Kingdom Runners is an apostolic movement which uses running as a metaphorical analogy of a Christian’s journey in life to disciple the body of Christ. Strategizing like a ‘Hinge Ministry’ type of movement, it purposes to connect, leverage and support Christians to rediscover God’s purposes in their lives.
God ignited this dream in the founder’s heart about a decade ago through a vision of a multitude of believers gathering to run a marathon together as a community, praying for God’s kingdom, fighting for kingdom causes and finishing the race together as a body.
Jesus said in Luke 17:21, “the kingdom of God is within you”, and as Kingdom Runners, the heart, attitudes and beliefs of the believers matter most to God. It is about a physical race, but an analogy of running the race of life with the strategies of God as our guide.
It is about championing the battling of self and fleshy desires, declaring daily Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God…” and embracing The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) as well as our Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) as part of our journey to living godly lives.
Who is qualified as a runner of that race?
The Bible says anyone who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ is a believer running in that race, equivalent to living a life of godliness and bringing the gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
God qualifies us as the runners and if He calls us, He will also equip us with all the resources, training manuals, guiding principles, advice and tips to finish our races strong, giving Him back all the glory He deserves.
Paul exhorts us that although physical exercise is good, it is of a much smaller value compared to living a godly life (1 Timothy 4:8). His only passionate purpose and aim in life is to finish his race, which is to bring the gospel to all that is in his sphere of influence.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace
Perhaps the experiences with the stadiums in Caesarea, Rome and Athens during Apostle Paul’s journey, inspired him to use the concept of a runner’s race as an allegory to the life of a believer. Running a race is one that requires much discipline, effort, focus and perseverance. It is not a journey where many would choose to embark on given a choice.
In fact, it takes true grit to take on this race. Training and conditioning are essential if you plan to finish strong. The strict routine, tough training, disciplined lifestyle and loyal abiding to the voice of a coach with no compromises and bargains, understanding that the coach knows best how to win the race. Olympian runner Ryan hall shared about what a marathon race is like:
“It’s a long, hard road and it’s going to have its bumps; there are going to be times when you fall and times when you don’t feel like going on anymore, times when you’re just crazy tired but it takes focusing on that one step you’re taking. That’s what I’m trying to do with the marathon; I don’t think about the miles that are coming down the road, I don’t think about the mile I’m on right now, I don’t think about the miles I’ve already covered. I think about what I’m doing right now, just being lost in the moment.”
How then should we run this race of life?
Who is our coach? What is our prize at the end of the race? Once again, Paul illustrates to us in a vivid explanation about how God, our head coach, desires us to run in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
The day that you and I took the step of faith to step into this race track, to be trained and guided by God, we need to run in such a way that will win the race.
We are not going to run with a loser’s mentality. We are not going to walk, stroll or simply throw in the towel when the roads get rough. We need to run with an end in mind. We are all already winners, regardless of who reaches the finish line first because we are not running for what the world is after, prestige, power and possessions, but we run for a crown that is imperishable, one engraved with the purposes and promises of God.
This crown, is reserved for every believer who decides to run this race.
With that in mind, we need to understand as well that this is different from a sprint or a 100 meter dash where it will be over in the blink of an eye. Sprints are races over short distances and in the Olympics, it is often seen as the highlight, the most popular and prestigious of events.
But God is not into sprints or dashes.
This race of life is more akin to a long distance run, a marathon which is a test of our endurance and our faith. A marathon is not for the weak, in the heart, mind, body or spirit. We need to be holistically fit to be able to run a marathon. We need to strengthen our heart, improve circulation, strengthen our muscles, watch our diet, train our mental strength and constantly step out of our comfort zone which all requires commitment and perseverance.
Run with endurance
Therefore, the bible tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2). We run not like the world looking at the finishing line, but with our eyes fixated on Jesus, who is the King of a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).
As Kingdom runners, we run for an unshakable kingdom, thus, we also run with an unshakable faith. Paul sums it up in Philippians 2:12-16, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain”.
Our finish line is the day we meet Jesus face-to-face and until then, we must continue to run our race with endurance, declaring the establishment of God’s kingdom and for His will to be done here on earth. In Paul’s valedictory, when he knew his finish line was near, he said this in 2 Timothy 4:7-8,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Kingdom Runners’ dream is to disciple the body of Christ to carry the cross of Jesus and to acknowledge Jesus as King of their hearts; to have a heart for God’s kingdom, embracing God’s agenda in their lives; to be a good and effective steward of their bodies, making wise decisions to ensure that self-care is evident in their lives.
Kingdom Runners is a movement about coming back to basics, ensuring that spiritual discipline is integrated into our busy schedules with a fresh perspective, one which is passionate about praying, running and believing God for Kingdom purposes to be accomplished.
Kingdom Runners embraces the synergy of having conversations with God during a run. It can be illustrated like a concept of a ‘Symbiotic Relationship’.
One classic example is the relationship between an anemone and a clownfish, with both benefiting the other – protection and shelter, the latter, nutrients in the form of waste. Running and praying plays the same roles too when one understand how it hinges on each other to bring out the best in each.
It is both spiritual and physical discipline combined, allowing one to have that unhurried, uninterrupted and undivided time with God in communion during the process of the run.
This is a powerful concept in enabling and empowering a Christian to start exercising to stay fit and healthy, and at the same time building one’s capacity to pray for self, others and the Kingdom of God. Kingdom Runners hinges to help Christians develop a habitual lifestyle of loving self, loving God and loving others through running as a platform and a vehicle to touch the communities out there.
Ultimately, Kingdom Runners aims to build a community of Christians who runs regularly and prays fervently, sharing experiences and testimonies which will spur and sharpen each other in the kingdom of God.
We started this thing together and now we’ll finish it together
Here’s a true story about a British runner, Derek Redmond, who competed in the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. Halfway through his race, he snapped his hamstring.
As Derek laid on the track, holding on to his leg in pain, he witnessed the rest of the runners finishing the race with tears in his eyes. His dreams, hopes and all his efforts in training and conditioning went down the drain in just one moment.
Then, an amazing thing happened which caught the attention of the entire stadium. Derek pushed himself up from the ground, stood up and started limping, making tiny steps toward the finishing line. He was going to finish his race.
Physically, it was painful. Emotionally and mentally, it was agonizing.
All of a sudden, a man appeared on the track, and hurried towards Derek. He gently put his arm around Derek’s shoulder and together, they hobbled toward the finishing line. That man was his father, who assured his son with these words “We started this thing together and now we’ll finish it together”.
The moment father and son stepped across the finish line, applause thundered throughout the stadium.
In the Christian race, in our own individual race, what matters most is not about who crosses the finish line first but that we stay on course and finish the race marked out for us by God.
There will be distractions and discouragement from time to time that steal our eyes off the finishing line. There will be trials and challenges along the way which may seem impossible for us to carry on.
That’s when we need to look up, not ahead or around, and know that our Heavenly Father has never left us alone. He will likewise wrap us in His loving arms and strengthen us from within to finish our race and glorify Him above.
Everyone is designed to be a Kingdom Runner. Are you ready to be one?