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Young Life leader invests in Whitworth and Spokane communities

Stephen Fleming, '18, a psychology major, is one of many Whitworth students who participate in Young Life. The ministry seeks to introduce adolescents to Jesus by focusing on building relationships and support systems. North Spokane has Young Life chapters for high school and middle school students, and young adults with mental or physical disabilities.

"I was involved in Young Life throughout high school in student-leadership roles," Fleming says, "and when I came to Whitworth I found a rich community of people who had a passion for the ministry, as well."

As a freshman, Fleming took Whitworth's Foundations for Christian Leadership class, which helps students build a strong spiritual foundation for Christian leadership as they consider service opportunities in a local Young Life club, campus ministry, or church youth group. Fleming joined the Young Life team at Mount Spokane High School in 2015.

Stephen stands in front of the chapel doors smiling.

"The very next morning I headed to the high school to help pass out suckers, and I have been leading ever since," he says. "The most rewarding aspect of leading Young Life is the moments when I catch glimpses of the work that I believe Jesus is doing in the lives of the high school students I work with. Watching Jesus shape them little by little into the people he has created them to be is such an exciting thing that I am thankful to be a part of. I can't think of a better way to spend my time."

As rewarding as Fleming's work in Young Life leadership is, it also presents challenges.

"The most challenging aspect is watching kids you love and care about repeatedly choose things that don't lead to the fullness of life I believe God has intended for us to live," he says. "Leading in an environment like this has taught me a lot about what being faithful to people over long periods of time looks like, and how faithfully Jesus pursues me."

In addition to serving with Young Life, Fleming participates in intramural basketball on campus and attends Whitworth chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"Chapel is a part of the week I look forward to," he says. "The chapel staff members do such a great job investing in the students, and it's an excuse to get a lot of great people in the same place twice a week."

After graduating from Whitworth, Fleming plans to pursue a master's of education in school counseling.

"My vision for the future is to be able to continue working with high school students as a counselor, while also coaching sports," he says. "I would love to stay around Whitworth and continue engaging with this community that has taught me so much over the past few years. Additionally, my sister is an incoming freshman (Class of 2022), and it will be awesome being around to watch her learn and offer her gifts to the community at Whitworth."