Jerred Andreas knew early on in life that journeying alongside youth in their walk with Christ was something he was called to do.
“I have always had a heart for other people, especially younger people who don’t know the Lord or who want to know Him more,” Andreas, a graduate of Briercrest College and Seminary’s Christian ministry program, explained.
Born and raised in Swift Current, Sask., Andreas has been involved in various ministries over the years, but is now working with youth at West Bank Bible Camp, the camp he has been attending since the age of four.
“Working as a staff member was always one of my dreams as a camper because I would get to be there all summer. I cared more about going to camp each summer as a kid than I cared about my birthday or Christmas,” he laughed.
Andreas said it has been an interesting journey going from a young camper to senior staff member.
“As a camper I used to come here for me—for me to have fun and for me to grow in my faith,” he said. “Now it is more about how can I serve others, how can I help others grow in their faith and how can I help these kids see the love of God they may not have had before.”
One of the ways Andreas has been able to do this is through the Servants in Training (SIT) program he is currently director of.
“It is a three week program that our camp offers for youth age 15 or entering Grade 10,” he explained. “In week one we look at what it means to be a servant of Christ, week two what does it mean to be a servant at camp and then week three what does it mean to be a servant in the world?”
I really enjoy this program because I get to walk alongside those who have known God for a number of years. I get to help them deepen their relationship with God by going deeper into God’s word, going deeper in their walk with God, and helping them to think on a deeper level beyond the Sunday school answers they are used to giving.”
Andreas explained the program centres around looking at what the Bible has to say about serving others and teaches the campers to ask “why?”
“Why do we follow God and why do we love God and why did Jesus do what He did for us?,” he said.
When not involved in the SIT program Andreas supports other staff and works as cabin leader for the different week-long camps that run at West Bank.
“Being a part of these ministries is also really exciting because it is new kids each week and it is getting to interact with kids who are not Christian and share the gospel with them. I get to share the love of God they may not have experienced outside of camp,” he said.
“Just watching them grow from not knowing anything about God to watching them walking away from camp with seeds planted or having given their life to Jesus is really exciting.”
Andreas said attending Briercrest has certainly helped him in his ability to be able to walk confidently alongside his campers and was one the best experiences of his life so far.
“Before I went to Briercrest I knew Bible stories and I knew the gospel message and those sorts of things, but then when I came to Briercrest and started taking biblical classes and started taking ministry classes I learned so much more about the Bible and who the Bible authors were and why they wrote what they did,” he explained excitedly.
“Before I would just read the Bible,” he continued. “I would not think about the context. I wouldn’t think about the history or the hermeneutics or anything like that. After studying at Briercrest I was able to start getting into the meat of the Bible more.”
Being able to put to use what he was learning in the classroom and the commitment of the teachers was also something he enjoyed.
“I loved the service learning program. What I was learning in class in the mornings I was applying at some point in the week as well. I didn’t have to wait until four years after I graduated to apply what I have learned,” Andreas explained.
Also, the professors don’t see you just as a number in the classroom like in the bigger universities; rather you are a person with a face and a name. If you make an effort to get to know them they will make the same effort to get to know you.”
Andreas explained that he would often go out for coffee with the professors or go over for to their houses for meals.
Looking back on his time at Briercrest, the camp worker is extremely grateful for the experience and encourages anyone considering secondary education to choose Briercrest.
“It is a place where you are prepared for a life of service whether you are going into ministry or you are planning to go into the secular world,” he said.
“Briercrest is about preparing students for a life of service and to go out and expand God’s kingdom. It doesn’t matter if you are in English class or ministry class you are being prepared for a life of service through the classes, through chapel and through small group ministries. Everything you do there is preparing you for this.”
Andreas is uncertain what the future holds, but he hopes to take what he has learned at Briercrest and apply it somewhere in Europe.
“Next month I am going to be applying for a ministry called The Shelter in Amsterdam with hopes of attending there in September 2014,” he explained.
“The Shelter is a Christian youth hostel that sees about 30,000 people a year come through and they get to show them the love of Christ by meeting their physical needs of a place to stay and by feeding them food and it is one of the cheapest places to stay in Amsterdam.”
Beyond meeting travelers physical needs the hostel also evangelizes during the day, and in the evening hosts Bible studies and open mic-nights where they share the gospel. All things Andreas has a heart for.
“So I saw this as a place where I could work with young people who don’t know about Jesus and share the love of God,” he explained.