World Cup craze is providing ministry opportunities worldwide

By June 16, 2006

Argentina (MNN) — Teachers in Argentina are being instructed to stop teaching and start watching television during the country’s World Cup ‘futball’ (Soccer) games in Germany. Everything revolves around the national team, which is a two time winner of the World Cup. School attendance falls 50-percent when Argentina plays.

Because of its incredible impact on the culture, schools are using the World Cup to help teach. Students are asked to locate the 32 countries represented and research information on each. The government has even printed a guide to help teachers do that.

Book of Hope International is using the World Cup in their evangelism efforts, too. Book of Hope’s Latin America Director Richard Luna says they’ve reproduced their Book of Hope, the story of Jesus for young people, to include World Cup facts. “It draws the person into the life of Jesus, through this passion for the World Cup — for people that are World Cup fans. And, we also have something for (those) who are not World Cup fans.”

However, the Book of Hope isn’t standing on its own. They’re using a strategy called, Plan 10 to see young people turn to Christ, says Luna. “It encourages the youth of a church to be praying for (for a couple of weeks) 10 friends. Then, the fourth week, the Book of Hope is actually given to the friends.”

However, that’s not the end of the story. They’re then invited to HopeFest. He tells us about the most recent HopeFest. “And, in this festival, these youth invited about 3,000 youth. It was filled to the brim. And, what they do is present soccer players and the presentation of the Gospel is done in very dynamic ways and many come to the feet of Jesus.”

Plan 10 is being tested in Latin America and they expect to distribute Books of Hope to more one-million people in Argentina alone. With the cost of a Book of Hope at 33-cent a copy, purchasing Books of Hope for entire distribution teams is realistic.

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