By Vivian L. Perez
A little over 12 years ago, I shared with my husband the burning desire to help others with their fitness journey. But more so than just getting fit or being in shape, I felt a strong conviction to share my spiritual beliefs alongside encouraging others to be physically healthy. I felt the importance of taking responsibility for the bodies that God has given us as not just our duty, but a privilege that has been bestowed upon us! 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Throughout the past five years, our ministry, GFit, has been able to provide classes and information that have helped many students achieve greater levels of health. What does GFit stand for?
G – God above all things
Frequency – How often we visit with God
Intensity – How much of ourselves we devote to our relationship with Him
Time – How much time we sacrifice for Him
Everyone from our youngest students– toddlers– to those in their 80s have participated in group sessions like Boot Camp workouts and Christian Zumba. Many participants have been able to reduce the number of medications they take due to their improving health, including one church member who was taken off two different medications, with a doctor’s approval, after several months of working out. Others have trained for and entered races, and surpassed their fitness goals on many levels. Their successes have raised not just their self-esteem but also their understanding that God wants us to be healthy, happy, and achieve more than just getting by in life.
We have also seen many friendships flourish as a result of the Christian camaraderie and fellowship that takes place every week. Exercise can sometimes be tough to get through, but when we do it together, it seems like less work as we laugh and smile our way to better health.
We’ve had incredible opportunities to invite non-churchgoers and community members to a place where they can experience this Christian fellowship firsthand. Many have stopped out of curiosity during our outdoor Boot Camp classes and eventually became part of our regular group. We have had the chance to witness, pray for, and fellowship with individuals, without the formal atmosphere of Sabbath morning church. One student began regularly attending because a friend invited her to a class. After six months of never missing one session, she began Bible studies and was baptized along with her husband and two boys. God is good!
It is essential to offer our church community, now more than ever, a place where they can be blessed physically as well as spiritually. In a poll of Christians of all generations, 92 percent said they considered their health a top priority. You can begin reaching out to people simply by inviting them to go for a walk, whether physically together or socially distanced while on the phone. Walking every day is essential, especially now that most of us are sheltering in place at home. With fresh air, cardio, and time spent with Jesus, we can get through these tough times together.