Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Mission, Ministry, & Margin: The Case of Restore Ministries and the YMCA

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Mission, Ministry, & Margin: The Case of Restore Ministries and the YMCA

Article excerpt


Scott Reall, Director of Restore Ministries, sat alone in the somewhat dimly lit, cavernous community room of the Green Hills YMCA Youth Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The building was relatively empty this early hour in the morning. Projected onto the empty white wall was the current version of a strategic plan that was being prepared for the board of Restore Ministries (Restore), a sponsored program of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, a member organization of the national YMCA. Reall was joined a few moments later by Rebecca and Charity who served as Head Counselor and Head of Group respectively, and by Victor Enzork, an outside management consultant engaged to guide the Restore team in their strategic planning. Reall approached Enzork eight months earlier and was frustrated by the fact that Restore had previously commissioned three previous strategic plans for growth and saw no benefit from any. Both agreed that the previous attempts lacked clear definition with respect to goal alignment between Restore and the YMCA, and failed to develop an actionable growth plan that Restore's staff could understand and support.

Over the last eight months, Reall worked closely with his program team, senior managers of the Greenhills YMCA, and key executive staff of the corporate YMCA of Middle Tennessee. Under Enzork's guidance, the goal was to develop a strategic plan that would capture Read's vision of hope and healing for those "whose aches and longings run much deeper than the physical" (Newman, 2008). He felt strongly that the steps which helped him overcome his own spiritual and emotional struggles would also benefit others and was very consistent with the notion of "wholeness" reflected in the YMCA's emphasis on mind, body, and spirit. Of great importance to Read, was the ability for Restore to build strong operational capabilities. Read's underlying hope was that the plan would enable Restore to scale its efforts within the operations of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. Moreover, he believed that the process he followed could be first replicated throughout the Middle Tennessee YMCA. Next, he hoped to make it widely available through the YMCA's national network. Longer term, he envisioned Restore services being offered outside the YMCA system.

Despite ad the analysis and preparation work that had been done to that point, Read still had one major concern. Read believed Restore's relationship with the YMCA had always been one of the greatest resources toward fostering its growth. Yet the very program growth Read envisioned was now creating confusion and straining operations to a level he felt was simply too much for himself, as one person, to bear. Simply put, his intuition was that the relationship between Restore and the Y was at an important crossroad. Enzork shared Read's concern. He felt Restore had the potential to be a critical component in the delivery of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee's mission, particularly given its 'hope for life' initiatives. For both Read and Enzork, the real question was what should Read do to take his vision to the next stage of growth given his enduring desire to build Restore through the YMCA?

History of the YMCA1

The YMCA was founded in 1844. Farmer-tumed-department store clerk, George Williams, was troubled by the living conditions and hazards young men confronted on the streets as industrialization drew them to the city. He and his friends organized the first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in London to address this compelling social need that crossed rigid lines separating English social classes.

By 1851, the YMCA reached the United States and volunteers ran early programs. The first "student YMCA" was started in 1856 at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, and focused on the leadership development of college students. During the same year in Cincinnati, the nation's first-known English as a Second Language (ESL) class was held to welcomed and engage German immigrants newcomers. …

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