The sports ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ will be teaming up with a coalition of 100 ministries and churches to use the 2004 Olympics as an opportunity for outreach.
Athletes in Action (AIA) is part of the organization, FLAME 2004, which will host families of athletes, perform evangelistic dramas, and distribute JESUS videos and Olympians’ printed testimonies during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from August 13-29.
Most recently, AIA particpated in an outreach titled, “Giving the Flame,” which took place for 10 days in July. It is “the largest evangelistic outreach in Greece,”Gregoris Karasaridis, who is leading a team of five AIA staff members in the Greece outreach, told Worldwide Challenge magazine.
The ministry has partnered up with other Greek evangelical churches to run sports clinics, teaching sklls in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. The amount of cooperation AIA has received has been encouraging, according to Karasaridis.
“When we were originally planning, we thought it would be great to have 30 churches participating. Now we have over 50,” he said.
Around 1,100 volunteers participated in “Giving the Flame.”
Also, as part of the outreach, a FLAME 2004 organization, AMG International will be operating an Olympic Village at its new Cosmovision sports center, which will provide housing for athletes and their families. For this year’s Olympics, eight AIA staff members will serve as chaplains and spiritual guides at the Olympic Village, nearly quadrupuling the number of AIA members involved at previous Olympics.
The AIA staff will gear toward building relationships with Olympian athletes, conducting interviews with them, and witnessing Christ to them.
The Olympics provide a unique platform for the planned outreach, according to one of the Olympic Village’s chaplain.
“For the Olympians, this will be the highlight of their lives,” AIA’s global events coordinator Reid Lamphere told Worldwide Challenge.
“Everything that touches them will be memorable, so it’s a great time to give spiritual input,” said Lamphere.