Personal Trainer? - Cleveland,OH

Updated on December 18, 2012
R.N. asks from Cleveland, OH
15 answers

We had a budget meeting yesterday at our church where, among other things that I found disturbing, I found out that we will be paying a portion of the cost for the pastor to have a personal trainer. The rationale for this was stated as A) her job is very stressful, and she has weight issues (she also mentioned a nutritionist), and B) many companies have such "health incentives" for their top executives. I understand wanting to encourage good health, but some of her stress is self-inflicted (lots of travel preaching away from our church), and my thought was that if she wants the benefits of a top executive, she should have found a different vocation. We are a small congregation that is struggling in many ways, and I really see this as an expense we shouldn't have to be footing part of the bill for. Needless to say, I'm steamed (and admittedly jealous).

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who responded. I already feel a bit better having my opinion on the matter validated by others. I know that my options are either to speak up, or let the matter go, as it doesn't help my own health to stew on the matter. My last thought on the issue is that I hope our pastor doesn't decide to start having children, as I certainly do not care to pay for her babysitter or therapist. ;)
Thanks again!

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answers from San Diego on

Wow, that is just silly!!! She should pay for her own trainer and nutritionist. She should be ashamed even asking.

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answers from St. Louis on

I'm sorry....but I do not believe it is practical for the church to pay for this.

Health insurance....yes.

I would recommend that the congregation begin a program together, supporting each other thru the process......thereby creating a healthier dynamic both mentally & physically! Just think of the possible benefits!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Heck no it shouldn't be church funded. She can join her own gym and get her own trainer like everyone else in America. Is it the congregations fault she has a weight issue? I'm guessing no.

We recently joined our old church, and left a struggling church with a small congregation. The Pastor was also getting some perks I thought were unnecessary. It is part of the reason my parents decided to leave. And my kids and I typically follow them where they go.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Ummmmm NO... no I do not think a congregation, let alone a struggling one at that SHOULD pay for the pastor's PT.

Why some of you might ask... Because, there is a little known program called, OA.... :) a 12 step where you as you guessed it, deals with why you haven't been able to lose weight..

Moreover, it's a program whereby the individual takes responsibility for their own health and well-being AND spirituality (as the individual) defines it is a HUGE part of it...

How about the pastor get down and dirty and walk the walk... a 12 step program has meetings ALL over the country and world.. She can attend one whenever she travels...Oh and they have them at all hours...

Surely, a pastor is quite aware of the 12 step programs... plus, more than PT, nutritionists and diets.. the 12 step has more success stories and people who have been abstinent from over-eating for years...

OA.ORG <<<<< someone may want to pass it along to the pastor..

I would also add that the 12 steps don't cost much at all.. a few dollars IF you can afford it in the offering envelope... if not, you are NEVER turned away.. It's recommended that newcomers attend at least 6 meetings before EVER contributing.. this way, they can decide if OA is right them..

I wish your pastor luck

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answers from Chicago on

Absolutely not! If anything, have her work 20 minutes into her schedule so she can run around the church each day. Free exercise! That money belongs to the church and its patrons.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't think that falls into the category of related expenses for the pastor to expect the church to pay for.

I don't know of any top executives at companies who have the perk of a personal trainer and nutritionist. We own our own company and that is something we would not be issuing as a perk at any level.

There comes a time you take personal responsibility for your actions, your body, exercise, your nutrition and you should be able to manage your own exercise and nutrition without the added expense of $150+ per hour. My quote of $150/hr is probably at the high end because I have a close friend who is a well sought after trainer in the area and gets $150/hr. I'm sure there are cheaper ones but still.... the church shouldn't be paying for it.

Frivilious perk in my opinion. Top it off that a pastor is asking for this..... unreasonable expectations from the congregation since they are the ones sacrificing their money to pay for everything at the church.

I'm with you... I'd be steamed because I am sure there are better options in your budget that are more deserving of the funds.

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answers from Cleveland on

I would point out the your congregation is not a large company. You sound like more of a struggling small business. So to compare her to a top executive of a company isn't a fair comparison at all. Plus, I work for a large, very successful corporation and as far as I know, aside from maybe the CEO which I don't know about, top management does not get a personal trainer paid for!

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answers from Seattle on

I don't agree with her. What if she did a boot camp with other church members that is 10 dollars a time? Maybe weight watchers with a group of friends.

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answers from Grand Forks on

If this is in her salary and benefits contract you can't take it away. Perhaps her salary would have been higher if the personal trainer had not been part of the contract, but the people who hire your clergy wanted to ensure that the minister was looking after her health as part of being an effective employee. I don't know how much the church is paying, but when I had a personal trainer I paid 30/hour, but I only worked with her once a week.

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answers from Lafayette on

You need to speak up. Pray about it...speak calmly...but it must be discussed further. We are going through some similar "issues" at our church that folks don't agree with, but most are afraid to speak up. That makes it hard for the few of us that do speak up. But the bigger problem is that it takes away folks' ability to worship. You should be able to focus on the Lord when you go to church. Please work through this issue for the betterment of God's church!

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answers from Cincinnati on

I would also be a bit put off by all of this. I understand that the pastor has stress that she has to deal with but to be perfectly honest-who doesn't have stress? We all deal with some sort of stress in our lives.

I work for a non-profit and we don't have health incentives. If my job paid or would pay a portion of me to go to a gym or something like that, I'd jump on it-but they don't so instead I work out in my own home.

I went to a small church with money problems. I loved the people but we had to make cuts where we could. So the church went down to one phone line and one computer with internet-no more wifi, they opened the church up during the week for other things-a music class for preschoolers, jazzercize (I don't know if the church got a discount for that or not) and few other things just to make ends meet.

So to provide this for one person just doesn't seem right.

I like the suggestion of having someone come to the church and provide something, but open it up for both men and women even teens.

I don't know where in Cleveland you are but you are near a big city so you may even be able to find someone to come out and do a session for free or for a small fee so everyone pays like $5-$10 dollars or something. United Way comes to my mind. I'm in Cincinnati and we have had someone from United Way come and talk to our kids (high school age) about eating healthy and the kids always love it and we make fruit-ka-bobs.

Something else that bugs me is the fact that she travels so much away from the church and preaches else where. I know pastors typically will do that but not to the point that it is excessive. She needs to be preaching in her own church, not elsewhere. She needs to be the head of her church and help to see it through everything.

Instead of asking for a personal trainer and nutritionist, she/church needs to reach out to the people in the church for help. You are the church family, this is part of what a church family does-it helps and supports people. Reach out first to the church before hiring someone one for an expense the church doesn't need.

I grew up at a church that I loved and then one day my parents stopped going there. I didn't understand much why at the time but I do now and your post reminds me of it. My dad was on the church budget committee. He's not one to sit back and watch, if he sees something that he doesn't agree with he will speak his mind. Well the church wanted to get a new steeple. They already had one. Nothing was wrong with it, but they wanted a new one that was bigger and better than what they had. Which would have been fine IF they didn't need the money for major fixes and everything else. My dad didn't agree with that and in the end him and my mom decided to leave. There's more to it but in the end it's the same-the way money is handled.

If this is upsetting you this much, then speak your mind. Chances are, you aren't the only one who is feeling this way. If the congregation gets wind of this, you can bet a lot of people will feel the same way.

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answers from Houston on

Be steamed and be jealous! You have the right. Heck no!!! What she should do is try to find a PE Teacher, Dance Teacher, or PT in the congregation who will give Saturday morning sessions to the WHOLE ADULT FEMALE congregation. Or you all can start a church walking group! Wow! The nerve!

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answers from Chicago on

If I knew that, I would stop giving to the church immediately.
I'm wondering how many other church members would, as well.

My donations are for ministry, service, and to help our congregation. NOT to provide personal services for the pastor.

Quite honestly, if that is not public knowlege to the congregation, it should be. I would feel robbed if I didn't know that and continued to give each week.

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answers from Appleton on

No -- NO WAY.

The church should not have to pay for a personal trainer or a nutritionist. Sometimes companies will have a re-imbursement or be able to use flex account or have insurance that pays for maybe ONE session. But not an ongoing weekly payment for an employee.

If there is a parishioner that has experience as a personal trainer or nutritionist, this person could be asked to volunteer his/her time to help the paster.

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answers from Columbia on

A church that is struggling to make ends meet is a problem. Why is the church struggling? Lack of congregants? Lack of faithful investors? Both?

If the church were busting at the seams (as it should be), I would say that the pastor is deserving of her trainer and nutritionist. But something is lacking...and when something is lacking, her focus should be on figuring out how to grow the church and bring the Holy Spirit into her services.

The first thing I'd be asking: Why is she preaching away from your church when your chuch is in need of her?

Next: Is she willing to tighten her belt for the good of the church? The church cannot grow if God's money is not spent thoughtfully. That money isn't's God's.

1 mom found this helpful
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