Service and Experiential Learning
Service and Experiential Learning at Briercrest is about linking academic learning with real world experience. It is a valuable opportunity for students to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom. More important than this, however, is a whole life transformation oriented to service. Our hope is that Briercrest students would recognize themselves as disciples of Jesus who are called to participate in God's mission by serving others in love. We also hope for them to embrace their calling, not only as individuals, but also as members of the greater church who are bound together for the same missional purpose in the world.
In the modern age, individual autonomy is not only an explicit value that some people espouse, but also a tacit assumption from which most people live, and this is no less true for people of faith. Contrary to this trend, we are assuming that Christians are responsive participants, rather than autonomous individuals. Furthermore, the local church in its concrete particularity is the fruitful ground for abundant life in the world, as opposed to an optional add-on for enhancing one's own spiritual experience.
We desire that students will:
- appreciate how Christian service is tied to God's gospel mission through the church;
- have the transformational experience of joining with others in a local church to serve within and/or beyond the church community;
- gain a clearer sense of their giftings and competencies for serving in the church and beyond;
- participate in experiences that will help them to build an attractive résumé orcurriculum vitae;
- be ready to translate their experience of church life and Christian service into other contexts;
- embrace their vocation as servants, after the pattern established by Jesus.
Requirements for Graduation:
- Students will participate faithfully in the life of a local church during each of the semesters that they are enrolled at Briercrest. (While this might often simply mean regular attendance in the first year(s) of a student's Briercrest studies, we would expect that students would embrace increasing responsibility in later years.)
- AA graduates will have engaged in regular weekly service within or beyond their local church during at least two semesters (this can include summer semesters) while in attendance at BCS.
- BA graduates will have engaged in regular weekly service within or beyond their local church during at least six semesters (this can include summer semesters) while in attendance at BCS. At least two of these semesters of service will take placewithin their local church.
- BCS (BA)/MSU (BSE) concurrent degree graduates will have engaged in a minimum of 20 hours of age appropriate classroom experience along with at least two semesters of service within their local church.
- Find a local church which you will commit yourself to attend and become involved in that church for the school year.
- Find a ministry or community service that you are interested in and willing to commit yourself to. Once you have found what you want to do and established who your supervisor will be, fill out an SEL Registration Form and submit it to the SEL office.
- Faithfully carry out your commitment through the school year, making sure to communicate effectively with your supervisor when you are unable to attend.
- As the school year comes to a close or at the end of your ministry commitment, you will need to ask your supervisor to fill out an evaluation form or provide you with a reference letter that you can add to your portfolio. The SEL office will need to receive the evaluation form or a copy of the reference letter along with a one page summary report of your experience in order to add the SEL non-academic credit to your student record.
Service and Experiential Learning Office:
- Is located in the Academic Services office area.
- Is the main contact point for local churches and organizations to communicate with the college about their desire to have students come and join them in helping out with their various programs.
- Is tasked with helping connect students with the various ministry and community service opportunities that are available in our surrounding area. A list of local churches and organizations with possibilities of student involvement will be provided by the SL office in print and on our web site. Students are not limited to this list and have the freedom to look beyond the list for other opportunities.
- Sets out guidance as to Service and Experiential Learning requirements for graduation.
- Keeps record of each student's service learning experience and provides assistance for BA students with the Service and Experiential Learning component of the portfolio.
Making the choice
The choice of church and service learning opportunity is up to you; the SEL office will not make the choice for you. Once you decide to commit yourself to a church and service learning opportunity, how you honour that commitment will speak volumes about your personal character development as a follower of Jesus Christ. It will also be reflected in the quality of the portfolio that you take away with you upon graduation.
The college is committed to providing transportation to all students involved in Service and Experiential Learning within a radius of 100 km. In cases where students have their own vehicles, the SEL office will reimburse the owner at a set rate on a per/km basis for fuel and oil. The driver will need to come to the office each week in order to receive the reimbursement. The school also has a few cars and minivans available to transport SEL students if needed but we depend heavily on students using their own transportation where possible. Drivers using school vehicles will need to be approved through the Transportation office (which also happens to be the SEL office).