Spreading God's Word Through Major Events

Written by Phil Taylor

Over the years, the ministry of Bearing Precious Seed (BPS) has had the opportunity to be involved with Scripture distribution at many worldwide events. These events have included the last two World Cups (one in South Africa and one in Brazil) as well as the last 11 Olympic Games. In the last 20 years, the Lord has allowed BPS to partner with other ministries to distribute over 3,000,000 portions of Scripture. This Scripture was printed in 35 different languages. The first open door was during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. These Olympic Games provided us with our first glimpse of the opportunities that exist during such an event. We quickly recognized the ability to reach a great number of people, from a great number of countries, during a singular event.

I have personally had the privilege of being involved with Scripture distribution during several of these campaigns. I have been able to attend the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; the 2012 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia; and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. By the time this article is printed, I and seven of our church members will have attended the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Olympic Games provide us with the unique opportunity of presenting the written Word of God to many nations, languages, and people groups; all at one geographical location and all in a very short period of time.

In the second chapter of Acts, we are given the account of what transpired during the day of Pentecost. We know that during Pentecost many people, from different regions and who spoke many different languages, received the Gospel in their own language and were saved. God used Pentecost to show the disciples that He would use His Spirit to empower them for the work He had commanded them to do. The result of the obedience of God’s people and the working of the Holy Spirit was that God was glorified among the nations. Habakkuk 2:14 says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” God desires to use the same formula today as He did with the early church. The formula is not speaking with tongues of fire; rather, the formula is the obedience of God’s people and the moving of the Holy Spirit. The product of this formula is that God receives glory. The question is not whether the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of His people through His Word; we know that He will. God’s Word tells us that He is unchanging. The question to be answered is this: Will God’s people be obedient? Will God’s people continue to bring Him glory? Acts chapter two shows us three ways in which God received glory. My experience during these major, worldwide events has shown me that God can still receive glory in these same three ways.

First, we see that God is glorified through the obedience of His people. The disciples were not only obedient to the Great Commission; they were obedient to God for a specific period of time, during a specific event. God told the disciples to wait at Jerusalem and they were obedient. Seemingly, this was contrary to His previous command for them to go into all the world. The disciples soon realized that God was going to bring the world to them at Pentecost. They learned that obedience was following God’s plan, God’s way, and that doing so brings Him glory. Christians today need to display this same type of obedience if we want to see God receive the glory He deserves. Christians who have been obedient to God over the past 20 years in spreading the Gospel at these worldwide events see the results of their obedience. Believers understand that God receives glory when someone comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must also understand that God receives glory through our obedience.

We also see that God receives glory through the boldness of His people. Peter had recently denied Christ, yet now stands up and boldly preaches at Pentecost that Jesus is the Messiah. The same man who had feared for his life now seemed to have no care or concern for his own well-being. Clearly, it takes a certain amount of boldness to stand on the streets in a foreign country and distribute Scriptures. People pass by that you do not know. People pass by and you are unsure of the language they speak. You start asking yourself, “What if they do not want the Scripture? What if I offer them the wrong language? What if they throw it away? What if they become offended?” We must remember that it is not about us; it is about our heavenly Father receiving glory. I personally have found the boldness I needed as I encountered the very same situations during these major, worldwide events.

Finally, we see that God receives glory through the sacrifice of His people. Acts 2:45 reads, “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Those who had just received Christ began to understand the pattern that Christ Himself gave us and immediately begin a sacrificial lifestyle that focuses on the needs of others instead of their own. I have witnessed persons forego vacations and spend thousands of dollars for travel, food, and lodging just to be a part of these Gospel distribution events. Traveling to World Cup Soccer tournaments and Olympic Games for the purpose of spreading the Gospel, rather than attending the sporting event(s) or leisurely surveying the culture, is sacrificial. Vacation time is a valuable commodity for most people. Giving money not only towards the trip, but to pay for the paper to print the Scriptures, calls for a great financial commitment. It takes a lot of sacrifice, from a lot of people, to see a distribution campaign come together at one of these events. As we mirror the sacrificial lifestyle of the early church, we understand that God receives glory when His people sacrifice.

God receives glory through obedience, boldness, and sacrifice. These actions did not originate with the disciples. The disciples were simply following the example of their Savior. Jesus demonstrated obedience to His Father when He boldly and sacrificially endured what no other man could ever endure. Christ died on the cross with the same motivation that should drive us as we labor for Him. His motivation was to bring glory to God the Father.