Southern Baptists busy at work at London Olympics
The Olympics are going strong in the UK and while all the world watches, many Southern Baptists are on the ground giving their time and energy to sharing the Gospel. Under the leadership of Doug and Marcy Shaw, IMB missionaries in London, volunteers are finding many opportunities to use this international event to the glory of God. From July 24 until August 13, and again during the Paralympics in late August. More than Gold, an ecumenical organization through which the Shaws are working, is organizing ministry teams according to the guidelines laid out by official UK Olympic rules.
Teams of 10-20 people are manning “live sites,” large open areas set up by churches or boroughs with huge television screens where the public can watch the games. These sites have festival games, refreshments and places to rest. Some churches are hosting a smaller version of these sites at their worship center. Other volunteers are serving as “games pastors.” These key workers are in busy transit areas such as airports and tourist sites to aid visitors with their needs, be it directions, physical problems or spiritual concerns. There are 300 of these serving at Heathrow Airport and another 300 at Kings Cross Railroad station. Other volunteers serve as tourist guides for popular spots like Westminster Abbey, which requested 30 extra volunteer workers. Fusion International has gotten into the games by hosting block parties throughout the city. Others are using their talent in art or music, mime or dance by performing on sidewalks or in parks. WMU has sent volunteers to take part as well as organizing prayer and intercession events in the States.
These London games are the biggest Olympics to date—marking the first time tickets were completely sold out, with 20 people applying for every available ticket. One hundred million people are expected to come through the city including staff, athletes and visitors. This huge influx of people aggravates already compelling social issues such as homelessness and human trafficking. Games pastors will have opportunity to minister in these arenas as well. . More than Gold also has specialty groups assigned to help these victims.
After the games end and the medals are given, thousands will leave London. But many of our IMB missionaries will stay on the ground. Some work with Londoners, some with internationals in the city, some do church planting and others work for larger ministries that comprise all of Europe, Central Asia and North Africa. One ministry in particular is called Adopt London and is led by Matt Fontenot. By involving yourself with him, you can continue the work that begins in these weeks of games. You can read more about this ministry here.
Be in prayer for London. Pray specifically for:
*Volunteers who are serving and opportunities to share Christ
*Doug and Marcy Shaw as they lead out during this time
*Specialty teams that are helping victims of human trafficking
*IMB teams living in London long-term that will continue on after the games are over
*Upcoming opportunities for ministry at the Paralympics
Posted Jul 31, 2012