London Olympics: Another Pentecost

As we count down towards the Olympics and prepare to host the world, my thoughts are directed towards the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. I have often asked people why did God choose to use the Jewish feast of Pentecost to give birth to his Church? In answering this question our attention must be drawn to God’s plan of saving both Jews and Greeks. This plan was revealed to Abraham in the promise that through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). God’s plan of redemption, even though started with a nation, the end goal was that all humanity can have the chance to choose Jesus.  In essence, the implication of the Church beginning on the day of Pentecost was that God was signifying that His Church was going to be culturally diverse.

The Jewish feast of Pentecost brought Jews who were from Palestine as well as Jews born outside of Palestine. Those from outside Palestine were those who have over the years been scattered or in Diaspora. It was these Jews and those who have decided to follow the Jewish religion that heard the disciples speaking in their language (Acts 2: 5-12). Perplexed by the phenomenon of the disciples speaking in their dialect, the people explained it away by jumping to conclusions that the disciples must have been drunk. Peter empowered by the power of the Holy Spirit seized the opportunity, explaining that it was too early to get drunk. He preached a powerful message that draw the audience to ask the question what shall we do? The result was the conversion of about 3 000 people.

Can the Churches in London be like Peter using the Olympics as an opportunity to engage the nations of the world with the Gospel? Some are definitely keen about the idea and are maximising the opportunity, while others could not be bothered. Those who could not be bothered have reasons. People are wondering how the UK is able to fund this momentous occasion in the midst of the austerity facing us as a country. Others, particularly those who live far away from where any of the action will be taking place in London cannot understand how their Church can engage with the event. Whatever reasons we have for not engaging with the games, let us remember that this might be the only opportunity in our life time to experience all nations coming to our shores. The last time the Olympics happen in the UK was in 1948, therefore let us like Peter discern the times and get involved. Who knows what fruit this might bare?

About israelolofinjana

Rev Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is an ordained and accredited Baptist minister and has pastored Crofton Park Baptist Church (2007-2011) and Catford Community Church (2011-2013). He is currently the pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist Church, a multicultural church in south east London. He is Nigerian coming from a Pentecostal background. He holds a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MTh from Carolina University of Theology (CUT). Israel is the editor of “Turning the Tables on Mission: Stories of Christians from the Global South in the UK” and author of “Reverse in Ministry and Missions: Africans in the Dark Continent of Europe” and “20 Pentecostal Pioneers in Nigeria” He has spoken in a number of conferences regarding reverse mission and Black Majority Churches (BMCs) and has also contributed to academic journals and Christian magazines on the subject of Black Majority Churches (BMC) in Britain. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Queens Foundation, Birmingham and a trustee and visiting lecturer at Redcliffe College. Israel is also one of the Directors of Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World an initiative design to train and equip pastors and missionaries from the South. He is a member of the Global Connections council. When he is not preaching or writing he is playing with Lego! He is happily married to Lucy who works as the Media and Communications Officer with Churches Together in England. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), earning a BA in Social Anthropology and International Development. Lucy loves baking and watching movies! They are blessed with one son, Iyanuoluwa (God's miracle)
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