With the London Olympics upon us, Olympic Ministry Award Receiptent Mark Tronson, the chairman of Well-Being Australia is writing a weekly series of articles leading up to this world gala event which encapsulates the nations of the world in sport, politics, economics, culture, benevolency and religion.
In these past 25 weeks of coverage leading up to the London Olympics, Mark Tronson has covered the history of Olympic Christian outreach, how these various ministries function, the nature of Olympic ministry, the theological and philosophical basis for Olympic ministry along with Olympic athlete issues.
Lay Witnesses for Christ Internationally
Dr Sam Mings the President of Lay Witnesses for Christ International and his team of former Olympians known as “Chaplains to the World's Olympians” have been engaged in Olympic ministry since Los Angeles in 1984. London will be their eighth Olympiad. (www.laywitnesses.com/)
Their ministry “Bridging the Gap 2012 UK Outreach” head quaters in London is at the largest church in London, right in the centre of the Olympic hub, the Kingsway International Christian Centre, a congregation of 12,000 people.
This ministry is highly Olympic focused whose networking is astonishing. They have a significant Global media presence and their major engagements are “Evenings with the Stars (Olympians)' throughout London in large church venues.
Dr Mings said that LWFCI are fulfilling a Schedule of fifteen events each night at fifteen different host churches for sixteen consecutive days. A total of 240 Bridging the Gap 2012 UK Outreach events. This is unprecedented.
LWFCI have accreditation and their people come from around the world, many nations are represented. Should you be visiting London during the London Olympics, be sure to make yourself known as a follower of Jesus and you'll receive wonderful responses.
Olympic Village Chaplains
Each Olympic host city is required to provide a multi faith centre (Religious Services) and these cover the five major world religions. Protocols are obviously important in such a setting and they are carefully adhered.
Nonetheless the Christian chaplains in each host city are made up of a local component and an international contingent, regulars at each Olympics.
Mark Tronson has been involved in Olympic ministry since Los Angeles 1984, he has a small role in the protocols. In February 2000 he was invited to the IOC in Lausanne Switzerland to work with staff in developing a 'Protocol of Ideas' for each successive host city to use as a resource. He updates the document after each Olympics for forwards it on to the next host city.
The Bible Society
The Bible Society says that around 3,000 copies of commemorative English-language Scriptures available as a welcome gift in the Olympic Village Religious Services Centre. There will also be nearly 1,000 copies of Bibles and New Testaments available in a variety of other languages through partnerships with national Bible Societies around the globe. (www.assistnews.net)
More Than Gold
The “More Than Gold” ministry during these London Olympics has a wide range of church and community activities such as sports clinics, and their web site is full of ministry ideas and engagements. (www.morethangold.org.uk/)
They have people on board their ministry with cups of water “on every street corner” (as it were) for Olympic visitors and what might be referred to as “street chaplains” to welcome people to London and help visitors find their way around.
Should you be in London during these London Olympics and you come across “More Than Gold” personnel, make yourself known as a follower of Jesus and you will be certain to get a warm greeting and bountiful responses.
The Olympics bring the world together
There is no other international event that brings the world together in such a way as does an Olympic Games. It is a world gala event which encapsulates the nations of the world in sport, politics, economics, culture, benevolency and religion. It provides a platform for evangelism and in this, we are delighted and rejoice in the Lord.
Mark Tronson says that prayer is the secret ingredient in any evangelism and for Olympic ministry it is particularly important as the world comes together in good-will. Enjoy London 2012 whether you are there or simply watching it on television, the internet or where ever.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at (www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html)