By Rob Bradfield
One Central Texas pastor will be spreading the gospel to the world at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Pastor Gaylon Foreman of Waco’s Carver Park Baptist Church was chosen by Lay Witnesses for Christ International, a missions organization, as pastoral chairman for this year’s ministries at the London Olympics. Foreman has been involved with the organization in the past, and said he believes it is a good way to minister to as many people of different nationalities as possible.
“We have a belief that we want to have a positive impact on everyone we come into contact with,” Foreman said.
Foreman first became involved with Lay Witnesses for Christ International in 1995, and traveled with them to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as well as the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. This year he will help coordinate speakers, events and groups of witnesses around Greater London.
Lay Witnesses for Christ International began operations 35 years ago. Some of the ministries include honors for young athletes; drug, alcohol and violence prevention; and a variety of other sports-based missions.
The Olympic Outreach Ministry has been present at the past seven Summer Olympics, and according to their website, has ministered to everyone from Olympic athletes and coaches to people on the street. At each Olympic Games, they have organized choir concerts, worship services and street ministry.
Foreman and this year’s volunteers will be in London for three weeks.
Foreman first came to Waco to attend Paul Quinn College when it was still at its East Waco location. After earning a Doctorate of Divinity from the Minnesota School of Theology, Foreman helped found Berea Baptist Church in his native Fort Worth. He began preaching at Carver Park Baptist Church 22 years ago, and has since become influential in the surrounding community.
Foreman and the church have been active promoters of organizations such as the Greater Waco Community Education Alliance and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
“We’ve tried to be a socially active church and speak for those whose voices aren’t heard,” Foreman said.
Foreman has also been honored by the city of Waco, with Mayor Jim Bush officially designating Nov. 15, 2011, “Pastor Gaylon Foreman Day.”
Ken Hampton, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce senior vice president of community development, is a member of Carver Park Baptist Church and was involved in recognizing Foreman. Hampton said the city honored Foreman not only for his position in Lay Witnesses for Christ International, but also for his active role in the church and community.
Hampton was the first person to inform Foreman of the mayor’s decision.
While Hampton has not gone with Foreman to the Olympics, he has been involved in Carver Park’s ministries in the past, including reading to children at the former Doris Miller Elementary School. Hampton said Foreman’s policy of community involvement was what made him a fixture of the Waco community.
“I think Pastor Foreman is well respected in the area,” Hampton said.
Bush, members of Foreman’s congregation and the Waco community attended the ceremony in November honoring Foreman.
While Foreman considers the gesture an honor, he has his eyes set toward a higher goal.
“We’re trying to make sure every need in the community is met as best we can,” Foreman said.