"You Shall Be My Witnesses"

A Pentecost Service with a Dramatic Reading from Acts 2

Updated April 2024

The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). By pouring love for God into our hearts, the Spirit gathers and forms a new community.

This service celebrates Pentecost both verbally and symbolically. Who is involved in the liturgy is symbolic of the new community which the Spirit gathers. Youth process with flags and gather the offering, for the new community formed by the Spirit includes young and old. Flags are seen and five languages are heard and an offering for missions is received, for the Spirit is gathering a community from every tribe and language.

What is done during worship is also symbolic of the new community pictured in Acts 2:44-45: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. . . . They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Throughout the liturgy, the worship leader could highlight ways in which these practices are continued today: during the reading of the Word and preaching, we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching. The mutual greeting and congregational song are examples of our koinonia, our fellowship as a new community united by God’s Spirit. In the Lord’s Supper, we break bread. In our generous Pentecost offerings, the new economy of the new community is proclaimed.

May the Spirit, through our worship and missions, pour the love of God into hearts and add to our number those who are being saved.

Gathering for Worship

[During the last part of the prelude, music appropriate for Pentecost and the procession of world flags is played. Youth groups bring in the flags and offering plates, placing the plates by the flags of countries represented by the congregation’s missionaries.]

[Pastor gives a brief welcome and provides a very basic explanation of Pentecost and the purpose of the children bringing in the flags and offering plates in preparation for worship.]

Call to Worship

Gospel Promise
   You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
   and you shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Sung Prayer for the Coming of the Spirit: Eternal Spirit, God of Truth” Cotterill

The Promise Fulfilled
   The love of God has been poured into our hearts
   through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom. 5:5)

Greeting from God

Greeting Each Other


Celebrating God’s Grace: The Story of Pentecost

Dramatic Reading from Acts 2:1-21: (see end of article)

Bible Song: Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad” Joel 2, vers. Wright

Scripture: Acts 2:22-28

Psalm:Protect Me, God, I Trust in You” Psalm 16, vers. Saward

Scripture: Acts 2:29-41

Hymn:Baptized in Water” Saward


Proclamation of the Word

Prayer for Illumination

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-4


   This is the Word of the Lord.

   Thanks be to God.

Sermon: The Coming of the Spirit

Hymn: For Your Gift of God the Spirit” Clarkson


Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

Call to the Table: Acts 2:42-47
[Pastor reads final verses of Acts 2, briefly ties the celebration of communion with Pentecost, and invites believers to the table.]

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
   The Lord be with you.
   And also with you.
   Lift up your hearts.
   We lift them up to the Lord.
   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
   It is right to give God our thanks and praise.

   It is indeed right,
   our duty and delight always and everywhere to give you thanks,
   eternal God, Creator of the universe.
   By your mighty hand
   you shaped the world and everything in it.
   By your Holy Spirit
   you breathed life into human form,
   and set us on the earth to praise and serve you.
   When we wandered from your ways and were lost in sin’s wilderness,
   your truth burned in the hearts of the prophets
   who called your people to return to you.

   In the fullness of time
   you sent your only Son to be our deliverer.
   At his baptism by John,
   your Spirit came onto him with gentle wings.
   In the wilderness of temptation
   your Spirit empowered him.
   In his life and ministry
   your Spirit led him to serve the poor,
   proclaim freedom from sin’s bondage,
   and heal the sick.

   By his death on the cross and rising from the tomb,
   he broke the power of death
   and led the way to eternal life.
   Ascended on high,
   he sends the Spirit on the church to raise us all to new life in him.

   We thank you, 
   for sending your Spirit to us today,
   awakening faith and teaching the truth of your son Jesus,
   working in the church to make us faithful disciples,
   and empowering us to proclaim the living Christ to every nation.

   Therefore with choirs of angels,
   and with the whole company of heaven,
   we worship and adore your glorious name,
   joining our voices in their unending praise:

All Sing: Santo, Santo, Santo/Holy, Holy, Holy” Cuéllar

Words of Institution

Prayer of Consecration



Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
[Focusing on the missionaries supported by the congregation,naming them and the countries where they work.]


Hymn:Shine, Jesus, Shine” Kendrick


God’s Blessing

God’s Blessing

Moment of Meditation


The Story of Pentecost: A Dramatic Reading from Acts 2: 1-21

The reading calls for seven participants using three mics. In addition to three English-speaking parts, you’ll need readers who can translate their lines into four languages: Spanish, German, Greek, and Dutch, or choose other languages represented in your congregation.

Narrator: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked:

German: Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?

Spanish: Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?

Narrator: Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?”

Greek: Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

Dutch: Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

Narrator: Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—

Simultaneously in German, Spanish, Greek, and Dutch: We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our tongues!

Narrator: We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our tongues! Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another,

German: What does this mean?

Spanish: What does this mean?

Narrator: What does this mean? Some, however, made fun of them and said,

Greek: They have had too much wine.

Dutch: They have had too much wine.

Narrator They have had too much wine.

Narrator: Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:

Peter: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

Joel: “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Dr. David Rylaarsdam is Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Faculty, at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan where he also teaches historical theology.


Reformed Worship 79 © March 2006, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.