Fitness Goals are like Ministry Goals

youth ministry

This is a shoutout to all my friends over at YouthPastorDiet.Com, and all youth pastors everywhere who are struggling with their goals for weight…and their ministry.

Here I am at 9 years old, about to run to first base. Good luck, little chunky Heather.

Here I am at 9 years old, about to run to first base. Good luck, little chunky Heather. Yes, I still run with my pants that high.

I have struggled with my weight all my life: I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb with a pear shape. In January, I decided that I wanted to begin running.  Now, understand how ridiculous and hilarious this is: I have never been able to run. Like, ever. Even when I played softball for 6 years, I was terrible at running. Terrible! My mom used to make fun of me and tell me that I looked like I was running with a piano on my back.

So why did I decide to run? Stink if I know. I think it’s because I knew that I wanted to exercise more and get fit.  I also have issues with migraines, and at my January doctor’s appointment I was told I’m healthy as a clam, yet my BMI is bad, like really bad.  I think it’s because I was too poor for a gym membership, and I can’t fit an exercise machine in my little car.  Running is free.  Well, after you drop $150 on a good pair of shoes, some running shorts, a good sports bra (not just for women), and a running shirt. Cool running sunglasses optional. They’re on my list.

A few months later, my miles are 3 minutes shorter; in fact, just this morning I beat my records. I’m achieving goals, setting records, yet I’m discontent because I’m not seeing it on the scale.  I thought I’d be skinnier?  I mean, let’s be honest: Wasn’t that really my goal all along?

But I’m forgetting all the little goals: That my migraines aren’t every day anymore. That before, I couldn’t exercise 2 days in a row…this week I did FIVE days in a row. FIVE!!! Yes, it hurts like you-know-what… but I’ve had worse. I’m faster, stronger, I feel better. And my confidence is great.  Those are all goals to be celebrated.

I think back to ministry (because I always ministry-juke myself):

We set goals for ministry, typically growth: And even though our existing students may be getting stronger, may be getting over bumps of junk in their life, may be becoming just brave enough to invite people… we are only focused on the quantitative growth.  And what a shame that is!

Shouldn’t we be celebrating all the little victories!  Who cares if I’m not losing inches where I want to–it’s happening!   Who cares if teens’ friends aren’t coming–at least they have the guts to ask them now!

AND–maybe we need to reevaluate our methodology.  So I’m running…what about that Chinese food I ate the other day?

But we use excuses for those things: Well, we always do Taco Tuesdays (order a Taco Salad, brosky). I have to go support their bake sale.  Well, we’re at the baseball game, so beer and frank it is.  And ladies: It’s “that time.” Yeah, well a few times I’ve beat my time on “my time” if you get my drift.

That sounds like that one excuse every youth worker loathes: “This is the way we have always done it.”

Did I make you feel bad yet?


I think I might have to go for another jog.