Pump up one another!
Pentecost or Whitsun (8 June 2014)
by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To recognize the importance of encouragement.
Preparation and materials
- Save up some awards or achievement certificates to present at the beginning of this assembly.
- You will need three or four balloons and a balloon pump.
- The encouraging verses in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6, below, are based on Acts 2.42 and 44.
- Use either ‘Pentecost’ or ‘Whitsun’, whichever name is used most locally.
- Begin this assembly by presenting the awards or achievement certificates. On behalf of everyone present say, ‘Well done!’ Affirm the efforts of the whole school community.
- Produce an uninflated balloon, hold it up and reflect that a little bit of encouragement can mean so much, especially when we are feeling a bit flat. Encouragement fills us with confidence and helps us to realize our potential, just as a balloon takes shape when it’s filled with air.
Using the pump, start to inflate the balloon.
- Invite everyone to think of some really encouraging words and phrases as you pump. As each one is suggested, vigorously puff some air into the balloon. Phrases might include, ‘That was brilliant’, ‘You’re getting better’, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘That was a good effort’, ‘Go on, have a go’, ‘Try again’, ‘You’re a star’, ‘That’s really special!’, ‘Come on, let’s all work at it together’, ‘It isn’t as hard as you think’, ‘You needn’t be frightened’, ‘I’ll come with you’ . . .
- When the first balloon is almost full, remark that ‘It doesn’t do for us to get too puffed up – perhaps there are others who need encouragement as well.’
Tie off the first balloon and start to inflate another. Aim to blow up at least a couple of balloons.
Ask the children to encourage you as you blow up the balloons with a ‘Keep going!’ Also, observe that, like air, encouragement can sometimes be quiet and unseen, but everyone can see its effect.
- Remind everyone that, just as positive and encouraging words bring out the best in others, negative and careless comments – such as, ‘That’s not very good’, ‘You’re useless’, ‘How stupid!’ – can make other people feel small and deflated.
Release some air from a balloon as you say this.
So, we need to remember how to encourage one another. We need to ‘pump one another up’.
- Explain that, at Pentecost/Whitsun, Christians celebrate the ‘birthday’ of the Christian Church. Inflate another balloon to highlight the importance of encouragement for the first Christians.
The first followers of Jesus encouraged one another (Acts 2.42 and 44):
‘Don’t be afraid’, they said.
They enjoyed being together.
‘We can be strong’, they said.
They taught one another the story of Jesus.
‘That’s brilliant’, they said.
They helped one another.
‘Thank you’, they said.
They said their prayers every day.
‘Let’s serve God together’, they said.
Jesus also promised his friends that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit – the ‘helper’ or ‘encourager’ (John 15.26). Pumped up with encouragement, their and others’ belief grew and a new community of faith took shape.
Time for reflection
Take pride in something that you’ve recently achieved.
Be thankful for someone who has helped you and said, ‘Well done.’
How might you encourage someone else today?
Help us to encourage one another,
to grow in confidence and discover new gifts and abilities,
today, and every day.
‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106, substituting the words ‘To encourage one another’ for the third line in each verse)
‘Give it all you’ve got’ (Songs for Every Easter,Out of the Ark Music, 1996)
‘Well done’ (Songs for Every Assembly,Out of the Ark Music, 1999)