Youth for Christ CEO celebrates 40 years with organization

Posted on by Youth for Christ

“I’m so fortunate because I get to sit on the front row seat every week and hear miracle stories of lives being changed,” Larry Lance, CEO, says. “Who wouldn’t want that job?”

It’s one of the reasons Larry fell in love with Youth for Christ, and why he has dedicated 40 years of his life to this organization.

“On my spiritual journey I remember being a lost teenager,” Lance says, “so I’ve always had a heart for those that don’t know the Lord.”

Larry first took his seat in the front row of those miracle stories in 1976, when he started with YFC as a part-time Campus Life director at Huntington North and Homestead High Schools.

Moving through a variety of roles, Larry became the executive director in the early 80’s. Under his leadership YFC expanded its reach by growing Campus Life programs, starting the Family Care Center (which provided family counseling) and the Primetime Center, now called City Life (which impacts teenagers in the urban community of Fort Wayne).  

Former Primetime Director, and current senior pastor at New Covenant Worship Center, Luther Whitfield, believes YFC is strengthened as a whole by Larry’s ability to lead, build relationships, and invest into people.

“Larry loves building and speaking into the lives of people and coming alongside them,” Whitfield says. “I think that’s his unique gift, and, because of that unique gift, those strong, healthy relationships last. He wants to see people advance for the cause of Christ.”

That desire to see others advance led Larry to the YFC national office where he served as the vice president of field development for seven years, helping grow and develop chapters across the country.  

Returning to Ft. Wayne in 2010, Larry is now spearheading the movement and mission of Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana (YFCNIN) as the chapter's CEO.

Through his leadership, YFCNIN has successfully expanded from its original four county reach to now encompassing 12 counties.

“We started out as little Fort Wayne Area Youth for Christ,” Judge Wendy Davis, Allen Superior Court judge and YFC board member of over 10 years, says, “and now we are Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana, and that was under Larry’s leadership.”

With an already strong Campus Life presence throughout the area, YFC recently chose to intentionally invest more time and resources into its City Life program. Viewed as a home away from home for over 100 young people everyday, its City Life ministry is designed to raise up indigenous leaders, educate, feed, and support the youth of Fort Wayne’s urban community.

By launching a new City Life campaign, titled “Life to Our City,” with Larry as a leading committee member, YFCNIN plans to expand into three new neighborhoods (zip code areas 46806, 46803, and 46805) as well as grow their current Juvenile Justice Ministry.

Judge Davis appreciates the dedication Larry has to keeping the ministry directed towards the ever-evolving needs of the youth.

“One of the things that is so exciting about Larry is as the issues with our youths have changed, he has allowed the organization to change with it, to adapt to those needs,” she says.

Constantly striving for growth, he pushes his team to be the best they can be. His steadfast leadership and dedication through the years is recognized by both his staff and members of the community.

Simply put, Larry is one of the best leaders in this community, and we are all lucky to have him in our lives,” says Bill Kinder, vice president of Michael Kinder and Sons, Inc., and YFCNIN board member.

Throughout his 40 years with YFC, the organization has grown and changed as the times have changed, but his dedication to the mission has never wavered – to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus Christ.

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