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Pervasive Pentecost

By Carey Huffman

We’ve come a long way from the days when our youth ministries were barely on the fringe of national and global Christian initiatives. Often, Pentecostal/Charismatic teens are leading the way. And yet a curious lack of understanding prevails among our youth as to what accounts for the supernatural momentum. Do they really know what makes our faith, doctrine and ministry distinctive?

The Holy Spirit desires to work among teens today in the same supernatural ways evident in the Early Church. Why wouldn’t He? Do teens today need any less power to stand for God at school? Are they more capable of discerning truth, making decisions and praying effectively? People are still in need of healing and life transformation. These are all supernatural works of the Holy Spirit with which kids must be first-hand familiar. Supernatural faith is more than a compartment of Christian experience—it should permeate all of life.

Teachers must give more than isolated attention to Pentecostal distinctives including the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, and healing. Pentecost must pervade our teaching. Revealing the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit throughout all of Scripture helps students see and acknowledge God’s hand in all life circumstances.

The following process does not specifically outline a method of teaching on the Holy Spirit or on Pentecostal distinctives in general, nor does it lay out a distinct lesson plan on the subject. Instead, it outlines the principles by which you can address any topic or text you are teaching in such a way as to illuminate the all encompassing work of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. This approach will help to bring the reality of Pentecost into daily life for students.

Identify the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work/role in the passage. What is God doing by His Spirit? Giving direction, revealing Truth, demonstrating His attributes, baptizing, empowering for witness, healing, inspiring creativity, manifesting gifts through individuals to edify others, assisting believers in prayer and worship, or perfecting a believer’s faith through trial? How is God working beyond the confines of human ability, understanding and faith?

Determine why this work was/is vital to the situation. What happened—or needs to happen—that could not take place apart from the Spirit’s intervention. Why was that unique activity or miracle critical? Why is it essential today to have supernatural direction, to discern truth, have boldness and pray in the Spirit?

Discover how the spiritual principle applies to teen life today; and how we can foster (or hinder) Holy Spirit involvement? What situations might we face that resemble the circumstances in the passage? In what ways do we face similar needs? How does praying in the Spirit prepare our lives for God’s supernatural work?

Emphasize the supernatural character of the Holy Spirit’s work. God accomplishes things beyond our capabilities, in ways that surpass our understanding—requiring our full and complete dependence on Him. The Spirit ministers healing, encouragement, and inspiration in ways that do not leave room for pride and self-sufficiency.

Take time in class for Spirit-led, Spirit-dependant ministry. Holy Spirit Baptism, healing, guidance, discernment, personal edification in prayer and worship—students need more than a vague head knowledge of these things. They need a first-hand encounter. Personal experience resonates with this generation. They want to see truth in action before accepting it. While that may not be a mature viewpoint, the corresponding hunger for real experience with God can open students to deeper works of the Spirit, inspiring faith that doesn’t ultimately depend on sight. Let students apply their various God-given gifts to strengthen your class, and take time to pray and receive from the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is our power source. Jesus returned to His former glory to send the Spirit in its fullness—to guide us into all truth and to remind of all Christ taught and demonstrated (John 16:13; 14:26). Through faith in Christ and reliance on His Spirit we will do "greater things than these"(John 14:12). Jesus set aside divine privilege when He came to dwell among us, and yet He was able to move in unprecedented power and authority because he laid hold of another privilege—one which we also have—to be men and women full of the Holy Spirit.

As Pentecostal teachers, this privilege should be presented and pursued from every angle. The work of the Holy Spirit should be emphasized in everything we teach, because there is no way any lesson will take eternal effect apart from that power. We cannot instruct nor lead our students to live perseverant Christian lives in this present age apart from the Spirit’s power and direction. Teens need to see the Spirit as more than a vague doctrine or a distant, sometimes dispensable, influence. He is active in all situations and is accessible at all times to those who depend totally on God. The example is there for us in throughout Scripture. Help bring that fact to light for your students.