Church as Gym

03 Jan
Burlington YWCA

Burlington YWCA

Every January, I make a few New Year’s resolutions. As of today, I am enjoying huge, unmitigated success in the fulfillment of these resolutions. I have fulfilled every one of my seventeen resolutions! I am a New Year’s resolutions success story!  Hannibal has crossed the Alps! OK…I’ll slow down.  Current literature on New Year’s resolutions and my own pathetic personal history do not indicate a favorable outcome.  Not only do I generally abandon my resolutions after about two weeks (at the time of writing this, I’m on day 3) but according to a recent issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8% of all people who make resolutions actually achieve them.  I guess I am just one of the 92%.

But I do have one goal that is sure to meet success—working out at the gym (for me, “gym” is the Burlington YWCA).  The reason I will stick with going to the gym is this– I enjoy it.  Forbes Magazine says in “Five Resolutions You Won’t Keep and Five You Will” that a resolution works best if it is “pleasant” or if you really enjoy it.  Well, I enjoy the gym—I enjoy the people, the energy I feel when I walk in the weight room, the encouragement of the staff, the fact that we are all there for the same reason—improved health and quality of life.  So I know I will not abandon that particular resolution.

The gym is a good image for the church.  Similar to the gym, the church is where we go to work on our faith and build up those spiritual and ethical “muscles” we rely on when we are not in church. Just like my strength training sessions with my YWCA trainer, Stephie (who is really awesome), everything I do in church is deliberate.  Nothing is without purpose; or if it seems lacking in purpose, I may have forgotten why I come to the “gym” at all.  Is my reading of the scripture just one more element of the worship service or does it move me with the voice of God?  Do I pray knowing I am heard or am I just repeating words?  Do I know if I swing a kettle bell to strengthen my back or just for the entertainment of Stephie?  Hmmm…could be a little of both.

The other day, while clearing out our basement, I picked up a large box of books and quickly carried it up two flights to my office.  I commented to Don that if I hadn’t been working out, I wouldn’t have been able to do that so easily.  In other words, there are things I can do now that I couldn’t do without the benefit of the gym.

What benefit does your gym/church bring to you?  Is there anything that happens for you in church that helps you when you are not in church?  Are there loads you can now carry that would prove too heavy without your faith community?

Send me a comment; I would love to hear your thoughts!  Pastor Jane

Stephie the Awesome Trainer

Stephie the Awesome Trainer


Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Blogging With Jane


10 responses to “Church as Gym

  1. Deb

    January 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Yes I pray that I don’t have to go to the gym!!! And I keep coming back because its not working……

  2. Don

    January 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Stephie is harder than my drill sergeants were….but a great person! I’ll be back under her tutelage in 2013…Jane’s New Year resolution for me too :). On the church side…I can’t say enough of how much I enjoy being in this church and how much the people of the congregation mean to me…even if I am the minister’s mister!

  3. janewillan

    January 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    want to go to spin class with me? it’s more fun with another person….

  4. John

    January 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Exploring The Divinity of Doubt may provide a real spiritual workout. There are some rather difficult ideas to wrestle with. I like the parallel of gym and worship to physical and spiritual.

  5. janewillan

    January 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I like the idea of worship being a kind of “work out” and not something one does passively.

  6. Richard Chartrand

    January 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    The church as the gym analogy is quite apt. It is the gym for my mind and soul. I came to St Paul’s UCC in St Louis by a very odd route. Meeting Pastor Tom Ressler and his partner Lorin Cope be fore I was even at the church. I initially viewed the church as a consolation prize but I soon realized the church was the prize and I was grateful God led me there. I would never have made it there on my own.
    My last New Year’s resolution was to end a 35 year mistake of a marriage and work on the person that I am and live an authentic life. That is well underway. This year’s resolution is to continue my work in that area and to take on the deferred maintenance of my body.
    St Paul’s came into the UCC via the Evangelical/Reformed polity. I am a very strong proponent on corporate worship , and although the congregation is small, everyone who is there wants to be there and I draw strength from that. In the last year I have desperately needed that and continue to do so.
    Rich Chartrand in St Louis

  7. janewillan

    January 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

    You seem to be well on your way to achieving your resolution. St. Paul’s sounds like a wonderful place.

    • Richard Chartrand

      January 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for your blog.

  8. Wes and Marilyn Geidel

    January 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I agree 100% with your comments in your blog. Regretfully our trips to the Y have been curtailed temporarily since Wes is having some hip problems.

  9. Jane

    January 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Remember the time the woman took your coat and keys home from the Y?


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