What does body-building and fitness have to do with discipleship? In this talk from the 2018 Main Event, Pastor Robby Gallaty draws the analogy from his time training with body-builder and former Mr. Olympia, Robby Coleman, and how, just like we tend to commit more easily to working out when we’re with a group, commitment to the Christian life works much the same way.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Here’s the thing. In the spiritual discipline realm, what I’ve found personally is that, I’m more likely to do spiritual disciplines when I’m growing as a group. I told you before, some of the guys from my discipleship group are here. And we grow as a group together.
Now this happens in the fitness world as well.
So about 5-6 months ago, I met a guy at a conference who is a Christian church planter who planted a church in a hardcore, body-building gym. The name of the gym is called The Metroflex. Some of you say, “I don’t know the Metroflex.” You know this name: Ronnie Coleman. 6-time Mr. Olympia or maybe 7-time. Ronnie Coleman trained at the Metroflex which is what he owns. This is like a hardcore gym. And this guy is the real deal. He’s a body builder. He planted this church with hardcore body-builders like a Bible study. This thing grew to like 200 people in a year. He’s never been to seminary. He’s never been to Bible college. He’s preaching the Word.
So we connect. And listen, this guy is tatted head to toe, tattoo around his head, tattoo on his neck. He is jacked up, right?. So we meet and we started talking about discipleship.
He’s like, “Man, I’ve never been discipled.”
I said, “Really? Man, I’d love to help. Let’s talk.”
And he said, “Have you ever been discipled … in body-building?”
“No, no. But I mean, I work out. You know, I’ve been working out since I was sixteen.”
He said, “Would you like me to help you? Like body-build?”
I said, “Sure, I mean, I’m not going to turn you down.”
“Now here’s the deal, I can help you, but it’s going to take a level of accountability.”
I said, “I love accountability. Man, that’s what I do with my guys. We do accountability all the time.”
He said, “Now here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re going to have to take pictures of yourself.” – this was five months ago – “Front. Side. Back pose. And then send them to me and I gotta give you a critique.”
And I thought, “Man, what possibly is he going to– I’ve been working out since I was a kid.”
He calls me up. He’s like, “Hey man, can I give you some input?”
I said, “Sure I mean, go ahead.”
He said, “Man, your back sucks. Your biceps are– You got big arms; it’s really only your triceps. Your back delts are horrible. Your chest is as flat as a board. Your legs are skinny.”
I said, “Anything good? Like anything good?”
He said, “Well, you got a good frame.”
I was like, “Okay.”
So this guy, I’m telling you, I don’t think I’m training for the Mr. Olympia, but he does, okay? So he’s training me for five months now and it’s grueling. And not only am I training now, but I got two of our staff – Dylan, my pastoral assistant, and Gus. I got them training now.
Here’s what’s worked so well and here’s what’s so amazing about this training. Training in the gym – and you know this – works better in a group. The reason I stay committed to this is because I’m talking to him just about every day, and we’re doing Skype calls. And I talk to these guys just about every day.
Here’s what I realized, don’t miss this: We grow in a group, in a community. That’s why when you join the gym with a partner, you’re about 90% more likely to stick with the workout than if you go by yourself. Did you know this?
Come in real close. If you work better in a group and if you train better in a group and if you don’t like working out alone and if you don’t like traveling alone and if you don’t like fishing alone and if you don’t like hunting alone, why in the world do you keep living your Christian life alone?
You can’t beat this thing alone, so you can’t overcome sin alone. You’re not going to be accountable to read the Word long-term.
This is what I tell pastors. Pastor, the reason you don’t have a consistent, persistent quiet time in the Word – and I’m talking to pastors here – the reason, brother pastor, you don’t have a consistent Bible memorization plan is because you don’t have anybody holding you accountable. And listen, here’s the honest truth, I wouldn’t do it either probably. Because you get busy, just to be honest. I mean, you get busy with work and you get busy with life and you get busy with kids.
But let me tell you something, when I walk in every Wednesday night and meet with my discipleship group, I’ll say, “Guys, you’re up. You guys quote Matthew 5.” And when they’re finished, guess what they say? “Robby, you’re up, brother.”
Here’s your leadership principle: You can’t expect something from others, men, that you’re not emulating yourself.
You can’t expect your kids to be men and women of the Word if you’re not in the Word. You can’t expect your family to be consistent in prayer if you’re not in prayer. You can’t expect your people to be sharing the Word if you’re not sharing the Word and living out the Word in your life.
One of the reasons every man here at Long Hollow, we encourage to get in a discipleship group is because we realized, you will never achieve and get to the level of spiritual maturity that God wants you to be at alone. So we expect every man at Long Hollow, and I think God would expect every man in here, to be in a discipling relationship for long-term growth.