Sharing the gospel through sport

The Olympics have provided the inspiration for a day of training and outreach involving Jesus followers from across France.

Since 2020, the OM team in France have organised an annual national Tous Témoins (All Witnesses) outreach day and invited Christians and churches to take part wherever they are across the country, from big cities to small rural communities.

The day begins online with a Zoom call for all participants. The call includes a reflection on God’s Word, a time of praise and prayer for the world and for the participants’ own areas, and then goes into training to help share the good news. In the afternoon, the groups go out to put into practice what they have learnt, and then meet again online for a final Zoom call to share testimonies of what God has done during the day.

Sharing the good news through sport

In 2024, the theme for Tous Témoins was sharing the gospel through sport, as the Olympic Games will be held in Paris later in the summer. The first part of the day, held in June, saw the participants join a training session organised by a Christian sports coach. The session was run via Zoom to allow as many people as possible to join in from across the country.

The coach had recorded a video in which he shared practical suggestions explaining how sport can be a means of building long-term relationships, how it can serve as a bridge and as a means of living out the gospel through attitude, group cohesion and perseverance — and that it’s easier to listen to the Word while stretching!

Elise (France), who helped organise the day, said: “Many people are interested in sport, even if they don't do it.

“This year, we were strongly encouraged not to see this day as just another afternoon of action once a year, but instead equipping ourselves for everyday life. The teaching on 1 Corinthians 9* also encouraged many, reminding us that it's a race, that we mustn't give up, and that the prize is the celestial crown.”

Many ways to share

In the afternoon, groups chose several ways of sharing the good news when they went out into their communities. One of the groups in the Paris region went on a hike through a forest in the city’s suburbs to which they invited non-Christian friends, and took the opportunity to talk about Jesus with them on the walk. They plan to repeat the hike every month.

Another participant chose to do some work in a friend's garden, talking to his friend's Muslim neighbours and building a relationship with them. In French Flanders, in the north of the country, someone stood outside a Catholic church to talk to visitors about their faith and view of God. In Nantes, in the west, the participating church split into three small groups and took many opportunities to share about the hope they had found in Christ with people of different backgrounds and ages, including with those watching as a parade passed by.

For some, the day gave them many ideas for the future, particularly in regions where there are not yet many churches, or in areas that might be good for starting pioneering projects.

Covering the outreach in prayer

Elise’s role for the day was to bring together the elements that are made available online each year, including training courses, prayer topics and other useful information.

“I can accompany a church or a group of Christians on an Tous Témoins day at any time of the year, so this time I wanted to experience a different aspect of the day by joining the team of prayer partners,” she said. “During this day some people pray by Zoom meeting in the afternoon for the teams who go out to apply their training in the streets.

“At the end of the day, one participant shared this astonishing statistic: 95 per cent of Christians do not dare to share their faith. We still have a great deal of work to do!”

Pray for outreaches that are happening across France to coincide with the Olympic Games. Pray that the Jesus followers who took part in the Tout Témoins outreach will remember what they have learnt and put that into practice over the coming weeks and months.

* “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” — 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

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