In a recent post, I described my experience with crossfit and the difference it’s made in my life. I’m not alone in this. I’ve seen plenty of people cautiously step into a crossfit gym, give it a try, and have something powerful awakened within them. At the end of the post, I said that I’ve experienced more positive life change, in myself and others, in one year of doing crossfit than in 12 years of doing church work. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why this is so. Here’s my first observation.
Not everyone who tries crossfit sticks with it. For some, it’s too hard, too sweaty, too complicated, or too expensive. But for others, it’s life changing. For those who do stick with it, there’s a certain predictability to their experience.
Walk into a crossfit gym and visit with a trainer and he or she will say something like this: Learn the fundamental movements, do the program, clean up your diet, and stick with it and you’ll get in the best shape of your life. You’ll be stronger, faster, leaner, and feel better. Follow this path and it will change your life.
To the uninitiated, such claims can come off sounding arrogant.
Why does crossfit have a cult-like following? Why won’t crossfitters shut up about crossfit? Why are we always inviting our friends to give it a try? Because it delivers on it’s promises in a way that few programs do. Crossfit works. Guaranteed.
One of the biggest differences between my experience with churches and with crossfit is that in most churches there is very little expectation that what they are doing will actually change someone’s life. Every now and then someone at a church will wake up and have their lives changed by the gospel, but this usually happens in spite of what is happening at the church, not because of it. God will occasionally show up to remind a sleepy church that he’s still there by transforming someone. Some are shocked when this happens; others are embarrassed. (Of course, I’m generalizing here. I’m not talking about your church. I’m talking about the church down the street.)
When was the last time you said something like this to someone who was checking out your church: Walk this path with us as we follow Jesus, learn the basics of the gospel, listen to the collective wisdom gathered here, stick with it, and you will be transformed. You’ll find spiritual freedom, emotional peace, deep relationships, and the ultimate purpose for your life. Being a part of our community will get you ready for anything life throws at you. We’re walking an ancient path that has been validated by the countless experiences of those who have gone before us. The gospel works. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Why aren’t more people excited about what’s going on at their church? Why don’t they spend more time talking about it and inviting others to give it a try? Because lives aren’t being changed. Transformation isn’t a normal part of their church experience. They can make no guarantees that being a part of their church will make any noticeable difference in anyone’s life.
Why do crossfitters seem to have more confidence in crossfit than Christians have in the gospel?