The ProLife Team Podcast 106 | Rachel Fleming & Jacob Barr | Impacting Lives: A Director’s Journey!

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast 106 | Rachel Fleming & Jacob Barr | Impacting Lives: A Director's Journey!
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Listen to Rachel and Jacob talk about overcoming challenges and empowering lives at a pro-life clinic in a small Colorado town.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and in this episode of the pro-life Team Podcast, I had the opportunity to speak with Rachel Fleming, director of Selah in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Rachel shared her journey as a director, beginning her role amidst the COVID pandemic and steering the center through various challenges and expansions, including the addition of medical services and new staff members.

One of the key themes Rachel emphasized was witnessing God’s hand in her work, whether it was through providential staffing changes or acquiring essential medical equipment. She recounted a particularly touching story of a client who, despite relationship difficulties, has shown remarkable growth in maturity and faith, illustrating the profound impact of the center’s work.

We discussed the importance of adapting roles to volunteers’ strengths, ensuring their fulfillment and the center’s effectiveness. Rachel also spoke about her personal growth in the pro-life movement and the significance of applying one’s skills in such a vital area.

An intriguing part of our conversation centered around the challenges and rewards of running a pregnancy center, especially in a small community like Steamboat Springs. Rachel highlighted the importance of self-care to prevent burnout and the need to pause and reflect, resonating with the Hebrew meaning of ‘Cela’.

Rachel shared her go-to Bible verse for encouragement, 2 Timothy 4:5, which she finds particularly relevant in her work’s demanding context. Towards the end, she offered insights on fostering a healthy team environment, emphasizing the importance of prayer and spiritual support, especially when facing challenging situations.

In conclusion, Rachel led us in a prayer, encapsulating the essence of our discussion: the reliance on God’s wisdom and the collective effort to support those in need, embodying the pro-life mission.

Hashtags relevant to this podcast: #ProLifeLeadership, #PregnancyClinic, #MedicalServicesExpansion, #FaithInAction, #VolunteerEmpowerment, #CommunityOutreach, #SpiritualSupport, #HealingJourneys, #ProLifeMovement, #PregnancyCenterChallenges.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Rachel Fleming :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast. Today I was able to talk with Jacob, my name is Rachel from Selah in Steamboat Springs, colorado and we talked about some beautiful things of what pregnancy centers do and the support that we get from the many different circles and it was just a wonderful thing to get to talk with you today.

Jacob Barr :

So Rachel, I’m excited to have you on the pro-life Team Podcast. Would you introduce yourself as if you were speaking to a room of fellow Precy Clinic Executive Directors and leaders?

Rachel Fleming :

Yes so I’m Rachel Fleming, director of Selah in Steamboat Springs, colorado and i have, I’ve been the director since December. Well, it was really October, but December was when it when I really kicked off in 2021 So just coming out of a COVID hibernation, we’ve been able to add medical services back into our center and we’ve hired 4 new staff members and so it’s just been a wild ride the last couple of years so but God has been really good to us and we’ve really grown and we’re seeing more clients than we ever have and patients and just a variety of people and doing sexual health education in the schools so, but we offer services like other pregnancy centers do, just with STI testing, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds and also coaching healthy relationship coaching parenting classes just we have a huge variety of classes that we offer to our clients and our community, so.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome so tell me, can you think of a story that were you seeing God’s fingerprints working the lives of your clients or your team or the way that God has intervened in some way, maybe like answered prayer or timing or essentially, where have you seen God in your story and working in this space?

Rachel Fleming :

So I will get to the answer on that but you know, I think what has really been impactful to me as a director, a woman coming out of just momhood and loving that I got to stay at home and I really wasn’t ready to relinquish that. But God just made it very apparent that it was time to get back into the workforce. When all of that came about, He just, God kept bringing people in front of me that was just for the next step when I didn’t know what the next step was. And you know, we had a goal of going medical again because we were not seeing anybody medically with our nurse leaving. She had some family duties that she had to attend to and COVID had hit and she was not coming back so, but he just he was so faithful in just giving us. We got a new medical director and a new clinic manager all in the same like 6 month time period. We were able to get funding for a new ultrasound unit because the one we had was obsolete we had a medical chair that we needed to replace. God just kept providing those things and you know, with the addition of our staff just to make it possible for us to really function, you know, we had the budget to be able to do that he was just so gracious so once we were finally able to go medical, you know, I just think of our one girl specifically that we had come in for a pregnancy test and an ultrasound and she ended up speaking at our gala last year. But God has just really done a lot of work in her life of, you know, there’s a lot of relationship issues still that she’s working through with the baby’s father but she continues to be in touch with me and just needing encouragement in the Lord and, you know, you just keep telling them you can do this you can be a wonderful mother and you know, she’s just, she’s come a long way in her maturity and her faith and that’s so amazing to be a part of something like that and there’s many stories like that but what I really love about hers is that it’s just so personal to me, and I don’t usually get to interact with clients and patients myself so I’ve been grateful to see that and see her growth spiritually.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome So tell me about some of the details of your story so like for example the new ultrasound machine or finding those two medical staff members, which of those stories would you like to expand on, maybe to share, you know how that went?

Rachel Fleming :

Well, I have quite a few stories in my brain. You know, I have one girl who came in, she, we had gone into the school doing sexual health education and we’ve done that for years but we had been in her classroom and at the point she thought of us, she was in jail and suspected pregnancy. She got a positive test in jail and she called us right away and she said, I’m getting out tomorrow, I need to come see you guys i your name just popped into my head and so she came in and yes she was pregnant we did an ultrasound and you know there’s just always it seems like there’s so much baggage that our clients or patients will carry. And so she, she’s working through a lot of that right now in her current pregnancy but you know she’s she touches base with us occasionally and it’s but it’s just it’s not just her it’s like our STI testing that we do it’s they’ll say I remember you from school when you came to my school and so it’s just very important i think we forget the importance of it’s not just getting people into our doors so that we can hopefully encourage healthy relationships and actions, but it’s really a lot more than that and interacting in the community.

Jacob Barr :

So Rachel, tell me, what’s your origin story or how did you get started in this journey to serving women in these situations like how did how did you know where did where did it begin for you?

Rachel Fleming :

So it’s not like I’ve always been extremely passionate about life. I never had really thought of the importance of being active in that realm, in that part of the world and since being director, I’ve really grown, grown to be like I was asleep like it really is so important to like i always valued life, but it wasn’t like I had this big desire to be a director i was going to be a volunteer at a pregnancy center, just like my mom had done when I was a girl and so it’s, you know, after seeing what I’ve seen, it is so important to whatever your skill set is to contribute back. And pregnancy centers are a wonderful way of doing that and just using your gift settings to be able to help. So there’s a lot of different areas pregnancy centers need help and you know, just looking at my background, God was just so good to me and just the skill sets that I developed and the muscles that I was able to use have all literally contributed very heavily to what I’m doing now. So he equips us right and it it’s nothing that I feel even capable to do, but he just he helps you do whatever he has called us to do.

Jacob Barr :

So for directors who aren’t a similar role as you know, you know Princeton Clinic executive directors, what would you like to say that would be an encouragement to them like how would you encourage other directors who are in a similar position, you know, running a clinic, trying to motivate their volunteers and team to serve and you know and their community? How would you encourage people in the same position as you?

Rachel Fleming :

Well, there’s a lot on our plates as directors and a lot of expectations. But I think a lot of times we personally set those expectations and it’s very ambitious which can create burnout. So it’s important to just remember it’s always going to be there tomorrow and even if you were to finish it today by pushing so hard and just wearing yourself out, there’s always going to be something else tomorrow. So it’s important to just slow it down and celebrate those good times. And like coming out of Post Gala, we just came out of our gala season and not this last month, and it’s so hard to slow down because you have all of the Post Gala to go through and then you’re on to the end of year i mean, it’s just like there’s always a cycle of more to do, so just being careful to take care of yourself and pacing it is very important.

Jacob Barr :

So tell me how the name Sailor really connects with that encouragement so like when it comes to what Sailor means and you know, having the space to celebrate and know when something has been completed and is good and then you know, and really embracing the idea of not working at capacity all the time, like what does yeah well, if you can expand on that thought some more.

Rachel Fleming :

Sure so Cela or cela, you can say it either way means to pause and reflect and it’s a Hebrew word. So it was one that was designated years ago before I came on and you know, we had thought of rebranding it, but the more we thought on it was just kind of like, it’s a beautiful word and it really carries a lot of meaning and it’s modern enough that it’s not too religious sounding. But it really is important to pause and to reflect and not rush through any decisions that we have to make or any future things that might be coming up we don’t need to rush to it we just need to be in the moment and process and reflect and move on. It’s very important.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome So tell me, when you think about the work that you’re doing of helping clients and how clients are in hard situations or just really for the work that you’re doing, I suppose what Bible passage comes to mind that you find encouragement or that you draw from like what? What passage in the Bible do you do you revisit regularly? maybe. Whether it’s the passage or a story, yeah what comes to mind as being like a really good source of encouragement And yeah, essentially to draw your passion from.

Rachel Fleming :

Well, when I was a girl, Second Timothy, four or five, has always been a favorite of mine, and so I go back to it very often i just want to make sure I find the right.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, take your time, no worries.

Rachel Fleming :

Yeah, so Second Timothy, four five, says but you should keep clear a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord, work at telling others the good news, and fully carry out the ministry that God has given you. And I just feel like through every season and stage of life that I’ve gone through. I mean it’s so applicable, especially in this line of work because it can be so exhausting here. Basically it’s like being a mom. You know you’re just always fixing things and it’s one random thing to the next random thing and really just trying to encourage your staff and your board members. It just we’re doing this work together we’re doing this for the Lord and for his ministry and just trying to love people who are not really always wanting to be loved you know, they just want their triage moment to be taken care of and we really try to get to the heart of really what they’re going through. So it it’s encouraging to me that verse I go back and I read it a lot just because it is very important to stay focused at the goal of you know, why we’re doing what we do.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, that’s really good yeah, that’s it’s good to share verses that you can draw strength from in this work i think that’s really, and that’s a really good verse for that awesome so what is something that is maybe not commonly known that you that you have learned well as being a director that you would like to share maybe something that’s you know, not done, maybe not done at most clinics from what your understanding is, but that you’ve learned that’s really helpful that you could share with those who are listening that they might be able to learn from.

Rachel Fleming :

As far as processes or procedures that we’ve done in the office and.

Jacob Barr :

It could be anything it could be, yeah, a process it could be just something that you’ve learned or, you know, maybe a yeah, it could be anything you want yeah the idea is that something that maybe those who are listening would benefit from hearing and learning from your experience in some way.

Rachel Fleming :

Sure. You know, retention is always very important and so when you have a someone who wants to volunteer, they’re not necessarily the one to see clients or the one to do administration work it might be that they want to they’re really good at writing notes. So you know, you just making sure that you put someone where they have a strong skill set and that really helps empower them and to be fulfilled and what they are doing. One of my past jobs before kids was working at a church actually and I did get to do that we would have people come into the church to volunteer and so that was one of those things I brought with me to the center to make sure that we were able to equip them with what they needed to do. But a lot of times it’s a very natural thing for people to be able to do something that they’re already pretty good at just by what God has allowed them to be good at so we just try to, I mean, i guess I kind of just go with the flow i’m not like a planner necessarily it’s I mean that’s the Lord knows that and that’s why he just puts people in front of you when you need them to be there. So I think just relying on him and just remembering how many times he has done that in my life, I mean it’s it takes the stress off a lot.

Jacob Barr :

So yeah, I can relate to that i sometimes I feel like a sheep and i don’t know exactly the entire plan of where we’re going but I just have to follow the shepherd, you know, around the next you know rock or tree or bin and just keep you know going bit by bit more so than really knowing you know knowing the full map or journey that we’re yeah, I’m just going the next 20 feet and just following without understanding really. Yeah much more than that. So I can completely relate to. Yeah being flexible and just flowing with how things go That’s and I think it’s good i think that’s how god, yeah, a lot of times that’s it. That’s I think that’s a good posture to have.

Rachel Fleming :

So as it.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, go ahead.

Rachel Fleming :

Can I share one more thing that i love about our center and just the uniqueness. It really is amazing also to have a healthy board and we’ve had a lot of board transition, but I walked into a really great board and we lost a few. They rolled off of their terms and after going to conferences and talking with other pregnancy center directors, having a solid board really makes a center successful in a lot of ways or at least gives it better support to be successful. And we’ve been able to replace our positions and grow our board and you know these people are just amazing and they’re bringing their skill sets to be able to help. And it’s been so encouraging to me and I just feel like it makes we’re very unique in my mind because I just hear of so many centers having issues with board members and I’m just so grateful to have such a supportive board, so.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome yeah and it’s good to hear stories of people, you know, being thankful for good situations and not always to hear the complaints that seem to show up more often and so it’s really good to balance that out with, yeah, Thanksgiving and yeah and honoring the team that’s there and that’s really good. Thank you for sharing that. So as the executive director, what’s been your favorite fundraising idea that you have enjoyed the most out of all the fundraising work that’s been done so far?

Rachel Fleming :

Sure so we do two different fundraisers we do the classic baby bottle campaigns and that’s Mother’s Day to Father’s Day but we also do our huge gala that’s very successful thankfully each year we’re just blessed to bring in a good amount of money that allows us to function and like this last year we it was a record year for us. So we’re definitely celebrating that and so those are our two main ones, but we’re looking to add maybe one more. We’re just we live in such a small community up here we’re rural like small mountain resort town and so it’s very limited with our resources and our outreach as far as bringing money in and but I do think it’s important like finding other circles of people that like we have an amazing moms group in Steamboat and so we’ve been able to tap into that because not everybody goes to church but you know a lot of people want to support life and babies and families and so we’ve been able to just continue doing more outreach type stuff i would say that’s been a goal of this last year is of bringing in younger donors and having them just understand the importance of the work that we do. So that’s been really fun to try and find creative ways of, you know, going to speak to these groups and networking because a lot of these younger generations, they don’t go to church. Every Sunday so if I go and speak on a Sunday at a church, it’s not like they’re going to hear me because they’re not there most likely. So it’s it is good to get out in the community in creative ways, not just when there’s some kind of a business fair. You know, I think it’s important to do it on a more intimate level so you can really talk about what you do.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome that makes sense when it comes to like your team’s prayer life or spiritual warfare. You know, how does your team you know, how often does your team pray together and how do you engage with the spiritual warfare that you know when it comes to, you know, providing alternatives to abortion and trying to reach people in these hard spaces?

Rachel Fleming :

Yeah well, we certainly try to pray together every day, but that doesn’t always happen, especially if we have a client coming in or a patient that we just, we know that there’s a lot because when we talk with them on the phone, we try to get some background or background information. And so we anytime we do an ultrasound, you know, we’ll gather in the in our office room to pray while our ultrasonographer is doing the sonogram. So i feel like you kind of just live a life of prayer like you’re always trying to just through anything you do. But especially with the work that we do, I do think our staff gets attacked spiritually. You know, I have a staff member going through some really intense things right now and it’s something that God has been equipping her through, working at her office to deal with what she’s going through now. And I’ve seen so much growth in her. And so our team has really come together to pray with her, to encourage her and lift her up and try to support in any ways that we can think of. And so we’re just really proud of her for having strength. And it’s a very small town, small valley and so you know, things just seem to be magnified it’s not like you can run away from it at all here because everyone’s one person removed from knowing someone so it’s just it’s very difficult when you go through, I mean really anywhere but here it just seems to be amplified.

Jacob Barr :

So as working in a as a smaller community where there’s you know a, you know the population is well everyone knows everybody or only one person away. What would you say is a positive and a negative when it comes to being in a smaller community when it when it comes to trying to reach clients or when it comes to trying to draw in volunteers or working with your board what’s a positive and a negative to that experience?

Rachel Fleming :

Retention is hard it just feels like you know you really want to the longevity the health of our center, it’s only going to exist if we have good people there and all the physicians. And so I do feel like we’re we are in a really good spot right now but it is a pretty transient community too so I mean you get people in and they move away or get involved with other wonderful organizations it’s definitely I think center work can be seasonal for a lot of people. You know if it’s just the right season for them but you know, my hope is that people giving their time or money or prayer, it’s just that they are going to feel empowered by having some involvement and really reward from the Lord i mean he will bless them in various ways so I try my best to encourage people in that and I’m really grateful for the team of people in all the areas that we have them. We’ve been really blessed.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, thank you so much for sharing all these really good stories. Would you, would you share, Would you know, say a prayer here at the end of this podcast and with the expectation that those who are listening will cry out to God with you? And yeah, but so essentially, would you. Yeah, close this in a prayer.

Rachel Fleming :

Sure, I’d love to. Dear Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that you are all knowing and all powerful and that you know everything that’s happened that’s going to happen. We’re just let us continue to put our faith and our trust in you that you will take us through any situation that comes up, whether good or bad, and that we give you the glory for any outcomes that we get from that and Lord, I just pray for all the pregnancy centers and what they’re dealing with and what we are dealing with that you just give us all the wisdom to work through those situations and struggles. Laura, just as we have our patients and our clients and our doors, however they’re brought to us, I just pray that they feel love and comfort and support and that we are able to help them find freedom mentally, physically and spiritually. And I just thank you for the many teams of people that support a pregnancy center. Just in podcasts it’s just an amazing thing how you provide and bring people to us just to help us speak about the good work that pregnancy centers do and the importance of why we are needed. We love you in Jesus name we pray amen.