LONDON (IMB) — “We lit the flame and lit up the world.”
Doug Shaw had to smile a little when London 2012 chairman Lord Coe closed the Olympics with those words Aug. 12.
Because Shaw’s hoping that’s exactly what happened.
As part of More Than Gold, a joint effort of Christian churches worldwide, Shaw saw about 2,500 evangelical Christians reach out to thousands of Games goers in London. Volunteers met tourists, visitors, athletes and locals, and they ministered among London’s huge immigrant population.
And Shaw and others are hoping that soon some of the people they met might even take the Gospel back to the countries they came from — to “light up the world.”
“The world was here, and the cordial atmosphere was an excellent opportunity for sharing one’s faith,” said Shaw, who served as Olympics volunteer coordinator for Southern Baptists and worked through More Than Gold.
About 450 Southern Baptist volunteers have been on the ground in London — an epic milestone, Shaw said. “To my knowledge, this is the largest Southern Baptist volunteer response to any single event outside the U.S.”
London’s Underground trains made 4.5 million journeys on their busiest days during the Games, BBC reported. Officials estimate visitors will be leaving via London’s airports at a rate of 200,000 people a day for a while.
“We have had word of salvation experiences at one of the mission points at least,” he said. “This took place in an open café that has resulted in 400 guests visiting a local church for the first time.”
Volunteers helping run events like this have meant “strong engagement” for London’s local churches, Shaw said. “This type of ministry has gone extremely well.”
And prayer played a huge part too, he noted. It was beneficial, Shaw said, to have the eyes of the world on London. During the Games, BBC Sport registered a record 55 million hits worldwide. NBC reported an estimated 300 million worldwide watched the closing ceremony Aug. 12.
Shaw said he hopes many watched and prayed for London before and during the Games.
To learn more about how you can pray or help reach London with the Gospel, visit adoptlondon.com.