By Brian & Morgan Farr
Six days a week, odd sounds come from the garage of a house on a street off of Yadkin Road. Minivans and trucks are parked out on the quiet street. A few cars may even drive by. But there is the definite sound of bumper plates thudding on rubber mats, the heavy breathing of people working hard and excited cries from children. These sounds echo across the neighborhood near Fort Bragg, and this is how our days begin.
We are Brian and Morgan Farr, the owners, operators and coaches of Farr Fitness. Our gym is a free fitness-based Christian ministry based out of our home and garage in Fayetteville.
Brian is a veterinarian on staff with a Civil Affairs battalion on Fort Bragg and Morgan is a homemaker and mother of two boys, Willam and Henry. William is two years old and loves dump trucks, and Henry is seven months old and likes to roll from side to side.
Five years ago, we started piecing together gym equipment. We invited people to come train with us and God opened some incredible doors. We continue to follow God as he brings more and more people to our gym. What is it that makes our gym different from the others? Along the way, we have come to understand that running a fitness-based Christian ministry allows us to foster authentic community, build godly character and model generous hospitality.
Each and every person who walks through our garage door joins a community. In the last two years, nearly 350 people have passed through our gym, and all of these athletes become a part of our authentic community.
Our athletes have ranged from a nine-year-old homeschooler to a 54-year-old female chaplain. There is something for everyone. We train athletes who have trained with us for two years, new athletes just beginning their fitness journey, spouses dropping in on their days off and extended family members joining us when they come to visit Fayetteville.
Here, people are real with each other. We sweat together. Goals and limitations are openly discussed. Life struggles are worked through. We cheer once someone has established a new personal best. We offer assistance when someone is transitioning to or away from Fort Bragg. We pray and we counsel. The shared experiences in the gym help us to build a very close and tightly-knit community.
The great American football coach and legend Tom Landry said, “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.”
At Farr Fitness, our athletes choose to do a lot of things they might not particularly want to do in order to develop their physical fitness, mental fortitude and godly character.
Heavy lifting teaches patience, since progress is measured by five-pound increases, sometimes over a month-long period. Persistence is fostered as the one minute rest between conditioning intervals always seems to shrink. Selflessness, as you load and unload your training partner’s weights. Positivity, as you finish your own workout and cheer on the person behind you.
Each athlete pushes him or herself to do things they do not want to do. When the sweat dries and the heavy breathing returns to normal, our athletes are left with stronger bodies and stronger character.
Running a fitness-based Christian ministry out of our garage allows us to model generous hospitality on a daily basis. In our culture, we live in a time where “friends” exist on social media, conversations happen through devices and we take our relatives to restaurants for holiday meals.
At Farr Fitness, we strive to counter these social customs. Young soldiers sit around our dinner table one night a week after a hard workout and share a simple meal as
we discuss navigating the challenges of life. Military spouses gather for coffee, discuss healthy lifestyle choices, support each other through the challenges of military life and watch
their children play in the driveway.
A Thursday morning Bible study offers women a chance to come exactly as they are and discuss Biblical truth. We open our doors early on Saturday mornings for guys to come together and challenge each other to be the godly fathers, husbands and men they are called to be.At the end of the day, the gym equipment and workouts are our method of bringing people together. It’s how we break down barriers and build an authentic community.
Farr Fitness started with a handful of kettle bells, a used squat rack, a barbell and a set of weights. Today, it is a complete gym full of people living life together in a Christian community. For each decision we make, we try to follow God’s leading. 1 John 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value,godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
We look forward to each new day in the gym. That is another day and another opportunity to foster authentic community, build godly character and model generous hospitality within our
military community and wherever the Army may take us in the future.
To learn more about Farr Functional Fitness or their upcoming community events, including a community workout on January 21 and a family-friendly fitness competition on February 11, check out Brian and Morgan’s website at farrfunctionalfitness.blogspot. com or find them on Facebook by searching Farr Fitness or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.