The U.S. Census Bureau statistics (2009) report that over 24 million Americans play BASKETBALL and over 10 million Americans play VOLLEYBALL.
Did you know BASKETBALL and VOLLEYBALL were invented by instructors at the Young Men's Christian Association-YMCA.
James Naismith, a medical doctor and Presbyterian minister, invented the game of BASKETBALL at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891.
His colleague, William Morgan, as the physical education director at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, invented VOLLEYBALL in 1895.
George Williams was born on an English farm in Dulverton, Somerset.
Baptized into the Church of England, he described himself growing up to be "a careless, thoughtless, godless, swearing young fellow."
As a result, his family sent him away to apprentice at a draper's shop in Bridgwater.
In 1837, Williams converted to Congregationalism and became an active member of the Zion Congregational Church.
He moved to London in 1841, and worked his way up to be a draper shop department manager.
Attending Weigh House Congregational Church, he became active in evangelizing.
Williams was inspired by reading Revival Lectures, published in 1835 by American lawyer-turned preacher Charles Finney.
Williams was appalled at the immoral conditions surrounding young working men, so he gathered his fellow drapers and, on June 6, 1844, founded a place where young men could go and not tempted into sin.
It was named the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
This was during the same period of time that William and Catherine Booth founded an organization in London to fight child sex-trafficking, preaching the saving Gospel among the poor – The Salvation Army.
One George William’s earliest converts and contributors was his employer, George Hitchcock, whose daughter, Helen, Williams married in 1853.
After 50 years of bringing young men to Christ through the “muscular Christianity” of the YMCA, Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894.
YMCA Founder Sir George Williams died NOVEMBER 6, 1905.
He was buried in the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral.
A stained-glass window in his honor was placed in Westminster Abbey.
In Montreal, Canada, the YMCA founded Sir George Williams University.
Though later merged into Concordia University, it retained the campus name “Sir George Williams Campus.”
Concerned with keeping young men from temptation, especially sexual sin and immorality, Sir George Williams stated:
"My life-long experience as a business man, and as a Christian worker among young men, has taught me that the only power in this world that can effectually keep one from sin, in all the varied and often attractive forms ... is that which comes from an intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as a present Saviour ..."
"And I can also heartily testify that the safe Guide-Book by which one may be led to Christ is the Bible, the Word of God, which is inspired by the Holy Ghost."
The Young Men's Christian Association has grown to be the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, with a membership of millions in 124 countries.
The early 1881 emblem for the YMCA had the names of the five parts of the world: Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and America.
At the center of the emblem was an open Bible displaying John 17:21, referencing the verse:
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
In 1885, the words "Spirit-Mind-Body" in a triangle were added.
Underneath the triangle were the letters XP, called the "Chi-Rho," which were the first two Greek letters of the name of Christ.
In Switzerland, the Geneva chapter of the YMCA was founded by Henri Dunant in 1852.
Dunant wrote (Martin Gumpert, Dunant, The Story of the Red Cross, NY: Oxford University Press, 1938, p. 22)::
"A group of Christian young men has met together in Geneva to do reverence and worship to the Lord Jesus whom they wish to serve ...
They have heard that among you, too, there are brothers in Christ, young like themselves, who love their Redeemer and gather together that under His guidance, and through the reading of the Holy Scriptures, they may instruct themselves further.
Being deeply edified thereby, they wish to unite with you in Christian friendship."
In 1859, Henri Dunant organized care for 23,000 dying and wounded at the Battle of Solferino, Italy.
Henri Dunant then founded of the International Red Cross in 1863, for which he became the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1876, when Turkey was at war with Russia, the Red Cross introduced the name Red Crescent to allow Christian-motivated charity and humanitarian work to be carried on in Islamic countries.
In 1897, Henri Dunant supported Jews in their effort to repopulate their traditional homeland by being one of the few non-Jews to attend the First Zionist Congress in Basel.
During the Civil War, D.L. Moody ministered to soldiers on the battle-lines with the YMCA's United States Christian Commission.
When the 1871 Great Chicago Fire destroyed Chicago's YMCA, D.L. Moody raised funds to rebuild it.
Chicago White Stocking baseball star Billy Sunday began attending YMCA meetings in 1886 before beginning his career as a revival preacher.
Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute began a Bible Training school in 1893 to prepare students for Christian ministry. Students helped out at community churches on Sundays; staffed a Humane Society; cared for area sick and needy; and ran a YMCA.
Booker T. Washington spoke at Memorial Hall in Columbus, Ohio, May 24, 1900, as recorded in The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 5: 1899-1900, (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1976, p. 543-544):
"Dr. Washington began his address after a quartet sang. He spoke of the 91 YMCA Organizations for colored youths; of the 5,000 colored men studying the Bible, and of the 640 Bible students at Tuskegee."
Booker T. Washington explained:
"The Negro who does the shooting is uneducated and without Christian training ... Of all the graduates from Tuskegee Institute only one had been since sentenced to the penitentiary."
Tuskegee professor George W. Carver wrote to YMCA official Jack Boyd in Denver, March 1, 1927:
"Keep your hand in that of the Master, walk daily by His side, so that you may lead others into the realms of true happiness,
where a religion of hate, (which poisons both body and soul) will be unknown, having in its place the 'Golden Rule' way, which is the 'Jesus Way' of life, will reign supreme."
The President of the student YMCA chapter at Cornell University was John R. Mott.
He went on to served as General Secretary of the International YMCA Committee. For his efforts during World War I, John Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
John R. Mott stated:
"I have a hard fight before me in crushing self but it must and will be done. I shall be wholly consecrated and strive to be like Christ."
Dale Carnegie began his biblically-based motivational teaching in 1912 while serving as an instructor at the Y.M.C.A. on 125th Street in New York City.
His best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) has sold over 15 million copies.
On October 24, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the 70th anniversary of the YMCA:
"Christ came into the world to save others, not to save himself; and no man is a true Christian who does not think constantly of how he can lift his brother."
"I do believe that at 70 the YMCA is just reaching its majority.
A dream greater even than George Williams ever dreamed will be realized in the great accumulating momentum of Christian men throughout the world ...
These 70 years have just been a running start ... now there will be a great rush of Christian principle upon the strongholds of evil and of wrong in the world.
Those strongholds are not as strong as they look ... All you have to do is to fight, not with cannon but with light ...
That, in my judgment, is what the Young Men's Christian Association can do."
During World War II, the YMCA printed and distributed prayer books to U.S. soldiers and sailors:
"The New Testament - An American Translation - Special Edition published for the Army and Navy Department by The National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations - One of the Agencies of the United States Service Organization - Association Press, 247 Madison Avenue, New York." (June 1942)
In 1855, Mary Jane Kinnaird founded the Young Women's Christian Association.
Kinnaird had worked with Florence Nightingale to train nurses to during the Crimean War.
Mary Jane Kinnaird led a prayer movement for world evangelism, writing in a tract:
"... united prayer in reference ... to the condition of the Jews, Mohammedans, and the heathen world" (London: Nisbet & Co., 1890, Mary Jane Kinnaird by Donald Fraser).
"Prayer ... awakens such strong opposition ... from the world, the flesh, and the devil ...
Hence the power of prayer -- when to one God and Father, through one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and by one Holy Spirit, the prompter of prayer, the multitude of them that believe appeal for ... strength to fight the good fight of faith."
Another organization which originated out of Christian charity to make a global impact was GOODWILL INDUSTRIES, founded in 1902 by United Methodist minister Rev. Edgar James Helms.
Rev. Edgar J. Helms gave an address at the Council of Cities, Baltimore, MD., April 26, 1918 (E.J. Helms, Pioneering in Modern City Missions, Boston, MA: Morgan Memorial Printing Dept., 1927, chp. III. The Relation of the Church to Industrial Evangelism, p. 126-7).
In his address, Rev. Helms stated:
"If the spirit of God is to dominate the whole social order, then must He be manifest as much in the family and industry and state as He is in the Church.
The Church has a greater task of evangelism than to secure individuals who will lift their hands for prayer or sign a card or shake hands with an evangelist ..."
Rev. Helms continued:
"Employer and employee must shake hands in mutual respect and cooperation.
The era of exploitation and competition between nations and races must end in mutual helpfulness and goodwill.
Jesus Christ and His Gospel must permeate industry and every human interest as well as preaching and education. The Church is His divinely appointed agency for this task."
In recent years, the Y.M.C.A., like the Boy Scouts and other community-based organizations, has been under pressure by powerful moneyed interests to distance itself from its founding Christian principles.
A press release from YMCA of the USA stated:
"WASHINGTON, May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Biden Foundation and YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) today announced a joint three-year effort to foster LGBTQ inclusion and equity at YMCA locations nationwide ... a pilot cohort of Ys ... will develop and implement locally focused strategies designed to engage and support LGBTQ individuals and their families.
These strategies may include staff training; member outreach and engagement; program innovation for LGBTQ youth, adults, seniors and families; and community collaborations. In following years, the best practices and tools developed by the cohort will be scaled to reach Ys nationwide."
Funding will also come from the Gill Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation.
“The Biden Foundation is committed to changing our culture so that everyone, including LGBTQ people, feel supported and affirmed,” said Louisa Terrell, Executive Director of the Biden Foundation. “We could not ask for better partners in this work than YMCA of the USA, with its history, reach, and impact in communities across America.”
The vigilant effort to keep organizations true to their founding godly principles was referred to by Woodrow Wilson, who concluded his 1914 address to the YMCA:
"Eternal vigilance is the price, not only of liberty, but of a great many other things ...
It is the price of one's own soul ... What shall he give in exchange for his own soul, or any other man's soul? ...
There is a text in Scripture ... It says godliness is profitable in this life as well as in the life that is to come ...
This world is intended as the place in which we shall show that we know how to grow in the stature of manliness and of righteousness.
I have come here to bid Godspeed to the great work of the Young Men's Christian Association.”