Friday night we held an amazing, successful, fun fundraiser with 3-Time CrossFit Games Champ Rich Froning, Jr. We couldn’t have asked for a better event. First, I wanted to give a little background on how and why this all came about.
1) I started doing CrossFit about 2 1/2 years ago. If you’re unfamiliar with CrossFit, it’s offically defined as “constantly varied funtcional movements performed at high intensity.” What that means is we do a variety of different exercises in different combinations every day that are natural to the human body (like squatting, lifting, throwing, running, pulling, jumping, etc), and we measure how fast we can do those things. It’s tiring, but also lots of fun.
The reason I began CrossFit is partially because 1) I like exercising and 2) I like competition, and the program combined those two things. But I really began because I needed a hobby. Running Mission 2540 is physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting. I go from one person’s crisis to the next. I spend time with kids full of energy and anger and sorrow and happiness all rolled into one. One minute I’m celebrating with a kid who made a good grade on a test to comforting another who’s father just went to jail. It gets to be a bit much. CrossFit allows me to clear my head each morning, relieve some stress, take care of my body, and hang out with people who don’t need me to do anything for them. I love it.
2) Mission 2540 is in its 10th year of ministry, which blows my mind. It seems like just yesterday that I quit my sales job and jumped with both feet into this thing with nothing but a calling from God and bunch of friends who believed in the vision He gave me. We’ve been a low-profile little ministry since the beginning. And now, as a board, we feel it’s time to begin to expand our presence. There are other low-income apartment complexes that could desperately use a ministry like ours, and it’s time for us pursue those opportunities. However, expanding our work means expanding our budget to meet greater needs.
As we began thinking about possible fundraisers to both bring in donations AND increase our exposure to let people know we exist, I thought about CrossFit and it’s devoted, passionate community. Each year the CrossFit Games are held (and televised by ESPN) to test the most elite of all the CrossFitters on the planet, and the last 3 years those Games have been won by Rich Froning. He’s pretty much the Michael Jordan of the sport. He also loves Jesus, and cares more about spreading the Gospel than working out and being fit.
So over the course of many, many months we made a few contacts and worked out details and brought him from his hometown of Cookeville, TN to Amarillo. And I couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Over 200 folks came to hear Rich talk about his faith and fitness and answer their questions. Rich has “Galatians 6:14” (May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.) tattooed on his side, and that’s really all he tried to do over the course of the hour – boast about Jesus, not himself. We held a raffle after the event in which 7 lucky individuals got to compete with and against him in a team workout competition. And he and his wife Hillary graciously hung around much longer than they needed to taking photos and signing autographs for everyone that wanted one. (Again, he’s the Michael Jordan of CrossFit, and people who CrossFit are extremely devoted, so he was in very high demand 🙂
We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout, a better experience for those who came, or, most importantly, better exposure for Mission 2540. I’m so grateful to all the sponsors who helped us bring Rich in; the staff and crew of CrossFit 806 who helped with so many of the details, Hillside Christian Church who graciously allowed us to make use of their South Campus for the event; my board and all the volunteers who helpd everything go smoothly,and to Rich and Hillary who very evidently carry the love, grace, and humility of Jesus.
It was a very good night. We’ll have to figure out a way to do it again next year!