World Cup Cafe is reaching locals in Cologne.

By June 26, 2006

Germany (MNN) — As the competition intensifies and soccer fans around the globe are swept into the excitement of the World Cup, Greater Europe Mission has stepped up its outreach in Cologne, Germany.

GEM’s Adam Gascho says their World Cup Cafe is proving to be a great tool for outreach, “We’re part of a team doing church planting here. And as part of that church planting we just really felt like utilizing the World Cup would be just a great opportunity. There’s so much excitement here in Germany right now concerning soccer and with the World Cup happening here.”

The cafe is doing a wide variety of activities to draw a wide variety of people. All games are shown live. There is an in-house football pitch (soccer field) where visitors can get in on some fun of their own. There’s a foosball table, music events, art displays and even a vacation Bible school for the kids. The past several Sundays, they’ve also held worship services and seen a number of people come out for that. World Cup related resources, including Bibles, DVDs of Christian soccer players’ testimonies, and the JESUS Film, are also made available to cafe visitors.

Gascho is encouraged and excited to see what God will do with these contacts, “Really, this whole World Cup cafe thing, our main goal as we’re doing it is to build relationships with locals and (it’s) very much pre-evangelism, just connecting relationally and seeing where those relationships head and just seeing how God uses that to build the church here.”

A number of other ministries have taken advantage of the events in Germany over the past several weeks, when it comes to ministry outreach. And GEM is as well, but they’re focus is a bit different, says Gascho, “Our goal through the World Cup is really to connect with locals, and so I guess we’re a little bit unique in that sense; we’re not really targeting foreigners coming in although we certainly would do so if we came into contact with them, but our main goal is planting a church here in Cologne, in the city.”

In the part of Cologne where the cafe is located, there’s no evangelical presence, which is drawing together Christians from a variety of churches and ministries to help partner with GEM’s outreach. It’s a lot of work to run the cafe, says Gascho, but they’re seeing great things beginning to happen in terms of their long-term goals. “Almost everybody that’s come into the cafe has been locals. We’re not far from the center of the city, but we’re not right downtown where a lot of the tourists are. And so as we connect with people almost everybody lives somewhere pretty close by.”

“We’re pleased,” says Gascho. “We’re excited and just anticipate these next few weeks just being great ones as we continue to connect with people.”

Pray for the cafe during these final two weeks of the World Cup, that those volunteering their time would have strength and encouragement, and that those stopping by would have seeds of the Gospel planted and begin to grow in their hearts.

Also be in prayer as GEM prepares for their evangelistic English camp the week after the World Cup finals. They currently have about 20 kids signed up and are trying to double that number. Gascho says the potential impact of these camps is far-reaching, “We’ve found these types of camps very effective in reaching youth and I think it will be a great springboard into starting a youth ministry as well.”

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