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BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 2:1-41
BACKGROUND: Like the ascension, Pentecost might have lost some of its impact due to repeat hearing. Ask any churched young people to encounter the story as if hearing it for the first time.
Encourage those with little or no church background to ask questions, highlighting the life-changing impact the events of Pentecost had on the followers of Jesus back then, and the impact on us today.
Welcome the young people to the session. Share out any refreshments and chat generally about life.
You will need: the relevant resources for your chosen activities
Play some team-building games that emphasise having to rely on each other for help. For example:
- In pairs, draw a picture of a house with a tree and car where one person has use of their hands but is blindfolded. The other can describe what to draw but cannot use their hands.
- Divide into teams of four and give each team three sheets of A4 paper. Challenge them to get the whole group from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor (by standing only on the paper).
The point is to introduce the idea of working together and to find a ‘sweet spot’ where everybody starts singing from the same hymn sheet and the team starts to perform effectively and with great togeth- erness. The disciples came together after the resurrection with a renewed sense of togetherness and significance, but at that point they had no real purpose and were lacking in the power they needed to really impact the world.
Set your young people a task that is effectively impossible. For example, divide them into teams of five and ask them to sort a small bowl of skittles into separate colours using only their lips. Then give each team a few straws and see how much easier it is (they can suck the selected colour skittle onto the straw and drop it into the appropriate pile).
You will need: a Bible; film clips (see below) and the means to play them
Perform the classic team-building activity where the whole group stands in a tight circle facing left and everyone must sit down on the knees of the person behind them at the same moment in order to create a balanced seat. See if you can read the passage without falling over, taking a verse each in turn. If you fall or the circle breaks, start again! Make it harder by passing around just one Bible to read from!
Find these clips (or similar ones).
They are all about groups of friends who face an impossible challenge until their togetherness and / or a special power helps them achieve it. Warn them to watch with the Pentecost passage at the backs of their minds. What’s going on in the clips? What are the similarities and differences compared with Pentecost?
- Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001): when Frodo offers to take the ring and the others pledge, one by one to help him.
- Jumanji (2018): when the characters first crash-land in the game and discover who they are.
- Fantastic 4 (2015): the trailer
- Pitch Perfect 2 (2015): the trailer
- Big Hero 6 (2014): when Fred brings the gang back to his manor house to take shelter.
Use the following questions to explore the passage and the ideas around it:
- In what ways do the film clips share common ground with the story of the Holy Spirit coming upon the people (and empowering them to go and share the gospel and build the early Church)?
- Why did God send the Holy Spirit this way? Why did he send the Holy Spirit at all?
- What was the task God set the disciples, and has set us, that they needed the Holy Spirit to give them the ability to do?
- What does that mean for you today?
Plan a flash mob for during the coffee time after the service. Use a worship song your group will know, one that is upbeat and fun. Play a recording of the song (loudly) to take away any self-consciousness and give it as much impact as possible. If you can have some confident voices, let them start and have others join in, as that will deepen the sense of confusion among your unsuspect- ing coffee-slurping congregation!
Choreograph a simple movement for the young people to follow while they sing. For example, have them spread out all over the room before it starts, then as they all start to sing they could walk backwards through the crowd until they are back to back in a huddle at the centre of the room. They could rotate as a group, then when the song ends they should all walk away in different directions as if nothing had ever happened. It might be a good idea to have a quiet word with the church leader and / or coffee team to warn them something special might happen!
Make sure someone films it so you can enjoy watching it back later!
Focus the prayer time not on yourselves but on your church and the mission God has empowered you for. Display a list of all the activities the church runs, and
pray for each of them in turn. Pray for the leaders and those who take part that they will be effective in being “my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Pray that the church will be blessed by your flash mob!
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