH GROUP LESSON – FISHERS OF MEN”

  1. Autumn Crye
    • January 4, 2024

    Thank you for this lesson, I think it will be very helpful.

    Reply
  2. Mendy Morrison
    • January 17, 2024

    thank you!

    Reply

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