Empowering Churches to Connect with Schools

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Empowering Churches to Connect with Schools

In 2016 Bridgebuilder helped empower 24 churches to run Christmas Cracked for years 5/6 at 41 schools. Bridgebuilder provided the resources to churches who hosted and delivered the session in their buildings and Scripture Union donated a Christmas comic as a gift for every child.  2,148 children heard the Christmas story through the project which is predominantly run by volunteers.  This year 2 churches delivered Christmas Cracked for the first time enabling pupils from 3 more schools to experience this project.  We asked those 2 churches (Matt & Alise from St Mary’s Church Wavendon and Julie from Holy Trinity Deanshanger) some questions…

How did Bridgebuilder empower your church to run Christmas Cracked?

We observed Cracked at another local church, which was inspirational.  Rachel talked us through it too, and her passion and joy at helping children understand Christianity was infectious!  The resource box was excellent and communication with Bridgebuilder was fast and efficient.

All the materials were provided for us so we didn’t have to prepare any of the kit ourselves.  Bridgebuilder let members of my team go to watch it run for another school so we felt more confident understanding what it involved.  They organised for me to go and volunteer as a helper with another church so I could get some hands-on experience.

Why did your church choose to get involved with Christmas Cracked?

To connect more with our local schools, and Christmas is an opportunity for local churches to offer something relevant that meets school syllabus requirements, Bridgebuilder’s resource for Christmas Cracked was ideal!

We were looking for something to help us build stronger links with our local school and wanted something fun and exciting to offer a whole year group. Rachel had told me about all the different things Bridgebuilder offered primary schools and this seemed perfect.

How did it go?

It went well!  Teachers and children seemed keen to engage and enjoyed themselves.  It was great for our volunteers to be ‘in the thick of it’ with an age group that we sorely lack on a Sunday.  The mad scientist’s googly glasses were hilarious and the shepherd’s monologue was very moving – you could have heard a pin drop.  Children had the opportunity to wonder for themselves what the first Christmas must have been like.

Really well, we adapted it to fit the skills of the volunteers and the time and space we had available and the children, staff and church volunteers gave us lots of excellent feedback.

What were the outcomes? 

Christmas Cracked is an opportunity for our church to build relationships with local schools – offering good quality Christian input and delivering it with joy and love.  We hope that building credibility and being relevant will mean that, if there are other opportunities for us to help our local schools, we will have built up enough trust for them to approach us.

The children loved it and it was wonderful to see the church full of children actively engaging with the Christmas story! 

What advice would you give to other churches?

We would recommend doing Christmas Cracked – go and see it at another church so you get an idea of what you are taking on.  Very little prep needs to happen beforehand (which is a blessing!).  It is a really easy way to offer something relevant to your local school. It works best hosted in your church building as there were several children at ours who had never been inside a church, so they had plenty of questions and observations.  Go for it!

My best bit of advice would be don’t be put off running it because of lack of space or lack of volunteers who are willing to be upfront or do the acting.  God has a way of making sure these things come together, and you can adapt it to suit what you do have and pick and choose the bits you know you can do well.  Bridgebuilder are always on hand to help with advice or getting extra volunteers; just get in touch with them.

If your church is interested in finding out more about running Christmas Cracked for a local school, or if you as an individual would like to be involved in volunteering on a Christmas Cracked delivery team, please do get in touch with us.  We’d love to empower you in this way.  If your school would like to book Christmas Cracked, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to make this happen.