For years, I’ve watched and enjoyed The Biggest Loser. As a youth worker, I love and appreciate the stories of life change this show tells.
Naturally, this means that last night, I watched The Biggest Loser finale. At one point in the finale, the trainers interviewed people in the crowd who’d been on their own weight lost journeys; People who lost significant amounts of weight without the help of the trainers.
What struck me most about this was one woman’s comment about how after losing 150 pounds, she became a certified personal trainer. As she said this, I thought about the scores of other people in the Biggest Loser family who have traveled a similar journey of weight loss followed by a new career as a personal trainer.
Yet, rather than celebrate this, I felt my body tense as I thought, “We’ve got a problem here.”
We’ve got a problem when a culture that has resulted in countless stories of life change also perpetuates the myth that to be successful, you’ve got to abandon your old life and begin a new career within the fitness world.
Unfortunately, our churches and in particular, our youth ministries, perpetuate the same myth.
Far too often (either intentionally or unintentionally), we communicate to youth that success in Christianity means using their gifts to serve and honor God within the church. It means shelving their real dreams in order to be in ministry – as worship leaders, youth pastors, and the like.