One of the questions we got the most at our booth during General Assembly revolved around these three banners we had on display. A number of people actually wanted to buy them from us…but they were not for sale. Rather, they define what we think it means for a YMCA to truly lift up the “C” in their community: Caring, Serving, and Equipping.

This definition actually came out of the 2015 Silver Bay Conference .We had previously identified three things we felt the US Mission Network could bring to the table to help local YMCAs strengthen their Christian emphasis program. We felt we could provide needed resources, as well as opportunities to build meaningful relationships, and hopefully gain some recognition within the larger YMCA culture. But the question was, what does that look like in a local YMCA?

While many things were discussed, it soon became apparent that each one of the characteristics identified could be grouped under one of three headings:

YMCAs that were living out the “C” in their community were caring for the spiritual lives of their members, staff and volunteers.  They were meeting personal spiritual needs in a variety of ways.

Second, they were finding ways to help their members, staff and volunteers live out their faith by serving others in their community. These meaningful opportunities changes the lives of those that serve as much as it does those being served.

Finally, YMCAs that are effectively lifting up the “C” in their community are constantly equipping their members, staff and volunteers, giving them practical tools to grow and develop.

The actual programs these YMCAs run take on a myriad of expressions, but these three words say it all – Caring, Serving, and Equipping. Therefore, even though our banners weren’t for sale at the General Assembly, the concepts certainly are! We challenge you to go out and see what kind impact you can have if you put these principles into practice.

PS – We are considering producing these banners for others. If you are interested in getting some for your YMCA, contact Sam Cox at SCox@ymcacw.org.