Marathon Minister Makes Great Strides on the Track, in the Pulpit
By Carl Stagner
Though preaching the gospel and running races haven’t been a part of B. J. Fuller’s life for very long, it certainly is now. Marathons and senior pastoral ministry weren’t on his mind when he first joined a local gym to get healthy, or when he first began offering his gifts in pulpit supply and as an associate pastor. God, of course, had other things in mind. Today B. J. serves as senior pastor of Fedscreek Church of God in the hills of extreme eastern Kentucky—and has racked up quite the list of half and full marathons. As B. J. prepares body, mind, and soul for the upcoming “Super Bowl” of the running world—the Boston Marathon—we check in with the “marathon minister” and learn just how the Lord is using him lately.
To date, Pastor B. J. has run an impressive 46 half marathons and 14 full marathons. In an effort to “run across America” (race in each state—he has run several in some states), he recently made the trek to the sunny Southwest to complete a 5K and a half marathon as part of a larger gathering of runners known as the “Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix, Arizona. But it wasn’t sunshine and warmer weather that fuels B. J.’s need for foot speed. Though January 2022 brought significant snow to the Appalachian Mountains
, B. J.’s hometown propensity for frigid temperatures this time of year has not stopped him from daily jogs nor daily time with Jesus.
“Running and ministry is intertwined,” Pastor B. J. reflects. “Just like I have to prepare for a race, with countless hours of running, as well as weight training, I have to prepare for ministry. I pray and seek the Lord. One of the good things about running is it gives me time to think, to meditate, and to pray. I stick my headphones on, and I never know when God’s going to speak to me. For example, it could be in the middle of a run when God says, ‘Here’s your topic for Sunday.’”
And, while B. J. makes great strides on the track, the trail, and roadways everywhere, he continues to make great strides in the pulpit. But, like the twists and turns, and the varying conditions encountered when running, B. J. knows firsthand the challenges that come with ministry—especially in a season of societal strain.
“As most pastors know, while some people are unable to get out, others seem to have grown complacent. But we’ve updated our online streaming capabilities, built a tech booth at the church, and it’s a lot better than we had before.”
Amid the challenges, Pastor B. J. finds great joy in the journey. Sharing the hope and love of Jesus is the chief motivation, and he believes he’s in his element. Now he’s looking forward to the chance to compete in the Boston Marathon, representing and raising money for the American Red Cross.
“The Boston Marathon offers several runners the chance to run with charities,” Pastor B. J. explains. “To run in the Boston Marathon, you have to qualify at a certain time, which I knew I couldn’t meet anytime soon. Or you have to work with a charity. This year I turned forty, so I kind of figured it was now or never. The Boston Marathon is the oldest road race in America, and the most prestigious. It would be an honor for me to participate.”
Want to help Pastor B. J. Fuller get to the Boston Marathon? He must raise half of his financial goal by February 7. Learn more and help him cross the finish line with support for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. Learn more about how B. J. Fuller got started in ministry and marathons.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.