A New York-based ministry called “The C Project” is trying to help local YMCAs to fulfill their Christian mission.
The first YMCA in 1844 by a group of Christian businessmen in England as a place to help other young working men seek God through prayer and Bible study. In 1851, the YMCA movement started in North America with the objective of developing in young people values and behaviors that are consistent with Christian principles. Then during World War II, the organization expanded to include women and girls as members, and today it accepts people of all ages, abilities, incomes, ethnicities, religions – from any background.
For 150 years, YMCA has been very active in the local communities throughout America offering various services serving the needs of people in the community. In recent years, however, many YMCA centers have taken a liberal path in policies and practices, straying from their Christian roots. "The C Project" has decided to take an action to help their local YMCAs return to their Christian path.
The YMCA has now become more of a secular community organization that reaches out to people who are in need of health and social service.
The C Project's director, Bill Tetreault, pointed out that the organization which stands for Young Men's Christian Association, is going astray from its Christian roots and rather it’s becoming more known as a common community service organization serving the general public.
But Tetreault hasn’t lost hope for local YMCAs.
"YMCAs were birthed from the Christian community," Tetreault says, but it has turned into "prodigal parent," abandoning the organization to a secular path. He says the time has come for the prodigal parent to "return and reach out to the YMCA and help lift up that C, the Christian mission of the YMCA."
According to Tetreault, about 20% of YMCAs in the United States have retained a Christian mission; another 10% he would describe as "antagonistic to the Christian mission," and the other 70% are fairly neutral. "So there's a large population of those 2,400 YMCAs out there that really can be influenced either by the secular community or by the Christian community," he says.
The C Project provides resources for local YMCAs, including devotional literature and volunteers, and encourages believers to help their local YMCAs in refocusing their original mission.
The YMCA is not affiliated with The C Project and so far has not endorsed it.
The YMCA's more than 2,400 U.S. facilities collectively make up the largest not-for-profit community service organization in America, serving nearly 18 million people in 10,000 communities and 30 million people in 120 countries around the world internationally.