Christmas Chocolate Sprouts

Christmas brussel sprouts

On Saturday I led the Girl Guides District Carol Service, and used my favourite Christmas illustration – Chocolate Sprouts.



  • Boil the Brussels Sprouts (make sure they’re not too soft) and stick them in the fridge overnight.
  • Next morning, melt the chocolate and dip the sprouts in so that they look like truffles.  Let them set on a baking tray, then put them in small cake cases and sprinkle them with cocoa powder.


At the start of the talk, announce that you love Christmas so much, that you want to share it with everybody, and that what you have with you is something that will always remind them of Christmas day – delicious truffles!

Ask for a couple of volunteers to see if they can emulate Christmas day, by eating as many truffles as they can in 1 minute.  Build up the expectation and emphasise the need for speed in the challenge.

Once the young people start eating the ‘truffles’, they’ll realise that there’s something not quite right and their facial expressions will change from ones of sheer delight, to ones of outright disgust a they discover the sprouts. (You may want to have a plastic bag handy at this point!)

OK, so it’s a bit revolting, but here’s the point.

Ask the young people who loves chocolate, and also, who loves sprouts.

Say that Christmas, for most of us is a time of celebration, indulgence and happiness.  We love the ‘niceness’ of the Christmas season. It’s a bit like chocolate!

Go on to say that for many people, Christmas is not an easy time. For some it’s a time of loneliness, homelessness and struggle. For many people, Christmas is like our experience of sprouts – something to struggle through.

You could mention the first Christmas as an example. Mary was blessed with the news that she was to be the mother of God’s son, but probably struggled with knowing that her life could be in danger because of her pregnancy.  A classic Eastenders storyline!

Challenge the young people to consider how they spend Christmas – to be grateful for the Christmas they have, and to be mindful of those who will struggle through Christmas.


May our lives and our prayers be like lights shining in dark places.  And may the blessing of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – fill our hearts and homes with light this Christmas and in the new year to come.  Amen.

Good Youth Work Management Research

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Leon Coates, the director of Amaze is doing some research into the management of youth work in the church. He writes:

“I am doing some research in management practice in Christian youth work. I’ve had a low response to my request for contributions to my research, any chance you could spread the word about my survey (its short!):

My hypothesis is that where there is good management (in terms of specific activities and behaviours / competence of those doing it) that employed youth workers are engaged and perform well. Therefore I expect an outcome to be something along the lines of “these guys do great youth work that gets results because they are managed well. This is what these managers do and this is how they do it, therefore if you want good youth work please do the same!”
I’ve worked with Leon for a number of years together on We love our youth worker and his heart is so much to improve the working conditions for youth workers – if you’ve got a few minutes please do fill his survey in.