What better place to start a fitness revolution than in the church? The message of Jesus is one of eternal life, but also one of an abundant life here on earth. (John 10:10) Too often many Christians are unable to live abundantly because sickness and disease has taken over their bodies.
With African Americans leading the pack in regards to obesity rates, one would think that more Pastors would be jumping on the faith and fitness train. Unfortunately, many haven’t gotten the memo and others are living unhealthy lifestyles themselves.
Furthermore, the church hasn’t always been a beacon of light in the area of health. Communion Sundays are often celebrated in church basements with a spread of the foods that we could all do without; fried food, greasy food and lots of sweets. For others, church service is followed by a Sunday dinner with the same kinds of aforementioned foods.
There are some churches that have taken heed to the importance of health. One church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mount Calvary Holy Church, even started a Lent Wellness Challenge.
I believe that physical health is an important (and often) neglected aspect of our lives, particularly when it comes to churches and ministries,” said Dr. Tejado Hanchell, Pastor of Mount Calvary Holy Church. “However, there is a correlation between our physical health and our spiritual health. In III John 1:2 God says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” When we think of prosperity, we often think of it in terms of money, but this scripture teaches us that prosperity is not confined to our pocketbooks. God wants us to prosper in body, mind, and soul.”
Some Pastors don’t see the importance of these types of program offerings, while others may be skeptical as to whether or not people will participate. Participation may in fact be scattered and unpredictable, but if a Pastor preaches the importance of health and provides FREE opportunities for the congregation to carry out a healthy lifestyle, people will eventually jump on board. Faith comes by hearing. So if they aren’t hearing it preached, how can they have the faith to start living healthy?
“I couldn’t afford the cost of going to the gym, nor did I have time, said Percy Payne, member of Mount Calvary Holy Church. “This was I’m here during normal Bible study hours anyway, and it’s free.” Another member, Bria Tanner said, “I thought it was a great idea that the church was concerned enough to start such a program.”
It’s important for us to understand that our bodies are not our own. The preaching of Jesus, living prosperously, and the message of faith, all include this underlying notion of taking care of the temples that God has given us; being good stewards so that we can carry out his work.
Looks like they get it at Mount Calvary but so many churches haven’t. I encourage you to petition your Pastors and ministerial leaders to start programs, host health fairs and most importantly, preach the message of health.
In the end, we are no good to the kingdom if we are unhealthy or sick.