My church is kicking off a new project today.
We are taking a virtual Walk to Bethlehem. As a group, we need to log 6,245 miles between now and Christmas. Because there's something about Christmas and Bethlehem that Christians celebrate... what could it be??
The really cool thing about this program is that St. John's has it very laid out for you but you can still tweak everything to best suit your group.
Here's a run down of how our program will work:
We are traveling from Indiana to New Orleans to Guatemala to Africa. In Africa, we will travel through Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan. Then we venture into Egypt and finally end in Israel.
As we accumulate miles to reach our set milestone stops, the group will receive information about the area we have reached. The country, the culture, the religion, the demographics. We will have focused prayer requests for those areas. And we specifically chose our route to travel through Guatemala in order to focus on Mission Guatemala where a missionary that our church supports is located and where we have sent mission teams over the years.
We have a Healthy Living group that meets weekly. Every other week is Zumba and our non-Zumba weeks will focus on the group getting some miles in with group walks. The guide from St. John's provides weekly devotions for our journey.
The logging system is user-friendly because it is set up so that any person at any level of fitness can participate. If you wear a pedometer, 2,000 steps = 1 mile. If you walk or run and track actual mileage, 1 mile = 1 mile. And if you are a slow walker, cyclist, elliptical fan, group exercise attendee, Zumba fanatic, or whatever else, mileage can be calculated as 20 minutes of intentional activity = 1 mile. The guide even suggests involving those who can't do any physical activity by inviting them to spend specific time praying for the group, the countries, etc to earn miles.
I plan to schedule some walking meet ups. The cool thing is that if someone from the congregation invites a neighbor or friend to come and walk with them, the friend's mileage counts towards the overall goal. So if I can get 5 people to join me for a 2 mile walk on a Saturday morning, we can log 12 miles in about 30 -40 minutes!
I am one of 3 Tour Guides leading this project. Our team will be mapping our progress on a map at the church. We have a Facebook group where we can log our activity each week, schedule meet ups, and inspire each other to keep going. We will be posting regular updates through various lines of communication at the church.
It's all about bringing everyone on board to be part of a team while also influencing some healthy behaviors at the same time.
If you're in the Indy area, I'd love for you to meet up for a walk with us. I'd love for you to come visit my church so you can learn more about who we are- and if you come a couple of times, I want you on our Walk to Bethlehem team! We need your steps/miles/time!