The YMCA began in 1844 when George Williams and 11 of his friends gathered together in a dorm room, in London, above a factory where they worked and lived.
They were discouraged with the darkness of their generation and were convinced that the hope of Jesus Christ was the source of light and life that their city desperately needed. They met for prayer, Bible study and outreach, and decided to call their group the Young Men’s Christian Association.
God used this group of young men to spark a revival throughout London as YMCAs were born in other cities throughout Europe. Seven years after it was founded, the YMCA movement arrived in Boston and quickly spread throughout America.
Now, almost 200 years later, with over 14,000 locations worldwide, the Y is one of the largest Christian organizations in the world.
Many years before the YMCA was founded, the New Testament reveals that followers of Jesus would minister within the major gathering points of the city. Today, in small cities, rural villages, and major metropolitan areas around the world, people gather at the Y. In Lebanon, Ohio, the Countryside YMCA is one of the great “gathering points” of Warren County. With nearly 35,000 people associated with this Y, it is a wonderful place to spread the hope of Jesus. As we love, serve and care for people within this YMCA community, we help to raise the “C” in our city and we help the Y accomplish its own mission statement:
“The Young Men’s Christian Associations seek to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour, according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be his disciples in their faith and in their life, and to associate their efforts for the extension of his Kingdom amongst young men.”
The Paris Basis
Global Purpose Statement of the YMCA
We believe that we are here to help the YMCA fulfill its great mission. Throughout history, YMCA’s have consistently partnered with churches in an effort to accomplish the great themes of the Paris Basis; Exalting Jesus, being faithful to God’s Word, living as His disciples and extending His Kingdom. We are committed to these purposes and intentionally partner with churches and YMCAs all over the world that seek to pursue these themes together.
Throughout history, God has used the people of God, through the avenue of the YMCA, to bring renewal to countries all over the world. We will continue to be a part of that story as we will plant churches, send out missionaries and continue to build churches that are connected to YMCAs all over the world.