What Is Operation Christmas Child?

“Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” - Mark 10:14

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Through this project, Samaritan’s Purse partners with the local church worldwide to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations.

Since 1993, more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The project delivers not only the joy of what, for many kids, is their first gift ever, but also gives them a tangible expression of God’s love.

Tens of thousands of volunteers from local churches around the world partner with us to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ at festive outreach events where children are surprised with these shoebox gifts.

Together we are working to see “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” - Revelation 7:9-11

This whole process is made possible by caring individuals who pack shoeboxes full of quality gifts for children in need. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Through this project, Samaritan’s Purse partners with the local church worldwide to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations. Since 1993, more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The project delivers not only the joy of what, for many kids, is their first gift ever, but also gives them a tangible expression of God’s love. Tens of thousands of volunteers from local churches around the world partner with Operation Christmas Child to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ at festive outreach events where children are surprised with these shoebox gifts.

From shoebox packers to those involved in transporting the shoeboxes, to the teachers on site, prayer is key to the work of Operation Christmas Child.

After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited by the local church to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson course that includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization. The goal of the program is for children to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with family and friends. And it all starts by training local teachers who love kids and are passionate about making disciples. More than 26.5 million children have enrolled in The Greatest Journey since 2009.

Watch this video to see the whole process !

Grace Point Church is Fully Committed to Operation Christmas Child

How does Operation Christmas Child work at Grace Point Church?

Operation Christmas Child can sound pretty challenging to anyone new to the subject. But Samaritan’s Purse – one of the Franklin Graham ministries – lays it all out for us and makes it easy.

The process begins by collecting items that make up one of the shoeboxes. These might include dolls, pencils and paper, puzzle books, toys, or other items that fit in a box this size.

Gathering the items to pack is a big project at Grace Point Church. We have prominent displays and talk the program through often as part of our regular worship service. This always results in an outpouring of generosity that stockpiles the needed items in short order. Once these items arrive, packing the shoeboxes begins.

Grace Point Church Kicks Off the Event

Project Leader Angie Cleveland brings into the service our Operation Christmas Child mascot, a stuffed giraffe named “Joy in a Box.” She lays out the Operation Christmas Child program, outlining how it works and how all Grace Point members can help. Integrating Operation Christmas Child into the regular worship service maximizes participation of congregation members and creates high energy excitement.

Ongoing In House Promotion

Prominent display and weekly in-service coverage holds Operation Christmas Child in everyone’s attention. Grace Point Church initiated Operation Christmas Child as an ongoing congregational commitment in 2017. The program was so successful that Grace Point Church became a Regional Hub for our area of Indiana in 2018. That means that many area churches pack boxes for the children at their churches and then bring them to Grace Point Church for final shipping.

Grace Point Church Receives Donations and Gets Organized

First Shoebox Contents are Sorted and Boxes Filled

As the donated items come in, they are sorted and categorized. The items have to be appropriate for boys versus girls and for the age of the child receiving the box. After the items are sorted, people organize and pack the shoeboxes. 

Once the shoebox content items have been gathered, they must be sorted so each child will receive a gift that is appropriate to them. This involves a lot of people working to sort shoebox items and prepare the items to pack into the shoeboxes. As the shoeboxes are filled and ready to go, they are stacked and prepared for the next stage in sending the shoeboxes on their way.

The Shoeboxes are Then Assembled and Packed

Shoeboxes Accumulate and Stack Up . . .

Work Progresses and More Completed Shoeboxes Stack Up for Shipment

At the beginning, there is a sea of seemingly separate pieces to assemble. There are many, many empty shoeboxes to fill with these items. It seems like an impossible task. We know, however, that with God all things are possible! Everyone prays, gets to work, and with the help of Jesus Christ, order comes out of chaos and the finished shoeboxes stack up. Each shoebox is one more chance to send the love of Jesus Christ to another Christmas Child! The workers rejoice at this thought and redouble their efforts. The piles of finished gift shoeboxes grow, getting taller and taller. And other churches are also doing the same preparation!

Other Churches Bring Their Shoeboxes . . .

Grace Point Church started working with Operation Christmas Child as an individual church in 2017. The project was so successful that the church became a Collections Hub for a large part of Indiana. That is why many churches just like ours are doing the Operation Christmas Child work at their church with their congregation – and then bringing the finished shoeboxes to Grace Point Church for final packing and shipping.

Shoeboxes are then sorted and Placed in Larger Shipping Boxes

The individual gift shoeboxes are packed into white intermediate-sized shipping boxes. This is a long process but the white boxes pile up like the gift shoeboxes did. These white shipping boxes are then packed into larger carton-sized shipping boxes. These shipping preparations are critical to success; everyone working together makes it possible for Samaritan’s Purse to ship the gift shoeboxes great distances across the world.

Collected Shoeboxes are Dedicated and Prayed For in Church

Operation Christmas Child is not just collecting goods and sending them away. This is a spiritual process that has the hand of Jesus on it from start to finish. Before shipping the gift shoeboxes out, we dedicate them and pray for them to be of good service to Jesus Christ and for the children who will receive the gift shoeboxes.

Never Forget What This is All About

Each shoebox is packed with love, care, and prayer that the presence of Jesus Christ will go with it. The child is affected directly by receiving the shoebox and support from Samaritan’s Purse – but the shoebox has influence far beyond that single child. Delivering the good news of Jesus Christ spreads from there – changing one child, one friend, one family, or one community – and far beyond that. We are the servants of Jesus Christ getting these shoeboxes out there – contributing to God’s plan to change the people and the whole world or the better. This is part of the Great Commission and we are glad to help.

Shipping Boxes are then Sorted and Placed in Larger Shipping Cartons

The white packing boxes full of the gift shoeboxes are put into larger packing cartons. These cartons are all standardized to mesh with Samaritan’s Purse transportation system.  The full packing cartons are moved into trucks to send them on their way.

As packed shoeboxes arrive from other churches, the larger packing cartons accumulate and the trucks fill up. We coordinate with the regional people and send the precious load of hand-packed gift shoeboxes on to their ultimate destinations. Looking at these large packing cartons give some idea of how many gift shoeboxes are being packed and shipped out.

Angie Cleveland and Pastor Tom Nelson

This is the point where we are so thankful for everyone who worked on collecting and sorting the shoebox items, packing the gift shoeboxes, and preparing them for shipping. Thank you, everyone who helped in the least made all this possible! And praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we all serve with great devotion!

The Grace Point Church Crew

Would you like to get YOUR church involved in Operation Christmas Child? We can help you with this - Please CONTACT US !

Need some inspiration? Watch this video . . .