Here is a youth group lesson on Pentecost, based on Acts 2:1-13.
This lesson will teach students when the Spirit lives in us as Christians, Pentecost happens every day.
-Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
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Youth Group Lesson on Pentecost
Bible: Acts 2:1-13
Bottom Line: We experience Pentecost every day when the Spirit lives in us as Christians.
Red stickers or tape (you will need a lot of these)
Red, orange and yellow construction paper
Double stick tape
Scissors for each youth
A Note to Leaders:
This lesson can be a very powerful experience for your students as we talk about the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost.
The prayer with this lesson is that the students will experience that same Holy Spirit today, so please spend time in prayer and personal reflection before this lesson.
Think about how you first experienced the Holy Spirit.
And for some of you, maybe you are still waiting to really experience the Holy Spirit.
Don’t be ashamed, but know that this lesson is for you.
There are many who serve in the church and work with youth who have answered a call, but have yet to truly experience the transforming work of the Spirit.
Our prayer is that you will experience the Holy Spirit of Christ today even as you prepare.
And to the seasoned youth minister: It can be easy to lose that fire.
Today is for you.
May you remember that fire and may it inspire you today.
Share how Christ and the Holy Spirit have moved in your life and the lives of others.
Refer to this great article at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-is-pentecost-why-does-it-matter/ about what Pentecost is, the meaning of the word, and history.
Determine whether your group would be interested in the history of the word “Pentecost” which simply means “fifty” and also the tie into the Old Testament Festival of Weeks.
Some groups will enjoy the history, but for youth groups with younger students or more seekers, this would possibly bog them down from really delving into the activity of the Holy Spirit which is really the main point of the lesson.
OPENING GAME – Fire
Choose one person to be the “Fire Starter” and give them a large supply of red stickers.
Also, set up a ‘Fire Station’ where more of the red fire stickers are located when the Fire Starter or the students who get stickers placed on them.
The Fire Starter will begin in the center with the rest of the students in a circle around the Fire Starter.
When you say “Go”, everyone can run and spread out in the designated area, while the Fire Starter runs and tries to stick a red ‘Fire’ sticker on people.
Once a person has had a Fire sticker put on them, they can run to the Fire Station to get Fire stickers to help the Fire Starter.
The game is over when everyone has been tagged with a Fire Sticker.
If your group is a smaller group, this will go quickly unless the students are very creative about where they hide, so you can play the game more times choosing a different Fire Starter.
TEACH – Pentecost
Say: We all know that playing with fire can be a very dangerous thing.
Can you remember the first time that you realized just how quickly fire could spread?
Give the students time to share. Also, feel free to share a wise or unwise experience that you had with fire as a teenager, but be sure to remind them not to follow in your footsteps.
Yes, fire can be very scary, but it is also the one thing that can save you when you are trying to survive. You know – like watching Survivor when they are left with no food and fending for themselves: fire is critical.
Today, we are going to be talking about fire, but a different kind of fire.
Can anyone here tell me what “Pentecost” is about?
The word Pentecost literally means “fifty”. In the Bible, we read about a time when the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem fifty days after the Passover for the Festival of Weeks.
This is where you can use the information from the article above if your group would find this interesting or direct them to the site to read later.
Long story short, there were Jews from all over gathered and something amazing happened…
Remember that at this time, Jesus had died, risen, hung out for 40 days and then went to Heaven.
Yes, it was 50 days after the Passover.
And something amazing was about to happen.
So imagine that you are in this scripture.
You are in the room.
Close your eyes.
Think about where you might be from….maybe you don’t speak the language but you are here to celebrate.
As I read this scripture, I want you to use all of your senses.
What do you see?
Read Acts 2:1-13.
Open your eyes.
What did you see?
What just happened??
Give students time to talk about what they experienced and felt.
Pentecost by many is called the “Birthday of the Church” because the Holy Spirit came on the apostles and all of those gathered from many different places.
Why would it be a big deal that these different places were gathered?
Let the students give their ‘theories’.
Up until this point, the good news of Jesus had been kept really close.
But at this time, all of these people were gathered from all over in Jerusalem.
Just imagine when you left this place after the Holy Spirit literally coming over you like fire.
You go back home.
Nothing is the same because you are not the same.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote in his journal these words “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
The Holy Spirit is the very spirit of Jesus, and Jesus promised that his Spirit would come and is available to all of us.
And when this Spirit comes, amazing things happen.
People are changed.
Just think about Peter.
Remember the one who denied Jesus three times and then the rooster crowed?
The one who walked out to Jesus on the water, but then got scared and began to sink.
Now, can I have a volunteer who would like to act out the part of the disciple, Peter?
Read Acts 2:14-31
Choose a volunteer who you know has a relationship with Christ and will read the scripture in a meaningful way for the group.
Close with a prayer such as:
Jesus, we are gathered here today, in a simple room.
Fill us with your spirit.
Empower us to be changed.
To be on fire for you.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
How was Peter changed from before Jesus’ death to now at Pentecost in his amazing speech?
Share about what you experienced while reading the Pentecost scripture.
How do you think your life would have changed if you had been there?
Share about a time when you sensed that the Holy Spirit was at work.
Challenge the group to choose a color of construction paper, cut out a flame, and using a sharpie to write out a prayer for the Holy Spirit to come.
It could be a simple prayer such as “Come Holy Spirit”
Then have each student get a piece of double stick tape and tape up their flame around the room as a visible reminder that the Holy Spirit is at work.
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