As athletes from more than 50 countries train and prepare to complete in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April 2018, local Christians have been praying for safety and special encounters with God.
Under the banner of “Beyond Gold GC”, pastors and Christian sports and missions organisations meet monthly to pray both the athletes and the security of the Games. According to the group’s website, they also have been getting together to plan how best to “maximise the legacy of the Games event both in the Gold Coast community and further afield.” In January, Beyond Gold GC came under the banner of radio station Juice Media (107.3FM) to ensure the church partnerships would not fizzle after the Games concluded.
Shayne Cunningham is the chairperson of Beyond Gold GC and the pastor of CoastWIDE church in Southport. He told Eternity that more than 30 churches across all denominations and five Christian organisations are already on board with the vision, with new churches and organisations joining daily.
“So far, we’ve started to work together to be able to facilitate a whole bunch of street evangelism, street theatre, chaplains to work within Games events, chaplains associated with the athletes village,” says Cunningham. “We are working towards homestay for volunteers and family members of athletes.”
“We hope to see an opportunity to be able to minister to the unsaved and show them the grace of Christ.” – Shayne Cunningham
One of their biggest events will be a corporate worship time held at the (currently under construction) Gold Coast Cultural Precinct. One of the features of that site is a large outdoor amphitheatre where Beyond Gold GC hopes to host the city-wide worship time on Easter Sunday, only three days before the Games kick off.
Cunningham says they hope that around 3000-4000 people will come along to that event. They plan at that event to pray and lay hands on volunteers, and those doing anything within the Games.
A separate but related initiative – the Queen’s Baton Prayer Watch – was launched on March 13, when the Queen’s Baton left Buckingham Palace to travel through each of the Commonwealth nations on its way to Australia. Beyond Gold GC have been encouraging churches and individuals across the nation to pray for the nations through which the baton will pass.
“We hope to see an opportunity to be able to minister to the unsaved and show them the grace of Christ,” says Cunningham.
“And secondly, that churches across the Gold Coast can see we can work together in prayer and evangelism.”