MEETING AIM: To discover that the Holy Spirit lives with us and helps us.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 2:1-41
BACKGROUND: It’s easy to see the events of Pentecost as a story, something that happened to Jesus’ followers as part of the ongoing post-Easter narrative. However, if we do that, we miss out on the fact that the Holy Spirit is living and active today, and ministers to everyone of all ages. How can we help our congregations discover the Holy Spirit anew this Pentecost?
OPTION ONE: Testimony
Before the session, find people whose lives have been changed by the Holy Spirit. Bring these people to the front and encourage them to tell their story.
OPTION TWO: Young and old
You will need: large sheets of paper; Post-it notes; pens
Stick up sheets of paper around your venue. On each one, write an age group, eg ‘Young children’, ‘People in their 40s’,‘Over-80s’. Encourage people to write on a Post-it something those groups should be able to do and stick it to the paper. Are there certain things people can and can’t do? What about doing God’s work?
You will need: volunteers who can speak different languages; Joel 2:28-29 written on a scroll; a volunteer to be the prophet Joel; image or film of fire to show on a screen; a volunteer to be Peter
Before the service, ask people in the congregation who can speak different languages to be ready to shout “God is good” in a language other than English. Prime them to sit in different parts of your meeting space.
Without introduction, your prophet Joel should come to the front with the scroll, unroll it and read Joel 2:28-29 fiercely and confidently. Joel should then depart, leaving his scroll at the front. Ask the congregation what they thought of Joel’s words.
Create some sound effects that would signify a blowing wind. The congregation could do these with their voices or by tapping hands on knees or gently clapping. Go on to tell this story:
It was 50 days since Jesus rose to life again, 40 days since he went back into heaven. Jesus’ friends had been meeting together, but they were nervous. They met behind closed doors, concerned that the authorities would come after them. They were all gathered together for Pentecost, the festival that celebrated the harvest. Suddenly they heard a sound. Encourage the congregation to perform their wind sound effects.
The room where they were meeting was filled with what looked like tongues of fire. Show the image or video of fire on your screen. The flames came to rest on each of their heads; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit! Pick up Joel’s scroll and read his words again. Ask the congregation how they would feel if they were in that room.
People from all over the world were in Jerusalem for the festival. Suddenly they heard the disciples speak indifferent languages. Cue your volunteers to stand up and shout in their language. These bystanders were amazed. They heard ordinary Jewish people speaking in their own language. What did it all mean? Some thought the disciples were drunk! Take a straw poll – who would have thought this was from God and who would have thought they were drunk?
Peter knew what was happening.
He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Your Peter volunteer should come to the front and say “We’re not drunk, it’s still early morning!” and then read Joel’s scroll. Peter told the crowd that Jesus had died to save them and they should believe and be baptised. Thousands did believe!
You will need: copies of the questions below; Bibles
Break into groups, giving each group a copy of these questions and a Bible:
•What’s your favourite part of the story?
•Have you experienced the Holy Spirit?
• What difference does Jesus having the Holy Spirit as a helper and comforter make to your life?
Give the groups time to chat about these questions, referring to the Bible passage in they need to.
You will need: roving mic (if needed)
Get some feedback on questions two and three from ‘Small groups’, using a microphone to hear people’s contributions if your meeting space is large.
Set these three activities up in different parts of your meeting space. Explain each one and encourage people to go to the one that will help them respond most effectively.
OPTION ONE: Hot seating
You will need: Peter volunteer; a chair
Before the session, make sure your Peter volunteer is familiar with his story from meeting Jesus to Pentecost. Sit Peter down in the middle of the group; people can ask him questions as if he were Peter. Peter should answer in character, allowing the group to think more deeply about his story and the impact of the Holy Spirit.
OPTION TWO: Discussion
Assign some volunteers to help guide a discussion about the story and what it might mean for the congregation today.
OPTION THREE: Art
You will need: art materials; paper
Give people the space to create a piece of artwork in response to what they have discovered today.
Bring everyone back together and ask if anyone would like to share anything from the response time. Thank every-one for taking part and say an appropriate blessing to close the service.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
- PDF, Size 2.54 mb