Before the disciples first received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Jesus told them to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. He also said,
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.8)
Say that you want to explain some key things about the Christian faith using some visual aids.
Have a lamp or other light that depends on a mains connection but that is unplugged. (This works best if the plug from it goes out of sight eg behind the stage if you have one so that it looks like it is plugged in).
Talk about the fact that Jesus said that he is the Light of the world (john 8.12) and that he also says that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5.14-16). How cool is that, we share in the work of Jesus spreading the light of God throughout this world.
Say that you want to demonstrate light in darkness and so you will turn on your light to show everyone the difference it can make.
Turn off any other lights in the room and build up the excitement about how great it will be when your lamp lights everything up. Remind everyone that Jesus and we are the light of the world and that it looks like this …
Switch the lamp on (that won’t work because it isn’t plugged in) and pretend to be surprised that it hasn’t worked.
The key now is to move on quickly before someone tries to fix the problem. Also people may shout out ‘is it plugged in’ but you can either pretend not to hear or just say it doesn’t matter because we all know that a lamp can light up.
Apologize and say that you are a bit embarrassed that it didn’t work but that you also have a fan. If you have a very corny sense of humour you can say that you had always wanted your very own fan.
Have a Fan or electric pump that depends on a mains connection but that is unplugged.
Talk about how the fan reminds us of the Holy Spirit which is symbolized with wind. Talk about how a breeze from a fan cools us on a hot day, how the air from a leaf blower can clear a path very quickly or how a blower inflates a bouncy castle transforming it. The Spirit refreshes but he also disturbs and transforms. Say that you want to demonstrate this by turning on the fan/electric pump. (If you are using a pump, make sure that it is connected to something eg a beach ball, air mattress so that the effect of inflation can be seen.
Again, build it up and then turn it on and then nothing. Once again apologize and say as quickly as you can that your final prop will work because you were using it earlier.
Have a mobile phone with a flat battery.
Talk about how the Spirit would be given to help us to be witnesses of Jesus. The Spirit helps us to be honest with other people about our faith by giving us courage and also guiding us with specific things to say.
Talk about how you are going to demonstrate this by turning the phone on and communicating with someone.
Say that you are glad that you know that at least this one will work and then turn it on and of course, nothing.
Once again apologize and talk about how you feel a failure because these three things symbolize some of the things that the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us but that none of them have worked.
By now, people should be screaming at you to check the devices are plugged in.
Admit they aren’t plugged in and talk about how they are unable to fulfill their purpose without being connected to power.
The simple point you are making is that we are unable to fulfill our purpose without the power of the spirit.
Plug the lamp in – look at the difference the power makes to sharing the light. Why do we try to be God’s light in this world in our own strength?
Plug the fan in – The spirit longs to refresh and change and transform our lives and we need to connect to him so we can become the people who God made us to be.
Plug the mobile phone in using a mains charger. Arrange for someone else to ring you as soon as the phone powers up (If you are technical enough change the ring tone to ‘I’ve got the power’). As it rings, you can answer it and then pretend you are talking to God or to someone who doesn’t know God yet depending on which application you want to emphasize. Also talk about our need to keep being filled with the Spirit and that our spiritual battery can go flat.
It is unlikely you will be able to do these three things without an extension lead and if you do, you can comment that we need to spread the power of God to others. We are conduits!
You can also add a popcorn maker to this talk and you can read more about that here.
Finally mention the vine and branches (John 15.5).
Jesus said, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing’.
We try to serve God in our own strength and it doesn’t work. Jesus said that apart from him we can do nothing.
Let’s stay connected to God and receive the Holy Spirit afresh.
This is an example of creative communication in churches.