World Cup: one post could change a life

  • by Rich Atkinson
Photo courtesy Athletes in Action.

For most countries of the world, soccer is king. Every 4 years, World Cup fever erupts. FIFA claims more than 1 billion people watched the World Cup in 2010. In the U.S., about 24 million viewers tuned in to the finale between Spain and the Netherlands.

This year Brazil hosts the 32-team soccer tournament. With the extreme popularity of the event, it offers a golden opportunity to use soccer as a connection point to the gospel.

This summer, Cru is partnering with local churches and ministries in Brazil to share the gospel with those in and around the games.

Fan Zones

A unique feature of this World Cup will be official fan zone areas. These are free, outdoor gathering spots are places where fans can watch the games together on giant screens. Cru is training 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers to go to these zones in 8 of the 12 host cities with the purpose of engaging in spiritual conversations.

With FIFA’s permission, fans at these zones will have the opportunity to hear the gospel by watching The Prize: Under Pressure. This 26-minute, evangelistic film features 5 Christian soccer players describing how they came to Christ and the difference He has made in their life.

In addition to the fan zones, The Prize will be available online in 35 languages for free, and the player testimonies will be included in The JESUS Film app.

5 Easy Ways to Make a Difference

  1. Pray. Along with the World Cup this year, Brazil is hosting the Olympics in 2016. Our ministry in Brazil is praying that the events will not just draw missionaries during the events themselves, but rather be a springboard for long-term ministry success. This is why Cru is working so closely with the local church and mission groups, since they will be there long after the games finish.
  2. Share The Prize With Soccer Fans and Players. If your kids (or you) play soccer, consider purchasing copies of The Prize to hand out to other parents or players. It’s a simple, natural way to engage with those in your sphere of influence.
  3. Spread the Word. You don't have to be a soccer fan to make an impact. It’s easy to follow the Athletes in Action social media Facebook / Twitter and to retweet/share the various engaging posts. Anyone will find these video clips and images inspiring. It will engage your circle of friends along with helping it go viral. The first match takes place on June 12, and the U.S. Men’s National Team plays on June 16, 22 & 26. Interest will be highest during these times, so use that time to post a link.
  4. Download The JESUS Film App. This is a great way to have the stories with you on the go, along with all of The JESUS Film clips.
  5. Bible Study Tools. These are great tools to use with the soccer fans you know.