The London Baptist Association (LBA) has secured funding for a dedicated worker to help churches make the most of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The position of church engagement coordinator will “raise the vision of how the church can engage with the opportunity the Olympics bring for mission, hospitality and an expression of Christian faith and love,” according to Rev. David Shosanya, LBA regional minister (mission).

The £100,000-plus funding (more than $161,000) has come from the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s Newington Court fund.

It will ensure the post is full-time until 2012 and part-time until 2014.

The position has a variety of aspects, Shosanya told The Baptist Times, but ultimately it’s about raising “a sense of excitement and passion” about the games.

“There is still some resistance,” Shosanya said. “But everybody is saying the country is going to stop for those two weeks.

“It would be naive to think it’s going to be business as usual, and this gives us an opportunity to prioritize this in a significant way.

“This is a key appointment for us, and it allows us to get involved a lot more.”

Broadly speaking, the coordinator “will champion the mission and discipleship opportunity, help develop the LBA’s vision and bring cohesion and planning to its Olympic engagement activities.”

This includes equipping the church with practical points for how it can engage. A menu of options, which will be downloadable from the LBA website, will be created with ideas relating to the size of the churches.

The LBA will also set up a register of Baptist churches interested in providing hospitality for overseas visitors.

In addition, the coordinator will be responsible for connecting churches that are doing similar things, and linking with More Than Gold and other national mission-led networks.

Shosanya also spoke of leaving a “spiritual legacy” following the games, hence the appointment running to 2014.

He hoped the work could act as a template for church involvement in future sporting events in the United Kingdom, such as the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The closing date for applications is March 20, and it is hoped the successful candidate can begin work in early April.

This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.

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