Christmas Party Pack
Scripture Union, 2017

£0.00 (Approx)
3.8
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Welcome to your Christmas Party Pack 2017! We’re really pleased this resource has made its way to you and pray that you’ll find it really helpful as you reach out to children and young people with the good news of Jesus this Christmas.

School nativities, crib services, lobsters at the manger, Christingles, mince pies and mulled wine, a sermonette at the carol service or not, midnight communion… So many opportunities so easily lost in the need to get everything done. And the challenge of avoiding sentimental escape – a religious saccharine coating that becomes just another pre-packaged element of a commercialised Christmas…

So, how best to optimise the opportunity that Christmas provides?

Welcome, inclusion and engagement are perhaps the key elements of SU’s vision. At Christmas, God got ‘down and dirty’, entering into the messy reality of humanity. If we are to make God’s love known to all children, we need to explore how best to enter into their world and to meet them there with Jesus’ love. Not as a brief ‘hit and run’ exercise, nor as an annual fishing expedition – seeking to recruit a few more children who will fit in with the ones we’ve already got – but as part of a year-round, lifelong commitment. There is a need for honesty and integrity, a need for long-term love, and the willingness and ability to see God at work outside church buildings.
May this Christmas ‘toolkit’ from Scripture Union help you to get out of your ‘safe place’ this year as you share Christ’s love with the world he came to save.

What do you get?

Free 28 page resource book of ideas for Christmas in different contexts.

Who is it for?

There are ideas for all-ages, and all backgrounds included.

Cost?

FREE from Scripture Union website

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good, simple and easy to follow. The layout is colourful and has clear headings and sub-headings.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Mary Hayes (National Children & Youth Advisor for the Church of England) summarises the aims, which are stated for the sessions engaging young people and for the assemblies for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 2.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Very accessible and easy to follow. The format is similar to Scripture Union’s “All Resource Christmas” book where some of the ideas for Christmas Party Pack have been taken from. Each different session gives leaders a clear idea of what to say, what to discuss what to prepare and how to ask open questions so participants are left with something to think about.

    Who could lead it?

    Depends on the session chosen as there are several for different contexts. The All-age service would need to be run by an experienced church leader, confident about the Christmas message in front of lots of people; whereas an assembly for KS2 could be led by Christian teachers or a Children’s Worker. For sessions involving crafts or games, young leaders can facilitate smaller group work too.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    These are created by the leader and consist of resources for crafts and activities to aid sessions. All fit for purpose and related to the theme for the session.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A unless promoting the external resources mentioned in the resource which have videos available online at su.org.uk/christmasextras

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation depends on the session which is relevant for each context. This resource includes Christmas ideas for: all-age service, activities for children’s groups at Christmas (games, prayers, crafts), sessions for young people, assemblies for KS2 and KS3. For each option, what you need is clearly written at the beginning of the resource and there are options for all-age extras where activities may have been written for the context of children’s groups. The assembly plans include explicit instructions on preparation, and require less time to plan than the all-age service and young people sessions.

    The resource puts an emphasis on the importance of Christmas and the unique opportunity to talk to people about Jesus who may not be thinking about Him at other times of year. Leaders should not only take time to read through their session and become familiar with it, but also think about how best to engage and interact with the people who may come to church at Christmas - of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. Some resources need to be bought for all sessions too ahead of time.

    Is there website support? Links?

    N/A unless the leader is choosing to focus on the community involvement or looking to incorporate other resources available at su.org.uk/christmasextras

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Each session for the different contexts has a lot of interaction to keep all participants engaged and thinking. This may be done through something hands-on like crafts and games, or by open questions during the all-age talk. Interaction and engagement is all based around the Christmas story.

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

    There are different delivery styles depending on the session and the context. Across all sessions, there is learning through craft, games, discussion, prayer and reflection.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This resource is specifically for the Christmas period so is most suitable in December (although crafts and games could arguably be adapted for other festivals in the year). The resource caters for: an all-age service and kids groups, a KS2 assembly, a KS3 assembly and sessions with young people (two options). The craft (5 options), game (6 options) and prayer (5 options) ideas can be used in different contexts depending on time allocation, context and attendees - there are ‘all-age extras’ too for the crafts if used in a larger church event. Leaders need to ensure they have all materials, have read through the session and recruited any helpers if needed. The sessions are typical in length for each context, for example the assembly would last about 20 minutes, whereas the all-age service could last 1 hour or more depending on added extras. The sessions do not specify the running times so leaders will need to be reasonable in estimating this in their own environment. For the all-age service, some decisions need to be made by the leader with regard to songs or carols chosen.

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

    Material is applied by answering questions in different formats across sessions and by completing crafts, games and prayers based on the theme of Christmas.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Most activities have an explicit Bible link, and all talk formats incorporate key passages from the Gospels in the New Testament to aid the sessions.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is mostly presented by interactive talks and answering questions either during the story or after as a reflection or response.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Lightly, as this is a Christmas resource intended to reach out to people about the Christmas story and remind those who are Christians about the significance of God sending his son to us. Application of material is done in the context of the Christmas period. For example, children are asked to think of the things they enjoy about Christmas and then to consider how they can enjoy those things with God at the centre, and with one another. They think about who may be alone at Christmas and are challenged to show them God’s love.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, open for all denominations.

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

    Not a huge focus as the specific focus of this resource is around the significance of Christmas. However, this could be a starting point for people who may not know about Jesus as they are introduced to the Christian faith. For people who are already Christians, the sessions remind participants of God’s great love for his people, and ask how we might respond to God’s love by sharing it with others at Christmas time. That might be through giving a gift to someone who is lonely, or by praying for people who need God’s help.

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

    Children can grow in faith in two ways: there are options to accept and thank God for His love, or if you are already a Christian, there are prayer responses which to ask God for help in following him.

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

    Children learn not only about God and Jesus at Christmas but that, if we root ourselves in him, it is the best way to be. They also learn that although God has a vision for us and this world, it cannot be maintained without us - we need to keep those roots in him healthy, strong and growing.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Very well from the perspective of connecting with communities, other people and their issues at Christmas. Children think and reflect on God’s love and his choice to send his son, and are challenged to share this with others at Christmas time.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This resource acknowledges that Christmas is a time to reach out to people and share the true Christmas story with people who may not know or fully understand it. For this reason, the resource can be used for personal evangelism initially, and then challenges participants to take God’s love in to their communities.

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

    Brilliant opportunities for community involvement are included. Participants are given the chance to give money to projects sharing the real Christmas story with vulnerable children across the UK and with children in the community. They can invite friends and family along with them, and set up sessions in different contexts as the ideas are versatile to context. Participants can join The 95 Campaign too, which seeks to teach children and young people about Jesus who are not in church.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Children and adults are reminded that Christmas is celebrated all over the world and that God came for the whole world. Participants can reflect on this, and are reminded that the Christmas Story has an unmarried teenage mother, a homeless family, a husband-to-be ready to brave disgrace because of love, working men trusted with angelic news and strangers from a foreign land.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a main focus.

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