New resource opens door to use Olympics as evangelistic tool
Friday, Nov 22, 2013
SOCHI, Russia (BP)--Athletes from around the world will soon converge in Sochi, Russia, for the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in February 2014, and millions across the globe will gather around their television sets to watch.
For Christians, this creates a unique opportunity to share the gospel, not only at the games but also within their own communities.
To help meet the challenges of this task, the Engage Sochi team has prepared a resource kit called “Engage Your Community.” The packet has been designed to help Christians use the Olympic Games as a way to share the gospel regardless of where they are.
“The message we have to share is so much more precious than winning a gold medal, something only a few ever get the chance to do,” said Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi. “We are talking about something that every person can have — a personal relationship with God. And the Olympic colors help tell that story.”
Hooks noted that the colors used in the Olympic rings are the same colors that Southern Baptists have used for years to share the gospel.
“The second the torch is lit in Sochi, people from around the word will be tuned in to what is happening in Sochi,” Hooks said. “What better way to start a conversation?”
Prepared by the Engage Sochi team and written by church leaders across the United States, the “Engage Your Community” resources kit contains Olympic outreach ideas, sermon outlines and small-group lessons for every age group.
The kit also includes sheet music for the Engage Sochi theme song, “Where the Sea Meets the Snow,” written especially for the project by Nashville worship leader and songwriter Jeff Bourque.
“This is not just a thing for churches in the States,” Hooks said. “Churches from around the world will be using these materials to help reach the people in their communities share the message of Jesus with their friends and neighbors.”
Hooks said the packet is available in Russian and will be used by Russian-language churches across Russia and Europe. In addition, churches in other countries will host special Olympic-themed services and events using these materials.
To download the “Engage Your Community” packet, visit engagesochi.org/resources.
An online version of the color-based evangelism presentation is currently available in English and in Russian. Other language translations and a downloadable mobile app will be added in early 2014. The online presentation can be found at engagesochi.org.
Reported by International Mission Board staff in Europe.
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