Lynn Green, previously International Chairman of YWAM and currently part of the global eldership, looks back 40 years to the first Olympic outreach, and wonders what God will do this time.
I have been in YWAM for over 40 years. I’ve been involved in some remarkable projects, and seen God do amazing things in and through YWAM. Highlights include March for Jesus, the Reconciliation Walk, the purchase of Holmsted Manor, The King’s Lodge and Highfield Oval … and the 1972 Olympic outreach in Munich.
Munich ’72 is remembered by most people for the horrors surrounding the murder of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. But in the midst of that tragedy, God was working. Although the world was on edge, watching the unfolding drama of the terrorist attack, God was drawing His people together as one, to bring His message of peace and reconciliation to the watching world.
I will never forget walking down the main streets of Munich, banners in hand, one of thousands proclaiming the name of Jesus. In our hands were flowers provided by the city authorities to give out to the stunned public, which opened many opportunities for deep conversations. Despite the tragedy at Munich 1972, God was still glorified: indeed, perhaps because of the tragedy He received even greater glory as people looked for some comfort, some good, some source of real peace.
Munich was YWAM’s first Olympic outreach. A call went out to YWAM worldwide (not so easy then as it is now, as there was no such thing as e-mail or the Internet – just telephones and the postal service). In those days YWAM was small (about 100 full-time staff), yet over 1,000 YWAM volunteers came from all over the globe. We all slept in a castle (Schloss Hurlach) that YWAM had miraculously been able to purchase. We ate together, ministered together, prayed and worshipped together, and saw God do great things – together.
Out of that unity, God did more than just touch thousands with His good news. Such was the inspiration, such the Spirit-filled experience, that many of those YWAM volunteers returned home to start something new. Others in a sense never went back home, but lost their heart to another country.
Among the nations that can definitely count Munich 1972 as the starting point for their YWAM work are the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Germany, and Austria. There are no doubt others, and of course, in terms of YWAM, many other nations look to these listed nations as their spiritual parents or grandparents. Munich 1972 really was the start of start something.
Of course it will be different – Jesus never does things the same way twice. But 40 years on from Munich 1972, there is real excitement within YWAM that He is going to use this Olympic outreach to bring big expansion to the mission force. Not for YWAM’s sake, but for the glory of His name; to raise up a whole new generation of young people who will go – unreservedly, wholly, with no care for themselves – to establish the Kingdom in places and circumstances where it isn’t, and to preach the gospel among peoples that have never heard it.
I’ll be there. The question is, can you afford not to be?
Want to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event? Go to www.forever2012.com and check out the opportunities!