How do you improve the health of your ministry team? Just exercise a little ingenuity. . . .
Talk about an issue that weighed heavy on a pastor. Mark Hughes, Pastor of Church of the Rock in Winnipeg, Manitoba recently confessed: “Maybe it’s because I’ve always been passionate about physical fitness and eating well. After all, our bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). The wake-up call came when I realized we had staff who were sick, some with high blood pressure—great people who sat at their computers much of the day, exercised their legs to walk a few steps to the lunch room, eat, then turn back around and sit some more. When I saw this “work cycle” wasn’t helping anyone, I got worked up into a sweat!”
Hughes started the “Heaven Can Wait Fitness Challenge.” He hired a personal trainer to lead separate men’s and women’s 30 minute aerobic workout and weight training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in the church gym. “No employee who took part would lose a penny of their take home pay. Essentially, we were willing to pay people to become healthier by working out two days a week.” To help incentivize participation, persons who lost the greatest percentage of weight received a free iPad. Even though participation was totally optional, 100% of our staff took part.
· After four months of working out, the Church of the Rock staff lost a collective 500 lbs. Hughes jokes, “It was like losing three staff members without having to fire anyone!”
· Two years later, fitness participation remains high. People have more energy, which results in fewer sick days and increased workplace productivity. Plus, everyone’s eating better, thanks in part to fresh fruit and veggies, which have replaced glazed donuts at staff meetings and gatherings.
· With all this, it’s no surprise that staff engagement, as measured by the Best Christian Workplace survey, has risen to new levels.
The Bottom Line:
Investing in the improved physical health and well-being of your staff can affirm their self-worth, strengthen personal engagement and increase overall productivity.
P.S. “One of the best things our fitness challenge revealed is the importance of having a positive attitude,” says Hughes. “People who ‘exercise’ a positive attitude become healthier in body, mind and soul. And when God’s people bring a positive attitude to work it makes for a happier, more productive ministry team.”