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Faith Based Walking Programs PDF Print E-mail

Faith-based organizations hold a special place in most communities.  Not only do they minister to the spiritual needs of the community, but they also minister to the physical, social, psychological, and economic needs. In addition, many conduct health programs or have incorporated health messages into their traditional programs. Walking programs at faith-based institutions can be a terrific way to reach community members and encourage fellowship. Try these steps for starting a walking program at your church.

Talk to Your Church Leaders

Consult with your church leaders about starting a walking program at the church. If your church has a health committee, enlist their help to determine the walking program format that will work best for your church.

  • Find a walking route.
  • Establish meeting times when people can meet and walk. Consider offering different times to accommodate different work and life schedules.
  • Invite parishioners from neighboring churches to join you. Consider setting special walking times for specific audiences, e.g. seniors, youth, parents.
  • Think about how will you walk. Will you track your miles on log sheets? Will you make it a competition or make it a spiritual journey by adding scripture readings?
Get Members Involved

There are a number of activities that can be conducted by faith-based organizations to promote your walking program.  There are six activities described below.

Bulletin Inserts. Many organizations have a weekly bulletin that is distributed to each person attending the service. An effective way to reach the group is with a message in the bulletin.  The organization may create their own insert using the campaign message, or use a flyer or insert created by the campaign staff.  

Church Newsletter. An article about the campaign or a Calendar of Events can also be included in the church newsletter.  

Walking-Related Sermons or Announcements. Ask faith-based leaders to incorporate a health message into a sermon.  A sermon combining a spiritual and physical health message can be an effective way to motivate participants.  For example:  A pastor could present a sermon on “Walking with Jesus”.  This message can be very effective and can inspire the congregation to participate in a prayer walk.

Speakers. A guest speaker is another effective way to inform the congregation.  Arrange for a speaker, from the campaign’s Speakers Bureau, to talk with a youth group, women’s group, or prayer group.

Testimonials. Many faith-based organizations have a tradition of personal testimonials from members.  This is an especially effective way of encouraging others to make positive changes in their own lives.  Encourage members of the congregation who walk regularly and have benefited from walking to share their experiences.

Sign-up Drive. 
On a designated Sunday, all participating churches tried to recruit walkers to the campaign. One person within the church was designated to gather registration information and forward it to campaign staff.

© Copyright 2007. Hawaii State Department of Health. All Rights Reserved.