Renovations to force Young Life out of office

The youth ministry is searching for a new building to house its business operations.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:45 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

For the third time in a year, the Columbia chapter of Young Life, a nondenominational Christian organization that ministers to teens, will have to move, and its director is searching for a permanent home.

This time, in about two weeks, renovations will force the ministry from its home on Cherry Street.

Luke Neal, who became Young Life’s director in May, hopes to stay downtown because it is relatively close to Hickman High School, the school where he spends most of his time, and is an easy walk for the many volunteers who attend MU.

Neal said it will be a challenge to find a downtown office because “it’s hard to find offices that small downtown.”

Young Life — part of a global ministry — needs about 100 square feet.

He said it will be impossible to move back into Young Life’s current office because after renovations, only large luxury offices will be in the building.

The Young Life office mainly is needed for business operations and communication with volunteers. Neal said that a big part of his job is raising money locally because Young Life is nonprofit.

The organization’s mission — to “reach every kid, everywhere, for eternity” — is fulfilled outside of the office, though. Young Life sends 34 volunteers into high schools and junior high schools in Columbia. Volunteers teach teens about God through worship and Scripture.

Young Life has been present in Columbia for about 30 years, although the organization has been actively ministering for five years, Neal said. The larger Young Life ministry was founded more than 60 years ago and has established programs in 800 U.S. and Canadian communities and 45 countries overseas.

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