Does your church recognize and celebrate Pentecost Sunday? It’s a church holiday that I didn’t even learn about until I was an adult, but recognizing Pentecost offers great value to kids in teaching them about the early church and the Holy Spirit. Use this resource and the ideas below to help your kids and families learn about and celebrate this special day in the Church!
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost is a Christian day that commemorates the descending of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the church, also known as the birthday of the church. You can read about Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Christians celebrate this day on the 50th day after Easter. And – because God’s timing is so cool and He intentionally orchestrates events – Pentecost is actually a Jewish holiday, also called Shavuot, that happened 50 days after Passover. The birth of the Christian church happened in the middle of a Jewish festival that remembered God’s gift of the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai and honored the harvest season.
Why do some churches celebrate it and some don’t?
Recognizing and celebrating Pentecost in your church has a lot to do with your denomination and the structure of your pastor’s teaching calendar. Many churches don’t follow the liturgical church calendar outside of Easter and Christmas, so Pentecost Sunday isn’t even on their radar. Some churches may even be hesitant about the day’s more charismatic flair or emphasis. Other churches throw a full-blown celebration for the day and use it as an opportunity to focus on being God’s witnesses and sharing their faith in the world.
Why should I teach kids about Pentecost?
Whether your church officially recognizes Pentecost or not, this special day is a great time to help children understand how the Holy Spirit came to dwell with us on earth. It can also help children see that Jesus kept His promise to us to send the Holy Spirit.
How should I teach kids about Pentecost?
The Holy Spirit and tongues of fire may be a difficult idea for kids to grasp, but there are some key points to include or emphasize as you teach kids about Pentecost.
- Focus on Jesus fulfilling a promise – In John 14:15-27, Jesus promises to send a Helper to the disciples and encourages them not to be afraid. When teaching about Pentecost, refer back to the promise Jesus made before and use Pentecost to talk about faithfulness.
- Focus on the birth of the church – Children love to celebrate birthdays, so why not celebrate the birthday of the church? Pentecost was a turning point for the church. Until then, the apostles were followers of Jesus, now lost and confused without Him. After Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles could now move confidently outward to share the good news of the gospel with the whole world.
- Focus on the Holy Spirit as a Helper – God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us and to help us understand God’s love and feel God’s presence. We can learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, who can help us change from the inside out. This resource may help explain the Holy Spirit and Trinity to littles.
Check out this awesome resource for helping families celebrate Pentecost at home, and find even more resources for teaching kids about Pentecost (videos, lessons, crafts, etc.) from our friends at Ministry to Children here.