A mix of worship and workouts characterized a new dual-purpose program to students called Fitness Fellowship Tuesday night in Akers Hall.
The program was an hour-long service that began with an affirmation and prayer scripture. The session then led into a group icebreaker and a 30-minute workout that involved loud music and several fast-paced exercises. It ended with a 10-minute gospel lesson and a prayer.
Group leader Rev. James Dickson said the program was born from the idea that God gave him to merge physical exercise with the worship experience.
Biomedical laboratory science junior Taevea Owens, who also is a regular member of Just for Christ Campus Ministry, said the Fitness Fellowship service replaced their weekly Tuesday meeting. Just for Christ Campus Ministry helped coordinate the event to bring the service to campus, she said.
Owens said the service was a refreshing alternative to learn about God and fellowship.
“It shows that we can have fun too,” Owens said. “Christians get a bad rep that we’re boring and don’t really do anything so I think its cool that were doing something fun and active.”
Tuesday’s session was the first service Fitness Fellowship has performed on a college campus. There also is a service planned for Thursday at the University of Michigan.
“We’re trying to make an impact in the collegiate community,” Dickson said. “We want young people to get excited and want them to get a chance to express themselves in the way of worship.”
Dickson said he wants his program to become a student organization on campus because it will bring students closer to God.
“We know a lot of young people are not going to go out of campus and spend two or three hours in a church when they can come into the Fitness Fellowship for an hour and get their expression and a workout in at the same time,” Dickson said.
Sociology senior Deniqua Gunn is also interested in making Fitness Fellowship a more frequent program on campus.
“Not only will you get in shape, you’ll get to learn the word, worship and fellowship with other students,” Gunn said. “It’s a great way to clear your mind and get through whatever stress that is bonded on your mind.”
The nondenominational service started in two studio locations in Ann Arbor and Belleville, Mich. The program began as a fun and interactive way for people to experience a church service, Dickson said.
Though there are not yet upcoming services scheduled on campus, Fitness Fellowship is interested in coming back to campus in the near future, Dickson said.