International ministry OneHope is capitalising on the "Olympic-sized opportunity" to share the love of God during the Winter Games in Russia.
As part of a vision to see every young person in every nation reached
with a relevant Gospel message by the year 2030, OneHope has produced
an Olympic Games edition of the 'Champions Book of Hope' that shares the
story of Jesus along with testimonies of various Olympic athletes.
600,000 copies of the book have been donated to local churches in
Russia to distribute among their communities, and a further 100,000
copies will be given out in Sochi where the Games are taking place.
Teams will also be taking the book to some of the most remote towns
and villages across the nation, where conditions are harsh and poverty
In addition to this, churches throughout Russia are being invited to
hold open events where local people can come and watch the Games on big
screens, followed by a Gospel presentation.
Some churches will also be holding sports competitions and training
camps for children, while others will be heading to skating rinks and
ski venues to share the message of Jesus.
OneHope believes that the Olympic Games offer "unprecedented
opportunity" to share God's Word, and is encouraging church leaders to
use sport as a "context for ministry".
"The juxtaposition of this celebration against the backdrop of a
nation that is dying is glaring," said OneHope President Rob Hoskins.
"This country has quietly crept into the category of 'forgotten',
with many corners of its vast geography untouched and unreached."
It is hoped that many more Russian people will find faith as a result
of this fresh outreach programme, though the International Mission
Board 'Engage Sochi' team have created a resource kit with the aim of
helping Christians all over the world to use the Games as a way to share
The kit, entitled 'Engage Your Community', contains outreach ideas,
sermon outlines and small group lessons for adults, teenagers and
children. It also uses the colours of the Olympic rings to correspond to
the Gospel message.
"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," says 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 colours help tell that