“I was baptized for the first time 30 years ago, but I wasn’t the one who made that choice. It has been on my heart for a while to make the choice for myself to become baptized… today, I participated in the outward symbol of the change God has made in me, and publicly professed my belief in Jesus Christ.”
Brittney Bennett grew up Catholic and was baptized as an infant. She said going to church wasn’t all bad, but she felt like she was constantly being lectured to about God. It was impersonal and predictable. It wasn’t until Brittney got to high school that she understood that being a Christian is more than just knowing things about God.
Brittney joined Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) as a high schooler. During one of the meetings they shared the gospel. They talked about having a relationship with Jesus and gave an invitation for anyone who’d never accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior to pray to do it then. “It was the first time I realized you have to ask for these things, it doesn’t just happen,” said Brittney. She knew she wanted that relationship so that day she prayed to ask Jesus into her life. It was a step of obedience.
Around that same time, Brittney met Bryan, her now husband, who invited her to church with him. She'd visited a few churches outside of the one she grew up in, and those experiences hadn’t been great. So she was nervous about going. She said her uneasiness faded as she sat there with him that first Sunday. “I felt fulfilled being there. The more I went, the more I enjoyed being at church.” God became the focus of her life.
When she and Bryan moved to Jacksonville four years ago, they visited Chets and it was very similar to the church they attended in Orlando. They got connected to a LifeGroup and have been coming to Chets ever since. Over the past few months they’ve been even more thankful for the support of their LifeGroup.
Last September Brittney quit her job to take a new job working from home. It only took a month before she was miserable. She was working more hours than she’d been at her other job. She kept praying for what was next.
One night, Bryan joked that Brittney needed to open her own business. She’d been into fitness for years and had been thinking about opening her own gym, but the timing was never right. She began researching and put together a plan for Burn District Fitness, a high intensity group training gym using heart rate technology.
She and Bryan began praying about it. Their LifeGroup began praying about it and anytime they questioned, God confirmed they were making the right decision by moving forward. It was another step of obedience.
The gym opened just a few weeks ago, nearly seven months after the Bennetts had planned. Brittney said, “God had his own timing and it was so much better than ours.” They were able to be more creative with their marketing and take more time hiring coaches for the team. Brittney said through the process of opening Burn District Fitness, God has taught her patience, the necessity of relying on other people, and reminded her to fully trust Him.
Over the past few years that trust and obedience have been essential to growing in her faith. Saying yes when God prompts her to do something isn’t always easy but it’s worth it. Sometimes God uses other people to nudge you in the direction you need to be going, like her husband and the gym.
Like the gym, baptism was something she occasionally thought about but never spent much time dwelling on it until a few weeks ago. Brittney was on a long run with a friend and they had a deep conversation that ended with her friend challenging her to be baptized. The next day, Pastor Spike was preaching about baptism and she felt like he was talking directly to her. “I wanted it to be my decision. It was a step I needed to take to publicly profess my faith.” Her next step of obedience.
“I got baptized for an audience of One” said Brittney but she wanted to share the excitement with her friends, so she put it on Facebook. Because of the influence she has as a gym owner, many of her clients have talked to her about it and she’s been able to share her faith with them.
Brittney said she never would have pictured herself where she is now ten years ago, but she’s so thankful that God did. She plans to continue stepping out in obedience and giving Him glory for all He’s done in her life. “The old has gone. The new is here.”