As Believers, we know we have been called to follow Jesus and tell others about Him. But what exactly does it mean to follow Jesus? What is involved in being a true “Christ follower?” Often, new Christians have questions about what they are supposed to do with their new life in Christ. How can they reach others for Jesus? A Discipleship retreat is a great way to instruct and inform new (and old) Believers in what Jesus meant when He said: “Follow me.”
Focal Scripture Passages:
Fishers of Men Matthew 4:18-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
18 As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.
This well-known passage describing the calling of the first disciples is a perfect one for discussing the call Jesus puts out to Believers. It is not enough for Christians to simply believe in Jesus. There is a duty that comes with our faith. We are to follow Christ’s example and lead others to Him.
“Follow Me”- Matthew 9:9-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
10 While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do.
This scripture passage is perfect for illustrating the fact that when Jesus calls us, we should follow Him. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, or what others may say. What is important is that we are obedient to His call.
Go and Make DisciplesMatthew 28:18-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus stressed the importance of His followers creating more followers. As disciples of Jesus, we are to bring others to Him to be disciples as well.
Discipleship Retreat Games and Activities:
Fishing for People Discussion Activity
Cut out pictures of men, women and children from magazines and clue a paperclip on the back of each. Write a discussion question on a note card and attach it to the paperclip. Attach a magnet to the end of a fishing line. Allow volunteers to come up one-by-one and “fish” for the pictures from either a bucket, small pool or even behind a curtain. When a picture is “caught” the volunteer will read the question on the card and all attendees can discuss the question to come up with an answer. The discussion questions can be found here and can be easily added to or modified to fit the situation or group.
“Follow Me” Games: “Jesus Says” or “Father, May I?”
These two simple games are adaptations of the childhood favorites, “Simon Says” and “Mother, May I?” For “Jesus Says” a leader is chosen to give instructions. The leader may say for example, “Jesus says, ‘Greet the person next to you.’” Attendees must follow the instructions, but only when they are preceded by “Jesus Says.” Anyone caught not following the instructions or moving without hearing “Jesus Says” is out. The game continues until one person is left.
“Father, May I?” may be better for a smaller group. For this game, attendees get in a line across the back of the room. A leader is chosen to stand at the front of the room and give each person individual instructions. For instance, the leader may say, “___________ (insert attendees name), take five giant steps.” The person addressed must ask, “Father, may I?” When permission is granted, the instructions are carried out. The object of the game is to get to the leader at the front of the room first. If a person forgets to ask permission or does not carry out the instructions, they are out.
Share the Light, Make Disciples Game
For this game, hide mini-flashlights or penlights around the room beforehand and turn off the lights. Be sure to clear the room of anything that might be run into or tripped over. Bring the attendees into the darkened room and tell them to find a flashlight. When they find one they must find another person searching and, with the aid of their flashlight, help that person find a flashlight. That person does the same and the game carries on until all the flashlights are found.
Other Discipleship Retreat Ideas:
Scavenger Hunts are all about following directions and completing given tasks. You can find scavenger hunt printables here. They are mainly geared toward children but can be easily adapted to fit any age group. Use video to make the hunt even more fun!
The Follow Series from Andy Stanley
This eight-part video series examines the life and ministry of Jesus to discover what it really means to follow him. There is even a mention of “Jesus Says” that can be referenced if you choose to use that game.
Navigating the Christian life can be difficult without guidance from the scriptures and discipleship from other Believers. A Follow and Share Discipleship retreat is a great way to reach out to new Believers or Christians struggling to find out what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. By discussing what Jesus has said and learning to put his teachings into practice, Believers can begin to understand what he meant when he said:“Follow me.”
Special thanks to WOL Camps for making this article possible.