Here at Kingwood United Methodist Church, it seems that there’s always something happening; a bible study or small group meeting, worship service or ministry project can be found in nearly every corner of our buildings.
As of recently, you can add a women’s workout class to that list. Each Friday morning in five-week sessions, Fueled By Faith takes over the gymnasium. Ladies in workout gear drop their kids off at the church-provided childcare and lay out their yoga mats in the gym. After starting the class with a prayer, they sweat it out for about an hour. They’re also given a devotional at every class.
This isn’t just a workout class that’s randomly happening at KUMC, though. It’s how one woman has taken a leap of faith to fulfill God’s call on her life. Kristina Lenderman started leading the Fueled by Faith bootcamp in October, but it seems God has been planning this for her since long before.
“There was so much that I didn’t even realize was happening, but now I can look back and realize that God did things in a certain order and it just led to this,” Kristina said.
Kristina is a financial analyst turned personal trainer. How’d that happen, you might ask? When she transitioned out of her corporate job to stay home with her children, God began slowly putting a vision on her heart to get a group of women together and help them find a love for exercising.
The next step was to meet with the pastors and leadership to see if this was even a possibility. She had initial meetings with both Senior Pastor Burt Palmer and Associate Pastor Chris Harrison, and then she waited for them to get back to her. Could she teach the class at KUMC?
In the waiting, she was faithful regardless of the answer. Kristina studied for and took the exam to become a certified personal trainer just so that she would be ready to train others.
When she didn’t hear back from the pastors at first, doubt crept in. Kristina recounted one day when she was overwhelmed and allowed fear to tell her that no one would want to participate in this class—in what she believed was God’s vision for Fueled by Faith.
Then, in the moment of Kristina’s weakness, God gave her an encouragement: a random YouTube video popped up on her computer titled “Your doubt will rob you of your blessing.”
“I was like, ‘I hear you God.’ At every point that I’ve doubted this, it just works out. All you have to do is trust, and it’s amazing how things fall into place,” Kristina said. “You have to really surrender. God knows your heart.”
At Kristina’s next meeting with the pastors, she realized that they were waiting for her to reach back out and confirm that this is where God was leading. After that, it was easy to get the class going.
At the first class, she had 18 women show up. When she’s teaching the bootcamp workouts, she said she feels like she’s doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing.
“God couldn’t have been any more clear that I needed to do this,” Kristina said.
An example of God’s leading, Kristina shared, happened when she was at the gym one day. She was doing an exercise when she heard God tell her to help another woman learn how to do it, too. She reluctantly obeyed at first, and when the woman was about to do the exercise, she said “My name is Faith but I have no faith!” Kristina said that has stuck with her ever since.
That interaction not only showed her that listening to the seemingly insignificant things God tells you to do are important, but it also helped her decide on the name for Fueled by Faith. Since then, she’s grown in other ways—like listening and obeying the Lord when He tells her to pray for her friends or even someone in public. Through stepping out in the small ways, she’s growing in her own relationship with God: knowing Him more deeply and following him more intimately.
“This whole journey has been Fueled by Faith. It’s the anthem. If I didn’t have any faith, I wouldn’t have taken any of these steps,” Kristina said.
That has surely rubbed off on others, too. Brooke Sabrsula said she’s never been involved in a class where the ladies pray before the workout.
“Kristina’s opening prayer is always so uplifting and sets a great tone and mood to work our bodies so hard that we may be strengthened to be Christ’s hands and feet in our daily life,” Brooke said.
Another participant, Megan Barr, said the class pushes her both physically and mentally out of her comfort zone.
“…it’s there that you really start to see change and growth. God is doing amazing things through Kristina and I’m so thankful to be part of it all,” Megan said.
While Brooke and Megan both regularly attend KUMC, Fueled by Faith is also touching lives of people who are new to the church. Kristina said there are a few women who don’t attend KUMC but go to the bootcamp and are curious about what else our church has to offer.
As of now, about 30 women show up for the class each week, and the next five-week session is almost at capacity. But, this isn’t where Kristina sees Fueled by Faith stopping. She said that she knows that the Lord is going to grow it, and we’ll all just have to wait and see how God continues to move and how Kristina continues to obey.