Army prepares for Rio 2016
Evangelical outreach planned for Summer Olympics
By David Bowles, Lt. Colonel –
Salvation Army leaders from Brazil and the International Sports Ministry recently met to plan the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Sports Ministry Campaign. From Aug. 5-21, 2016, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad™ will take place in Rio de Janeiro for the first time since 1896.
“The Brazil Territory looks forward to hosting teams from other territories and commands with the prayer that the Rio 2016 Sports Ministry Campaign will result in souls won, leaders developed and disciples strengthened for the Kingdom of God,” said Territorial Commander Commissioner Oscar Sánchez.
Olympic ministry started with Salvationists at the 1948 Games, but sports ministry at the international event has been intentionally organized by the Army since 1996. In 2016, the sports ministry campaign strategy is to help corps, outposts and projects make use of the full evangelistic, discipleship and leadership training service opportunities presented through sports in their local neighborhoods, from sports camps to community festivals and service, creative arts, social action and prayer.
“The Army is collaborating with the local Christian para-church movements, such as Mission Open Arms (Movimento de Braços Abertos) and the Jesus4all One Movement, which are bringing churches and other Christian organizations together in order to make a greater impact,” Sánchez said.
Trained local and international mission teams will work in one of two blocks—Aug. 2-13 or Aug. 13-24, 2016—modeled after the strategy employed during the International Sports Ministry Campaign at the London 2012 Olympic Games.