Local church forms fitness program

If you're about to give up on healthier living as your New Year's resolution, one new program might have you reconsidering your decision.Trinity Baptist Church in Sweetwater is establishing a new ministry called Trinity Fitness, or TRI-FIT. The program is designed to be an inspiration for healthier living in order to be better prepared to serve God."Our purpose is threefold: to attend to our physical, spiritual and relational lives," said Gretchen Jones, the Minister of Education at the church and facilitator of the fitness program. "As we meet to exercise or play we will share a word from the Lord to encourage spiritual growth, we will offer opportunities to be more physically active, and we will offer time to grow friendships."Jones started the club after she found the idea on the Second Baptist Church website, a Houston-based church that has seen so much success with their respective program that they constructed a fitness center on their church campus.The goal of TRI-FIT is to inspire participants to have strong, healthy bodies in order to be an "...instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work,” as taken from 2 Timothy 2:21 in the New International Version of the Bible.By seeing the body as a instrument for the Lord instead of an ornament, TRI-FIT can motivate others to lead a more active lifestyle that also boosts a spiritual lifestyle. According to a blog by Kristy Holidy, "Weight a Second Fitness: the Exercise 'Rules'," exercise can help a person with the weight-loss battle in ways that a diet alone cannot achieve.The program, however, is not a place to just become "skinny," "buff," or to judge others for not exercising. Instead, the physical aspect of TRI-FIT can have a positive impact on a person's spiritual and emotional well-being.One way that the ministry will reach out to the spiritual side is through a book that will be used for devotions at each TRI-FIT event. "Every Body Matters" by Gary Thomas is described as "a fresh perspective on how physical fitness directly impacts your spiritual growth."TRI-FIT Volleyball began Monday, January 28 and is held during the noontime lunch hour each week. Participants are invited to bring a light lunch, play volleyball in Trinity's Family Life Center and enjoy fellowship with others.Another program is the TRI-FIT Run/Walk, which will start up on Saturday, February 9 and will meet each week at 9 a.m. The group will start out at the Family Life Center, and then proceed to either run or walk street courses or around the high school track.A variety of distances will be mapped out for each person's convenience, and groups will be formed based on pace and distance. For extra motivation, participants interested in taking part in a 5K race in the spring are encouraged to download the "Couch to 5K" app on their smart phones.Future TRI-FIT events include an evening exercise class and activities designed for the whole family to get involved. Right now, the primary goal is to get participants in shape so that they can be involved in this year's Sweetwater Outreach Week, scheduled for June 6 through 8."We want them to be strong, healthy, and prepared to serve others and share God's love."For more information on TRI-FIT, contact Gretchen Jones, the Minister of Education at Trinity Baptist Church, by calling 235-2991 or emailing her at gretchen@trinitysweetwater.com.