PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The YMCA in the United States is synonymous with physical fitness. Most people also recognize that it has some association with the Christian faith. After all, the letters Y-M-C-A stand for Young Men’s CHRISTIAN Association. Yet YMCA members and staff and the broader public often can’t identify very well how this large organization and Christianity relate. In fact some people question if there should be a connection between the two. Since 2000 one event has helped define how the Christian faith shapes the mission and many other aspects of the YMCA. The John 17:21 Conference offers a regular opportunity for participants to be equipped, inspired and challenged in building a healthy spirit. To understand the Christian mission of the YMCA and meet others interested and active in that mission there is no better event to attend. -Brad Bloom

By Lindsey Castleman

In the late 1990’s Tracy Howe, the Chief Operating Officer at the Raleigh-Durham YMCA, had a vision to enhance the Christian movement in the YMCA. From that vision grew the YMCA John 17:21 Conference.
John 17:21 is the Bible verse that the YMCA has adopted as their motto. John 17:21 says, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
The John 17:21 Conference invites YMCAs, individuals and churches from across the United States and the world to come and be equipped, inspired and challenged in God’s word and community with others.
The hope is that it will inspire and energize the souls of those in attendance from the spirit side of the YMCA’s equilateral triangle. (Spirit, Mind, and Body) The conference is a time of fellowship, growth, and renewal in the context of the Christian Purpose of the YMCA and designed toward helping professionals and volunteers better serve their communities.
The inaugural conference was held in Nashville, TN in 2000, a second conference in 2001 in St. Louis, MO, a third held in Houston TX in 2003. The fourth conference was held in Charlotte, NC in 2005, and the most recent was held in 2007 in Indianapolis, IN.
In 2009, the conference will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Double Tree Arena. Starting Thursday, October 15 and ending Saturday, October 17, the conference will include speakers that will focus on God, faith, prayer and leadership.
To see a complete list of the scheduled 2009 speakers, register for the conference and learn more go to the John 17:21 Conference website at

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