On July 7, Birmingham will host the opening ceremony of the 11th World Games. From July 7–17, some 3,500 athletes from more than 100 countries will compete in 34 sports and disciplines not contested during the Olympic Games.
This summer is only the second time in World Games’ history that a U.S. city will play host. In 1981, the first Games was held in Santa Clara, California. Since then it has been hosted by other countries such as Germany, Japan and Colombia.
What are the World Games?
The World Games is an international sports competition showcasing top athletes. It is held every four years and is recognized by the International Olympics Committee.
The Games was planned for July 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the International World Games Association, the 40th anniversary of the Games taking place in Birmingham will generate “an estimated economic impact of $256 million for the city.”
When and where are the Games?
The Games will take place in Birmingham from July 7–17. Athletes will participate in opening and closing ceremonies at Protective Stadium and compete in venues across the city.
Events will be held at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College, as well as historic sites such as Avondale Park and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark and indoor facilities such as the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex and the Birmingham Crossplex.
Tickets can be purchased on TWG2022.com. Each ticket is valid for a sport session, which may include multiple events.
Who will be arriving in Birmingham?
Athletes from more than 100 countries will be coming to Birmingham to compete in the Games. For the first time ever, an Iroquois lacrosse team will represent indigenous people.
Many athletes from hard-to-reach countries such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Thailand will compete. In Uzbekistan, more than 96% of the population remains unreached by the gospel. Only 0.18% of Uzbeks are evangelical Christians.
The Games as a ministry opportunity
For these reasons many churches in Birmingham view the Games as having great ministry potential. At the Church at Brook Hills, local disciple-making pastor John Butterfield has been working to mobilize his church to serve.
“The world is coming to Birmingham in a big way. We will have the opportunity to welcome people to our city and show them the hospitality that is deeply rooted in our Christian faith,” Butterfield said. “This is a generational type of opportunity that we can leverage to show people the love of Christ and plant gospel seeds that will bear fruit around the world for years to come.”
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