Calming the Storm


January 4 - February 1, 2004


Antioch Arcade



Scripture:  Matthew 8:18-27


Memory Verse:  “You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.  I am not afraid of anyone.  You protect me, and I have no fears.”  Psalms 27:1



·        Sometimes following Jesus can be hard or scary.

·        We can trust Jesus to take care of us.



1.     Older children will locate the story of Jesus calming the storm in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Matthew (and Mark and Luke).

2.     The children will play the Voting Game to reinforce their understanding of the story and promote discussion.

3.     The children will discuss what it means to trust Jesus during difficult times.

4.     The children will identify a problem or source of fear in their lives, and think about how Jesus can help them.



Welcome and Introductions: (10:00)

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.


2.     Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).


3.     Explain the purpose of this workshop. Today we’re going to play a game to help us learn about Jesus calming the storm.


Scripture/Bible Story:

1.     Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles.  Help the students to find the book of Matthew. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)


2.     If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Matthew is in Old or New Testament (it’s about Jesus so it’s in NEW Testament). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. Some of the older children should know the books of the Bible. Encourage everyone to learn them.


After they’ve found Matthew, help them find chapter 8. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page. After they’ve found chapter 8, help them find verses 18-27 and tell them this is where the story of Jesus calming the storm is told.


3.     Read the story from the Contemporary English Version (let older kids follow along in their Bibles), or tell the story using the summary below as a guide. If you are telling the story in later weeks of the rotation, let the children help you. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:


Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Help them tell the COMPLETE story.


Tell the story with inaccuracies and let them correct you (especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation).


Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly (for older kids only).


Optional visual effect to use during storytelling:

Fill a clear mixing bowl about 3/4 full with water. Use a spoon and gently stir the water next to one edge of the bowl. Watch the effect the stirring has on the water.


The Sea of Galilee is shaped like a bowl with mountains around the edges. The winds that come in over the mountains hit the water and stir it much like the spoon in the bowl. The winds can cause large waves to come up quickly on the sea even in clear weather.


Story Summary


One time Jesus was teaching a crowd of people along the Sea of Galilee. (Point out the Sea of Galilee on the wall map). The Sea of Galilee is actually a large lake. Jesus spent a lot of time in the area around the lake, and at least four of his disciples were fishermen who fished in its waters. It was very common for violent storms to come up very suddenly on the lake.


When Jesus had finished teaching, he and his disciples got into a boat and started to cross the lake. Jesus was tired, so he lay down in the boat and went to sleep.


While Jesus was asleep a storm came up, and waves started splashing into the boat.  The disciples got very scared. They were sure that the boat was going to tip over and that they were all going to drown.


But Jesus slept through it. So the disciples went to Jesus and woke him up.


"Lord! Save us!"  they cried.  "We will drown!"

"Why are you so afraid?" Jesus answered them. "You must not have much faith."


Then Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. The wind stopped blowing.  And the sea became calm.


The disciples were amazed. They said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


Grades 3-5: If you have time after reviewing the story, have the children search in their Bibles for Luke 8:22-25, and Matthew 8:23-27, the other Gospel accounts of Jesus calming the storm. Have them close their Bibles first, and see who can find the passage the fastest. Point out that each version of the story was written by a different person and at a different time, so the details are a little different.


Application: (10:10)

The Voting Game:  Have kids walk to one side of the room or the other depending on how they answer each of the following questions. Ask the shepherd help the kids move to the right spot in the room and stay calm. After each vote, go to someone on each side and ask them why they voted the way they did.


True or False --the body of water where this story took place was the Sea of Capernaum (false: Sea of Galilee).


True or False --Jesus fell asleep because he was tired from a full day of teaching others (true according the story. Jesus was human and got tired just as we do).


True or False: A crash of thunder woke Jesus up. (false—the disciples woke him up).


True or False: Jesus said the disciples were scared because they couldn’t swim (false because their faith was weak).


True or False: Jesus ordered the wind and waves to calm down (true).


True or False: The disciples were not surprised when the storm stopped, because they knew Jesus could do anything (false—they were amazed).


Put the children back into one big group for the following multiple choice questions and have them stand up for the answer they choose.


If I had been with Jesus that day, and I knew there was danger of a bad storm, I would have:

-Followed him onto the boat

-Stayed on shore


If I had been on the boat with the waves crashing in, I would probably have:

- been scared like the disciples

- not been afraid at all

- been afraid just a little bit


When I saw Jesus sleeping on the boat, I would have:

-yelled his name and tried to wake him up

-not been afraid at all because I knew he was with me

-done something else (what?)


When I'm scared or afraid of a storm I:

-hide under the covers

-go to a parent

-do something else (what?)


Of these three things, what would be the scariest to you?

-A haunted house

-Being laughed at by your friends

-Being homeless


When I'm scared, I would be most comforted by:

-Being with my mom or dad

-An object like my blanket, a doll, or curling up in my bed

-Ignoring my fear and thinking about something else





A "storm" in my life right now is:

-someone who has been making me upset

-an illness or health problem I'm having or someone I love is having

-problems at school



Rainstorm -- cool down game (10:20): Gather the children standing in a circle facing inwards.  Stand in the center of the circle facing the children.  Tell the children that you are going to create a “rainstorm.” They are to do what you do when you stand directly in front of them and continue doing that until you come back around the circle to them again, then they should do the new action you show them.  Then they will start doing what you are doing at that time, continue until you come back around and so on.  Stand right in front of a child and move quickly and smoothly around the circle.  Change actions when you have made a complete circle. 


Here are the actions: 

Begin by rubbing your hands together (gentle rain)

Snap fingers together (harder rain)

Clap hands on thighs  (even harder rain)

Stomp feet (thunder)

Then go in reverse:

Clap hands on thighs

Snap fingers together

Rub hands together

End by holding your hand silently at your mouth (in a silent “shush” action)


As you go around the circle the storm will gradually build, peak, then ebb away to calm.  When all is quiet, have the children sit down.


Reflection Time: (10:25)

Discuss: The disciples followed Jesus into the boat, and then a storm came up. Do you think any of them wished they hadn’t come? Probably. Sometimes following Jesus means doing things that are hard or scary.


The disciples went to Jesus when they were afraid. How can we go to Jesus? Prayer, reading the stories of Jesus in the Bible, remembering things we’ve learned about Jesus, talking to other people who trust Jesus. 


When you’re afraid, is it OK to do other things to comfort yourself, like talking to your parents or holding your favorite blanket? Yes, these are some of the ways God takes care of us. God gives us lots of people and ways to find comfort and get through bad times.


Jesus said the disciples’ fear showed they didn’t have much faith, and then he calmed the storm. Does faith mean that Jesus will always make our problems go away? No, faith means trusting that Jesus loves us and is with us no matter what happens to us. Jesus might not solve our problems but will help us to be strong and learn how to handle our problems.


The disciples woke Jesus up and asked him to save them, but then they were amazed when he calmed the storm. I wonder why they were surprised that he did what they asked? Even people who love and trust Jesus are still awed by the effect he has on their lives.


Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. : “You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.  I am not afraid of anyone.  You protect me, and I have no fears.” Psalms 27:1


Storm collection (10:30): Pass out slips of paper and pencils. Ask the kids to write down a “storm” in their life -- something they are afraid of or a problem that is worrying them. Tell them they don’t have to sign their names and you won’t read them in class but will give them to Stephanie Arnold (director of children’s ministry) who will read each slip privately and offer a prayer for each. Remind them that they can also talk to Ms. Arnold or one of the pastors about their problem. Collect the slips and seal them in an envelope.


Journals (10:35): Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste on the page as a reminder of the workshop.


Read the prompt out loud. If they have trouble thinking of what to write or draw, give suggestions and remind them of some of the things you’ve talked about.


Grades 1-2: Draw some big waves. These are the problems or scary things in your life. In the waves, draw a picture of yourself with Jesus holding your hand. OR, on each wave, write down a way you can ask Jesus for help with a problem (pray, talk to other people who trust Jesus, think about things you know about Jesus and what he would do).   


Grades 3-5: Draw some big waves. These are problems or things you’re afraid of. On each wave, write a way in which Jesus can help you. (Jesus loves us, hears our prayers, gives us courage, helps us to know how to handle our problems, gives us people to talk to, gives us activities and objects that comfort us).


Those who finish early can turn the page over and do the activity on the back. (Note that there are different pages for older and younger kids.)


Closing: (10:45)

Ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly.


Encourage them to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go Presbyterian Disaster Relief, to help people who were hurt by Hurricane Isabel.


Prayer:  Offer the contents of the “storm’ envelope to Jesus in a prayer. Suggestion: Jesus, We trust you with these problems. Help us to be strong and learn how to handle the things that worry us. Help us to follow you even when it is hard or scary, and to know that you love us and are with us no matter what happens.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect pencils, Bibles, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study

2.     Prepare a closing prayer.

3.     Write the scripture memory verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.

4.     Go over the lesson plan multiple times until you are very familiar with it. Practice reading or telling the story dramatically. If you plan to use the mixing bowl effect, try it out beforehand.


Supply List

Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)

Extra Bibles (in cabinet in Creation Station)

Clear mixing bowl, spoon, and water (if using)

Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)

Slips of paper and envelope

Journal pages (different for younger and older kids) copies provided at Bible Study or the first Sunday of the rotation




Jesus Stills the Storm. Neil MacQueen.

Jesus Calms The Storm. State Street UMC, Bristol, Va.

“Be Still” Jesus Calms the Sea. Petersburg Presbyterian Church, Petersburg, Ohio.

Jesus Calms the Storm. Steve and Brenda Klusmeyer.

Storytelling ideas: