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project leader with shoebox gifts

Ideas for Churches

Packing shoebox gifts is a wonderful opportunity to share God’s love and the Good News of Jesus with children around the world!

Operation Christmas Child is fun and meaningful activity for all ages and a great way to start your Christmas season.  We've shared some ideas for getting your congregation involved below:

Project leader sharing about Operation Christmas Child to group

Hold a Launch Event or Shoebox Sunday Service

Cast the vision for making Operation Christmas Child a mission opportunity for the entire congregation. You can find resources to help with this here

Show a video to share the heart of the Operation Christmas Child ministry and the impact of a shoebox gift. 

Give out How to Pack a Shoebox Leaflets and display an Operation Christmas Child poster

You might also like to purchase some preprinted shoeboxes to get people started. 


Prayer is the cornerstone of Operation Christmas Child, and we encourage you to make prayer the foundation of all your planning and activities.

Encourage your prayer minsitry team to integrate Operation Christmas Child into outreach and missions plans for the year.

Encourage your congregation to pray during National Collection Week.

Group praying

Children’s Church/Sunday School

Take an empty shoebox and ask the kids, “How many of these boxes would it take to hold everything in your bedroom?” Most kids will say 50 or 100, etc. Explain that some children have very few possessions and that as a group you are going to pack a special gift for a child in another country to let know God loves them. 

Watch Lola's Lion or another Operation Christmas Child video to show children the difference a shoebox gift can make. 

Ask the children whether they would like to pack for a boy or a girl and which age group. Explain the sort of gifts that can go in a shoebox and then decide what items you would like to pack as a group. The children can either bring in an item each or the group leader can purchase these. 

Pack the shoebox gift together and have the children write a note or draw pictures for the child. 

Once the gift is packed, take turns to pray for the child who will receive it. 

Activity sheets: 

Download Let's Be Friends Sheet

Download Maze Sheet

Download Word Search

Girl holds shoebox gift

Lola's Lion

Lola, a lonely little girl living in an orphanage, receives an adventurous cuddly toy lion in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The gift and a child’s letter enclosed in the box help Lola experience God’s love. Her uplifting story is perfect for children and their families, showing the difference that a simple, prayerfully packed shoebox can have in a life.

Download Video

Download Discussion Guide

Greatest Journey App

Explore the Greatest Journey app together! This Bible game app invites them to captain a time-traveling spaceship to get a bird’s-eye view of the Old and New Testaments, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The app is based on Samaritan’s Purse discipleship course for shoebox recipients, and is FREE with no in-app purchases or advertisements.

Download on the Apple App Store

Get it on Google Play


Greatest Journey Bible app
Youth with shoebox gifts on trolley

Youth Event

Each teen puts together a team that consists of themself and three friends from school. The teens have a budget and a list of things to find and purchase before meeting back at church to their pack boxes.

You could also consider a group trip to serve at a shoebox processing centre in November/December. 

Dedication Service 

(Third Week of November)

A Dedication Service is a great opportunity to celebrate the shoebox gifts your congregation has packed. 

You might like to have a special part of the service where people bring forward their gifts and stack them at the front of the church. 

Invite the children to come forward and pray over the gifts during the service.

You might also like to watch a video to remind your congregation of the joy these gifts will bring. 

The pastor’s message could be about giving to the poor, fulfilling the Great Commission, and other lessons on showing the love of Christ to the world.

dedication service

Become a Church Collection Centre

Opening your church’s doors to receive Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes during National Collection Week in November provides a natural opportunity to welcome and chat to members of your local community. You can encourage them by sharing about the impact of their shoebox gifts and offering to pray with them for the child who wiil receive their shoebox.  You can also invite them to your church's Christmas activities.

Church members can enjoy being part of God’s great commission of sending the Good News of Jesus to children in need around the world. 

Learn More

volunteer at collection centre

Pack Shoebox Gifts Online Together 

Building a shoebox online is a great option for those in your church or group who are tight for time, less able to get out, or prefer online shopping. 

You can even create a goal page and pack shoebox gifts together online as a church. Our custom goal pages allow you to set an online shoebox target, pack together online and watch as your goal tracker grows and represents more children blessed with the joy of a shoebox gift and the eternal hope of the Gospel.

Create a goal page

Build a shoebox online

Engage with your local schools through the Christmas Values programme

Develop meaningful relationships with your local school by helping to deliver Religious Education as well as other aspects of the curriculum, while at the same time, sharing about the mission of Operation Christmas Child and packing more shoeboxes for children across the world.

‘Christmas Values’ is a four lesson course designed in partnership with teachers and education trusts across the UK. It is a curriculum based program, designed around the Christmas story from the Bible.

The lessons seek to share the real story of Christmas through a thematic program of values. While exploring these values of fairness, generosity, esteem and individuality, we hope to demonstrate the importance and impact of Operation Christmas Child, as well as other compassion based charities.

These lessons help deliver the RE and SMSC curriculum, fundamental British values, as well as helping with literacy skills through writing and discussion. The course is targeted at Key Stage 2.

Learn More

Register Your Interest to Support a School 


Why not arrange a group trip to your nearest processing centre and check shoeboxes together as a church? Learn More