At the CALLED Convention, F5 Challenge highlights the possibilities of the initiative.
F5 Challenge, the official fitness team of the 2022 CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention, was formed long before event planning began. The group offers fitness events across the North American Division (NAD) and beyond, and is open Adventists and non-Adventists alike.
“Our events are designed so you can bring non-Adventists,” group co-founder Calvin Kim said. “It’s easier to invite someone to go hiking than to invite them to go to church.”
Representatives from F5 Challenge have been leading the movement breaks during the convention meetings as well as all the activities in the morning “Made to Move Challenge” time. Those interested in joining F5 for future events can request to join its private Facebook group.
The name F5 stands for faith, fellowship, fitness, fortitude, and fun, an alliterative nod to the spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, and social aspects of health. “We’re intentional about the fellowship part of it,” Kim said. “Come to one of our events and you’re going to make 10 to 20 new friends.”
It started six years ago, when a pastor friend asked Kim to join him in hiking the Grand Canyon, a taxing grind often compared to climbing Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. Kim was up for the adventure but didn’t relish slogging through months of difficult training alone.
To make preparations more enjoyable, Kim sent out messages inviting others to join the process. To his surprise, responses kept rolling in. People wanted to come for the hike, the road trip, and the sense of adventure.
In the end, 110 people showed up for that Grand Canyon hike, prompting Kim to keep the adventures coming.
“Loneliness is so ubiquitous. People are lonely,” Kim said. “People are looking for a face-to-face connection.”
Today, the F5 Facebook group is still active, and those interested in becoming part of it can request to join. The group also has a website and numerous public social profiles.
F5 members host local events across the NAD and beyond, and the group also plans one large-scale meet-up each year. They choose a popular travel destination and invite members from different regions to interact in person.
Kim also said that people don’t have to reach a certain level of fitness in order to join F5 Challenge. “There’s something for everyone, from the couch potato to the ‘ironman’ level,” he said.
The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division news site.