Welcome to Knowing Jesus in a New Way 7: Known by the Holy Spirit

This week we get to share with the children the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost as told in Acts 2:1-21.

What a perfect time to not only share the story of the events of Acts 2:1-21, but to lead the children DURING the Godly Play lesson into an exploration of what the Holy Spirit is, what it did for the disciples and what it does for us today. A good time in the script to insert this is after you relay what Peter said, quoting Joel.

Here’s the part of the script as I would amend it:
(original script)
Peter stepped into this chaos with a confidence                  
and calm that the disciples had never seen before.
“These people are not drunk, like you think.  After
all, it is only morning. What has happened is what               
the prophet Joel wrote about. He said that God will
pour out God’s spirit on us so that our sons and 
daughters will prophesy, the young will see visions,
and the old will dream dreams. 

(Now, here’s the section you might add to help children get the concept of the Holy Spirit…)
The pouring out of God’s spirit was God’s gift of the
Holy Spirit. But was the Holy Spirit? Jesus had talked
about the Holy Spirit and when he did, he called it the
Comforter. He had told the disciples that it would come
after He left them. And now it was here! But what would
it do? Jesus had talked about that too and we can find it in the
book of John. Jesus had said that the Holy Spirit …
1. helps people see what they’ve done wrong and points
them to God
2. helps people do what is right
3. helps us understand the Bible
4. prays for us-the Bible says that He prays to God when
we sometimes don’t know how or what to pray. Helps us
through our hard times
5. helps us find out what our special gifts are so we can use
them to help others

The Holy Spirit had come! It had happened!

(The original script picks back up here…)
Many passed on by to keep their great traditions and live         
good lives. Others listened and became baptized…..                     

(Continue with rest of the script.)

You can see that I’ve included questions about the Holy Spirit in my wondering questions.
Wondering Questions
1. I wonder what is your favorite part of this story.
2. I wonder what the disciples thought was happening when the mighty wind filled the house and bits of fire began to dance around each person.
3. I wonder how it felt to have God’s spirit poured out on you.
4. I wonder what you would have thought if you were on the streets when the disciples ran out, overjoyed, telling everyone what happened in different languages.
5. Before Pentecost the disciples felt the love from Jesus. At Pentecost the holy spirit helped the disciples feel the love inside them.  I wonder how the love helped the disciples do their work.
6. I wonder how the holy spirit can help you.
7. When we celebrate Pentecost, we call it the day the church was born-it’s birthday.  I wonder why that might be.

I really hope that if you’re in a room where the children have access to Godly Play materials, that after the story is shared, you’ll try letting the children select something to bring to the circle that helps tell the story.  Those connections can be so meaningful.


1. Flame hats or headbands

In some Christian churches church officials wear flame shaped hats to remind us of the flames seen over Christ’s followers on the day of the first Pentecost.

Why not show a picture of such a hat and let the kids design how they want to do their own. It doesn’t have to look like that one. Have fun foam or cardboard or fabric on hand- and long strips of large construction paper for the band part.

2. Flame portrait
As followers of Christ, let each child draw themselves as a disciple, with flames at the top of their heads. These flames could be added with tissue paper or paint or whatever they choose.

3. Make pinwheels or kites or windsocks to remind us of the mighty wind that filled the house.

There are great instructions for making a pinwheel here. If the kids want to make a kite, you can find instructions for making a real working one here, or just cut a kite shape out of paper and kids can decorate it as they want, hopefully with the story of Pentecost in mind.
Or make a Pentecost windsock, as shown here.

4. Doves
Since the symbol of the holy spirit is the dove, why not make flame colored doves (yellow, orange, red) and hang them from the ceiling to remind us of Pentecost. There are directions for doves here. Or make an origami one as shown in the video below.

Creative commons licensed photo by upsidedownapril

5. Birthday Cake-Since we celebrate the birthday of the church as we remember Pentecost, you could bring plain cupcakes to Sunday school and allow time for the kids to frost them and decorate them. If you’re feeling brave, you could have each child light a candle for their cupcake and remember the gift of the spirit, which looked like flames above each follower’s head.

See more art response ideas at my Pinterest page, here.

Enjoy the story!

Love, Becky