top of page

Free & Fit - Guest Panelist at Faith & Fitness Redefined Conference - Q&A’s with Tim Cheux in Texas

Free & Fit - Guest Panelist at Faith & Fitness Redefined Conference - Q&A’s with Tim Cheux




Questions focused to Tim and the Panel from Faith Foundations section.


Q1. How can understanding the history of the faith and fitness culture help professionals?


“Firstly, we have to define what we mean by a faith and fitness culture. Within fitness we should not be confused with our Sports & Spirituality Brothers and Sisters. The culture of faith within fitness is action, to be pro-actively seeking the Lord in how we use the beautiful, Holy and Sacred bodies that he has given us. Whether you are a runner, weight lifter, cardio junkie or pilates instructor fitness focuses primarily on the self identity of the Body (Genesis 1:26), Mind (Romans 12:1-2) and the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).


Secondly, within a secular culture the definition of self is different. Body (Self Image), Mind (Mental Game Face) and Spirit (Emotions or Feelings). We have to distinguish the difference. Between Sport and Fitness, between Secular and Sacred and Faith and Spirituality. Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of a Boarding School in the 19th century was seeking for education reform towards a more moral Christian pedagogy. Trying to move away from a more immoral secular curriculum.

Arnold was headmaster at Derby between 1828 and 1841. He revolutionized Rugby School and even that he changed 'the face of education all through the public schools of England' (quoted in Stanley, 1844, p. 51;). During this period Arnold instilled into the boys Christian values of a safe, accountable environment andalthough he was not an advocate for it, he did introduce sport into the curriculum at Rugby which led other schools into similar transformations. This safer environment began through football and more specifically old-boys’ teams (e.g., the Old Estonians, the Old Harrovians, and the Corinthians) would play each other and tour abroad after they had finished school (Goldblatt 2006; cited Hill, J.S, Vincent, J. and Curtner-Smith, M (2014).


Arnold’s goal was investing in boys the values that would form them into Christian gentleman, and wished for all people to take part so those values would take root in their lives. His ambition was to have the older boys at Rugby be the “Champions of Righteousness especially selected to combat the ever watchful forces of evil”. This portrayal of Arnold’s character was what gave him a sense of authority and to the middle classes he was what God-fearing parents were after in a headmaster: moral, strong, caring and clever (Mangan, 1981). Thus Arnold was evidently instrumental in improving the education system through the values of the church; it remains unclear if this impacted sportand specifically its popularity.


Finally, if we define the culture by faith and theology we look at Richard Hooker’s (Anglican) three legged stool of scripture,reason and tradition with experience from Charles Wesley (Methodist) to help us distinguish our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We all (I hope) read our Bibles, Pray and Worship the Lord, but each of us will have a different cultural experience that triggers a specific outward refection of our faith.”

Q 2. How have you personally been able to build your business and ministry as a result of you better understanding the work, experiences and results of others doing fitness with a passion for Christ?


Discuss how you were struggling, working hard, learning through trial and error or persistence but gradual progress only to discover that there in fact others had already created precedent from which you could learn.


“All our circumstances are very different, but I personally have always traditionally worked a bi-vocational Ministry when not working full time in a paid salary position in a Church or Ministry. This is based from the advice I was given from Mark Blythe back in the UK who runs SMUK (Sports Ministry UK). Mark always advised me that when he was building his Ministry he started at around 20% of his time doing part time Ministry and 80% tent making until he eventually fully funded his own Ministry.


Today, Mark is now on staff at Chelsea Football Club co-ordinating their interfaith Walking Football Outreach and is working with other teams across the UK! His tent-making job is now his Sports Ministry, alongside his job in a professional football club!


My personal experience has been quite different than most and has included full time Ministry Positions as a School Chaplain, NYU Campus Pastor, Summer Camp Director, CEO and Founder of Free & Fit NYC and as s Sport Ministry Director. All of these roles have come up as only short term contracts or short term projects that never provided me with a future career, benefits or job security due to different financial constraints.


Paul, who was often referred to as a tent maker, did sometimes potentially receive payment or work for himself in different seasons of his Ministry. Especially when he was not fully functioning in a full time Ministry role, due to not being fully funded, as part of his self support fundraising Ministry model and spiritual prayers. If Paul finds it tough, its tough! Advice, if you are a seminarian I heavily advise against self support fundraising! (Phil 4:15-18, 2 Cor 11:8-9)


Today I have had the unique privilege and opportunity to work with Fellowship of Christian and Athletes and Athletes in Action either directly or indirectly as a volunteer, self support fundraiser or Sports Ministry partner. Having completed the Self Support Fundraising Training with SRS solutions I knew the depth, energy and time required to complete intentional fundraising alongside paying for my Masters of Divinity and Postgraduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction this would not be possible living in New York City!


Regarding change from part time to full time Ministry its hard for most Churches and Ministries given the post pandemic culture of saving rather than spending in the secular world. Today, people are practicing safe stewardship of their income and earnings similar to post WW1 and WW2. This would not be the case if we could see a more secure economic environment and then it maybe possible to do what Mark did and work his way through the 20/80, 40/60, work/Ministry balance to a Ministry work balance of 60/40, 80/20 ratio of income until he reached 100% from self support. However, if I had finances saved up, a full time job with benefits and I could see my next pay check comfortably it maybe appealing to do self support fundraising. Just not in today’s current job environment. Its a hard world out there.


Whether your church planting, doing fitness chaplaincy or launching your own gym you really need to carefully seek to know whether this really is the right methodology for you to enter the field of you work and if you truly wish to be self support fundraising. It not for the faint hearted.


On the other hand, whilst I was completing work as a Fitness Coach or Fitness athlete alongside part time Fitness Ministry projects it definitely also works bi-vocationally. I have found myself writing new curriculums, developing new Spiritual Practices and trying to stay focused on bringing my faith and fitness into action whilst working multiple jobs.”

Q 3. What are the challenges, both perceived and real, of operating a fitness business that intentionally targets the deeper needs of clients?


The obvious boundary of the North East Of the United States is the secular culture. Where as in the South you have all sort of fitness programs, ministries and curriculums sharing Gods word in twinned within their recreational and competition kids, adult and professional ministry athletes, coaches and chaplains are less common in this moment up here.


The same types of roles exist in the North East, but they are just very rarely Christian holistically and wholeness focused 100% of the time. Instead there maybe a Summer Camp or Outreach program targeting christian Gospel opportunities, but its not a full time focus.

During his time at Rugby it was Thomas Arnold’s colleague, Revd George Cotton, who was predominantly involved in the sports provision at the school (Parker and Weir, 2012a). Further stories were shared amongst boys during Arnold’s reign via the book labelled “Schoolboys” by Tom Brown, who had created an interpretation of these masculine characteristics which removed exhibitionism in personality to create a more warrior-like hero, exemplified by his character Old Brooke (Chandler, 1999).


Hughes’ main goal was to establish respect for Christianity and sport, perhaps in a broader sense fitness too. He faced opposition from his peers and had questions aboutthe relevance of sport and how it was linked to Christianity. In response, Hughes tried to address such claims by establishing that God had an important part to play in a school boy’s life and sport could provide an alternative for destructive behaviour such as street crime. Fundamentally, he emphasised the point that God had given all school children, and all human kind for that matter, bodies to honour him through physical activity. Through muscular Christian sports based activities, schools could build values which were transferable to clergymen, congregational members of all ages and all genders, enabling them the opportunity to enjoy a fuller and freer life through fitness recreational activities and the word of God was spoken (Mcleod, 2012).


Instead its a Ministry partnering with a Church or a Fitness community or gym working together and one individual trainer or coach having to leave the cost, income and expenses at the altar because they just don’t have the same reach and depth of donors, energy or environment to present the Gospel everyday in addition to all the other strains financially within our region. The price of housing isn’t always the problem, but sometimes its the groceries, utilities or even more simply raising a family.

Hence why this summer I coached tennis Camps for nine weeks, interviewed with Churches for Pastoral Care positions and started on staff at my home Church after a wonderful Holy Spirit inspired position opened up and now I am offering clinics, camps and opportunities to our youth gatherings next summer when I graduate with my Masters of Divinity.


To meet the needs of my clients I focus on contracts and private secular tennis coaching whilst pastoring full time and guest speaking at conferences, writing curriculums and presenting research on the subject of faith and fitness being one. As Jesus said in John 17 he longed for himself to be with the people. Likewise I long for my fitness clients to know my faith through Jesus Christ.


By being open about my studies, my Ministry and financial struggles through short term contracts I build business, clients, co-workers and even students share their faith with me. Not because of what I have done, but because Jesus is Lord and Savior of my life and He was victorious on the Cross two thousand years ago to die for you and me so we may have eternal life with our Father in heaven. This is the reality and reverence of God at work in my life.”


Q4. How has the work of others, who have done faith and fitness together before you, inspired you?


When i look at the work of YMCA, Christians in Sport, SCUK, SMUK, FCA and AIA I often rejoice in the knowledge of knowing they are actively sharing the work, actively ploughing the fields and shepherding the sheep, but I struggle to see my place in those types of organizations. One day I seek to be a Spiritual Leader at a Retreat Centre building faith and fitness communities through fresh expressions of Church. The work of all these organizations pave a way for us to build community, run curriculums and develop existing programs to run clinics and camps.


However, it is my hope to contribute my own work of academic study, spiritual practices and offer new ancient post-modern innovated support to Churches and Ministries through a flag ship model with clinics, camps and curriculums of our own in the future.”

HOST: Let’s discuss the basics of the Christian faith with the premise that if fitness and wellness is delivered as subtly as “faith based” or far more intentionally as “fitness ministry” then the outcomes should include at the very least a well done presentation of the Gospel and a demonstration of a transformed lifestyle and potentially as much as members and clients getting deeper needs met, growing spiritually stronger and ultimately having a personal acceptance of Christ and relationship with God.

Certainly WE can’t MAKE that happen any more than WE can guarantee that someone will lose weight, build muscle, feel better or live longer. But, if we offer instruction in good nutrition, strength training, movement and healthy habits and the customer accepts and practices the guidance given, then everyone’s expectation is that physical advances will happen. And, similar to the physical instruction, if we offer spiritual instruction and support and the customer accepts and practices the guidance given, then again it can be everyone’s expectation that spiritual advances will happen.

So, let’s discuss these questions:


Q5. What motivates you as a fitness professional?


“The witness of Paul and Peter of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Through faith in action, building faith based principles and introducing them into a fitness community we see new opportunities for sharing the Gospel.


At Free & Fit we want to help you build healthy Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional and Social well being practices. Our Faith & Fitness practices are the gift of God to the Church to appeal to the growing disenfranchised millennial, Gen Z and younger non-Christians. We need to be active in our faith to be praying boldly like Saint Ignatius to change the theological cultural climate and to envelop a Spirit of power, love and sound doctrine to the people of Jesus Christ and to those who don’t know Jesus Christ!


Q6. How does the Christian faith make a difference in your life and worldview?


Frank Reynoso from Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the North East once taught me how to start and finish my day. He said start your day with Jesus and end your day with Jesus. He simply said say “Thank You JESUS!” at the end and say “JESUS Thank You!” at the start. We all need to literally give thanks to Jesus!


The Anglican Book of Common Prayer leads a Benediction with the Words for fourth to “Love and Serve the Lord in the Name of Christ”. We are called to Love God and Love People through acts of Service. If we remind ourselves daily of gratitude to Jesus and we consistently keep moving in our faith and fitness we will survive!”


Q7. How do you self-identify as a fitness professional who is Christian? In other words, how do you marry your vocation and your calling AND what expectations from your business and your life do you have in common with God?


“I believe I have already attempted to answer this question, but my hope and prayer is that my wife and I, upon graduation from my Masters of Divinity in 2022, will be able to use the last eight years of my experience of Faith & Fitness Ministry in full time mission to communities across the United Kingdom and United States.


In a nutshell the mission of Free & Fit is to build community through Sports, the Arts, Outreach and Service. Whatever way is possible through Education, Fitness, Coaching and Ministerial Pastoral Care I will be able to practice what I preach. Currently I serve in the North East of the United States, but come what May new opportunities and more sustainable working environments have to be considered for a future career. Pioneering, studying, praying, reading our Bibles and listening to God really matters. Nothing of our self can be smelt in a decision it has to be all for the glory of God! Not my will, but your will be done Lord!

Q8. What does a faith-centered fitness business offer that others do not?


“Its all about the Spirituality of the culture. The Spirit of a secular organization is vastly different to that of a Holy Spirit filled Christian organization. Free & Fit builds community through Sports, the Arts, Outreach and Service.


We do this through three core components;

Free & Fit Sports & Spirituality Coaching

Free & Fit Community Programs

Free & Fit Retreats & Special Events.


A personal trainer who is Christian still has to pay his or her bills, but the difference is the way in which they conduct themselves.


The celebration is not in the client paying your bills, its in the celebration that God uses your work to successfully meet your needs and provides you with what you need. Instead of a secular outlook, a Christian organization, trainer or coach knows, trusts and fully comprehends that they can only do all things through Christ Jesus, not on their own, but through Christ all things are possible.”

Q9. How does the customer experience at your business differ spiritually from that of another?


The welcome, the experience and the communication. I pray for my clients both on and off the court and practice the theology of work that faith and work together are fundamentally good. God created work, fitness and our faith for good, to not let it harm us, but to use it for his Kingdom, his Purposes and ultimately for his Will.


Both at my Church and at my seminary and Church we practice the greeting of “Welcome Home” when people arrive. In a secular context they are inviting you into their home, not our home and Jesus welcomes us all into an eternal home together forever. These are hugely different outcomes and experiences.”

Q10. Share with us an example from your business where you refused to say, “I’m afraid to do that” and instead not only believed boldly or perhaps blindly that God is faithful to deliver but in fact tasted of the unmerited grace, miraculous provision and the profound difference that God’s Spirit brought to your members.


“The Free & Fit Challenge has been created to help individuals build relationships in community through our F&F Sports & Spirituality Coaching, Community Group programs and Retreats & Special Events.

Each component of our program helps our clients to build a better Physical, Spiritual, Mental, Emotional & Social awareness. Through our unique blend of Christian Foundations, Sports, Community Focus and Health & Fitness we help people to nurture and establish personal vocational and life goals as they become Free & Fit.


Navifd shares his experience of the F&F Community:

The ethos of this group; combining the physical exercises with spiritual growth and prayers, has provided me with a focused and clear context to find freedom in the city through my faith.

Paula shares her experience of the F&F Community:


The passion to see people flourish, connected and deepened in their faith is beautiful. Come & Join! You will be blessed!”


Q11. What outcomes are you seeing in your clients that gives you confidence that you are delivering exactly what God expects of you right now?


Similar to Paula and Navid, Charlie shared his experience of the F&F Community:


The physical aspect along with the fellowship helped physical fitness, mental functioning, spiritual health and helped to bond relationships with other group members.

Maria shares her similar experiences of being a member of the F&F Community:


My life is happier, I love being healthy and I have gained new friends. I love assisting every week, making good friends and being healthy by playing sport! These experiences help me to believe what we are doing is fulfilling Gods calling.“

Q12. Where do you feel God wants to grow you so that your business and ministry can GO BIG, be attentive, innovate and exceed business strategies and profit motives?


So I hear you ask how can I do this in my local community? How can I share my faith and my fitness? Well lets break it down into four simple health related focused goals. Firstly, the World Health organization has historically defined Health as being Social, Physical and Mental well-being, being Christian we would like to add to that our Spiritual goals as well and specifically our own faith. Not just an adopted spiritual discipline of another faith or religion. So for the purposes of this presentation I will be focusing on these four core principles of a holistic well being of our faith and fitness across four key disciplines of social, mental, physical and spiritual well being.


Firstly we need to build our Social health around the communities we serve in. In the UK Christians in Sport motto is to place one member of their teams on a secular sports team so that a Christian would be present in every community. This is also true of Chris High at Hoboken Grace Church. As part of his outreach he wanted to place one member of the Church on a Zog sports team in the local community.


This theory is great in practice, but fails to follow up to the way in which Christ sent out his disciples. Two by two they entered the ark, two by two they went from town to town to preach the Gospel and where two or three gather their is God in the midst of them. When you see Preachers on street corners on their own shouting over microphones do you feel they are maximizing their impact? Accessible to answer questions? Available to pray for people? If we gather in twos and three we can represent both our faith as christians and our fitness as teams.


When we socially interact with others we need to be together. Not sent out alone or left alone. It is not good for man to be alone. So in every situation lets not be in the habit of some of neglecting our fellowship together and our shared ministry of preaching the Gospel of the world together. This is where our faith and fitness combine. Playing sports together and sharing the Gospel together. If it was good for the disciples it is definitely good for us!


Send out Trained Teams of people to invite, to collaborate and to organize events together. Never go it alone! Two or Three people together.


Helpful Hint:

If you can’t recruit large number of people to events or sports ministry gathering organize a sports or fitness ministry prayer event. People can always pray together!


Relevant Scripture:


“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25”

Q13. How can we as fitness and wellness professionals document and outline what we learn so that those pursuing to serve God through these vocations have resources, instruction and support to do fitness ministry well and then innovate further? (Taps into the importance of fellowship and networking, teaching and mentoring the next generation, writing online or authoring a book and contributing to academic programs.)


“When entering a gym or exercise venue we can easily gravitate towards our favorite apparatus; whether its the dumbbells, the treadmill, the bike, the pool or the sauna. We all look forward to going through our own favored fitness routines and rituals. Yet, when we consider sharing our apparatus or waiting in line for our turn we get a little bit more competitive. We seriously think about what we might be or might not be willing to do when it comes to self sacrifice in the gym.


The participation in Fitness and the practice of our own exercise routines are personal, specific and very unique to each individual’s background. The values we create in our workout environment can help positively to build others up or bring them down. The approach we should strive for is to honor both our personal physical goals and demonstrate a sign of respect for others through supporting their own goals and supporting them as part of our collaborative fitness community. The question is: how can we achieve both? The Bible teaches us to demonstrate love to your enemies the same as your friends, perhaps an alien concept to many fitness professionals or business owners.


In Luke 6: 27-28 Jesus is recorded as saying: “But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you, 28 bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28). However, this instruction also impacts our relationships, our respect for our fellow man and every sphere of society and those in our lives. Our lifting partner, our spot person or our personal trainer may not seem like our enemy, but as soon as we switch on our ”game face” in the gym very few people would be considered our friends. We have to make a conscious effort to display strong ethical values around others to promote a safe, confident and comfortable workout environment.


Our Values, our ethics and our outlook impact our decision making. The core disciplines which matter most to fitness professionals, and most athletes, fall in line with the five Olympic Educational values. Rather than comparing them to a specific personal goals and fitness targets lets look at what values of being an Olympiad might be similar to a believer of Jesus Christ. Lets love our neighbor as ourselves! In Jesus name! Amen!“


Love & Blessings F&F Team


Reach out to us and sign up via www.freenfit.org


Free & Fit Mission


Free & Fit mission to build community through Sports, the Arts, Outreach & Service.


Free & Fit Vision

Free & Fit Vision The vision of free and fit course is to engage, motivate, improve and hence find freedom in a physical and spiritual state. As such the freedom that leads to a peaceful heart; leads to a healthy body.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/pg/freeandfitchallenge


Twitter&Instagram: @freeandfitnyc


Full details of our Release and Waiver here: https://www.freenfit.org/post/free-fit-nyc-exercise-participation-in-online-sessions-release-waive


Thank you for reading and agreeing to these terms. Please email any questions to: Freeandfitnyc@gmail.com Sign up to our events online: www.freenfit.org


Freedom // Fitness // Fellowship

Free & Fit Challenge © Copyright 2021

Free & Fit NYC/NJ © Copyright 2021

Free & Fit London © Copyright 2021

Comments


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page