Welcoming a new year often brings renewed anticipation for what’s to come. For the country of France, 2024 brings its own level of anticipation, though much greater in scale and with more required preparation than our own resolutions may require.
Since 2017, the world has known the 2024 Summer Olympics would be hosted in the vibrant city of Paris. Following the announcement of this honour, Paris, and other cities across France, began the process of preparing for the games.
“Any major sporting event will inject a certain amount of excitement to the community,” says Tom Hawkins, a Greater Europe Mission worker in Paris.
Hawkins partners with Go+ France, a Christian association with the goal of uniting around the passion of sport, leisure, and fitness. “In 2016, when the European football championships took place in France, churches and ministries had open doors to planning events that involved the community because of the environment that the sporting event created.”
With only about seven months until the games, missionaries and ministers across Paris are again considering how best to utilize the unique opportunity a large influx of people coming to the city brings. It’s not every day the world comes to their doorstep!
Ministering during the Olympic games extends far past sports ministry or ministering within a church building. Events that will take place amidst the Olympics are being thoughtfully and creatively planned and will be supported by Conseil National des Évangéliques de France (National Council of Evangelicals of France, or CNEF).
“Under the banner of Ensemble 2024, ministries interested in doing things before, during and after the games are growing in number,” reports Hawkins. “Festivals, art exhibits, events surrounding the 100th anniversary of Eric Liddell’s story,”—the subject of the film, Chariots of Fire—” even a Christian fashion show.”
Without a doubt, ideas and opportunities to reach people with the Gospel abound during this exciting time. However, this does not come without its challenges.
“I imagine the biggest question we are all asking is the question of space,” says Doug Irwin, GEM missionary and church planter in the twelfth arrondissement of Paris. “Paris is already generally tight on space. Apartments are small, hotels are limited. I really don’t know where this city plans to host everyone. That can also make ministry hard.”
In addition to the limited space, the ability to conduct outreach and evangelism efforts during a massive global event may also be limited. Heightened attention around things like protests and demonstrations, and the resulting high level of security is also a concern for missionaries in Paris.
Despite the challenges that are brought by hosting the Olympics in a city like Paris, missionaries and ministers are hopeful. “The Olympic committee is encouraging every town, village, and city to participate in Terre de Jeux, and almost 4,000 have signed up,” notes Hawkins. Through this “Land of the Games” program – whose goal is to have the entire country playing a part in the Olympics – local churches throughout the country will have increased opportunities for outreach efforts and hosting events for visitors and locals, alike.
As GEM workers stationed in France prepare for the fantastic ministry opportunity that awaits them, will you consider joining us in prayer? We pray that God will open doors, give Christian workers creative ideas to participate in and serve the community, and boldness to present the Gospel in a loving way.
If you would like more information on Ensemble 24 and other Paris ministry opportunities, contact [email protected].
Originally Written by Emma Turner, GEM missionary in Paris, France.
Revised for GEM Canada by Leanne Monge Barrera
Read original article here: https://gemission.org/paris-2024-olympics-a-nation-in-preparation/