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The Need for Community

A multitude of motivational phrases were painted in the stairwell as I walked down from the players’ locker room to the wrestling room. I cannot tell you all of the phrases on the wall, although I’m pretty sure one of them was from Muhammad Ali. However, the sight and impact of one phrase is etched in my memory. It was right over the doorway at the bottom of the stairwell before I walked onto the wrestling mats emitting the smell of bleach, prepared for the gladiators marching in right behind me. I should say, the verse was “Iron sharpens iron” referencing the Proverbs verse: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

My entire life, I have been around individuals that took this phrase to heart – mainly in the way of athletics. Most of my coaches have told me a team is only as good as their bench players. From middle school sports through high school volleyball and tennis, until I was an employee of several collegiate athletic programs, this concept permeated them all. And why shouldn’t it! If you have been around any team practices, even in a sport as individualized as tennis or wrestling, you can only become better if the person you are practicing against is pushing you to improve. If a wrestler at a certain weight class is much better than his backups, it is not uncommon for that wrestler to practice against the starting wrestler who is an entire weight class or two above him. Why? Because iron sharpens iron.


If you’ve never been around athletics, I understand that this practice may seem strange. Couldn’t such a system make people feel left out or unvalued? It could, absolutely, if they don’t live in community with each other. People ask me all the time what I miss most about not working in athletics and I always say, “the community.” The reality was as an employee, coach, or player, you won or lost as a team and that was understood. I am thankful for the experiences I have had in athletics because each team I worked with focused on building a community which allowed every single coach and player to push each other in a respectful and honest environment.

As you read this, we have missionaries from across the country training for the National Ride in July. My job as the Director of Health and Wellness is to make sure that they have trained well enough – physically, mentally, and spiritually – to be able to safely complete this summer’s trip. For me to do my job, Biking for Babies must have a genuine and respectful community. And that does not happen on accident! We have missionaries from different regions of the country, of different ages, of different cultural backgrounds, and of different Christian religious backgrounds. It takes a lot of effort from everyone in Biking for Babies to create this community that allows us to push each other to be a better person than we were when we first joined this mission in March.

So how is it done? That is the insight I want to give you, and although I get pegged as a pretty abstract blog writer, my goal is to give you concrete examples that help us at Biking for Babies create the community we have.

First and foremost, Biking for Babies has a GroupMe exclusively for past and present missionaries. This is vitally important and NOT from a logistical standpoint! This GroupMe messaging system is almost exclusively used for prayers and prayer requests. This is so beautiful is because it allows our missionaries to be vulnerable to each other and ask for prayers that are truly on their hearts. To know others are praying for you and to know the struggles of others breaks down walls and allows for authentic empathy amongst our missionaries. Second, Biking for Babies has a private Strava group for our past and present missionaries. This is relatively new, but we have seen the fruits of it already! It allows our missionaries to encourage each other’s physical training as well as allow missionaries to engage in friendly competition. Third, and the last one I will mention, is our community phone calls. Our missionaries take several hours out of their months to join large community and route community team calls. This allows us to talk face-to-face even thousands of miles away. We have had amazing dialogue already this year and I can’t wait for the other meetings!

If you have been reading my past blogs, you may notice a theme of community and communion about them. Why? Because I believe our culture is desperately thirsting for community in a world that is doing everything it can to separate neighbors from neighbors. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I talk about the practical ways in which Biking for Babies allows iron to sharpen iron because we need YOU our supporters to bring this to YOUR community. We need strong, genuine, empathetic, and respectful communities in our Churches, our towns, our schools, etc. The devil wants to separate us, but Christ is trying to unite us. Maybe you create a GroupMe or message group with a few of your close friends and start sharing your deepest prayer intentions. Or maybe you start a small biking group dedicated to riding in solidarity with our missionaries (or consider hosting a local Biking for Babies ride; reach out to us for more information!). Whatever it is, we need action to create communities. Action that is directed by the Holy Spirit, because we all only have one goal in our lifetime, and that is to accept the grace of Heaven that awaits us when our time is here. And to accept that grace, we have to do as Christ said, “pick up your cross and follow me.” Christ allowed Himself to need community here on earth to accomplish his task as an example for us. So pick up your cross and use one hand to help your neighbor, while you encourage another with your words, all the while balancing your brother/sister’s beam on your shoulder…as we march as a people of Christ up Calvary to the spot of His victory.