In 2007, Alisa Keeton merged her passion for fitness with her new-found love for Jesus and formed Revelation Wellness. A unique 501C3 non-profit ministry, Revelation Wellness is dedicated to educating and inspiring people to live healthy and whole lives in Christ. Alisa is a leading certified fitness professional with more than 20 years of experience. She holds a B.A degree in education, is certified through the American Council on exercise in Group Fitness and Personal Training, and is certified Master Level Holy Yoga Instructor.
All one has to do is look at their Facebook page to see rows and rows of inspirational posts like the one to the left: emphasizing that our bodies are a connection to God and should be treated with respect. Alisa and her team strike that delicate balance between emphasizing the connections between a healthy body and a healthy soul while not worshiping the body in and of itself. The difficulty of such an undertaking cannot be overstated.
We found out about Revelation Wellness when we discovered their annual fitness fundraiser "Rim to Him" where people from around the country train all year long to accomplish the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike. We caught up with Alisa and asked her about Revelation Wellness, Rim-to-Him and much more.
Describe the origins of Revelation Wellness. How did it come about?
After 14 years as a passionate and successful fitness professional, I fell madly in love with Jesus. He rocked my world and gave me new eyes and a heart for fitness. I was able to recognize the spiritual quest that most of my clients were on as they vowed to lose weight and gain muscle. God showed me “the more” that was behind fitness…it’s Him. The Hebrew/Greek word worship, in the bible, means “to devote” or to spend oneself on. It clicked for me. It’s ALL worship. Worship that isn’t directed to and from God is idolatry. Substitutes for God will never satisfy. God was calling me to be a voice of love and truth in the fitness world so that people might be set free to worship God and live the life only He can give. Revelation Wellness was born out of that desire to see gospel-centered communities everywhere who will love God, get healthy, be whole and love others. Six years later we have over 140 instructors certified Revelation Wellness Instructors, nationwide and internationally, heralding the call.
What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish through your ministry?
Our goal is to use fitness to bring hope, healing, and the transformational love of God into the world. We are also a very mission-focused organization. We believe that when God’s people live healthy and whole lives, they are more fit for their mission; the mission of loving others. In essence, people who love God will be trained up to live healthy and whole lives, so they are free to love continually, and receive and give away the love of God to a world in need.
How are you structured? Do you have a central place that you do fitness training and events, do you travel around to different churches etc.. Exactly how do you pursue your goals.
For the most part we are an online organization. At our core we are a discipleship program. Through our 9-week, online Revelation Wellness Instructor Training program, we train and equip leaders who want to start a fitness/love revolution in their communities. In addition, each trainee attends a 5-day retreat intensive where they complete hands-on practical training, as well as immersion in the presence of God. They go home willing, ready, and able to lead others into wholeness by teaching Revelation Fitness® classes in their community.
I like your name Revelation Wellness vs. Revelation Fitness, I assume that is purposeful. Could you talk about the difference between these concepts.
Revelation Wellness is the non-profit organization with the big mission of inspiring people to live healthy and whole lives in Christ. We do this through a myriad of offerings: bible studies, special events, and inspirational fitness apparel to name a few. Revelation Fitness is the style of workout classes that our instructors in training learn to teach. Each Revelation Fitness class is inspired by and centered in the word of God. Our instructors make each Revelation Fitness class unique and special, and you can find many participants wearing our encouraging fitness apparel.
God gave me the name Revelation Wellness/Fitness because this type of lifestyle depends on Him opening up the eyes of our hearts to see how fitness has the ability to train our hope in Christ. A workout is just a workout until God opens our eyes to see just how much it can be our spiritual act of worship. Worship transcends the workout, strengthening us to love God and others, each and every day.
What would you say to the criticism that you are propelling the attitude of “body perfection” and “what you look like is what matters” that is so prevalent in our society, especially for young women and girls. How is your ministry different? Do you have ways to address this specifically?
Oh yes…we get that from time to time. We are so Jesus-centered that all people have to do is spend a little time around us, either in person, or virtually through social media…etc., to see just how in love with Jesus we are around here. Our bodies are absolutely secondary to giving our hearts over to God daily and moment to moment. We are well aware that we walk a fine line of staying humble and holy when we are dealing with something so prideful and self-seeking as body beauty. We always say, “Train the shape of your heart first and your body will simply fall in line.” We could care less about people weighing their bodies. We teach people to allow God to weigh their hearts. To allow him to put His finger on whatever is “weighing” them down. It’s not about the food, just as much as it’s not about the body or the fitness. It’s about the heart. We are an inside-out focused ministry, through and through.
So let’s talk Rim to Him. Describe the event and its origins. Is there something different about being outdoors, especially in a place like the Grand Canyon? Talk about what your experience has been outdoors.
My first Rim-to-Him hike was kind of an accident. A friend of mine invited me to hike the canyon with her and some acquaintances from her health club. God was not the center of this event at all. I was in awe! The Grand Canyon is God’s country…that’s for sure. Especially when you are IN that grand canyon. I wasn’t racing through the canyon. There were too many moments that I felt God’s presence. I didn’t want to miss it! I was grieved to see people racing through the canyon without taking a moment to take it all in. I heard the Lord say to me, “Alisa, you are going to bring people back here, and you are going to teach them about me.” And that’s what I did. Four months later, in 2012, I rallied a few friends from my Revelation Fitness class/community. We trained for 6 months then went back to the canyon with the intention of meeting with God, and hearing from Him. Rim to Him was off and running. This year will be our 3rd hike, with 56 hikers from across the country who will follow our 6-month training program, fundraise, and show up on September 26th in Phoenix, Arizona to head up to the Grand Canyon, with the intention of meeting their Maker in profound and personal ways. He never fails to show up and meet his people who are willing to get small and go low, and cry out to Him with needs, thanksgiving, and praise. The 24-mile hike across the Grand Canyon is the perfect training ground for God’s people to draw near to Him.
How can people get involved with your organization? How can they support or join in on the “Rim to Him”?
Rim-to-Him is a fundraising endurance hike. Each hiker agrees to raise funds for Revelation Wellness, a 501c3 non-profit, so we can continue to spread the message of the Gospel through fitness/wellness. A portion of the funds raised from Rim-to-Him will go towards HopeFest Phoenix. Hopefest is a one-day outreach to Phoenix’s homeless and working poor. You can support Revelation Wellness® and Rim-to-Him, by going to www.revelationwellness.org/donate/ and making a donation. If you are interested in hiking with us in 2015, sign-ups will begin on Monday, September 29th, 2014. Go to www.revelationwellness.org/events/rim-to-him/ for more information.