Colin Baker, pastor at Grays Baptist Church, has been chosen to be a London 2012 Games Maker.
Transformation Thurrock caught up with Colin as he prepares for this exciting involvement in ‘the greatest show on earth’.
TT: Colin, how long ago did you put your name down to be a Games Maker, and when did you hear your application was successful?
CB: I applied around or about September/October 2010 and after all the relevant security checks, selection events and interviews my position was confirm in April 2012.
TT: Is the role of a Games Maker a paid position? If not, what made you decide to volunteer your services for nothing?
CB: All the Gamesmakers are volunteers. The reasons why I am happy to be a volunteer are many fold. I originally intended to volunteer as a Games Chaplain but for some reason I was told they were only taking on those who already held sports chaplain’s posts. Undeterred by this I felt the Lord urging me to volunteer for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I feel that there will be so much experience to be gained taking on this role, already I have met some incredibly interesting people. In a way volunteering brings generates a team spirit that would be hard to achieve in a paid position because the motivation for Gamesmakers is to serve Great Britain and be up close and alongside the action during the Games.
TT: How many people applied to be Games Makers and how many were chosen?
CB: 250,000 applied and only 66,000 have been selected.
TT: Do all Games Makers have same roles? If not, what different roles are there?
CB: Loads! From memory I will give a few. Some will be welcoming people to the venues and showing people to seats, answering questions and checking accreditation in restricted zones. Some will be helping in transport zones, helping the transports to move quickly and for areas to be kept clear. Some will be involved in security, catering, cleaning, waste and sustainability. Some will be organising flags for medal ceremonies. Managing the Olympic Village. Some are involved in being with athletes awaiting drug screening (anti doping). There are loads of volunteer drivers to move coaches and athletes around venues at Stratford and beyond. There is a 24 hour service available to National Olympic Team members. And there are Dignitary Assistants and Olympic Family Assistants. AND all these roles are repeated for the Paralympics.
TT: What is the precise function that you will be fulfilling? What does your job involve?
CB: My role is to be an Olympic Family Assistant. I will be assigned to one member of the International Olympic Committee who will be staying in a major hotel in Central London. They are very important people to the life of the Olympic Games and will therefore be turning out at important events and ceremonies, notably medal presentations. I will be helping them to plan their time whilst in London whether that be directly involved in the Games or some of the Cultural Olympiad. I am assigned to them and to a nice car to take them comfortably to where they need to be. I will be their point of contact throughout their stay.
TT: Do you get to wear some kind of uniform? If so, what does it look like?
CB: It will take a lot of getting used to but it consists of a purple top with poppy red trimmings, a baseball cap, beige trousers, a small holdall and a pair of trainers with red laces.
TT: Did you receive training? Where was it, what was it, and who was it with?
CB: Some training took place at Hackney College by LOCOG and it was all about being aware of our clients needs, what extra responsibilities we will have. The rest of our training took place all over London as we familiarised ourselves with the vehicle and the various venues.
TT: What kind of transport will you be driving, where from and where to?
CB: A shiny, brand new BMW 5 Series (gonna just love driving that around). Quite literally anywhere south of Coventry that has an Olympic event I will be taking the client.
TT: We know that official rules prevent you from telling us every detail of your Games Maker role, but can you tell us anything about who you’ll be meeting and chauffeuring for?
CB: The role is more than just chauffeuring, more the case that I will act as their local assistant during Games time. They are likely to be a member of the International Olympic Committee or a head of an international sporting federation or quite possibly a member of the organising committee for a future host city.
TT: How do you feel God has been with you in this process so far, and in what ways are you looking for God to guide you throughout the coming weeks and the Games themselves?
CB: Initially, I felt that God wanted me to be a Chaplain (I was disappointed when I was told I wouldn’t be) but as things have been unveiled I have realised His goal in getting me into this important position. Friends have in the past been instrumental in reminding me that we are always being put on God’s training programme. Therefore, everything He has guided us into in the past, or all the experiences good or bad will be at hand for us to use in the future. God never wastes a hurt or fails to gift us for His kingdom purposes. For instance, I only have a small knowledge of several languages, but when it comes to having the whole world on your doorstep such as in the Olympic Games, it is always useful to be able to greet someone in their own language.
TT: How would you like people reading this to pray for you?
CB: Please pray that a good rapport will be built with my client so that things will run smoothly. Pray that I will be patient to allow the Lord to speak into the situations I find myself in so that I may be naturally led into the opportunities that He allows. Pray that I will be wise with my time – it is likely to be a very busy time with a lot of travelling to and from London. Pray for good transport links. Pray also for other transport users who may be involved in the Games and also for those who will continue to carry out their daily lives and experience delays due to the Games. Give everyone a fantastic attitude and patience.
TT: How do you think you’ll look back on this time? What will the Olympic legacy mean for you?
CB: I will proudly wear the London 2012 shirt realising that I have been one in thousands who have volunteered to make this year possible. In the future, I will be satisfied to remember I did my bit and that I have faithfully served the Lord and the London 2012 Games. I look forward to being able to share a unique insight into the workings of the Games from a different level than I have done before. I have only ever seen the Olympics on TV before. This year will be different!
Thank you Colin. We pray the Lord will prepare every step for you and lead you into amazing opportunities that will bless you and bring the blessing of Christ to others.
Since this interview, Colin has added, “I have been upgraded as a Gamesmaker to a Reserve OFA. Which means I will still be an Olympic Family Assistant but will be assigned to 6 dignitaries because they felt I would cope better with meeting several different people during Games time. The only shame is that I will probably only meet them 3 times in total rather than having a long time to build relationships.”
Grays Baptist Church will be open during the Olympic Torch Relay through Grays on Friday 6 July. Members of the fellowship will be handing out water to the gathered crowds.
Other churches doing similar ‘presence evangelism’ are: Socketts Heath Baptist Church, St John’s Victoria Avenue, Grays Methodist Church (all working together up at The Parade, Lodge Lane); and House of Praise in Orsett Road opposite the Thameside. Tim Harrold and Rob Groves will be at the Thurrock Council’s reception (by invitation) at the Thameside.