World Cup Evangelism Has Flourished. What Comes Next?

Hundreds of thousands of Russians have heard the gospel during the month-long soccer tournament. It is just the beginning.

Even as Russia’s national soccer team was eliminated from its own World Cup last week, concluding a surprisingly strong run at the globe’s biggest soccer tournament, the country’s Protestants have made their own mark on this year’s Cup. They have high hopes to see their striking evangelistic project go beyond the championship game on July 15.
Across Russia, about 400 churches have attracted more than 10,000 people to live screenings of World Cup games so far. The screenings and their accompanying programs double as outreach events. Over the course of the tournament, half a million pieces of evangelistic literature, including Russian Bibles and special editions of John’s gospel that include directions to local churches, have been handed out.That project—a nationwide effort to use the tournament as a platform to share the gospel—has already reached hundreds of thousands of Russians, according to Mission Eurasia, a ministry that has equipped Christian leaders in the former Soviet Union for the last three decades.
That the Russian team made it so deep into the tournament, knocked out by Croatia in the quarterfinals, only helped the churches’ mission.
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