Mark has been involved with Olympic chaplaincy since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and suggests that the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Village Religious Services was outstanding due to the welcoming facilities and its 24 hour program.
He and his wife, Delma, have been serving the Olympic community since 2000 after Mark's official visit to the IOC in Lausanne Switzerland at the behest of the IOC's Kevan Gosper AC. In February this year, they met with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Committee 'Villages' managers.
The First Shape
"The first 'shape' of religious services is the 'Protocol of ideas' I send to each Olympic host city, which sets out a short history of Olympic host city Religious Services," M V Tronson explained.
The world's five major faiths in effect have their separate programs. 'Holy books' are permitted, and in reality, host city organisers apply 'political correctness' to the nth degree. This is not the setting for Christian chaplains witnessing Jesus Christ in overt evangelistic programs. It's a quieter ministry.
The Religious Services facility suitability is important and in M V Tronson's view the 1996 Atlanta Olympic provided the best he has seen. It was open 24/7 and one of the two (existing) buildings was utilised for Olympian relaxation and respite.
The Second Shape
In complete contrast, the second 'shape', the Olympian invitation model, developed by Lay Witnesses for Christ International (LWFCI) has been running for the past seven Olympiads and its president and founder, Dr Sam Mings, of Dallas Texas, has the highest respect in Olympic circles and is regularly a guest at dignitary functions.
London 2012 will be the LWFCI eighth Olympiad. Dr Sam Mings and his team of past Olympians led by the Olympian of the Century Carl Lewis (along with Olympic Gold medallist Madelline Mims). This team of chaplains receive providential entry to the Olympic 'common' and by Olympian invitation to national team accommodation areas.
"This is one to one ministry where the Olympians congregate in the common area, or in their accommodation units and where, bible studies and Christian counselling can take place," explained Mark Tronson.
"Another major emphasis are outside programs. Events planned for London 2012 are Eric Liddell Rallies, music programs and the big one - the Evening of the Olympic Stars - where Olympic stars testify of their faith in Jesus Christ."
Carl Lewis for the past seven Olympics has given the keynote address at this Evening of the Olympic Stars. Dr Sam Mings calls on people to respond to Jesus Christ. LWFCI have repeated this outreach model at Track and Field international meets in 40 missions around the world to great acclaim.
As an example, the LWFCI 42nd Track & Field 'Evening with the Stars' in Paris, France, saw 20,000 people attend and several thousand people responded to the message of Jesus Christ's death on the cross for their sin, and seek repentance and Salvation.
The Olympic Village Religious Services 'quieter' model is clearly very different to this second shape of Olympic chaplaincy ministry.
It is not uncommon though, for chaplains to be involved in both situations during the same Olympics. A chaplain in the Olympic Village might be rostered off duty and therefore is able to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the other arena.
The Third Shape
The third 'shape' of Olympic ministry has a focus on the residents of the 'host city' and the visitors visitors to the 'host city'.
The host city's combined Christian Churches 'More than Gold' evangelism campaigns focus on the untold hundreds of thousands of spectators and visitors. Missionary organisations such as Youth With A Mission pour into the host city, and become part of the Olympic festivities.
The Olympic host city image is that of a month long Rio De Janeiro-style Mardi Gras and it is to this that the third Olympic ministry 'shape' is directed. Again, the Olympic chaplains double up and get involved in these mission activities as well.
All three Olympic ministry shapes are vital, and each plays its own part in the witness of Jesus Christ within an Olympic host city.
One crucial prayer for the London 2012 Olympics ministry will be about security.
UK's surveillance system of CCT cameras will cover every inch of London; however there may be one danger.
The officers will become mesmerised by the enthralling street corner entertainment in Christian 'mini-dramas' (some of the third shape activities), and not keeping a sharp eye on all their CCT monitors!