NewsWorldRussian Churches Use World Cup to Evangelize, Despite Ban

Russian Churches Use World Cup to Evangelize, Despite Ban

-

In a country where strict laws on evangelizing are implemented, churches have to be creative in order to continue with their activities. Russian churches have found a loophole in a law that prohibits the sharing of faith outside places of worship and used the World Cup 2018 to reach more people.

In 2016, Russia has banned evangelism outside of buildings officially recognized as churches by the government. Aside from curtailing the activities of churches, the country has shut down foreign mission groups and denied visas to mission workers.

Sport offers a way to elevate man’s physical and spiritual culture, and it should be a tool for the Church. — Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

More than 400 evangelical churches in St. Petersburg and other cities joined an initiative and opened their doors for public live screenings of the World Cup. Soccer fans can watch the games on big screens for free from June 14 to July 15, 2018, reports Christian Today.

Mission Eurasia spearheaded the sport-church campaign. The organization partnered with hundreds of churches in Russia to distribute 600,000 copies of the Russian-language Bibles, including 100,000 copies of special edition New Testament Bibles. The Bibles have a QR code which directs readers to additional Christian resources.

“While soccer fans around the world cross their fingers as their national teams play in the coming days, hoping for a victory, Mission Eurasia urges Christians to join their hands in prayer with a different result in mind,” said Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia.

The organization is optimistic it can reach 3 million people and is already preparing for other church activities in the future, including Bible study groups and children’s day camps.

In addition to the World Cup screenings, church leaders have devised ways to use the sporting event to spread the church’s traditional values, according to British online newspaper, The Independent.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow announced the creation of a “sports commission” within the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Sport offers a way to elevate man’s physical and spiritual culture, and it should be a tool for the Church,” he said. “The task of an athlete is the same as that of a monk; without self-control there can be no success.”

More than 70% of the Russian population identify as Christians, but no more than six percent of them are practicing Christians or are frequently attending church services. The Russian Orthodox primate wants to use sports to make citizens more Christian.

“The World Cup is great chance to do that, to help those new to the Church understand our spirituality,” said the church’s press secretary, Vakhtang Kipshidze.

Sources:
Christian Today
The Independent

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.

Latest news

Kel Mitchell’s Journey From Actor to Pastor

Former Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell shares his journey from being one of the most successful actors in Hollywood to becoming a youth pastor in California.

After 800 years, Church of England Apologizes for Anti-Jewish Laws

A church service in London on May 8, 2022 marked the 800 years of the Synod of Oxford. The Church of England apologized for its "shameful actions" for the synod.

Less Than Half of Christians See Missions as Mandate from Christ —Barna

Research found that pastors and laypeople have different views when it comes to missionary work.

Chinese Open Theological Seminary in Italy

The first Chinese theological seminary was opened in Italy on April 2022. A group of 55 Chinese churches founded the Italian Chinese Theological Seminary in Rome.

US Congress Calls for the Protection of Jerusalem’s Christians

A bipartisan group of congresspeople sent a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on April 29 to raise concerns over the rise in attacks against Christians in Jerusalem.

Christian hip-hop is a ‘bridge’ between the church and the world, Lecrae says

The music by Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae and his label Reach Records may not yet be in your church...

Must read

Kel Mitchell’s Journey From Actor to Pastor

Former Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell shares his journey from being one of the most successful actors in Hollywood to becoming a youth pastor in California.

After 800 years, Church of England Apologizes for Anti-Jewish Laws

A church service in London on May 8, 2022 marked the 800 years of the Synod of Oxford. The Church of England apologized for its "shameful actions" for the synod.

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you