Week One: Purpose


Group Leader Speaking to Entire Group

Thanks for joining us for our group’s first run. We’re excited to have such a great group together for our first gathering.

To start every run, we’re going to spend a few minutes to think like a runner. We’ll discover each week that we can think like a runner to win life’s race. We’ll see how the mindset of a runner crosses into the rest of our lives, and how it can help us succeed in life.

We’ll start thinking like a runner in terms of purpose. Everyone here is running for a purpose.

(Invite people to answer the question: “Why are you running with our group?”)

Your purpose might be getting healthier. You might be running to train for a race. You might be running with our group because you’re tired of running alone all the time.

It gets hard to stick to our purpose. We’ve all experienced this. Many of us have seen this with running, or with our families, or with our careers, or in some other area. But it’s important to stick to our purpose. There’s a verse in the Bible where the writer Paul puts it this way: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3:13-14) This paints a great picture of how thinking like a runner helps us achieve a purpose. Paul’s goal here is completing what Jesus called him to do.

The picture helps us see what it takes for us to reach our goals too. To reach our goals and win at life, we pick our purpose on purpose, and dedicate ourselves to achieving it.

Whatever your purpose is, I want our group to help you achieve it. We can encourage each other to achieve our purpose. You may want to talk about your purpose with some other runners today, and see if you have any tips you can share or learn.

(Say a brief prayer. After you pray, share any administrative details like the signup sheet. Then start the run.)


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:

     - Name

      - Email

      - 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. 


  • 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.