Today’s Illustration: We Stand In A Long Line Of Others Who Cared For Souls

Who: Sir George Williams (and 11 friends)

When: June 6, 1844

What: YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association

  • Motivation: “the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities; the options available were usually taverns and brothels. . . . the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades.” [1]

Harper’s New Monthy Magazine – January 1882. (PDF Link to full article)

“Music, song, lectures, gymnastics – all that makes the pure and innocent life of the young is utilized for sacred purpose. Christianity becomes common-sensible, real, personal. Religion is taught as much as possible without the formality of a platform. Teacher and disciple meet on the common ground of the fellowship of youth. Personal interest in young men is the key used to open the heart, and to prepare the way for the admission of the highest truth.

What an advance this is upon the customary formal modes of Christian teaching one can well imagine. The formal method is vital, indispensable; it is the necessary consequence of the existence of the Christian Church as a permanent institution. It addresses all who come to be taught, but, looking only to the secular interests of society, it is important that the lessons of Christianity should be carried to those who do not come to be taught. Now, a Christian Association might readily become a close corporation, limited to young men who have, as one might say, that pass-word, who have already within them the sympathies which an active Christian faith always inspires. . . . .

We can best show the fruit by coming back to one association building — that of New York. Every secular day more than eight hundred persons enter its open doors. To the reading-room over one hundred thousand persons come every year; into the library and gymnasium, one-third as many. Over two thousand meetings, religious or secular, are held in the same space of time – that is six each day. It is a busy scene; there is no hast, but there is no rest. In all this manifold activity there is one governing impulse only; the desire to do good to young men. That the best service to be rendered to them is to lead them to revere and love Jesus Christ; that all innocent and rational means may be used as ministrant to this highest ministry — this is the simple creed of Youn Men’s Christian Association.” [2]

^

Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • outreach
  • evangelism
  • the Gospel
  • salvation
  • children
  • “that by all means, I might win some”
  • motivation
  • passion
  • methods / programs

^

Sermonic Example: 

(include whatever details you find useful)

. . . . In 1844, godly men saw the need to reach the young people of their day . . . . and 177 years later we stand in the same line of those who are still seeking ways to reach people, and specifically young people.

In their meeting in almost 40 years later, in 1882, they repeated their approach and motivation . . . .

“Music, song, lectures, gymnastics – all that makes the pure and innocent life of the young is utilized for sacred purpose. . . . it is important that the lessons of Christianity should be carried to those who do not come [to a church] to be taught.”

They had the same vision of using whatever legitimate means were available to reach some.  Like Paul, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” — Paul says — even if it is “just some!”



1.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YMCA

2. https://cdm16122.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15370coll2/id/25809/rec/42

https://www.ymca.int/

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