By Brad Bloom

Will 2010 be a good year or will it be another rough one like 2009? While we may not be able to predict the future we can take a look at what is already in play and combine that with aspirations, goals, vision and faith. Most importantly then we need to take all of that and give it to God through regular prayer if we want wisdom and ultimately a good outcome in the coming months.
Challenging financial conditions are causing fitness businesses, Christian organizations and the people they serve to think differently. According to Club Industry Magazine the fitness industry has seen a large number of bankruptcies, changes in leadership, closings and new government legislation. All can be attributed to some extent to the poor economy. Churches and other Christian ministries have experienced a decline in giving. This was most vividly illustrated at the end of 2009 when the 22,000 members of Saddleback Church received a letter from Pastor Rick Warren with an urgent appeal for $900,000 before New Year’s Eve. It isn’t that members don’t’ want fitness and faith services, they simply need to get the best value possible from their club and church. The economy will continue to play a significant role in what fitness facilities and Christian ministries do in 2010.
Health care is poised to be a major topic of concern and conversation, political action, real challenges and opportunity for advances. There is tremendous concern on how to best address the rapidly escalating costs of health care. At the same time obesity and other diseases continue to advance at a rapid pace affecting more people. The roles physical and spiritual wellness can have as solutions to the health care challenges are still not yet clearly defined or shaping the larger health care picture.
Attitudes, personal views and convictions (or the lack thereof) are a known – unknown factor that will shape each passing day in 2010. What is known is that we as a human community have become more frustrated, skeptical, exhausted and uncertain. What is unknown is what it will take to change those attitudes. However, human behavior is one area that can be influenced positively by the church and exercise club – faith and fitness.
Economics, health care and human reaction are key elements that are already making an impact on the future.
What goals should we aspire to achieve in 2010? First life needs to be more manageable. People want to have more time to live life fulfilled and with purpose. Churches and fitness clubs need to develop new and better programming and services to meet those needs. That is not necessarily a call for more. In fact it may ultimately lead to less … less personal entertainment distractions at clubs and less showy performances at church. When churches and fitness clubs do fitness ministry they will create a more organic experience for people to rediscover life. People place a high value on that.
Second, it is time to create new spaces that are truly dynamic in facilitating a vibrant lifestyle. While the gym and church have each held traditional roles, there is now a new vision that brings together the strengths of both. This new space delivers a fascinating mix of energy, compassion, challenge, fellowship, guidance, encouragement, sanctuary and consistency. This new space doesn’t blur the distinctions between the health club and Christian ministry it disposes of them. These facilities are committed to going beyond exercise and inspirational sermons and truly meeting the deeper needs of people.
Third, wellness needs to be more effectively integrated into all of life. All Christian organizations need to pursue a "Fit Church" designation with a base commitment to better nutrition, active fellowship and physical accountability for all members. Fitness facilities should likewise introduce and grow new opportunities to deliver more holistic wellness services.
For those who aspire to catch a vision for 2010 be bold and move swiftly to get support, develop a plan and move forward daily in faith toward measurable goals.
Nothing is more certain than to recognize the need for true executive leadership. For some it may seem old-fashioned, archaic even outright wrong to place God in that position. For everyone else don’t move forward without first immersing your best plans and hopes in sincere and attentive prayer. Certainly the days in 2010 will pass quickly. That is no reason to act on the factors in place and your best intentions without first seeking clarity and wisdom from God.

The themes for our 2010 issues focus on a single word that has both a faith and a fitness perspective. Contact us if you have thoughts to share about these themes or would like to suggest an article topic for an upcoming issue.
February/March 2010 - ENGAGE: How do you get active?, April/May 2010 - TENSION: Where do you define the edges?, June/July 2010 - MOTIVATION: What gets you going further?, August/September 2010 - SACRIFICE: How do you gain your prize?, October/November 2010 - PERFORMANCE: What are your expectations?, December 2010/January 2011 - TRANSFORMATION: When will you see the change?

Brad Bloom is the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine the premier source of information, ideas and networking for those pursuing an active physical and spiritual life. He provides leadership to organizations that recognize that growth comes by fueling the passion of members and delivering genuine “intimate care”. He helps businesses to move beyond the cliché concepts of “body, mind, spirit” and become innovative communities. His concepts are defining new directions for the lifestyle industry. A communicator and media producer, Brad is president of Lifestyle Media Group. He lives with his wife and children in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.

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