The Network at work.
Tim Young ~ | Granite City, IL
We are finding that running is a great way of connecting with people in our community. I am an avid runner. When we moved last fall, I naturally began running around the neighborhood and at the park near our house.
No matter what time I went out, there were always several other runners out. I thought that joining a running club in town would be a good way for me to start meeting people. But when I looked around, I found out that there wasn't one. So this spring I decided to start one. I launched a Facebook page for the "Granite City Run Club" and simply put the link in a couple of different online discussion forums. From there, we have been able to start connecting with other runners from across the city. In one week, we had 25 people connected on the Facebook page. We now have 40, with about 15 being what I would call "engaged users". And we haven't even started advertising in actual locations around town - fitness centers, the park, athletic stores, etc. Also, there were 8 of us from the Run Club out running in a local 5K in the park last weekend. Two other cool things have come from this: First, I have been asked to organize a 5K for the local chapter of the Association for the Protection of Animals next year. This has opened up great connections in town and given the club a tangible way to be a blessing (even if they don\'t use that language). Second, the first guy to come out for a group run happens to live in our neighborhood, though we had never met him. His wife also comes out to run. He and I have struck up a nice relationship. In fact, he just stopped by a few minutes ago to give me a book he recommended - "American Gods". In other ways, too, he's opening up his life; and it is clear that God is on the move. Through the shared interest of running, we are making all kinds of connections across the city. But maybe most importantly, we are getting to know another of our neighbors in a way that will hopefully help the Gospel spread.