Fit Lives

In 1996 a curate in Abingdon called Tim Perry felt God calling him to set up a ministry that would reach people outside the church. He was reminded of Jesus’ own ministry that centred on meeting people where they were, rather than expecting people to come to him. Tim had previously worked in the leisure industry and recognised that health and fitness clubs offered a natural setting in which to meet people and offer something significantly different.  After contacting a number of clubs he began to go into one club a couple of times a week.  This soon developed into building bridges with people, discussing deep issues with them, offering lifestyle seminars and running an Alpha course.  Tim decided to call this programme Fit Lives: helping people be better equipped to live life to the full.

In 2001 Dave Courteen began to get involved in a leadership capacity.  As a managing director of a chain of fitness clubs and a former chair of the Fitness Industry Association, Dave had recognised the potential of Fit Lives. Dave’s standing within the profession and his knowledge of the health and fitness industry has proved invaluable.  Dave is now one of the Trustees of Sports Chaplaincy UK.

Fit Lives volunteers are essentially gym chaplains.  They are committed to spending regular time in a gym offering pastoral and spiritual support to staff and members.  This can include being a listening ear and chatting with people over a coffee, attending classes in order to build relationships, running lifestyle seminars, organising social events and running Alpha or wellbeing courses.

People go to gyms for more reasons than fitness.  They go because they have body image issues, self esteem issues, loneliness, going through rehab, health problems and so on.  It has proved to be very valuable to have a Christian intentional presence to scratch beneath the surface and help people through some of the challenging aspects of life and to help them consider a spiritual perspective, and the importance of addressing body, mind and spirit.

Our hope is to see this work expand, to raise up more gym chaplains, and to impact the fitness community across the UK.

Press releases
Call to see more Christian chaplains in the gym as new partnership is announced
Elma Beaton: first gym chaplain in Scotland

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Contacting the National Sports Sunday team

For further information including press enquiries, please email Adam
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National Sports Sunday 2020 teaching

During 2015, whilst working for Youth For Christ, Phil undertook a year completely sports free. He wrote a blog to share of his journey. You can read it here.

Praying For The Community Of Sport

  • For our eyes to be opened to see the community of sport as God sees it.
  • For us as a church or individual christian to see how we can be salt and light to the community of sport in our words and deeds.
  • That our eyes might be opened to see what sports community exist in our own area and to just start to pray for that community.
  • That we would have compassion not just to pray during this crisis but beyond that.

Prayers provided by Tony Moodie, Discipleship Development Coordinator, Evangelism and Growth Team, Methodist Church GB

  • Sporting clubs will keep their chaplains in the loop when it comes to pastoral needs and crises
  • Chaplains will continue to find ways to stay engaged with their clubs though they can’t be physically present
  • Chaplains will have the sensitivity of the Spirit to know who to proactively contact and when
  • Chaplains will continue to have the support of their churches do engage with sport during this time

Prayers provided by Aileen Fleming, Scottish Prayer Leader

  • For the love of God to be seen in the small things we do to support those who are struggling at this time.
  • For all who grieve at present, with the unexpected loss of loved ones through the coronavirus.
  • For God’s power and love to strengthen all our chaplains as they work tirelessly to bring love, compassion,hope and a continued presence with the family of our sports clubs.
  • For an awareness of the poverty,hardship,stress,family breakdowns,addictions and a sense of loss and hopelessness that might be going on behind the scenes.

Prayer points contributed by Karen Lorimer; Chaplain to Swansea City Bravehearts

  • For ourselves that we would be open to be challenged by God to our own prejudices towards the community of sport; that where we see it as an activity, see it as a community
  • Thanksgiving for the gift that prayer is for us to pray for the community of sport; that God would challenge us to be aware of what is going on in our own communities in terms of sports clubs.
  • Help us to have an awareness of the headline challenges affecting the community of sport and that we would have a heart to pray regularly for the community of sport during this pandemic.
  • As we look to the future, that the church would not seek to be competition with each other to serve but that we might be one Body of Christ, working together.

Prayers provided by James Lusted, Sports Chaplaincy UK Ambassador and broadcaster

  • Look after their mental and emotional wellbeing as well as retain their physical fitness levels
  • Reflect that they can only control the controllables and allow things to take their course
  • See light at the end of the tunnel, and see various achievable stage that they can go through to get back to playing as normal
  • Reflect that there are more important things in life than sport – and open up the spiritual, eternal realities so that they call their chaplains to ask spiritual questions.

Prayers provided by Mark Fleming, Sports Chaplaincy UK Scottish Director

  • Pray for the OWNERS , CEO’S . CFO’S , CHAIRMEN and TEAM MANAGERS – they will be tasked with the decisions of building a revised business model to support the needs of the Players , staff , volunteers , supporters and themselves as administrators .
  • Pray for PLAYERS who will be faced with uncertainty about their contracts and their future in the game.
    Pray for all the people that make up SPORTS CLUBS , ORGANIZATIONS and COMMUNITIES that they will remember well the benefits of sport and the camaraderie it invokes as well as the delight in winning and success.
  • Pray for the CEO’S . CFO’S and COO’S of NATIONAL GOVERNING BODIES as they likewise build revised business models to support the needs of their respective sports at Elite, Amateur and Grassroots level

Prayers provided by Philip Mitchell, Sports Chaplaincy UK National Director for Northern Ireland.

  • For all young people missing their team mates and the sport they are not able to play.
  • For young people whose sports community is their ‘life-line’ that they would be being supported by their coaches (community sports or club based) and teammates
  • For young people whose purpose and identity has been rocked and knocked and are uncertain over the future
  • For young people who are dealing with grief and fear in their households and families
  • That Christian young people are able to support and share God’s love to their team mates and they receive the support they need to do this.

Prayer points contributed by Richard Witham, National Sports Mission Leader, Scripture Union

  • Prayers of thanks for the enjoyment that watching sport via media outlets provides us
  • Pray for those missing the enjoyment of watching live sport in the media as a result of Covid-19.
  • Pray for those who will loss their jobs, whether temporarily or permanently as sport games remain off the television for the foreseeable future.
  • Pray for those who will be affected by the direct loss of revenue income which sport on the media provides.

Prayer points contributed by Peter Wooding, Senior Editor at Assist News Service and the London Bureau Chief for the Global News Alliance


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