Garage Gym Church: Christian Outreach with a Testosterone Twist
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Some Christian men have found a unique way to serve God and improve their health at the same time. It's called Garage Gym Church and it represents a different take on Christian fellowship and grassroots evangelism.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Reardon found himself working out alone in his garage. As a Christian, he started combining those workouts with his personal worship time by listening to high-energy praise music and fiery sermons about things like overcoming adversity while he pumped iron, and praying and reading scripture while resting between sets.
When the pandemic subsided, Chris invited a handful of Christian friends to join him, and called it Garage Gym Church. It was such a positive experience, Reardon is now partnering with Faith & Fitness magazine to encourage others to develop similar ministries.
"The goal is to spread the word, work with churches, particularly with men's ministries and pastors, and say, 'We're going to teach you how this works. We're going to give you the step-by-step instructions," Reardon told CBN News. "One of the good things is the overhead, the equipment, you don't need that much. The audiovisual content is delivered through a YouTube channel."
Brad Bloom, president of the Christian-based Lifestyle Media Group, which publishes Faith & Fitness magazine, told CBN News Garage Gym Church could help men make Christ the center of their fitness, and can be the venue that helps them lead others to Jesus.
"We all know that fitness can be a very selfish thing, but it doesn't have to be. This is their opportunity to say, 'Hey, I want to reach out to my co-workers, my family members, my neighbors, people in my church, and invite them here. And not only are we going to exercise to have fun, but we're going to have a time to grow closer to God to address the spiritual needs that we have,'" Bloom told CBN News.
Seth Doherty, who participates in Garage Gym Church, said it's a good place for men to let down their guard and be honest about what's going on in their lives, including their spiritual lives.
"There's something disarming about when you're sweating and working out hard," he told CBN News. "When you're at the end of a workout, you have these vulnerable moments where you can actually open up and share some deep stuff with each other. And to create those moments with guys is like, priceless."
The Garage Gym Church implements a fast-paced, proactive format.
"It's like a locker room," explained Reardon. "We're standing up. We're talking. 'You got 90 seconds, give me a God story. Go. Hey, we're going to pray for each other right now.' To really get this idea that this is something, I guess, more manly, if you will, because a lot of guys just don't pray together, right?"
What makes it even easier, Dougherty said, is that many men already have home gyms.
"During COVID times, when gyms were shut down, there were garage gyms popping up all over the place. In fact, you couldn't get gym equipment. Everything was sold out," he said.
Marine Francis Edquid said his garage gym serves as a way to minister to people in his life who either don't know Jesus or who may have strayed from their faith.
"Some of the sailors that I work with, that are having internal struggles, I bring them here. I say, 'Hey, let's face that challenge together, man. Let's go,'" he told CBN News. "Also, I share with my neighbors too."
Edquid said most people like the idea of getting in shape in the private setting of a home.
"A lot of people are uncomfortable going out to the public gym, especially if they haven't been, active, let's just say. So it's a confidence thing. But here, there's no judging."
Garage Gym Church could be the missing link to connect to a never-before-reached segment of the population.
"It's not to take the place of regular church," Bloom said, "but let's be honest. There's a whole world out there that's never going to get to what we call, 'regular church.' And for them, this may very well be it."
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