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Man opening hybrid gym, church at former Hancock Fabrics location

December 19, 2016

Dolan Hornbeck has come up with a unique way of helping people focus on their bodies, minds and spirits.

The longtime Billings trainer is opening Telos Fitness, a hybrid gym in the West End. Its goal is to provide clients with an opportunity to work out and take classes, with trainers on hand to guide them.

Then he’ll take things one step further. Hornbeck plans to open a church at the same location to encourage people in their spiritual lives.

And though the two undertakings are separate, they will come together in one way.

“We’ll have a contemporary service on Sunday morning with worship and a message — a normal format,” he said Thursday, standing inside the gym that formerly housed Hancock Fabrics. “Then Sunday afternoon we’ll have a free workout for anybody who wants to come and a truncated message.”

The gym, at 100 24th St. W. No. 7, is scheduled to open Jan. 2. He hopes to launch Telos Church at the beginning of February, after the gym is on firm footing.

It’s not a stretch that Hornbeck would undertake such an enterprise.

“The two things I’m most passionate about are the kingdom of God and fitness,” he said. “And to be able to marry the two is awesome.”

Years ago the 1999 Skyview High graduate was working at the front desk at the Billings Family YMCA and studying business management at Montana State University Billings when he first came up with the notion of personal training.

“I was competing in a fitness competition, and a guy approached me and said ‘I really like the way you train, the dedication you have, would you be willing to train me?’ ” Hornbeck said. “There wasn’t really a personal trainer program at the Y, so that gave a boost to the program.”

He switched majors, to health and human performance, and started helping others figure out fitness routines. Hornbeck worked as a trainer in Billings for 17 years, spending eight years at the YMCA and nine at Granite Fitness.

He views physical training holistically, seeing how helping clients improve their physical health also boosts their emotional health. Hornbeck talked about one woman who was 100 pounds overweight and, while she was carrying her child, fell as she walked up a flight of stairs and injured her knee.

After working with the trainer, she lost many pounds and turned herself around.

“Her whole outlook has changed and she’s highly motivated,” Hornbeck said. “It’s things like that that really make it worthwhile.”

He calls the gym a hybrid because it’s in the middle between big multi-use fitness centers and small studio gyms that focus on one aspect of fitness.

Telos Fitness will offer strength-training and cardio machines, classes, personal training, locker rooms and child care, like the larger gyms. But it will also provide the kind of community found in the smaller studio gyms.

“When you come in and you don’t want to do exercise but you know you have Joe or Angie who’s coming in and they’re going to wonder where you’re at,” Hornbeck said. “It motivates you to be part of the team.”

That aspect of community is another reason he decided to open a church on the same premises. The son of a pastor, Hornbeck grew up in the church. He spent several years as the college pastor at Word of Life Fellowship in Billings, and then he felt called in a different direction.

Hornbeck was part of a small group of people who met regularly with the Rev. Nate Poetzl, pastor of Faith Chapel in Billings, to learn about church planting. He is also licensed through the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Faith Chapel’s denomination.

Along the way Hornbeck also got encouragement from another source.

“When I was a trainer, I had several people come up to randomly and say, ‘Dolan, I’ve never stepped inside a church, but if you start one I’d check it out,’” Hornbeck said.

The way the interior of the 6,000-square-foot gym is arranged, it will be easy to set up chairs for church services. Child care also will be available.

Joel Bath, another trainer, shares Hornbeck’s passion for ministry. Bath will work in the gym and serve as worship leader for the church.

Hornbeck wants to make clear that he won’t be running a Christian gym. He wants anybody who’s looking to get in shape to feel comfortable.

But he hopes that people who don’t feel comfortable inside a church will be relaxed enough in the gym to consider staying for a brief message on Sunday afternoon, to get a taste of faith.

For Hornbeck, the name “Telos,” is what it’s all about.

“Telos is Greek for ’all things for the same end,” he said. “It is very fitting — spiritual, physical, emotional for the same end.”