Advent Conspiracy
Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, Greg Holder, Zondervan, 2009

£9.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

Can Christmas still change the world? Are you tired of how consumerism has stolen the soul of Christmas? This year, take a stand! Join the groundswell of Christ-followers who are choosing to make Christmas what it should be – a joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth that enriches our hearts and the world around us, not a retail circus that depletes our pocketbooks and defeats our spirits.

Advent Conspiracy shows you how to substitute consumption with compassion by practicing four simple, but powerful, countercultural concepts:

Worship Fully – because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus!
Spend Less – and free your resources for things that truly matter.
Give More – of your presence: your hands, your words, your time, your heart.
Love All – the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, the sick, in ways that make a difference.

Find out how to have a Christmas worth remembering, not dreading. Christmas can still change the world when you, like Jesus, give what matters most – your presence.

What do you get?

Paperback book and online videos. Videos consist of four sessions based on four themes. Each video is about 15 minutes long. Small group discussion questions are included in the book.

Book has 7 chapters, which explore the themes, and are linked to the videos (some have two chapters rather than one per theme):

A prophetic dream
The religion of consumerism
Worship fully
Spend less
Give more
Love all
What if? has the videos, more resources, promos, information and links.

Book available from for £9.99.

Who is it for?

Anyone interested in rescuing Christmas from stress and commercialism. Adult, youth and children (in principle rather than providing specific resources), whole church. Small group.




  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Superb book, DVD and website, exposing the lies and dangers at the heart of consumerism, and inspiring a new Jesus-centred way to celebrate Christmas. Exciting and potentially world-changing.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Clear aim of inviting us to change our attitudes to Christmas via the four sessions and discussion, linked to the book.
    How accessible are the leader's notes? The best combination for this material is to read the chapters as well as use the DVD and discussion guide; however, using the DVD and guide would be more than enough to stimulate mind- and heart-stretching discussion around better ways to do Christmas in our consumerist, Western culture. The guide is easy to use, with Opening questions; DVD viewing; DVD discussion; Engaging the Word; Unwrapping the message. Clearly laid out, and very easy to read and use. Some helpful and thought-provoking quotes along the way. The previous chapters, which link to the sessions, are well-written explorations of a radical rethink of Christmas. Notes section provides references which could be used for further reading.

    Who could lead it?

    Any leader prepared to engage with the subject and encourage the group to respond.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    The book has lots of note-taking space in the Guide section, which participants could use. They would then have the material to look at again between sessions –the chapters are powerful and extend the DVD clips further. However, this resource would also work without every member having a copy of the book.

    How good is any digital material?

    Videos are well produced and engaging – mix of the authors talking plus some interviews and illustrative, creative cutaways. Memorable and enjoyable as well as challenging. Recommendations and links to other discipleship resources are also provided.
    How much prep will I have to do? Familiarisation with material of DVD and book. Would help to look at website too. See below.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Advent conspiracy was launched officially in 2009, and there are plenty of links on the website to more material, suggestions and ideas (including Pinterest and the charity living water international. While the advertised site seems to have disappeared now, searching for it produces other very good Vimeo content etc which promote Advent Conspiracy and could be used in churches. is very good and has downloadable Advent Conspiracy resources.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very well in that most people will easily talk about Christmas, one way or another.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Videos bring the teaching to life, and the questions should be easy to engage with for most people. Discussion based without being too long.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Should suit youth as well as adults; the authors have found that children are among the first to catch on to the principles. Would suit small groups and whole churches, and easily adaptable.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Exceptionally well, as one of the values is the conviction that we can change the world so much more effectively when we do it together.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Each session has one or two passages under the Engaging the Word section, relevant to Christmas and the theme. These are followed by several discussion and application questions.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Passages are pertinent and questions are a mixture of understanding the biblical material and what might be the implications for the here and now.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Very well – big broad brushstrokes of engaging with the Christmas story from the biblical narrative, matched with specific questions to challenge the way we interpret that into what we actually do at Christmas. Some deeply challenging material for those of us who get swept along by the Christmas rush.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?


  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    While being entirely focused on Christmas, this resource unashamedly aims to change the world by changing our attitude to it. The material challenges our current practices around Christmas, in order to align them more fully with our journey to whole-life discipleship.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Inspiring, moving and practical. Lots of suggestions for new ways to ‘do' Christmas that more appropriately reflect the revolutionary nature of God coming to earth in the ultimate giving act. Profoundly revolutionary in understanding the power of ‘radical consumerism' to seduce us away from worship of our one, true God.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    This is a resource from America and it is arguable that the culture there is even more consumed by consumerism than the UK; however, the principles are the same, and all the ideas are transferable. Gloriously inspirational.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Essentially and inspirationally. This is boots-on-the-ground Christianity, expressing itself in our own spiritual lives, in the way we relate to our nearest and dearest, and in the way we relate to those in need.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Giving in the name of Jesus because he was given to us is the foundational understanding of this resource. Potentially transformational.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    The Advent Conspiracy attempts to inspire both churches and communities to give where it is needed; and to encourage church members to get out of their buildings and give creatively and sacrificially in their local areas. It also suggests ideas for relational giving to our friends, colleagues and families, rather than ‘obligational' or ‘tick-off-the-list', expensive presents. Great stuff.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Advent Conspiracy do not administer nor require funds, but encourage all to give to worthwhile projects as appropriate. Their example is Living Water International, through whom ‘Advent Conspirators' have given, to date, over $100 million for clean water wells to be dug around the world.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    This is global mission in action, enabling practical mission in the name of Jesus in the places where it is needed most.

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