Going Deeper with Operation Christmas Child

Once again, Watermark is joining with Samaritan's Purse for Operation Christmas Child. Our members get to create shoebox-gifts for kids all over the world! But whenever we serve - especially when we're just giving material resources - we want to look for a way to go deeper.

Use this as an "ideas list," a discipleship guide for your community group, some discussion topics at your "Shoebox Packing Party", or to deepen your own level of service! (For a specific Family Discipleship Guide, please click here.)

Why Operation Christmas Child?

You may be wondering why Watermark has chosen to serve with OCC. In fact, it might even seem unwise - we've written before on the dangers of giving outside the context of relationship. And clearly we don't know the children who receive these boxes.

But the good news is, Operation Christmas Child's partners are deeply involved in the communities where the boxes are given. In fact, shoeboxes help grow churches, connect with families, and begin a discipleship journey with children. The goal isn't to provide a one-time gift; it's to begin a relationship with people that continues into eternity!

Read about our staff's visit to a drop-off site, watch the video below to see the connection, or read the basics here.

Want more videos?

Indeed we do! Operation Christmas Child has a fantastic library of videos at their site, and some more on YouTube. Whether you'd like to watch Uncle Si or Veggietales pack shoeboxes, want to see amazing videos of kids getting their boxes, or want to learn (or teach) more about Operation Christmas Child, check out those links.

Why use plastic boxes instead of the colorful cardboard ones?

This is a simple discussion to help your kids (or yourself!) think through how to love others well.

These boxes "feel" more like Christmas than plastic boxes - and the truth is, ANY shoebox-sized box should work!

So why do we encourage people to consider plastic boxes? Because when we observed an OCC drop-off site in Ecuador, our staff realized that the kids saw the plastic box as one more gift! The plastic box becomes one more valuable present - great for storing their toys - and it can be used for years to come!

This is a small example we can use to remind others (and ourselves) to look for what people need most, rather than what's most fun or easiest for us.

How can I use Operation Christmas Child to connect to others?

Whether it's in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your apartment complex, or at your kids' school, OCC can be a great way to connect with others. Here are some ideas:

  • Pass out fliers (available on the main Operation Christmas Child page) or set up a display at your workplace, school, neighborhood, apartment complex, etc. Not only does this bring in more shoeboxes, it allows you to connect to people!
  • Hold a Packing Party! This is a great idea for your neighborhood, coworkers, community group, multiple groups, etc.. Samaritan's Purse has some excellent ideas - and links to other ideas on Pinterest - for putting together an awesome party. Click here for ideas! (Just remember - our collection dates are ONLY Dec. 6 through Dec. 13, which is different from the national push.)
  • Use the Family Discipleship Guide!
  • Invite those who build a shoebox to serve with you, too. (See the section below.) The OCC Processing Center is an especially great chance for big groups to serve together, including nonbelievers.
  • Invite those who build a shoebox to more relational service, either during the holidays or next year! This could even be a great chance to start ongoing service with friends, your community group, in your neighborhood, or even at work.

Can we get involved beyond giving a shoebox?

Absolutely! We love that Watermark people have the chance to "follow their boxes." See the main OCC page for your campus for those opportunities: