More than 1 million visitors and 15,000 journalists are expected to flood Germany this summer for the 2006 World Cup championship match, and Christian evangelists from various organizations will be among them to spread the Good News during what The New York Times called "perhaps the world's best party scene."
In preparation for the major international competition in arguably the world's most popular sport, evangelical groups are planning to be on site to host a large evangelistic campaign to make Jesus known in the midst of the intensity, drama and parties not unfamiliar to the highly-anticipated soccer tournament.
The Salvation Army in Germany and Lithuania announced its largest international mission team event in the history of their movement with 85 Salvationists representing 13 Territories/Commands including Australia Eastern, Canada, Korea, Singapore, USA Southern and Western, Italy, France and others, and four Zones.
With the support of hundreds of German churches and Christian sports ministries that formed the Kickoff2006 Evangelistic Network to make the most of the mass evangelism opportunity, The Salvation Army (die Heilsarmee) has organized the largest single sustained evangelistic campaign in its 120-year history.
The campaign will target eight of the 12 host cities Cologne, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Nuernberg and Stuttgart in 12 teams.
The World Cup comes just months after the 2006 winter Olympic Games where Christians distributed tens of thousands of Bibles and made the Gospel no stranger to Italy. The Salvation Army had sent a six-person mission team to the Olympic site to gain first-hand evangelistic experience at a major sport event.
According to the Army, 80,000 copies of the evangelistic "World Cup Special" Wary Cry have been printed in German/English.
"We are ready!" said Major David Bowles, coordinator of the evangelistic campaign.
Meanwhile, religious leaders have their concerns over the women who will be at the soccer event not as spectators, but as available women who will sell sex to meet the high demand of visitors.
In Berlin, "performance boxes" are equipped with condoms and showers to accommodate the demand for sexual servitude during the championship game. Anti-sex slave activists and religious figures have urged FIFA, the Football Association, the England Football Supporters Club, the Minister for Sport in the U.K. and the German government and embassies to ensure that all women working in the boxes are doing so out of their own free will.
As the big game hits the entire German nation in stadiums and on large video screens, evangelicals await in prayer.
"Now while we along with the rest of the world wait, die Heilsarmee is praying that this 2006 FIFA World Cup of Soccer Evangelistic Campaign will have an eternal impact for the Kingdom of God and that our international 'family' will truly feel at home while we minister together in Germany," said Bowles. "Please pray with us!"