While athletes compete for gold and attempt to break world records during the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, hundreds of Christians will take the Gospel message to the streets of the British nation in pursuit of a different reward.

The Olympic Games will be held in London from July 27 to August 12, 2012, followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games from August 29 to September 9. With backpack, bedroll and Bible in hand, volunteer ministry teams from around the globe will seek to evangelize those who have yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Christians Take Aim

London hosted the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948, making this year’s event the third time the games have been held in London since the modern Olympics began in 1896. This year 205 nations are expected to take part in 306 different events and 26 different sports.

Roughly 500,000 people from all over the world are expected to visit London for the Olympics. International ministry organizations see the premier sporting event as a prime opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through literature and personal witnessing with both spectators and Olympiads.

More Than Gold, an ecumenical initiative linking Christian organizations together who brings mission teams into the United Kingdom around the time of the Olympics, serves as a logistics conduit for visiting ministries. The organization works with thousands of churches and agencies coordinating mission outreach efforts.

Visitors to the 2012 Games will be able to experience almost 700 free performances by Christian musicians, dancers and visual artists from over 30 nations.

Some 40 teams of performers and artists coming to London involve about 440 individuals. Among the talent on display with be an Indian musician playing a multi-stringed guitar with built in bongo drums, an international folk-rock band, a Hawaiian-based dance troupe and a children’s ballet company.

“This is about more than great performances and outstanding art,” said Julie Spence, More Than Gold talent organizer. “All involved use their talents to provoke questions about life and faith and point to Jesus as being key to having them answered.”

A number of ministries from the U.S. will partner with More Than Gold.

In conjunction with Sports Fan Outreach International, Living Waters, founded by well-known author and speaker Ray Comfort, will host a fourteen-member team to the Olympic Games. Participants joining the team raised their own funds for the two-week outreach.

“Our mission is very simple,” said Tony Miano, director of events and special projects at Living Waters. “We will be out every day and every night heralding the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

At $3,000 to $4,000 per person, Miano told ReligionToday.com it is a significant investment of both time and money, but a worthwhile cause. Participants will stay at the Guildford YMCA hostel, about 40 minutes away from the major Olympic venues.

“We are going there because we love Christ, we love the lost and we don’t want to see anyone perish from their sin,” said Miano. “We know that there is only one law giver, one judge and it is not us, but we are commanded by His word to proclaim the Gospel to every creator.”

Miano said it is doubtful volunteers will get to see any of the Olympic events or even the traditionally spectacular Opening Ceremonies. The group will, however, tour the historic Oxford University and sit under the teaching of The Rev. Dr. Richard Turnbull. In May 2012 Turnbull stepped down as Principal of the noted theological seminary Wycliffe Hall. The evangelical Anglican scholar will teach on the English revival of Christianity and the tumultuous world of the 18th century.