A little more than two months ago, the death of a Biggest Loser fan and Facebook friend drove home the purpose of what we do. This young man, Justin Heard, passed away at the age of 28 after struggling with obesity from the age of 8.
Welcome to our first Fit.Church Weekend. In May it will be 5 years since our Biggest Loser 11 Finale. Fit.Church is an outgrowth of that experience and all our experiences since then in the area of faith and fitness.
Difficult Times in Health Journeys...
Last year Justin Heard was going through a difficult time and I reached out to him. We were headed to a memorial service for a family member and I thought he was still living in that area. We were not able to connect, but we shared that we looked forward to the day when we would connect. We never had that day. He passed in February.
Then just one month later, Austin and I walked into an Urgent Care facility because I was sick and Austin didn’t feel great either. Within 90 minutes, Austin was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and ended up in the Critical Care Unit for three days. Diabetic Ketoacidosis was the diagnosis and, once again, we were faced with exactly the reason we are committed to the ministry we have chosen.
There may be some of you reading this who are still trying to determine what Fit.Church is. You may have even read that we are working to offer encouragement, accountability and community, but you still don’t have a mental picture of what we are about.
I am reminded of a passage of scripture found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Our desire is to create a community of people who together make healthy living a possibility. For years I personally tried on my own to become healthy, and even when I first started Biggest Loser I was trying hard privately. Through that experience, I realized I could not make health changes on my own. The other contestants became my greatest source of encouragement to succeed rather than my competitors fighting against me for a prize of $250,000.
As a family, we were there for Austin; each day his mother or myself were with him in CCU. We were praying, encouraging and making sure he had what he needed to get through. Many of us have family who will support us, but there are times when people who are going through similar problems are more able to come alongside us, bind together with us, and help us work through problems.
We’re better together.
The members of the Fit.Church Pilot Program are better together.
Thus the main purpose and reason for Fit.Church Pilot Program is community. Right now we are in a very important growth phase so that we can obtain the needed platform and structure to make the ministry as effective as possible and also make Fit.Church self-supporting.
If you are not currently a member of the Fit.Church Pilot Poogram, we invite you to become an Founding Partner. Work with us; find encouragement and community and help us make Fit.Church the best healthy living support ministry in the Christian community. Click here to find out more about the program.
Community was in His top 3
Finally, in returning to Justin Heard’s story: looking through his Facebook page, I found something that was very profound, sad and true. He shared in a note he had written that the three things he had found that were most important to weight loss were 1) eating clean, 2) a support community and, finally, 3) exercise. In Justin’s eyes the most important of the three was his support community.
In Fit.Church good nutrition and exercise are encouraged and needed, but it is the supportive communal environment that will help us achieve the other two. Let’s reach out to the Justin’s in our lives who need encouragement and invite them to join us on our journey to a healthy life.
Written by Pastor Ken, Cofounder of Fit.Church and RetroFit Ministries.