By Tessa Littlejohn,
Every so often in life we are fortunate enough to meet someone who embodies what we aspire to be. In my own life I have been fortunate enough to encounter a handful of such people, and Jared Harrison is one of them. He really, really loves Jesus, and it shows in all aspects of his life. He is gentle, patient, thoughtful and incredibly organized!
Jared grew up as a pastor’s kid here in Calgary. He and his brother had a fairly typical Canadian upbringing with sports, piano lessons, and friends. Jared believed in Jesus ever since he was a boy; but while attending the University of Calgary, he felt God calling him to really trust and fully commit his life to God.
Jared says, “A big challenge for me was giving up my dreams to the Lord. My plan was to go through university, enter medical school and work in the medical industry. But I had a strong sense at one point while in university that God had other plans and was asking me to submit to His plans. That was a very difficult time in life – but it was also extremely freeing, as I felt I no longer had to have the ‘master plan’ for my life, but could simply follow Him. That was a pivotal moment in my life. I felt like I was able to surrender my dreams to Christ and just let Him lead me.”
It was at that point that Jared began to read the Bible seriously and also to read some classic Christian literature (i.e. C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas a Kempis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and also more modern books by the likes of Philip Yancey, Max Lucado, J.I. Packer and others. Reading classic literature, studying the Bible and reading Bible commentaries continue to be some of Jared’s preferred pastimes. Along with reading National Geographic and studying quantum physics, seriously!
As Jared surrendered his life to God and began to read and study, he began to sense God’s presence and His friendship. It made Jared so joyful to ponder that the Almighty God had a special interest in him and was ‘wooing’ him. He attended Covenant Bible College for a year and realized how important Christian community was; so when he returned to Calgary, he jumped into a young adult community group (at the time it was called a super group). He was also asked to lead a group of 18- and 19-year-olds for two weeks. After those two weeks he didn’t want to stop and has been leading young adult groups ever since!
Jared’s relationship with God was growing; but it was also difficult at times as his life seemed to be meandering. As Jared explains, “I had a few false starts career wise: I was in school to become a paramedic, then worked for a media company, then a carpet and upholstery cleaning company, then was a tech at CSC and then finally felt that the Lord was leading me to work toward a degree in ministry. That’s when the admin position at Bridgeland Campus opened up. All throughout that time the one constant had been serving and leading in the church community. After a while it dawned on me, with affirmation from mentors and peers, perhaps God was calling me to go in the direction of full time ministry.”
At the time Jared was already attending Bridgeland Campus and leading the young adults group there. While working at Bridgeland Campus overseeing admin, Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Young Adults and community outreach, Jared also attended Alberta Bible College and attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership and Ministry. Also during this time Jared married Alexis. They had a little girl Winona who was recently joined by her baby sister Waverly!
Jared greatly enjoyed working at Bridgeland Campus, and the Bridgelandians adore Jared and his family. His time there working in what eventually became an Administrative Assistant/Community Leader role focused greatly on Children, Youth, and Young Adults. After nearly six years at Bridgeland, Jared recently felt God leading him to a Ministry Assistant/Community Pastor role at Central Campus--an exciting opportunity to continue serving at CSC in a different setting while engaging his passion for the work God is doing through Community Groups.
Jared believes God has called him to build and strengthen the church community. He has certainly done so at Bridgeland and no doubt will continue to do so at Central. He is currently serving as Community Pastor for North Central Calgary, Airdrie and Chestermere. Jared says, “I believe that when the church is strong, unified and growing in maturity, it will have a significant impact on the surrounding non-believing world.” Indeed may it be so to the glory of God!