I have a gym membership that hasn’t been used in more than a year. I would like to blame it all on COVID and a flood that closed down the gym for a few months, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that going to the gym isn’t high on my priority list. I make excuses and justify my lack of enthusiasm for saying that walking each day is enough. But it really isn’t. If I want to be in better physical shape, then being diligent to exercise is important.
The world has been tuning in to watch the Summer Olympics. We marvel at the athletes—as most of us eat nachos or ice cream and dream of former days when we could shoot a basketball or attempt a cartwheel. These athletes capture our attention, and we cheer for them and for our country to receive a coveted medal. Yet most of us don’t truly understand what it took for an athlete to make it to that level of competition. Needless to say, my personal lack of exercise will not prepare me for a gold medal, but I promise to be a dedicated consumer of watching athletes go for the gold.
Tucked away in Colorado Springs is one of four U.S. Olympic training centers. My family has visited the center on several occasions, and we are always hopeful for a glimpse of a promising Olympic athlete or to be inspired by their dedication to training. Because if there’s one thing that is true, it’s that Olympians don’t just happen. We cheer them on for a few moments in their respective competitions, but it only happens because they have sacrificed and spent years training for those moments. It’s in the quiet gyms, the early practices, and the endless hours of preparation that culminate in either “the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.”
The apostle Paul often used the imagery of an athlete when he stressed the importance of pursuing godliness. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Timothy would have been familiar with the importance of physical training because most Greek cities had a gymnasium and there was great importance on training and physical strength. The word training comes from the Greek words gymnazō1 and gymnasia2 (the verb and noun forms) and is where we get our word gymnasium from. Paul was urging Timothy in the present tense that godliness, like physical training, is a constant pursuit that has immediate value. But unlike physical training, godliness has value for the present and eternity.
So, why the background on physical training? What does this have to do with you and your leadership? Actually, a lot. Leaders are better when they are trained to lead in the arenas where God has called them, including you. Just as athletes train for competition, leaders are always looking for ways to learn and be better equipped. At Lifeway, we believe in the importance of offering multiple opportunities to train leaders. We believe it is not a one-time occurrence, but an ongoing pursuit of training in godliness for the purpose of discipleship. If God is calling you into ministry leadership, our calling is to help prepare you. We want to meet you in the trenches of being stretched out of your comfort zone, and we want to challenge you to use leadership muscles you didn’t know you had.
If you’re looking for spiritual leadership training, here are just a few ways you can be equipped for God’s leadership calling in your life.
- You Lead live events. These one-day leadership training events allow you to learn from ministry trainers and receive information on topics such as conflict resolution, ministering to women in crisis, how to study the Bible, and how to plan effective small groups. Lifeway Women trainers are like personal coaches who challenge you to be better than you can be on your own. Offered at various cities in front of Lifeway Women enrichment events, attendees leave with resources and are equipped with relevant information to help you take the next steps in your leadership journey.
- You Lead Virtual. We understand you can’t always travel or attend a live training event, so purchase a You Lead Virtual pass and receive digital training for only $20. You’ll get great content that is taught at the live events, and you can share the content with an entire team. Think of You Lead Virtual as the Peloton® trainer that spurs you on to great leadership heights through the medium of a screen.
- You Lead Webinars. Offered monthly, three panelists tackle various leadership topics and spend an hour discussing and answering questions. If you aren’t able to join the webinars while they are recorded, you can always check out the webinar library on Lifeway Women’s YouTube channel. Be sure and subscribe so you get an alert when new webinars are posted. These are offered at no cost.
- You Lead Ministry Care. Maybe you need some one-on-one coaching, encouragement, or prayer. Lifeway Women trainers are only a Zoom® call away, and you can sign up for a 15-minute consultation. Again, there is no cost for this service.
- Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum. If you’re looking for the ultimate destination training event, then Forum is for you and others on your team. It’s two and a half days of general sessions, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and honestly, a lot of fun! Held outside of Nashville, we’re looking forward to having a full live event in 2021, but we will continue to offer a Virtual option for those who are unable to travel. Think of Forum as the premium fitness training center you need to elevate your leadership to new heights.
Are you convinced? If not, take a moment to consider these words from Paul in 1 Timothy 4:15, “Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all.” Let’s strengthen our leadership muscles together and be committed to the training that will help us all grow into the leaders God has called us to be. We do it not for a physical medal, but for the purpose of eternal impact.
Kelly D. King is the Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for Lifeway Christian Resources. She is the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide for Leading Women in the Local Church. You can hear Kelly at Lifeway’s You Lead events that are held in several cities around the country or listen to her co-host the Marked Podcast with Elizabeth Hyndman.
1. Strong’s G1128, Blue Letter Bible, accessed August 6, 2021, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1128/csb/mgnt/0-1/.
2. Strong’s G1129, Blue Letter Bible, accessed August 6, 2021, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1129/csb/mgnt/0-1/.