The importance of teamwork
by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect upon the importance of teamwork and mutual help.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to display each word of the following acrostic in giant print on separate pieces of card:
- You will also need to familarize yourself with the story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2.
- Explain that the focus of this assembly will be upon the importance of teamwork and being ready to help one another.
Ask the children, ‘How many of you belong to a team?’
Encourage the children to speak of their role in sports teams and uniformed organizations such as Cubs and Brownies and their varied experience of teamwork in school.
Establish how, as members of a team, different people work together and aim to help one another.
- Introduce the following story, which tells how Jesus invited others to become part of his team of helpers.
Ask everyone to listen carefully for the ways in which the story speaks of helping one another.
Jesus Calls Four Fishermen
Imagine that you are standing by a wide, blue lake that is surrounded by hazy, grey-green hills. On the shore there are some fishing boats, and a crowd of people have gathered nearby. They’re listening (just like you!) to someone by the water’s edge. Who is it? It’s Jesus of Nazareth! Everyone loves his stories and wise sayings, but today, not everyone can see or hear. What can be done?
Jesus has an idea and calls to one of the fishermen, ‘Could I use your boat?’
‘You can have it!’ replies the fisherman, whose name is Peter. ‘We’ve been out on the lake all night and haven’t caught a thing.’
Jesus clambers into the boat and sits down. Peter and his brother, Andrew, push the boat into the water so that it floats close to the shore. Now everyone can see and listen!
Eventually, however, it is time to finish. Jesus says a thank-you prayer and the people return to their villages.
‘Are you hungry? What about some fish?’ Jesus asks the fishermen. ‘Let’s find some deeper water and catch some.’
‘But we’ve tried,’ the fishermen say. ‘We’ve tried all night and caught nothing.’
Jesus doesn’t say a word; he just points towards the middle of the lake. Peter and Andrew shake their heads, but set out again.
When they reach deep water, Jesus tells them to let out their nets. Peter and Andrew do as they are asked. Quickly, the water starts to swirl and splash and the net becomes heavy with fish. In fact, the net is so heavy that the men struggle to pull it back in! Peter shouts to some other fishermen nearby, ‘James! John! Quickly! Come and help us!’
Together, they slowly draw in the net. Soon, fish are flipping and flapping, slithering and sliding all over the floor of the boat. They have to use both boats to get the catch safely back to shore. Peter is amazed that there are so many, but also a bit ashamed that he’d been so ready to give up.
‘Now,’ says Jesus, ‘you’re fishermen, but I need a team of followers who will help to spread a net of friendship. Will you help to draw all kinds of people together in care and respect?’
He looks at each of the fishermen in turn: Peter, Andrew, James and John. Then, Jesus begins to walk slowly away from the shore. The four fishermen watch as he goes and then look at one another . . . ‘Yes,’ they decide, ‘it would be good to help.’
- Ask the children to identify the ways in which help was given in the story. Suggestions may include:
- Peter allowing Jesus to use his boat
- Jesus encouraging and helping the fishermen to land a large catch
- James and John responding to Peter’s request for help by helping to pull in the net of fish and helping one another safely back to shore
- Jesus asking the fishermen to help and follow him
- The fishermen agreeing to join his team
- Invite the children to consider how asking for help and being ready to help others might be important in school today.
Listen to a range of responses.
Time for reflection
Ask for four volunteers and give each of them one of the acrostic cards.
Introduce the acrostic one word at a time. Ask each volunteer to hold up their card so that the children can read the word shown there.
Ask the children what each word means. Then, ask the children to look closely at the first letter of each word and work out which word it spells. The letters form the word ‘TEAM’.
Encourage the children to think about the importance of teamwork in all aspect of our lives:
Thank you for all the people who help us in our lives.
Thank you for the people who have already helped us today.
Please help us to help one another.
Please help us to remember that it is good to work together in a team.
‘Together’ (Songs for Every Assembly by Mark and Helen Johnson, Out of the Ark Music). It is 0.46 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIL8-r3hHDE