(NOTE: The picture is for illustration only. No FRC members are pictured!)
In 1982, Jane Fonda's Workout video made its debut and sparked a nationwide interest in aerobics and fitness. Also that year, Houston's First Baptist Church broke ground on the Christian Life Center — a fitness and recreational facility designed to meet the needs of church members and guests.
Church leaders realized how effective an activities and recreation ministry could be for outreach purposes. With vision cast by Bro. John Bisagno, our Pastor at the time, the church family stepped forward and gave to the 2x2 Campaign — a capital campaign that challenged members to give a double tithe over 2 years.
The CLC — now known as the Fitness & Recreation Center, or FRC — opened its doors on Feb 5, 1984, under the leadership of Buddy Griffin.
Today — 30 years later — the FRC has over 1,600 members. Just over half of the members (53%) are from Houston's First. The rest attend other churches (31%) or have no church affiliation at all (16%).
Over the years, the FRC has sought to keep up-to-date with fitness trends and technology, providing their members and guests with services and equipment that they might find at other local fitness facilities. From group exercise classes to personal trainers, cardio equipment to free weights, people looking to get in shape or maintain a healthy lifestyle can partake in a variety of options at the FRC.
Today's staff remains faithful to the original vision for the FRC. They see the facility as more than just a gym; they approach it as a ministry of the church.
"God has allowed me the joy of serving in this ministry for 21 years and it has been truly an honor and a joy," says Debbie Brown, Fitness Ministry Associate. "Our team has a strong desire to proclaim Christ, build up believers and support the FRC members in living a healthy life with a solid foundation in Christ."
Dave Bundrick, Minister of Fitness & Recreation, is grateful for the vision leaders had three decades ago to provide the church with a facility like the FRC.
"Today, the FRC serves as an incredible outreach tool for our church members," Dave says. "There is nothing more exciting to me than to see our church members utilizing the offerings we provide to reach out to their neighbors and friends."
Compared to other local options, the FRC provides an economic value for its members, as well. Membership costs only $25 a month and no contracts are required. During the month of January, the FRC enrollment fee is being waived — a savings of $50.