Evangelising Russia through the Winter Olympics
The Winter Olympics in Sochi have presented Russian Christians with an opportunity to spread God’s word in some unique and inviting ways.
More than gold medals will be given out at the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. BMS World Mission partner organisation, Russian Ministries, will be distributing inspirational materials in a variety of forms, to share the gospel with spectators. To help, BMS is providing an £8,000 grant from the Mission Innovation Fund (MIF) that is going towards the cost of printing some of the magazines and booklets. For the next two weeks, over 500 evangelical churches in 11 major cities will be inviting the community to join them as the country celebrates this historic pastime with the world.
On 7 February, the Winter Olympic Games begin and young people from Russian Ministries will be ministering in some of Russia’s biggest cities. Among the resources will be the gospel of John in both Russian and English. Thanks to the BMS MIF grant, 8,400 copies will be added to the raft of reading materials handed out.
Another source of information is Russian Ministries’ magazine Hope, containing 50 Psalms, presented as songs. “These songs reflect some of the feelings, desires and affections of people and focuses them towards God,” says Wally Kulakoff, Russian Ministries VP for Ministries and Church Relations. Also within Hope is an illustrated gospel of John. “We printed 100,000 copies so people can look through them and understand God’s intention for their lives,” he says.
For the aspiring young athlete, Russian Ministries created another magazine called the Way of a Champion: we’re more than conquers. This publication has testimonies from 20 Christian athletes who have competed and won medals in the Olympics. The pages describe their spiritual and physical journeys through faith and their triumph on the field.
To appeal to a more technologically savvy audience, Russian Ministries has created the New Life mobile app and introduced it using a business card. On the back is a QR code linked directly to the website where Russian young people can find answers to their faith questions in their language. The site does not just give answers from a Christian perspective, but provides analysis from many religious traditions and allows the reader to compare them all and choose what to believe.
There are five recognised religions in Russia: Orthodox Christian, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. According to Kulakoff, there will be prayer rooms for only these five within the Olympic city. In cities across the country, evangelical churches will become Fan Zones where the games can be seen for free. The hope is that evangelical athletes will come to one of the three churches in Sochi. “The only prayer rooms for evangelical Christians will be within these three churches,” says Kulakoff. Evangelical athletes will be invited to join the congregation for worship, to give testimonies and touch lives.
Please pray with us:
• That the team at Russian Ministries is able to spread God’s light and move his spirit across the land.
• Pray for the safety of the competitors, the Russian Ministries team and those working in and around Sochi in the coming weeks.
See more stories about the BMS Mission Innovation Fund.