In Success Stories we interview business owners and Fitness On Demand users across the country to hear about their communities, customers and how Fitness On Demand is helping them achieve success. This month we sat down with Jan Averwater, director of Fitness Ministry at Christ Church Memphis in Tennessee.
FOD: Jan, tell us a little about Christ Church and your members if you would?
Well, I personally have been a member of our church for 45 years and have seen a lot of change and growth over that time. We’re now about 5,000 members and reaching even more people with our Zoom services. Right now, we are in the process of becoming a global Methodist church and going through that process so we’re all very excited about the direction. Closer to home, it’s also important to us to reach out to and work with our community so we run all kinds of programs and classes which provide community support but also help to introduce the unchurched population to our services and grow our tight-knit community of members even more.
FOD: How did you first get involved with Fitness On Demand?
For me it was personal. I was on vacation with my sister in the Dominican Republic and we used it to take an early morning yoga class. I was so impressed that I thought that I must introduce it to our church and members when I get home. Now it’s a feature of our programs and I also use it to get ideas for classes and workouts with our members to keep them happy, engaged – and coming back.
FOD: How does Fitness On Demand fit into all of the wonderful things you are doing at Christ Church?
We started fitness programs more than 30 years ago and use fitness as a way to reach out to the community and build connections. Our classes include Pilates, yoga, strength, cardio, early morning bootcamps and more and people who participate run from 2 years old to seniors. It’s truly incredible. While we have all of these busy live classes running, we brought in Fitness On Demand to offer complementary and other classes for those times when we don’t have an instructor available. It’s helped us stay competitive with brands like Orange Theory and the other fitness operators in the area. But it’s also really helped us in other, unexpected ways too. Some people don’t feel comfortable going to those big fitness brands and clubs but by coming to Christ Church they can get involved with a class or activity and go at their own pace and comfort level.
FOD: What are some of the features that are helping you succeed with members?
A lot of things. The wide variety of classes at all ages and ability levels has helped us offer fitness to our special populations particularly – people with special needs and seniors. We’re hearing members really like that there are options to select a virtual Fitness On Demand instructor who can help them go at their own pace or step it up to get the most out of the class. I also found a boxing class on the platform taught by an instructor with Parkinson’s that’s truly incredible. That kind of thing can be very welcoming to members and helps us reach as many people as possible through fitness. Our bodies are a gift from God and we’re using fitness and Fitness On Demand to help our members understand how they can stay fit, healthy and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
FOD: What other kinds of Fitness On Demand content is popular at Christ Church, Jan?
We truly do try and cater to everyone. On Wednesday nights during service, we offer a Fitness On Demand class for youth and the children of our members – helping them burn off their excess energy while their families are in church. And the programming for workouts with chairs has become very popular with our wheelchair-using members. Fitness On Demand has just become a growing part of everything we offer here at Christ Church, which includes everything from instructor led classes to pickleball and more. We try and schedule it in our Fitness On Demand studio in conjunction with our live classes, so if an instructor becomes unavailable our members who turned up for their core-strength class for example, can still take a similar class. And the thing that is becoming even more popular now is Flex – the Fitness On Demand app that helps members access content and classes wherever they are.
Tiarre Sales, a rising marketing and communications professional, brings a unique blend of creativity and commitment to authenticity, relationships, and diversity. Her experience includes roles at Fitness On Demand, Our Colour LLC, and Pinky Swear Foundation.