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A Texas congregation is partnering with a gym to host crossfit workout challenges in an effort to boost membership and have participants glorify God through physical fitness.
Clear Creek Community Church in League City, Texas, and Crossfit Friendswood both believe in the importance of maintaining a spiritual and physical balance through Christian-inspired exercises.
"We gotta work out our faith. So when we work out our bodies, there's a correlation there," said Mark Carden, executive pastor of Clear Creek Community Church, reports KVUE-TV. "Without that encouragement, we fail."
The gym itself even promotes the link between being active and godly with a visual reminder posted on the wall that reads, "Glorify God in your body," displayed in the front and center of the facility.
Gym owner Heather Prenatt, says her gym members simply want to feel accepted and her facility is the place where they fill that longing.
"…They come here looking to get healthy and I think they find so much more," said Prenatt, according to KVUE-TV. "We have a resurrection WOD (workout of the day) where they're literally carrying the barbell, symbolizing the cross and suffering."
Despite the unconventional approach in attracting new members both in church and the gym, similar partnerships are becoming the norm in various parts of the country where church leaders are concerned about their congregation's overall well-being.
Earlier this year, a Midway, Kentucky congregation began construction on The Cross Center, a 61,300-square-foot full-service recreation center complete with two regular size basketball courts, a weight room with strength equipment and cardio-machines, a fitness class area, private locker-rooms and an indoor walking track.
Furthermore, church leaders hope the gym, which is set to open by summer time, will offer their community a family-friendly facility alternative as they will enforce a modest dress code to avoid people from feeling intimidated.
Similarly, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church sought renowned personal trainer Samir Becic, founder of the ReSync Method, a workout program involving only body weight, to kick off a series of "Healthy Living" classes late last year to educate and encourage church members to embrace a spiritual and physical life balance.
However, Clear Creek Community Church and Crossfit Friendswood's efforts differ in that they are focused on creating a spiritual support network.
"In Crossfit you're all doing the same thing, it's constantly changing, you have a sense of community and a sense of I'm doing the same thing that somebody next to me is doing…when I work out and wiping sweat it's like you know what, God's got me, God's got me," said Cornell King, Crossfit Friendswood trainer.