Servant Leadership – YMCA’s Chaplain Program

Greg GackMission

YMCA’s across the world share a common mission statement: to put Christian principals into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We do this through Christian principles like servant leadership and demonstrating God’s love. When we had our grand opening in 2017, Pastor Dom Dinger approached me at the grand opening and simply asked “how can I help?” Pastor Dom has a true servant’s heart, a Christian principle that he puts into practice to help ensure the Y is a place where people can build a healthy spirit, mind, and body. After serving as a volunteer chaplain, a local group who was moved by Pastor Dom’s mission raised money so we could hire him to be our part-time Chaplain. He brings God’s word, grace, and love to our community, members, and staff at the Y.

The Heart of the Chaplain Program
“We want people at the Y to be as intentional about their spiritual health as they are about their physical health,” Pastor Dom says. We know that each of the 18,000 people who walk into our Y each month have a number one issue in their life. For some, it might be marital issues, for others financial strife, for others sickness or grief. We want these people to know that we are here to serve them, listen, encourage, and provide hope for their situation.

Servant Leadership
You’ll see Pastor Dom and volunteers from his church, Calvary Chapel, around our building doing various tasks like cleaning windows, filing paperwork, and simply building relationships with members and staff. “We believe that by serving others and being the hands and feet of God, we’re laying the foundation for spiritual conversation,” Pastor Dom says. You’ll also find Pastor Dom in the Faith Office on the first floor, across from the KidsZone.“We have people come by our office all day long. Sometimes they’ll walk past the office for weeks before getting the courage to come in. They may need to share about something they’re going through, and we offer a listening ear. Other times, they want to go deeper into their faith, but they don’t know how. We’re there to help people through whatever it is that they need,” Pastor Dom says. “We’re available, and we’re here to serve.”

Faith Study Opportunities
We have some sort of faith-based programming almost every day at the Y, whether it’s Bible studies or prayer groups.We have volunteers who lead a variety of studies throughout the year. We’ve had retired CPAs teach financial courses, based on scriptural foundations. We have a couple who leads “Adulting 101,” preparing young adults for things like rental applications, bank accounts, and first-time jobs. We have an annual marriage-enrichment series that helps couples understand God’s principals for marriage. “Our heart is to meet people where they are, and provide them with relevant, scripture- based tools that allow them to build in their relationship with God,” Pastor Dom says. Visit our YMCA Chaplain Program page for the registration link and details. Pastor Dom’s dream for the Chaplain Program is to have a Pastor on-site every hour that the Y is open. “People walk into our faith office all day long, looking for support, encouragement, and a listening ear,” he says. “We just want to share the hope of Jesus with them, and show them Christ’s love.”