Social Health: Train Together

Written by Mark Long (Roanoke, Virginia)

Mark is on staff with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for 10 years, overseeing FCA Endurance Ministry for local and national Huddles (40) and Teammates (500+). Conducts ministry and competes in triathlons, running races and other endurance events. Passion for discipleship within the endurance community.

April 30, 2024

“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”

Ecclesiastes 4:10

Training for a triathlon, marathon or cycling event has the potential to isolate an athlete because on race day you’re on your own.
However, even in a triathlon, where results depend on a single person’s performance, you can benefit by training with others.  

Have you ever watched a professional cycling race like the Tour de France?
The peloton of cyclists travel at high speeds in a tight pack with their wheels almost touching. Did you ever wonder why they do that?
It’s because riding like that is more efficient.
Collectively, the group can ride faster and use about 40 percent less energy.

It’s commonly known that triathlon training includes swimming with the best swimmers, biking with the best cyclists, and running with the best runners.
This same principle can be found in the Bible.

Proverbs 27:17 says,

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Training in godliness with friends and other athletes can make your faith grow stronger and faster.
Plus, it’s encouraging and you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.

There are a few other principals to keep in mind.
It’s not always easy, it takes time and it’s often not comfortable.
As they say, “There’s no comfort in growth, and there’s no growth in comfort.”
Those desiring to grow in their faith and are committed to discipleship need to embrace change and be intentional, patient, prepared to put in the hard work and stay sharp.

to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”

Ephesians 4:12-13

Spiritual training is more effective when you journey with like-minded believers in Christ.
You experience several benefits in meeting with other disciples in a small group setting including, learning from those who might have a deeper knowledge of the Bible, holding each other spiritually accountable, asking tough questions and applying God’s Word to your life.

“Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Another biblical example is Paul, Barnabas and Timothy.
They represent three essential types of relationships that every disciple should have. 
A Paul to guide them (a mentor), a Barnabas to work alongside them (an associate) and a Timothy to help (an apprentice). 

If you have experienced the benefit of an endurance training buddy, consider getting a spiritual training buddy!
He or she will help you go farther and faster spiritually!

Prayer & Reflection

  • Can you identify a few others that will walk with you in your spiritual journey?
  • Would you commit to asking them to be your training partner?
  • Who is the “Paul, Barnabas and Timothy” in your life?
  • Prayer:
    “Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the desire to train and race for You and for Your glory. Lead me to others who are like-minded and help me to encourage them in their faith. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lives in me and is my internal Coach.”

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