Week One: Faster or Farther
PRE-RUN INSPIRATION (5-7 MINUTES)
Group Leader Speaking to Entire Group
Thanks for joining us for the first run of this season for our group. We’re excited to have such a great group together for our first gathering of this run club season. To start every run this season, we’re going to spend a few minutes to think like a runner. We’ll discover each week the importance of running connected.
And as we think about what it means to run connected, we’re going to see how being connected together is just as important in the rest of our lives. There’s an old African proverb that says, “If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together.” We know this is true. We can usually move faster by ourselves, but we have more endurance and more persistence when we run with others. But have you ever thought about whether it’s better to run faster or farther? When we’re running, fast is good—but in many ways, fast is something you’re born with. Sure, you can learn techniques to lower a sprint time or run a faster pace, but without a large dose of God-given ability, you’re not going to compete at a world-class level.
On the other hand, just about anyone can learn to run far. Whether you’re on a couch to 5K program, and the idea of running a mile—let alone 3—sounds foreign, or you’ve run a dozen marathons and are trying to work up to a 100-miler, you can train and run farther. Farther is an attainable goal. The same is true in our lives. Achieving a short-term goal—a raise, a new house, a new boy- friend or girlfriend, or whatever—is nice. But the kinds of goals that really make a difference in the world are the long-term goals: being a great father or mother, being a great friend, being a compassionate person.
In the Bible, the book of Hebrews shows us how this works. It tells us that because of our connections to others—those in the past and in the present—we can run with endurance and persistence. Run connected helps us run farther. That’s what our run group is going to try to do in our run club. We’re going to encourage each other to run farther, and we’re going to celebrate when we do. And we’re also going to look for ways we can help each other go farther in life. As we run today, tell each other some areas in your life where you’d like to go farther, and talk about what kind of connections may help you do just that.
[say a brief prayer. after you pray, share any administrative details like the signup sheet. Then start the run.]
ASSESSMENT TOOL GOAL: CREATE A LIST
At the Run
Write down the names of everyone who joined you at the first run. It’s fine to pass around a signup sheet asking for names and contact information.
To make things less intimidating for any runners new to your church, ask for only one form of contact to get started—either email or mobile number for text messages. You can add other contact information as the weeks progress.
Tell them you’ll send them reminders about your group, and also some inspirational thoughts, over the next 12 weeks. If anyone would prefer not to receive these contacts, tell them to let you know.
After the Run
Create the following columns for your group’s Google doc:
- Phone number – You probably will not have both an email address and a phone number for runners after week one Whether the runner is part of your church or not.
- Week 1 notes – Use this column to add any other details you remember. Make sure to note each person’s attendance this week.
• You’ll be adding information to this list each week so that your church can find natural ways to connect with and serve people who are new to your church. Capture as much information as you can to help with this goal.
CONNECTION STRATEGY TIPS
Make sure to send out the weekly Thinkabouts. Find ways to encourage others in your group around the area of purpose in 1-on-1 connections as well.
This may mean making connections yourself or encouraging other church members in your group to follow up on conversations they had during the run.
Make a note of what runners say about where they want to go farther in life, either in the Goo- gle doc or in another way. Follow up with questions at the run or afterward to learn more about all the runners in your group, and especially the runners who are new to your church.