It's exciting for all of us involved in the Faith and Fitness ministry to see more churches looking to add or expand their fitness ministry every year. The benefits of fitness ministry have been proven time and time again. Church fitness ministry can be one of the most effective outreach tools available in helping to grow your church through connecting with new members in your community. Many of these people who enroll in your fitness ministry would have never considered going to your church, much less becoming a member of your congregation. Fitness ministry offers a new and healthy way to provide an invaluable service that will help improve the health and fitness of your congregation, and local community.
My background is in the health club industry, and church growth and health club growth are very similar. Health clubs are always looking to add new members, and so are churches. New members are the lifeblood to a church and a health club. While the health club industry continues to grow each year, unfortunately many churches are losing members, with many churches closing their doors each year. There is a faction both inside and outside of the church who feel that churches have no business becoming involved in fitness. I say to all of them why not?
I went to college many years ago, and back then college recreation centers were scarce. Nowadays you cannot step onto any major college campus and not find a state of the art student recreation center filled with cardio and strength training machines. I work with colleges every week and I can tell you first hand how important a nice student recreation center is for recruiting new students to a campus, who are considering where to spend the next four years of their life.
Colleges and universities are just one of many other sectors in society where fitness is near the top of the priority list. Look at the YMCA's across the nation. The first YMCA was founded in London, England in 1844 for a place where young men could go for Bible study and prayer. A few years later in 1851 the first YMCA in the U.S. was launched in the Old South Church in Boston, Mass. Today there are over 2,700 YMCA locations serving over 10,000 communities in the U.S., and the biggest attraction at the majority of these locations is the fitness center.
Fitness centers are growing everywhere in our society. Each year more private companies invest in work site employee fitness centers, apartments and condominiums have fitness centers for their tenants, and there are hospitals based fitness centers. Country clubs have fitness centers, there are city and community recreation centers, fire and police departments have fitness centers, military bases, and the list goes on and on. Fitness is woven into the fabric of every sector of our society today, and I cannot think of a more ideal setting than having fitness in the church. Make your church the go to place everyday, not just on Sunday.