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Fellow soldier in God's army...and fellow athlete

Richard Hopkins, founder of ChristianRunners.org

The background: The paths of ChristianRunners.org and FCA Endurance crossed when Richard Hopkins, founder of the former, raced a South Carolina triathlon and met an FCA-E teammate who invited him to the first EMI (Endurance Training Institute) held in Table Rock State Park last February. He not only attended, but brought with him nearly twenty of his Christian running friends. Hopkins is definitely an athlete through whom God has worked and continues to work…

What began as a way to better health for Richard Hopkins quickly turned into a way to minister to people in his community as well as around the world: “I am a former two pack-a-day smoker who weighed 230 pounds. I began to run for health reasons.”

Hopkins quickly learned how much he enjoyed the sport and began to run with a group of others around his hometown of Roswell, Georgia. He elaborated, “We started holding Bible studies. Then, we put up a website and the response was immediate.”

God began using Hopkins’s group to reach others in the area who were interested in running and learning more about Jesus. The group decided to set itself apart from other running organizations by praying before each run and praising God during each workout. The group became known as ChristianRunners.org, and has not stopped growing since. “We are currently in 20 cities and have two international chapters in the Dominican Republic and Toronto, Canada,” said Hopkins.

For Hopkins’s group, the main goal is to shine God’s light around everyone they meet, and races are a great place to shine. “The bottom line is this…we are going to utilize God’s gift of running to further His kingdom. We have to be the salt and light to others that are out there running.”

ChristianRunners.org has taken the next step: to extend a helping hand internationally. Recently the group began conducting trips to the Dominican Republic, taking running shoes with them and holding 5k and 10k events while there. “Whenever you have a common interest, like sports, you can develop a tremendous bond with people. It’s a great opener to share Christ.”

Hopkins encourages people to join a chapter of Christian Runners.org in order to learn more about God and begin to minister to others around them. Like FCA Endurance, “anyone can join ChristianRunners.org and run with us. They don’t have to be a Christian and all of our runs are free.”

For Hopkins and other members of ChristianRunners.org, running is important. But the sport is not important simply because it helps people lose weight or allows individuals to prove their endurance skills. Instead, running is important because it is a simple, powerful way to connect with individuals locally as well as internationally, ultimately opening a door of discussion about God and allowing Him to move. What a wonderful way for us all to begin ministering to others around us.

(Thank you to Ashley for researching and contributing this article!)

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