My name is Andrew Ware, and I am The RunninRev.
There are so many aspects of my life that I could have used to identify my own “brand.” I am a husband, father, friend, pastor, runner, advocate, podcaster, writer…the list could go on. Many of these are more recent developments, and some have defined me for quite some time. However, I took two, that by no means fully defined me, but that I thought sounded good together.
I created the image and moniker of the “RunninRev” as a living these two parts of my life. While these two natures of being a pastor and runner, I have felt a deep connection to both my nature of vocation as a pastor and my joy and love for running.
To begin, I am a pastor and fully ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have been a pastor for 9 years, and have served in three different ministry settings during that time. Currently, I am serving in Suffolk, Va at Beech Grove United Methodist Church. My biggest passions in the church are community and innovation. I find joy in living into my calling of community, by being a welcoming presence of the Kin-Dom wherever I go.
I am also a runner. I have been running since I was an infant really, but have been running competitively since high school. In my time as an adult, I have used running as a form of self-care and therapeutic release. I have noticed how, not only has my body gotten stronger but so has my mind. I have re-found the joy of running in my adult years and it has become an expression of both community and faith as I practice it. I boast certification as a USATF Level 1 Certified Running Coach and have experience as a race director/organizer.
I found a passion for self-care advocacy during the pandemic, when I myself faced burnout as a pastor in the mounting of many responsibilities in a changing church landscape. While I knew it’s importance before, it was reiterated ten-fold as I struggled to find a new understanding of church in the midst of a new community. The deeper I have dug into myself the more I learn about the importance of self-care.
Before all of this though, I have the love for my family. My wife and kids ground me and are the north star I return to. They are my biggest support system, and I know they are always there for me, as I hope to be for them.
In building community I look throughout my life to gather folks who I can connect with…so come connect with me and let’s grow together.
Passions Guiding Community
As a pastor in the United Methodist Church, I look for opportunities to find or create expressions of community wherever I serve. I love being a part of doing the Kin-dom building work we are called towards through our baptismal vows, and extended into my ordination vows.
During the pandemic, I realized that the work for self-care I had been doing, was not sufficient for where I truly was. I had been masking my true feelings and had been feigning real self-care. This realization has set me on a journey to unpack and develop my own theology of self-care as well as help others in their self-care journeys.
I have no memory of the first time I ran, but I do remember my first race in cross country (and even my first practice). There was something about running that connected me to everything. I had a shared family in my team, a connection to nature as I ran outside, a connection to my body to be in tune with feelings, and even a spiritual connection as my mind felt clear to ponder on faith. Running has given me so much, and now I want to give back and help others.