Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Pentecost > Ways to Celebrate Pentecost in the Church

The birth of the church, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to confirm it--a day to celebrate, or so it would seem. Yet so many churches do nothing to mark the occasion. If you would like to try to do something, but don’t know where to begin, why not try some of these? Since Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter, there are several weeks between Easter and Pentecost to put some of these ideas into action.

Ideas for Making a Special Service

Parade of Flags--Have people carry flags in a procession, and if possible, display them.

Play music from other countries for the prelude and offertory

Choose praise songs or hymns that are about missions

If you use a PowerPoint presentation to display the words of the songs, include pictures from other countries

Teach the congregation foreign words to a familiar song

Ask people who know other languages to read the Bible passage or pray in that language

Ask the youth to prepare a mime or short skit to teach some aspect of missions

Potluck lunch--if everyone can make something from another country, it would be special

Ask someone to make a cake shaped like a church, globe, or Bible.

Showcase Missionaries During the Worship Service

Since missionaries are doing the work of planting churches in different countries, this is a great way to help people in the congregation become more aware of what God is doing around the world. This can be done as a PowerPoint presentation, or movie clip provided by the missionary, or even a skit done by friends in the church. The more appealing it is to kids, the more likely they are to listen and become involved. And if kids are listening, the adults usually are, too.

Pray for the Missionaries and the Countries They Work in

Praying from the pulpit is an important place to begin, but it should not end there. Provide prayer guides for the people in the congregation with prayer request from all the missionaries supported by the church. Encourage Sunday school classes and Bible study groups to adopt a missionary and keep in close touch with them. Give regular updates to answered prayer from the pulpit. If people understand that praying plays a vital role in God’s work around the world, they are much more likely to participate than if they don’t see the connection between the prayers they offer up, and the work going on on the other side of the world. They have to be informed if they are going to be involved.

Kick Off for Summer Missions Groups

If your church is sending out short term missions groups, Pentecost would a great Sunday to dedicate these groups. Then use the time from then until they leave to teach and prepare them for the job they will be doing. Give them books to read, and help them research about the country they are going to. When they return, be sure to debrief them so they process what they have learned in a good way. Give them a chance to share what they have learned with the congregation. But don’t let it end there. This is an introduction to missions, not a fulfillment of a lifetime obligation. Left on their own, they tend to forget the lessons they learned, and actually become less involved in missions. Rather than sending them on multiple short term missions trips, get returnees involved in training the new recruits going on trips and debriefing when they return. Make sure they become part of the missions committee to help plan how to keep the whole church involved in missions--giving, praying, and going. See if you can’t buck the trend in American churches that are seeing fewer and fewer career missionaries sent overseas. When you see promising young people with leadership qualities, encourage them to go to Bible college or seminary and then send them out as career missionaries. God hasn’t lost interest in missions, so why have we?

Sponsor a Contest

You want as many people in the church, including children and youth, to be involved in evangelism and missions, so come up with a contest that will help them get started. What would be a small doable goal? Do you want individuals to compete, or classes, or families? Will everyone who achieves the goal get a prize, or just the top 3 competitors? The purpose of the contest is to provide impetus to form good practices for missions in our lives. So think about how you want people to be involved in missions and design a contest that promotes that value/activity. 

Raise money for an offering--see which group can raise the most money for a particular missions project that the church feels is important

Prayer marathon--see how long the church can keep going with individuals signed up to pray for 30 minute slots around the clock. See if you can top the year before.

Read missions biographies--give a prize for each person who reads one

Bring people to church--see who can bring the most friends during those 7 sundays

Missions posters--who can make the best poster or slogan promoting missions to display around the church and in members’ homes.

Make up a missions theme song--then teach the congregation

Create an Event

The reason for this event would be to create a celebration to commemorate Pentecost, but more importantly, encourage all church members to be involved in missions on an ongoing basis. The event would be to inspire new people to join the cause, and remind participants of their commitment. Perhaps a different event could be planned for each year.

Banquet or potluck with foods from different countries

Film festival--show one or more foreign films, then have discussion groups afterwards to discuss what can be learned about the country from seeing the film(s)

Hold a drive to help a group working with international students/people

Festival--invite international people to display their country’s arts, crafts, and foods

Evangelism seminar--train church members how to share their faith

Prayer for revival--this is not practiced much today, but how can you go wrong with this?

Weekend retreat to include many of the ideas listed above

Book club-- present a book to the congregation that will help them understand missions or world trends, or how to relate to a target group, then have discussion groups to hash out what is being learned, and put new ideas into practice. (one time event, or year long)

Study church history--set up an optional Sunday school class to teach this. Vision Films sells sets that come with DVD’s, leader’s guide, and workbooks.

link to Gateway Films/Vision Video:

Brainstorm--seek God for the direction He wants your church to go, so you don’t make the same mistake the Israelites made when they formed a treaty with the Gibeonites simply because it looked pretty good to them. Then come up with a plan for how to keep missions front and center in the church, and pray some more. This could be an advisory group that reports to the leadership, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the leadership to do it, too.

Committee to prepare for the next year’s Pentecost celebration--pass the baton to the next group to evaluate how this year’s Pentecost season went, and plan for the next year.

Short Term Missions Program

Think of your church’s short term missions programs as a training program to help people in your church become more involved in missions. Rather than sending people on multiple missions trips to randomly chosen locations, set up a series of steps that they go through before they can move to the next level. Here are some possible levels:

1. Take an evangelism class

2. Take part in a ministry that creates opportunities to put their new skills into practice

3. Take a class on how to teach the Bible

4. Take part in a ministry as an a assistant with a mentor teacher in charge--this could be teaching a children’s or middle school Sunday school class, VBS, summer camp, Bible club, etc.

5. Take a class to prepare for a missions trip that includes reading a book about missions as well as studying about the target country, and team building skills, and planning several things they could do if asked to do something, but ready to change plans, or do something completely different, if they are asked to by the people in the country they visit

6. Go on a missions trip

7. Go through a debriefing meeting that also includes asking them what they think the next step will be. If this step is skipped, they can wrongly interpret some of their experiences, or feel that their responsibility toward missions has been fulfilled. Each person should be encouraged to think of it as a step toward the next responsibility.

8. Be involved in training and leading a new group of short term missionaries

9. Be encouraged to either go to Bible college or seminary as preparation to become a career missionary, or to be actively involved in the church such as being on the missions committee, being on the missions conference committee, being on the Pentecost planning committee, being a leader in the training program for missions, etc.

One of the last things Jesus said before He went back to heaven was, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This is what He wanted us to remember and this is what He wanted us to do. This is the heart of God. This is why Jesus died on the cross. If we do not actively participate in helping people come to know Christ around the world, then we are no better than someone escaping from a fire and happy to be alive, yet not turning to help others escape from the same fire.

Seasons > Pentecost > Church Activities