by Mark Schoepp
People are generally surprised when they hear about three of the simplest ways to boost any kind of thinking/creativity based work in the workplace. They are: exercise, healthy eating and play. We’ve known for a long time that those three are important for our health from the neck down – heart health, muscle tone, lung capacity, etc. But perhaps the most important reason to do any of those three is the affect they have on our brain.
This powerful video shows the dramatic impact exercise — 20 minutes on a treadmill at the start of math class – had on a student’s behavior and academic success. The same thing happens in people of any age. That is the design! The body is designed by God to move. When we do, good things happen.
Taking care of yourself means you can be better equipped to take care of those you serve because you’ll be ready to work efficiently and effectively. It also means your mind will be in a better state to develop creative solutions to problems facing God’s people, and that you will be more open to hearing God’s guidance for serving those in need. Being in the right state of mind will likewise make you more able to listen to donors, understand their wishes and act upon their desires to make God’s word and love known.
Various nonprofits are going beyond themselves when it comes to health, getting involved in their communities specifically around this topic. They know how important it is for good stewardship of our bodies — for giving God our best. Sometimes the people in their community know what they need to be doing and they just need a little (or a lot of) encouragement to do it. Sometimes they really don’t know why they are doing so poorly. Either way, there are organizations taking specific steps in this direction. Trinity Lutheran in Klein, Texas, and Salem Lutheran in Tomball, Texas, both have exercise rooms right at the church, open to members and often to the community. Christ Memorial Lutheran in St. Louis has exercise space and has taken it one step further — with the help of a grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries, they have a R.E.H.A.B. program that helps those who don’t have insurance coverage get the simple exercise they need. Health is dramatically improved and a community is built around the experience with people praying and caring for each other even outside the context of the exercise room.
Other churches and schools are providing community gardens and more around the concern for healthy eating. They say that these “bridge ministries” provide a degree of visibility they didn’t have before. In addition to providing a much needed service, they provide the beginnings of a relationship that provides ample opportunity to share the good news of Jesus.
Truly, these organizations wouldn’t have been able to develop such great community services if their leaders hadn’t been taking care of themselves so that their minds and bodies would be ready to hear and carry out God’s call. How can you be ready to serve God and serve others?
Mark Schoepp served the church as a Director of Christian Education for more than 30 years in four congregations. Mark and his wife, Becky, also toured for 20 years as Fitz Family Ministries, a unique family ministry and entertainment troupe. Mark joined Wheat Ridge Ministries as full time Director Of Congregation Engagement in July 2010. Mark works to inspire and encourage Lutherans and Lutheran Congregations to connect to their communities through intentional programs that promote health and wellness.
Since 1994, Mark has been following the developments in the field of brain research and education, with a special interest in brain health and its application to the church, the church school and the home and provides workshops for a variety of audiences.