A Church Planter’s Physical Fitness Journey and Challenge

by Bobby Wood | Jan 19, 2023

This blog is part of a three part series.

I have always been a fairly active individual throughout my life. I played baseball, soccer, football, and basketball as I was growing up. Now, I live in the great state of Utah which is home to some of the best hiking, backpacking, snow skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking in the world. So, for most of my life, I never really worried about health, fitness, and my daily diet. I ate what I wanted and when I wanted. I tried to stay active through my recreational hobbies. As I got older, my wife and I started having babies, and job responsibilities grew through planting a church. My time became much more divided, and I became less active. I no longer had the ability to go on a three day backpacking trip whenever I wanted, especially when my wife needed help taking care of children. 

I’m a father of four amazing children, and I feel incredibly blessed to have each one of them in my life. As we were waiting on baby number four, we went to the 20-week prenatal checkup. While they were doing ultrasounds, they discovered that my fourth child had hydrocephalus and spina bifida. I had no idea what those words meant, but that started a two-and-a-half year medical journey involving six spinal and brain surgeries and consulting with top pediatric specialists, neurosurgeons, and doctors across the country. That experience was the hardest two years of my life, and it took a toll on my spiritual, mental, and physical life.

Personally, I battled depression and couldn’t step inside a hospital without feeling the anxiety of the loss of control and lack of knowledge of what would happen to my baby daughter post-surgery. During that period of time, I was at my worst in my diet and exercise. I ate unhealthy meals consisting of cheddar cheese goldfish, vanilla coke, and skittles. However, my life changed after a good friend of mine encouraged me to get my physical life in check by doing a six-week discipleship series created to challenge men on how they approach their diet, exercise, spiritual disciplines, and rest.

That six week journey was life changing, but it was only the beginning. Instead of making short-term adjustments, I made long-term transformational changes to my life. Now, I typically workout in the gym 5-6 times a week and eat a high protein, low carb diet. The exception to that is a feast meal I eat once a week. At first, I simply wanted to lose about 20 pounds I gained during my daughter’s medical trials. However, I gained more than physical health. It affected every area of my life. Spiritually, I felt more revived and encouraged in my daily devotional times. Mentally, I struggled less with depression and was able to handle stress in a healthier way. Physically, I had more energy, mental clarity, slept more soundly, and generally felt better. My blood pressure dropped, and I felt less exhausted playing with my kids. I would never ask to go through those two and a half years again, but I am thankful for God’s grace in the gifts He gave me through my physical health.


Bobby Wood

After finishing up seminary in New Orleans in 2009, God called Bobby and Lindsay to serve as youth pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah. It was during his time there that God started giving him a vision for Redemption Church. Along with his family and a small core team, Bobby started Redemption Church in 2013. The Woods love the uniqueness of Ogden and Weber State University.

In 2016, Bobby transitioned out of his roll as a full-time pastor at Redemption and into a full-time roll as the Send City Missionary for Salt Lake City. He serves with the North American Mission Board in this capacity as he helps guide and direct church plants and church planters in Utah. Bobby is a lay pastor at Redemption and still preaches several times a month on Sunday mornings.