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November 13, 2013

New resource opens the door to use the Olympic games to share the Gospel

By Marc Ira Hooks

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 within their own communities

"Engage Your Community"

This resource kit will provide sermon outlines, lesson plans for all ages, and other ideas as to how you can use the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, as a way to reach your community for Christ by using olympic-themed ideas and materials.

For questions or more information, send and email to: TellMeMore@EngageSochi.org

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While it is important to use the Olympics as an opportunity for ministering to, and sharing the Gospel with, those in the host city of Sochi, and to be a witness to people from the many nations who will gather there, it is equally important for Christians to use the Olympics as an opportunity to spread the Gospel around 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 games are one of few reoccurring events that cause people from around the globe to put their differences aside and bond together.

Both the Olympic motto and Olympic creed remind us that to be human is to continue in our struggle against the negative forces of this world.

The Olympic motto’s challenge of “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) are concepts that stir feelings of greatness within us. And yet, the Apostle John reminds Christians that greatness comes not from what the world sees, but who we are in God’s eyes and through our relationship with Jesus Christ (1 John 4:4-6).

The Olympic creed reads, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

As those who have put our faith in Jesus, we are a people who are “more than conquerors.” We have been promised victory, and the prize for that victory is not an earthly medal that will fade and tarnish over time, but a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

“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 (see “Be On The Winning Team” inset).

“We are very excited about this project,” he said. “The second the torch is lit in Sochi, people from around the word will be tuned-in to what is happening in Sochi. What better way to start a conversation?”

Prepared by the Engage Sochi team and written by church leaders across America, 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 (see related story).

“This is not just a thing for churches in the States,” Hooks added. “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 http://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 http://engagesochi.org.

BE ON THE WINNING TEAM!

Did you know that the design for the Engage Sochi olympic pin has a meaning? Learn what each color means and be on the winning team! Don't just read, take the time to share with a friend!

It is great to cheer when your country wins a gold medal. You can shout, “We won, we won” and feel part of the team!  Followers of Jesus Christ are on the winning team! Jesus’ victory over sin and death has become their victory. To become part of the winning team Jesus’ victory must become your victory.

GOLD: God loves you and desires a relationship with you forever!

Jesus’ victory can be yours!

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.- John 3:16

BLACK: sin separates us from God’s love and eternal life with Him.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

RED: Jesus Christ shed His blood for our sin.

Jesus went to the cross willingly to pay the price and penalty for sin.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!. - Romans 5:8

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12 

WHITE: When we confess our sin to God, He makes us whiter than snow.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9

"Come, let us discuss this," says the LORD,  "Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” - Isaiah 1:18

BLUE: Then we become a follower of Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Spirit lives in us.

He is our guide and comforter. We are to walk in the Spirit.

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. – John 16:13

Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16

GREEN: As we follow Jesus Christ daily we grow in Him.

We grow physically by eating and exercising; we grow spiritually by reading and memorizing God’s Word, praying, and telling others about Christ.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. - 2 Peter 3:18

Do you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ? No matter where you are right now, say these words to God. “Almighty God, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died for my sin, that He rose from the dead, and is alive today. Forgive my sin. Give me the victory and the ability to live and walk on the winning team until that time that I am with You forever in heaven.  Amen!”

If you have just become a follower of Jesus Chris, please let Engage Sochi know. We want to hear from you!

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