By Joi Thomas, Special to the AFRO

Good health and staying physically fit are tenets most people want to live by, however it can be a major challenge to consistently embrace a healthy lifestyle.

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Williams, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church recognizes this challenge and has vowed to help his congregation get fit and live as healthy as possible.  This year Williams celebrated 15 years as pastor of Pleasant Grove, and on Oct. 7, he rolled out a health initiative for the church, “Lean in 2019.”

Dr. Ronald Williams, Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in East Baltimore and First Lady Cyndi Williams. (Photo: Joi Thomas)

Weigh-ins for the “lean teams” will begin Oct. 14 and the contest will end on New Year’s Eve. A Food tasting event was held after the church service last week to show members healthy ways to cook their meals, and information will be accessible throughout the 90 day challenge to help them succeed.  Members are encouraged to invite non-members to join them on their fitness journey.

Rev. Williams believes that living a healthy, fit life is based in scripture.  “The first scripture that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. It speaks of the precious nature of the vessels we inhabit. We are to be the best stewards possible over this flesh; although we know it’s wasting away,” he said. “It’s still the temple of the Holy Spirit. There are many others that speak of moderation, and temperance, and the value of body and spirit. I’m convinced that this age is going to call us back to practices that sustained us in the past. We just have to make sure we’re deploying the practices using all of the information that technology makes available with the scriptural foundation that has always guided us.”

The congregation of Pleasant Grove is excited to start this journey with their pastor. In fact, they have seen both their pastor and first lady, Cyndi Williams, transform their bodies. Fitness is nothing new for the couple. Rev. Williams played high school football and the first lady is a certified fitness trainer. However, recently they embarked on a new fitness journey together.   “Last year, we discovered Crossfit together. The Lord laid it on my heart to visit every Crossfit gym in Annapolis and choose one that fit. We did it together,” said Rev. Williams.

“One great revelation during the first year and a half of Crossfit was that even with the strenuous workout, I was gaining weight and had reached a lifetime high. That’s when one of the members of the gym introduced us to macro-nutrition and it has changed our lives. I’m back to my high school weight and in better overall condition than when I was playing football.”

Williams is using what he has learned to encourage the congregation to begin this new journey. “We simply don’t believe God intends for us to be physically unhealthy. His original plan was unquestionably established for us to be physically whole,” Williams said. He hopes that the congregation will move past this 90 day challenge and make this a lifestyle.  By giving them tools to be successful, they can learn more about themselves and who God created them to be, Williams believes. “Revelation should lead to transformation. Transformation means I’m no longer the person I was,” he said.

The Alpha Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority celebrated their 50th Anniversary, Oct. 6, at Papas Restaurant in Baltimore. Sixteen of the original members were present for the occasion.

Lean in 2019 is the current initiative of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, however, the church wants to help any ministry that wants to take a fitness journey together.  You can contact them at: