“Check your ego at the door. It doesn’t matter where you finish, only that you finish with integrity and give it a solid effort. Leave the Gym better than when you walked in. Head high and be proud, this stuff is Hard.”


 

The above quote is infamously known to almost every “crossfitter.” These are the words that many of us, including myself, see every single time we walk into our local Crossfit gym and endure the most excruciating 40 minutes of our lives. But what do they have to do with church, God, or the gospel?

Over the past four months I have been working out at my local Crossfit gym about 4 – 5 days a week. And over the course of these past four frustrating, invigorating, and challenging months, I have begun to notice something interesting, spectacular, yet also disappointing…

Crossfit and the local church are oddly familiar. Please don’t get me wrong, their messages are different and are rooted in entirely different “gospels.” However, each one is tapping on the doors of humanities deepest needs (more on that below), and I think we as Christians and our churches could learn something basic but invaluable from our local Crossfits.

Because of my observations, I would love to briefly share what I have observed that Crossfit offers and does really well, and why thousands of willing and wanting individuals are signing up to go through this intense workout program.

Community

Just this past week during my Wednesday WOD (workout of the day) our coach for the workout, while we were stretching, asked us to go around the circle and tell everyone our favorite workout and why we loved Crossfit. Everyone, and I mean everyone responded with the same answers:

1. There favorite workouts were doing no workout at all, but knew that the 45 minutes of workout hell was worth it. And…

2. Their favorite thing about Crossfit was the community.

Everyone felt welcomed, accepted, and embraced. No one was ever left out, made fun of, or looked down upon because of their weight and fitness level. However, people are not allowed to stay the way they first arrived. More on that below.

Accountability

At my Crossfit, if you miss a workout or are gone for a week and not on vacation, you will most likely get a phone call, text, or Facebook message. Crossfitters want other Crossfitters to succeed. They want them to achieve their goals. They want them to be long-term focused and not give up. And for many of them, it is worth the embarrassment of being “called out” to reach their maximum potential.

Common Goals

Every Crossfit workout has a proposed “RX.” RX is a basic standard by which people are able to measure their success. No matter where someone is in the process of losing weight, gaining muscle, getting lean, etc., there is always a goal to be reached. The goals are always the same; to achieve the best level of fitness and endurance that you personally can reach. Everyone understands this and everyone attempts to achieve it.

Coaches

Coaches lead every workout. They are present to encourage, challenge, rebuke, and uplift every single Crossfitter. They are present to relate to your pain (literally!) and push you to break through psychological and physical barriers. The coaches can say and do almost anything because they have been professionally trained and equipped to bring out the best in other peoples work outs. Coaches are Crossfitter’s too, and can relate to the needs and struggles of everyone else.

Investment

Crossfit is not cheap. Most gyms charge $150-200 per month for unlimited workouts. The fascinating thing is that despite the high costs of joining a crossfit gym, no one ever seems to complain about the costs. They are content spending $200 a month, plus up to $300 for “crossfit” created workout gear.

Why?

Because it’s worth it. The financial investment is worth the byproduct of working out hard and eating right. Crossfitters don’t mind forking over the cash because the community is great, the accountably is strong, the coaches are encouraging and challenging, the goals are attainable but difficult, and the end results are life-changing.

One Message

Crossfit’s motto is simple and effective: “Forging, Elite, Athletes.”

Their vision is to build up their followers into top-of-the-line athletes that have achieved their physical goals, have become healthier, and will live longer and more full lives. And ultimately, Crossfit’s vision is to see more and more Crossfitters created and more Crossfit gyms opened throughout the world. They want the name Crossfit to be well known, but not common. Fully embraced, but not watered down.

Can you see it?

Every one of these observations can and should also be seen in our local churches. You see, Crossfit is appealing to a deep seeded need of community, accountability, generosity, purpose, and one vision that Christ and his sacrifice for us and our place in His divine family alone can satisfy. I believe that Crossfit is a wonderful example of the plans God has for us in his Church and how he has orchestrated the world to reveal of His plans and desire for every human being.

What is our message? What is our vision? What does our community look like? Where is our accountability? Who are our coaches? What type of investment are we making? Do we have common goals?