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This paper outlines the pilot ministry project, Take Care of the Temple, a spiritual formation-based weight loss program addressing the spiritual condition of gluttony by cultivating stewardship of the body—a way of life that values, nurtures, and respects the body as God’s creation, redeemed by Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit for health, holiness, and glorifying God. This ministry’s purpose is to enable participants to develop a lifestyle of bodily stewardship through the integrated practice of healthy living habits and spiritual disciplines leading to weight loss and spiritual growth.

This pilot project was administered through the Westminster Recreation and Outreach Center under the auspices of Westminster Presbyterian Church in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thirteen local residents participated in this forty-day pilot ministry. There were three main components of the pilot program—an opening retreat, six weekly small group meetings, and a closing retreat. The opening retreat laid out the ministry’s theological foundation from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” The small group meetings provided support, accountability, and instruction in the practice of key spiritual disciplines. The closing retreat gave participants the opportunity to worship and celebrate their wellness journeys.

The pilot was evaluated in the areas of program execution and overall effectiveness. The programmatic elements of the pilot functioned smoothly, and participants reported improvement in the areas of weight loss, lifestyle habits, and spiritual growth. The pilot sample was small and the ministry context limited. However, it was concluded that this pilot project could be effectively utilized in other ministry contexts to promote wellness and spiritual development.

Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Westminster Recreation and Outreach Center; Gluttony; Health; Physical fitness; Obesity


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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