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Lifting Up the 'C' in YMCA

Lifting Up the 'C' in YMCA Read Transcript


PAUL STRAND: Pretty much everyone knows about the YMCA.

The letters, though, have become like IRS or ESPN.

People say them without knowing or thinking

about what they stand for.

YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association,

some Ys forget that C in YMCA.

That's what Craig Seibert and others at the US Mission

Network want to change.

He says George Williams, the man who

started the YMCA in the 1800s, would

have expected the C to be front and center

because his Christianity also came first.

Williams put that into practice where he worked,

simply by joining with a fellow believer

to pray for each of their coworkers by name.

CRAIG SEIBERT: 140 or 150 employees at Hitchcock

and Rodgers, where someone said you could not

find a Christian there, after a three year period,

that same person said, you'd be hard

pressed not to find a believer in Hitchcock and Rogers.

And so it really started as a workplace prayer movement.

PAUL STRAND: Larry Whittlesey explains

how those prayer warriors then began

ministering to the young farm boys pouring

into London at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

LARRY WHITTLESEY: They got together and said,

we have to find something a little more

wholesome for these guys to do.

So they started a prayer meeting.

So the YMCA actually started with 11 other guys--

George Williams and 11 other guys-- as a prayer

meeting in an upper room of all things.

PAUL STRAND: In recent decades, this strong Christian

foundation began to fade at some of the Ys it helped create.

LARRY WHITTLESEY: It's really in the last generation

or so that it's kind of shifted away

to that toward physical fitness and some

of the other great things that the Y does.

CRAIG SEIBERT: But what we're seeing right now,

though, is a resurgence of these seeds that have been watered

now are beginning to sprout.

And we're seeing new sprouts of Christian ministry work

and the lifting up of the C in a new century.

PAUL STRAND: One such sprout comes

from Transformational Leadership and its founder, Ford Taylor.

After failing at business, Taylor turned to the Bible.

FORD TAYLOR: Where I thought I was God's gift to business,

reality is, I was not at all.

God has lots of principles for business, ministries, families,

governments, schools, education system.

And what happens is when you apply those principles,

they work, whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or not.

PAUL STRAND: Now Taylor's organization and others

are working with Christians at Ys

to bring those biblical principles alive again.

US Mission Network founder, Bob Hall.

BOB HALL: I think that this is the secret sauce.

Coming back to our foundation, which is Jesus Christ,

can do nothing but strengthen the YMCA movement.

PAUL STRAND: One huge part of that massive rebuilding effort

comes by Ys offering people much more help

beyond their physical bodies.

LARRY WHITTLESEY: And they encounter

Marriage Encounter, or Financial Peace University,

or DivorceCare, or Grief Share.

They can sense that God is still part of their lives.

God can be introduced to them in a very safe way.

CRAIG SEIBERT: You find the possibility

of real transformation because it is a safe place.

It attracts people into that environment that would never

find the either courage or the connection

to come into what they would perceive

a more isolated environment.

LARRY WHITTLESEY: It opens the door for all sorts of people

to come through that would never go to a church or a counselor

for those things.

BOB HALL: This is the life blood of the association.

And this is what will make the difference in people's lives.

PAUL STRAND: One sign it's working?

Where there used to be just 10 chaplains in American Ys,

now there are 65 with more coming.

And the Ys are widespread.

Folks here hope that someday you'll be able to go into any Y

anywhere, not just have a great time,

get fit, learn great life skills,

but actually meet the author of life himself.

Paul Strand, CBN News, reporting from Orlando, Florida.

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