Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will express their feelings of the Holy Spirit and their vision of the coming of the Spirit by creating collage artworks.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) (NIV)
Lesson Objectives for rotation
At the end of the rotation, the students will
- know where Acts is in the New Testament and know that it is the story of the early church after Jesus' death and resurrection.
- be able to retell the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- begin to understand the role of the Holy Spirit.
- understand that the Spirt is with us as we are called to share the Good News.
- find their own answer to Acts 2:37 in response to the coming of the Spirit: "Brothers, what shall we do?"
- repeat the memory verse.
- interpret some of their feelings and understandings of the Holy Spirit using words and/or art.
- pray a Breath Prayer.
Teacher preparation in advance:
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, ___. It will be very important for you to attend this Bible Study.
- Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
- Purchase or request additional supplies from ____.
- Learn the memory verse.
- To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
- Cover worktables with newspaper or tablecloth so cleanup will be simpler. Have a separate table set up with collage supplies so the students can study the available materials.
- candle (a red pillar candle would be especially appropriate) and matches
- a piece of posterboard or cardboard for each child's artwork (at least 8 ½ by 11 inches)
- all sorts of red supplies: construction paper, tulle, pipe cleaners, sequins, cupcake papers, pom- poms, ribbon, glitter, yarn, fabric scraps ...
- glue sticks
- white glue for holding heavier collage items, paper plates, and cotton swabs. (Rather than letting the children squirt the glue from the bottle onto their artwork, pour some glue into a paper plate and let them paint the glue where it needs to be with a cotton swab.)
- markers and crayons
- red pencils and pens, white paper
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd or co-leader to supply a temporary badge. Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.
We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.
Explain the purpose of this workshop. Use kid friendly words to give a brief overview of what the children are going to learn and do. Ask them what they think of when they see the color red. Explain that in the church it is the color associated with the Holy Spirit. "Think about why that might be as we read the scripture."
Read the scripture: Acts: 2: 1-14, 22-24, 36-41. (Encourage the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses and reading out loud or reading along. )
Pentecost is often called the birthday of the church. Any guesses why? [accept reasonable answers, but make sure you talk about how the new believers were baptized and brought into fellowship with the disciples]
Any guesses on why red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit and the celebration of Pentecost? [accept all reasonable answers, but make sure someone remembers the tongues of fire from the story]
What do tongues of fire and flames look like? [after taking suggestions, light a candle so all can see] Sometimes it is hard to use words to describe something we see every day. When Luke wrote the stories about the early church in the book of Acts, much of it was just telling about the adventures of Peter and Paul and the others. But the coming of the Holy Spirit was strange and miraculous. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Luke had to use words his readers would understand in his report: he said the coming of the Holy Spirit was like the sound of wind and tongues of flame.
Who is the Holy Spirit? [this is a tough question that many adults cannot answer. Make sure discussion includes that God is three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was sent to be with us after Jesus ascended to heaven; refer to the memory verse. Additional discussion can take place while the children are working on their art. Really hard questions can be passed on to the Pastor; make sure his responses are relayed to the children.]
I want you to think about the story we read from Acts about the coming of the Holy Spirit and about what happened afterwards. We have all sorts of materials here that you can use to express the story and your view of the Holy Spirit. Remember, your artwork does not have to be a picture of what happened that day. It can instead be a picture of your feelings about who and what the Holy Spirit is and what he does.
As the children work, talk about the choices of materials and textures and shapes and colors they have made. What feelings and pictures are they trying to convey?
Also, ask some wondering questions while the children work. All of the adults should move around the tables for discussion as the children work. These questions may or may not receive answers, but should cause reflection. Please allow time for thoughtful responses as the children work. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.
- I wonder what it felt like to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost?
- I wonder what Jesus' friends were saying when they spoke in all those languages?
- I wonder how Jesus' friends felt as they told the people amazing things about God?
- I wonder how the people felt when they were baptized and received the Holy Spirit?
- I wonder how they knew this was the Holy Spirit?
- I wonder what all of these people will do now that they have the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Warn the children that 5 minutes for working on the art project remains about 10-15 minutes before the end of the class time. (Children who finish their collage early can help clean up and can practice writing/copying the memory verse in red pencil or pen on a piece of paper.)
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
- Can we have the Holy Spirit in us? How?
- I wonder what we should do with God's gift of the Holy Spirit?
Review the memory verse. Ask for volunteers to say it by themselves. (If it is early in the rotation and no one knows it yet, practice it phrase by phrase, with the teacher saying it and the children echoing.)
Closing prayer: Breath prayers (adapted from 7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children, page 91)
Everyone should be seated comfortably in a circle on the floor. Talk about breathing, how we always breathe without even having to think about it. Take a few deep breaths and let them out slowly. Ask the children to blow on their hands to see if they can feel their breath.
Say, "The Holy Spirit is always as close to you as your own breath. God is always with you."
"A breath prayer is a very simple prayer that is repeated over and over as you breathe in and breathe out. Say ‘Dear God' as you breathe in and ‘be with me' as you breathe out. Say it very quietly while you breathe. It will take some practice to talk quietly as you breathe."
Remind the children that they can say this prayer anytime and anywhere and it will help them remember that God is always with them.
Depending on time, you may wish to say another prayer to send the children home:
Dear God, thank you for sending your Spirit to be with each one of us always. Help us to feel your Spirit, to hear your Spirit, and to follow your Spirit as we are led to share the Good News with the world. Amen.
Older children may choose their own words for their breath prayer. The only rule is to have no more than three words as you breathe in and three words as you breathe out.
help them with cutting art materials as needed.
read the Pentecost page from Come Worship with Me to help them form some more concrete ideas about Pentecost before starting the collages (their artwork may be more representational and less symbolic and this reading may help them develop some ideas).
- Boling, Ruth. Come Worship with Me: A Journey Through the Church Year. Louisville: Geneva Press, 2001.
- Bruce, Barbara. 7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
- Stewart, Sonja M. and Jerome W. Berryman. Young Children and Worship. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989. (Source of some of the "I wonder" questions.)
- Art idea posted by Dena at the rotation.org site under Pentecost - Art
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
This lesson was written by Amy Crane for River Community Church in Prairieville, Louisiana.
Copyright 2003 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.