Your Life, Too

​Alec Bowling was a teenager given to drama and deep thought — a young man who more than anything else wanted a life that meant something.

So at 16, when Bowling’s desire to impact the world intersected with the Gospel, it was no surprise the Holy Spirit spoke to him in an unforgettably vivid way. Young Life had only been active at Batavia High School (outside Cincinnati, Ohio) for a year, and even though Bowling liked Young Life leader Zack Leopold, he was initially hesitant about attending club (he thought it was a support group for depressed teens) and signing up for the Rockbridge trip. He heard the term “summer camp” and was fairly sure he could find something better to do with his time.

“In my view of summer camp, I pictured some big dude slopping spaghetti on your plate, doing arts and crafts in the woods,” he said. “So the idea of summer camp was not very alluring to me at all.”

But his mom signed him up, and Bowling and a busload of his friends headed south to Virginia. Volunteer leader Tynan Kuck didn’t know Bowling too well when he boarded the bus with the group that summer, but he stood out as a demonstrative kid with a big personality, a musician who sang and played guitar in a scream band.

The first day at Rockbridge quickly won Bowling over to the idea of summer camp. A few days later, after a one-on-one time with Kuck — during which he concluded he wasn’t ready to commit his life to Christ yet — Bowling walked through camp by himself, thunderstruck by God’s love for him and His calling on his life. At that moment he heard God say to him, “If I can be in all of these people’s lives, I can be in your life, too.”

“Everything I believed and what I was living for changed in that moment, and nothing has been the same since,” he said. “It just crashed over me like a wave. The only thing that can explain that is the existence of a living God.”

Bowling’s dynamic journey with Christ since that day is evident. With the help of Kuck and Leopold, he learned what it looked like to live as a disciple. Now 22 and a Young Life leader himself at Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Bowling says serving as a leader has been a key part of that growth process. His walk with Christ and involvement in the mission has also shaped his family — in February Bowling married Megan, a high school classmate and fellow Young Life leader.

For Kuck, who spent a decade as a volunteer leader at two high schools in the Cincinnati area, the opportunity to witness Bowling’s transformation was one of the most meaningful snapshots of his time with Young Life. “It’s incredible to see how his life changed and went in a completely different direction than I or anyone else would have thought when he was a freshman,” Kuck said. “He has a legacy in Christ, through Young Life, at the school where he leads. Through Alec, I got to see how Christ changes people and how that completely changes everything.”