We receive calls and emails from people all over the country responding to prompting to lead a First Place for Health group. Some have a passion for wellness and are excited to find a Christ-centered program. Others are like me, feeling unqualified to lead people in an area they’ve struggled. Bringing a First Place for Health group to your church or community may be the most important decision you make for yourself and those who join your group.
Challenge yourself to the following questions:
Who are you be listening to?
It took me over a year to respond to the prompting to start a First Place for Health group. Trust me, waiting a year was not one of my best decisions. When I finally said “Yes” and embraced God’s plan, I took a giant leap of faith. Even though I felt unstoppable, the enemy still spent time distracting me. He reminded me of my many failed attempts at weight loss. He had me questioning why this time would be any different. Thankfully, I had an answer, “Jesus.” I stood my ground, spoke the name of Jesus. Our challenge: the enemy will return for the next opportune time. (Luke 4:13) Don’t listen to him. It turns out, God’s plan is good, pleasing and perfect.
Who can you partner with?
When I held my first FP4H group meeting, I prayed for 3 people to attend. 23 people showed up. Apparently, I needed extra confirmation that God wanted our church to have a First Place for Health group. I needed help and I needed it fast. The quickest way to burnout as a leader is to do it all yourself. I have a sign on my laptop that reads: “What are you doing that someone else could do?” Someone else could review the Live It Trackers, maintain the records (confidentially), handle the wellness topic, and facilitate the My Discovery or bible study discussions. Rather than focusing on their abilities, the best leaders share the responsibility of allowing others to share their gifts with the group.
Who are you in community with?
As leaders, we need to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us. Your FP4H group will be your community focused on placing Christ first together. FP4H groups develop close relationships and become tangible catalysts for sustainable change in healthy habits. We need others to lean on when things get tough when we are tempted to be too hard on ourselves, or even when we want to quit. After Christ, our group is the difference maker. Ecclesiastes says a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Walking hand in hand motivates us, encourages us, and unites us in our journey toward wellness.
As an FP4H leader, we have the honor to see transforming lives. We walk alongside one another on our journey toward freedom – heart, soul, mind, and strength. Leading others to Christ as the only source of true wellness may be your next “right” decision.
Helen Baratta Director of Development for First Place for Health. She is the author of My Place for Leadership included in the My Place Leader’s Kit available at our online bookstore.