For the past six years, Long Branch Baptist Church (LBBC) has implemented a program to spend 100 days thinking and working on better health. This was the brain child of Pastor Sean Dogan, who remembers attending too many funerals for community and church members who had died of health issues not related to old age. After these services, food at the repast would include fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, a sundry of desserts and myriad other foods not considered the healthiest. Since then LBBC has tried to serve a more nutritious menu at events.
Pastor Dogan did not stop there; he has partnered LBBC with LiveWell Greenville for the last four years so church members can learn more about living a healthier life. With that, LBBC started the 100 Days program, during which the church spends 100 days each year concentrating on getting healthier.
This is done by providing information to the members, providing challenges to participate in, such as recording steps taken, and encouraging members to make healthy sacrifices each week, like giving up soft drinks. The church provides support for the members with information, recipes, calendars and ways to track progress.
Activities highlighted during the last 100-day program included walks with the pastor, yoga, Zuma and a weekly church walk on the Swamp Rabbit; health information provided ran the gamut from diabetes and breast cancer awareness to child safety and prostate health.
This past year Long Branch Baptist had more than 60 LBBC members sign up to participate; each was given activity tally sheets to complete and a calendar of events to help them stay on track.
After the first 30 days there was a prize for the person or family with the most steps. The 1st prize went to Louise Findley & Adrian Miller, who recorded 412,201 steps and lost 18 pounds between them; the award was a $100 BI-LO gift card and $100 farmer’s market gift certificate to spend on healthy groceries.
The next month another family won, including a youth participant – just the goal of LBBC’s 2015 renewed concentration on family health and childhood wellness. The church aims to shine a spotlight on pediatric obesity, asking its congregants to limit their screen time and increase their movement each day, particularly in families with children at home.
Long Branch Baptist’s program has been a success, and there are still plans to improve it year over year. With the information and motivation they share with congregants, they’ve found more than 83% are likely to participate next time – and every healthy step adds up to a healthier congregation.