This is national collection week for Operation Christmas Child---the evangelistic program from Samaritan's Purse that sends 9 million shoeboxes to more than 100 countries each year. With more than 75,000 churches and small groups participating in this program, many of you are somewhat familiar with this project. By offering a free shoebox full of toys, school supplies, and whatever else someone desires to give a child, countries open their borders to receive millions of boxes each year. In many countries it is one of the only evangelism projects that can act as a key to open up access to a community. Volunteer teams of national leaders mobilize the project and provide leadership, strategy, and execution. Each shoebox includes a gospel presentation called "The Greatest Gift," and at each distribution site---schools, hospitals, orphanages, and villages---a spoken gospel presentation is delivered by the distribution team. This program aims to be a touchpoint in the lives of children around the world by offering a physical gift of love, as well the most meaningful gift of life---the good news about the new life God offers through the person and work of his Son.

Beyond the opportunity for local churches worldwide to use each shoebox gift to share the gospel, the project unfolds into The Greatest Journey---a 12-course discipleship program aimed at introducing children to the foundational theology behind the Christian faith. This coming year, more than 1 million children will take part in The Greatest Journey and receive their own copy of the New Testament at the completion of the program. For many of them it will be the first book they've ever owned.

How to Get Involved



  • Please pray for the hundreds of thousands of volunteers and the millions of children and families that are involved in this worldwide movement of God.

  • You can now Build-a-Box Online using items that will be culturally appropriate. Drop off a box at a local drop off location

  • Follow the journey of your box




David Thompson, international director of Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse, contributed to this post.

Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Matt Smethurst


Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.