Date Night, Marathons, and Seminary… huh?

by on January 25, 2008

Just a Gal is a runner. She loves to run… Me, not so much…

Last night was date night and I took Just a Gal out to see Spirit of the Marathon. Chronicling the lives of 6 individuals preparing to run in the 2006 Chicago Marathon, the movie takes a look into the motivation, drive, and training necessary to complete the grueling task of running 26.2 miles.

As I sat in the theater (eating my buttered pop-corn and drinking my soda) I couldn’t help but be amazed. From the over weight single mom trying to get back in shape to the Olympic bronze medalist trying to finally win a marathon, these men and women ran… and ran… and ran…

Watching the movie I could not help but think about life, ministry, and seminary. Here are a couple of my musings:

Training is important – You don’t just wake up one day and go run a marathon. It takes training… lots of training…

The same goes for ministry. Whether you are going to pastor a church or pastor your family you have to work hard. You have to read. You have to pray. You have to study. If you don’t the race will probably crush you.

Training requires community – All the runners had a community that helped them train. Whether it was going on runs with them, watching the kids while they went out on long runs, or just cheering them on. All the runners had people supporting them and would not have made it without their support.

I thought a lot about this in relation to seminary. As students we need a strong community to help us train. We need our fellow students to challenge us and keep us on pace. We need loving family and friends to understand what we are doing and help us through the long hours of training. And, finally, we need some people to cheer us on and let us know we can do it. Community is important.

Having a goal is a great motivator – Race day is coming whether you like it or not. If you want to make it to the end of that 26.2 miles, you gotta get out of bed and get to work.

The apostle Paul knows what he’s doing when he uses the race metaphor 1 Corinthians 9. We are running for something far greater than a fancy t-shirt and a medal to hang around our neck. As we go through seminary, let us keep our eyes fixed on the goal… living a life to the glory of God.

It isn’t about the race – While the race is great, it only comprises about 1% of the experience. As cliche’ as it might sound, the marathon is more about the journey than the race.

When you are in seminary, don’t just look forward to some day when you be in “real” ministry. Look around you. God has placed you in a community, a city, a church… What you are doing right now is just as much a part of your life and ministry as “the race”…

For those who are interested, the movie (which was only scheduled to play for one night) is having an encore showing on February 21 (locations). Here is the trailer:


The author of this post is noted above. and were created by Ryan Burns. He is currently on staff at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA, and recently launched a site to help people find Seminary Scholarships and anther site to help people find Church Jobs. He also writes about his experiences doing GORUCK events on his hobby blog.


My wife and I went to see it as well (she the marathoner and me the popcorn eater). I really enjoyed seeing everyones stories and I really like your thoughts, especially the ones on community.

I really identified with the older gentleman who would just not quit. I liked the fact that running was just in his system and he couldn’t get it out.