Teaching Kids How to Be Fishers of Men
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him (Matt. 4:18-20, KJV).
I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like to fish, at least at first. Most children get very excited at the idea of fishing for the first time, especially if they are not required to bait their own hooks! But, it doesn’t catch on as a hobby for everyone. This is true for different reasons. (Some may enjoy casting the bait into the water, but then don’t enjoy waiting for the fish to bite.)
Fishers of Men
In Matthew 4, Jesus uses the analogy of fishing when He introduced his new disciples to the idea of soul winning. Soul winning and fishing have much in common, and it was something His new disciples could relate to as they were fisherman.
Jesus had much the same job in front of Him as we have when we teach children about soul winning. The disciples knew nothing about this practice. They were much like children learning something entirely new. So, how should we approach this important topic when we are introducing our kids to the idea of witnessing?
Lead By Example
Jesus did not just tell His disciples about soul winning. He led by example. Every where He went, there was an emphasis on soul winning. We can also be an example to our kids and students by practicing soul winning ourselves. Even if we are not actively trying to lead someone to Christ, there should always be an openness to talking about the things of God no matter where we are. Often, this ongoing conversation of Christ is the best way to open doors for soul winning later.
Give Kids A Chance
It is tempting to put children off when it comes to something as important as sharing Christ. We may often find ourselves saying things like, “Well, they are too young.” Kids need the opportunity to talk to others about church and about Jesus. Even working on roll playing in Bible class or at home will give them the opportunity to practice getting comfortable with having these conversations with others.
There are many ways you can encourage witnessing. In Bible class a great way to encourage witnessing is to have a “Fishers of Men” bulletin board. This can be a simple space on your wall or door. Cutouts of children holding fishing poles by individual little ponds can be added. Get a collection of fish shaped cutouts and each week make time to talk to your class about who they witnessed to that week. Who did they talk to about Jesus? When they have a witnessing story to share, allow them to add a fish to their pond. There is no need to put names on these fish (this could be awkward later if the other child visits your class) but your students will enjoy the exercise and will be encouraged during the week to be thinking about witnessing.
You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.