By Brad Bloom
Back in 2005 I authored the article CHRISTIAN FITNESS: IS THE CHURCH SLACKING OFF? It originally appeared in this magazine and soon was being reprinted in other services. It was a critical and indicting look at the failure of the Christian church to meet the spiritual needs of people through fitness. However, I also presented very concrete objectives and strategies for developing and executing fitness ministry. That article has become an important tool to fuel a stronger focus and drive toward the church having a more serious presence in the lives of their communities through fitness. The progress being made is significant and today results in a far more optimistic outlook in our April/May 2009 theme: TOTAL BODY BAPTISM – THE CHURCH GETS SERIOUS ABOUT FITNESS.
What changed during those few short years has led and will continue to lead to exciting new advances in fitness ministry. As George Barna revealed in his book Revolution, traditional church attendance has dramatically dropped. Along with that life stresses and demands on people have profoundly increased. Add to that an explosion in the ways by which people can interact and network. Theses factors and more reflect that our culture is in serious need. As the dead and unfruitful church continues to be cut and burned away, a more spiritually healthy church is revealed. From that spiritual vibrancy a FIT church is emerging.
In the world of fitness the well-developed, muscular and healthy human body is celebrated. When it is celebrated incorrectly it is idolized. When it is celebrated in the context of Christian faith, a fit body impressively reflects the amazing vision of a creative, wise and passionate God. In like fashion today’s fit church offers a dramatic example of how a body of people called the church can be fully immersed in being the life that God has created.
IT IS TIME TO CELEBRATE THE FIT CHURCH
- Individuals (members of a church congregation rather than church leadership) are taking their professional training, their career vocations in fitness and their personal fitness businesses and intentionally providing life-transforming faith-focused programming.
- Pastors and church leadership are moving way beyond just being aware of physical and spiritual needs and being supportive of a fitness ministry. They are actively engaged in casting and shaping the vision. They are leading well-attended fitness ministries with all-out passion.
- Diverse church congregations in a community are joining together with the corporate support of non-profits to form partnerships. Together they deliver a multiplied and more far-reaching impact.
- Securing solid avenues of funding is helping the church to “focus on the focus” rather than failing under the weight of financial burdens.
- Congregations are building innovative new facilities. These fresh models of church provide generous space for quality equipment, engaging design, top-notch staff and a powerful model for doing church and being life to their communities.
This is on both a physical and spiritual level truly the whole body fitly joined together for a purpose of great value. In a time of serious need the church is getting serious about fitness. Time to get baptized --- completely!
Train strong in Christ,
This article appears in the April/May 2009 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.
Since this article appeared in 2009, "fitness ministry" has advanced particularly among Christian entrepreneurs eager to serve God through their vocation as a market place ministry.
As a result in late 2015, the American Council on Exercise reported faith-based fitness as a trend for 2016. Brad Bloom, in the blog It's Officially Trendy, subsequently identified three impacts of this growing influence. He frequently helps audiences gain a vision for the tremendous potential of fitness ministry through his presentation Give 'Em What They Want. You can CONTACT US to schedule this presentation.