For most sporting enthusiasts the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be about athletic achievements, winning gold and representing your country, but for some, the message will be much more holy.
Gold Coast’s Christian churches, missions and other religious organisations are uniting under the banner ‘Beyond Gold GC’ to bring the word of God to the Commonwealth Games.
A range of denominations will be represented under the banner, including Baptists, Anglicans, Australian Christian Churches, the Uniting Church and the Church of Christ.
Chairperson of Beyond Gold GC, and pastor at Southport’s CoastWIDE Church, Shayne Cunningham says 30 churches have signed up for the program so far.
“We’re working together to facilitate a whole bunch of street evangelism, street theatre, chaplains to work within Games events, as well as with the Athletes Village,” Mr Cunningham said.
There are also hopes to set up home-stay accommodation for volunteers and the families of Christian athletes competing in the Games.
“Athletes from 71 different nations, as well as fans and supporters are coming to the Gold Coast for the Games.
“It’s a great opportunity to have a presence and build a legacy for after the Games,” Mr Cunningham said.
There are hopes the Gold Coast effort will boost church attendance in the months that follow the major sporting event.
“Getting the churches together means we can work together to achieve what we want to…some people may want more members, others might want training opportunities and missions…this will have a lasting impact,” Mr Cunningham said.
This isn’t the first time religion has jumped on-board with the Commonwealth Games.
Scottish Christian groups developed the More Than Gold partnership for the 2014 Edinburgh Games, providing nearly 100 home-stays, 40 prayer events and a daily podcast for those attending the Games.
The Gold Coast group meets monthly at the Ashmore Uniting Church.