Photo by Mark Lee / Great Exposures
Shopping for a Christian Fitness Club
By Trudy Beerman
Faith and Fitness Magazine
The Time Is Now
Holiday binge. New Year purge! The tradition lives on. Health clubs are
well aware of this annual tradition. They know it is a season to add to
their membership. However, many are not well prepared or committed to
helping people effectively use their facility. People line up to pay for
new memberships. It is the annual penance for a year of “sinful”
indulgence. Somehow, parting with their money at the health club sales
office makes them leave with a sensation of confidence that this year
will be different.
Being together with family and others during the holidays and the upcoming
New Year gives you a special opportunity to live for God with your body.
Christians especially should know that it isn’t necessary to wait
for the New Year to have a fresh start on the road to wellness. God says
in the Bible that His mercies are new every morning. Start today. Then
live every day as a healthy celebration to God.
Fitness facilities and Christian organizations should be ready for the
increased interest in fitness during the holiday. Now is the time to look
for a club, Christian based fitness program, and personal trainer that
embraces the idea that God is able to restore health. Look for a trainer
that is ready to help you overcome the annual cycle of self abuse. A Christian
trainer will help you learn to be a good steward of your body.
Islands of Health in a Sea of Christianity
They are out there – You can find Christian medical, health, and
fitness professionals actively and unapologetically taking a Christian
approach to the work they do. Unfortunately, they often operate as fragmented
islands. They sometimes independently reinvent the wheel. In the future,
improved networking will create standardized objectives and practices
of Christian professionals and make it easier for the public to find and
choose these professionals and their services.
“There he [Elijah] went into a cave and spent the night. And the
word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty.
The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and
put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and
now they are trying to kill me too.” “Yet I [God] reserve
seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to
Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:9-10,
God showed Elijah there were in fact 7000 other faithful servants he
was not aware of, none of whom probably knew about Elijah, or each other.
Similarly, many wellness professionals assume they are unique in their
ministry, because there is no major grouping or network that introduces
them to each other.
Faith & Fitness magazine, and the International Christian Health
and Fitness Alliance (ICHFA) seek to change that. We are working to help
provide a network and voice to the thousands of Christian health and fitness
professionals we know are out there, who daily use their talent and passion
to serve the Lord. We are connecting with them and encouraging them to
identify themselves as pros that can provide a specifically Christian
encounter to those clients who seek such an experience. Until then, those
people who want a club or trainer that offer elements of Christian faith
will have to intentionally look and ask specific questions.
Simultaneously, there are many Christian professionals who have never
considered using their passion and talent in Christian ministry. Maybe
the idea never occurred to them? Maybe they did not recognize the need?
Maybe they were never asked to help? Maybe the thought of ‘coming
out of the closet’ and revealing their faith position is intimidating?
Maybe they question the financial feasibility of using their time and
talent this way?
A third group of wellness professionals are desperately seeking a passionate
return for their efforts. They seek that elusive satisfaction of achieving
their purpose, that missing ingredient that transforms a job into a joy.
These people need their Christian peers to speak up and introduce them
to Christ. It may simply take an invitation to participate, to open their
eyes to the fulfilling joy of serving Christ through time, talent and
The Harvest Is Plentiful but the Workers Are Few
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their
synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease
and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because
they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he
said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers
are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into
his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38
Christian fitness professionals are out there, but there are not enough
of them and they are not well identified. Fitness and wellness provides
a perfect environment for incorporating Christian faith truths and instruction.
There are good men and women professionals committed to using their passion
for wellness to tell the world that the fullness of health and wellness
is found in the Bible. When people seek healing and answers, they are
more open to hear the gospel and welcome the hope of Jesus. Fitness professionals
are there to offer it. They are there to educate, encourage and empower
A secularized fitness world appeals to man’s cosmetic need for
glitter - to look good, often at the price of health. Christians are called
to look at a human’s body, soul, and spirit and meet all three.
The fitness industry’s failure to provide gold instead of glitter,
and take a comprehensive approach to the human need for self-esteem, health,
and hope is creating an urgent need for a Christian response.
Many healing ministries respond to those in already in a crisis –
showing up to pray for healing and to offer encouragement. Youth ministries
have realized games are a great icebreaker with non-Christian teens. Women’s
ministries review ways to create and enhance family life, and men’s
ministries have found competitive activities a strategic way to hold the
macho attention. In many ways, a quality health and fitness component
to any or all of these ministries, led by qualified leaders will be an
asset to a Christian organization at the consultation, design, and implementation
The Missing Puzzle Piece
With all the information available, people realize they still do not
have the truth, and so they keep searching. In fact, as the failures mount
with yet another expensive potion with an outrageous promise, the search
for the illusive restoration from deterioration (age, looks, and health)
becomes more frantic!
“I am the way the Truth and the life” John 14:6
Christian health and fitness professionals have a unique platform for
offering Christian value to life. The desperate search for the solution
to health and wellness issues creates an opportunity for fitness professionals
to share the eternal hope, healing, and strength that Jesus offers. Delivering
the Word on the platter of traditional health and fitness methods, means
an audience that may never visit a church, can still be reached in a very
non-traditional way and those clients who are Christians can be encouraged
and strengthened in their walk.
The message of stewardship of the body is not as often discussed. Since
health issues are impacted by personal choices, emotional state, and spiritual
maturity; an effective wellness team should incorporate a Pastor or spiritual
leader, a medical professional, a counselor or therapist a nutritionist/fitness
professional, and maybe a safety professional. Separately, each has a
unique contribution to make. As a cohesive team, great strides can be
made in the teaching, modeling, and mastering of stewardship of the body.
Christian health and fitness professional, need to be proactive about
networking with other professionals. Networking strengthens, encourages,
and opens up new and exciting opportunities for ministry. Being zealous
without direction will lead to ineffective use of energy and talent. After
all, we are all parts of the same body – and the parts relate to
the whole, and needs to be attached to the body for sustenance and continuity.
The fitness industry has capitalized on this concept. In fact, there
are quite a few prestigious organizations for health and fitness professionals
such as IDEA and IHRSA, and Christians do benefit from memberships to
those organizations. However, they do not support, endorse, nor distribute
information or resources specific to furthering the Kingdom.
To this end, Christian professionals independently use the trial and
error method to adapt secular resources to a Christian environment, or,
in some instances, create their own materials. Some of these adaptations
or materials if shared with other Christian Health professionals would
be a great way to begin a library of ready-made resources, and maybe an
additional income for the author.
How many Christian wellness professionals do you know? How many of those
wish they could be involved or are currently involved in a fitness ministry?
Please let us know of fitness professionals in your community that either
identify or celebrate their Christian faith or those who are Christian
and need encouragement to live it out more each day.
Drawn to the Flame
Churches have traditionally acted as community centers, providing many
social opportunities and services to their members and local residents.
More and more churches are incorporating health and fitness programs into
their healing, women’s or youth ministries as part of a new and
viable outreach and in-reach. Church organized health fairs, exercise
classes, or rehabilitation assistance are proving to be an innovative
way to reach out to a resistant community and provide a fun fellowship
For example, Heritage Baptist, a very small church in Tampa, FL has group
exercise classes, health screenings and are in process of creating an
equipment filled, fitness facility. The Germantown Baptist Church in Tennessee
has a large fitness center and regularly hosts wellness seminars, CPR
training and base-line health assessment tests. Some of these wellness
programs have been used as effective fund-raisers, or as an incentive
to those who are not Christian to participate in a Christian environment.
Stewardship of the body is an urgent message. Christian wellness professionals
are the messengers. People will actively seek this help in the new year.
Christian health professionals and organization, are you ready to meet
this need? Who are you? Where are you? What are your challenges? What
solutions/resources have you found or created? Come together and give
the world Jesus - the answer they seek!
Christian health professionals/organizations who want to start a new
or enhance an existing wellness or fitness program can contact ICHFA for
assistance, and qualify for free membership.
Beerman is the Vice-President of Health Coach Plus inc., www.healthcoachplus.com
a wellness and safety training corporation in Tampa, FL. She is an Adjunct
Professor, an ACE certified Personal Trainer, and has many other fitness
credentials. She is passionate about Christian Stewardship of the body,
and seeing Christian Fitness professionals use their talent in Christian
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2004 Faith & Fitness Magazine
and Lifestyle Media Group. Faith
& Fitness Magazine is a lifestyle resource to build physical
and spiritual strength. It helps readers make connections between the
Christian faith and the fitness lifestyle.
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