Operation Christmas Child: Building a Family Team

Building a Family Team

I’m doing a Bible study with a friend about Gideon. Yah, the fleece guy. But there’s more to him than fleece.  (Oooh, which reminds me, I still need to tell you about the fleece loveys! Evernote to self.)

So, Gideon. The author of the study pointed out that Gideon’s first step in his calling was to his family.

Ok, so Gideon’s family may not have been thrilled with the idea – tearing down papa’s idols is rarely call for a family celebration – but he did what God asked him to, and that was to start at home.

Hmmm, that reminds me of the study we’re doing in Children Church about the Book of Acts, taking the Gospel to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth and all.

We don’t want to leave our family behind in our desire to minister to others.

So, how does one build a family team?

What I Don’t Recommend

Barking out orders left and right to get the shoeboxing job done.

B Bunch

You’ll have time for that power trip on Packing Day when you’ve done all the organizing ahead of time and by golly, you have a plan!  Smile

What I Do Recommend

  • Begin slowly.
  • Keep praying.
  • Listen to their joys – and their moans.
  • Ask for specific help.

Begin Slowly

The first year, we only put together two shoeboxes. The second year, I didn’t push for more, but I did keep my eyes open, and my mouth pondering aloud about Operation Christmas Child when we’d go shopping as a family.

Do you think Operation Christmas Child kids would like this? What about this?

I invited them into my world, but I didn’t demand they RSVP.

Keep Praying

Pray for the children who are receiving the shoeboxes. This is the best team building exercise I can think of.

Greatest Journey South Sudan

Even if you are praying alone, it will keep your heart in the right place, for the right reasons. Your family will appreciate the peace you exude (in contrast to pressure you might be tempted to exude) and the children you are praying for will be blessed by their Creator and the Desirer of their Hearts.

Listen to Joys and Moans

Some people – even those in your own family – may not have the same crazy over the top heartbeat for shoeboxes that you have.

As our children serve with us, we need to listen to their joys and listen to their moans. When we listen, we learn where God is at work in their lives.


When we welcome them into our world, they often become more willing to share theirs.


If they do say no, we understand it might be because God is asking them to be involved elsewhere in the world, in the community, in the classroom, in the church.


Ask for Specific Help

Do you need a little help?A little moral support? A little boost of courage to keep pressing on?

Here are a few ways your family can walk with you in the shoeboxing ministry:

  • Walk beside you as you shop.
  • Look for Pinterest ideas.
  • Give you a ride to the store.
  • Push you in a pushmower, as needed, while shopping.
  • Unload treasures.
  • Move treasures to storage area.
  • Listen to your shoebox stories.
  • Make an occasional craft.
  • Sit with you as you crochet.
  • Wrap shoeboxes.
  • Pick up shoeboxes from shoe store.
  • Move shoeboxes – possibly repetitively.
  • Help with design questions.
  • Write and/or perform a skit with you.
  • Serve at the Collection Table.
  • Pack boxes on Packing Day.
  • Load boxes on Loading Day.

If you need help, ask for it, but be sure you are asking with the open heart that says, “It’s ok to say no.”

Unless the large box of shoebox gatherings is about to fall on your head, then you hope they will help whether they feel the call or not.

The more you give them the freedom to say no, the more they might be inclined to say yes. Or at least feel free to say no.  As God’s leading in the case may be.


Remember: A real no is better than a fake yes.


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