Church pastors receive a free membership. Say, what?
That’s right. I talked with Journey Fitness about their heart for ministry. They are a different kind of gym. Most don’t realize they are a fitness center built on their call from God. As such, they operate a different kind of facility. Kindness—check. Integrity—check. Amazing facility—check. They even have a slightly stricter dress code to create a healthier atmosphere. How people are dressing in a co-ed environment, like a gym, matters. If you can walk in and feel comfortable with the people you see—it sets a better tone for working out.
Journey Fitness appeals to all ages, shapes and sizes, but the 45+ crowd really love to call it home. It’s a great environment for people wanting a more pleasing ambiance to get fit or stay healthy. Journey doesn’t offer childcare, but older children can sit quietly at the table up front with homework, a book or even iPads. The facility itself is impeccable, with all the equipment you would expect. Plus, it offers super clean locker rooms, showers, and even great lockers. However, the difference doesn’t stop there.
Zachary and Michelle Buford, owners of Journey Fitness, felt called to open their gym to pastors for their use without needing a membership. Zachary said, “We know pastors carry a bigger burden than most realize. We feel they can create peer relationships with pastors from other churches. Those relationships can be beneficial in all sorts of ways–from simply workout partners to accountability partners outside their circle. It really depends on what they need. They can share struggles they face with their congregation or in their personal lives as pastors. They can offer solutions they’ve found to those problems. When these pastors get together, they can take the relationship to whatever level makes sense.” Zachary and Michelle both have a heart for reaching out and supporting pastors and really the body of Christ. They also love the concept of the “C”hurch coming together in all areas of life for strength and encouragement.
Zachary and Michelle might be more right than they even realize. Pastors are on a tough road. In some ways, they are just taken for granted as they carry their crosses to impact the city for Christ. They face enormous amounts of criticism with our ever-growing opinion-sharing society. Their time is spent counseling when there’s a need for conflict resolutions, which can center around personality-type disputes in the congregation rather than issues needing Biblical clarity. Add in trying to find time for their family or some “me” time to just decompress and it’s no wonder many pastors face depression. Plus, let’s face it, we don’t often hear of pastors bringing home enormous salaries. They are often struggling financially, which can also leave their marriages struggling. If all of these weren’t enough—we also know burnout is real when you’re working in a capacity under so much stress with less support than needed. They are called to care for their church and it takes on a whole host of meanings depending on their church; the weight of that burden alone can feel perilous.
For Zachary and Michelle, their heart is to offer pastors a safe place to come, where they can take a little personal time without hurting the family budget. Working out can be such a great stress reliever as we all know. (Well, we all know it—we don’t always all do it!). When pastors come together, they can gain support from each other, learn from each other, and pray with each other. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone outside of your circle to confide in as you try to sort through your struggles whatever they might be. Sometimes it’s nice to slip into a safe environment, surrounded with some like-minded individuals and breathe. Zachary and Michelle hope Journey Fitness can be all of that PLUS a great way to stay healthy for these pastors. They want to support them. So, they just thought, “Let’s just give them that opportunity.”
Zachary said, “We’re not the gym for everyone and that’s OK. We’re more the gym you think of when you’re sitting around wanting a gym where you can feel at home.” The gym has 24/7 access, parking right at the door, and cancelation notices of only 48 hours. Their policies are really in line with their character.
We suggest you give it a try to feel the difference. With a 1-day pass available right on the internet, you can hop in and check it out. Plus, send your pastors their way. Free is great. Super facilities and kind staff for free, well that’s something really worth sharing.
Journey Fitness |(918) 895-9098 | JourneyFitness.com
10846 S Memorial Dr, Ste 103 Tulsa, Oklahoma