Featured Alumnus - January 2024

Jeremy Engbers '10
My dad was hired as the guidance counselor at Chicago Christian in 1994. For 16 years, I roamed the hallways of CCHS, put up shots in the gym, and sat in the college counseling room outside of my dad’s office. By the time I arrived as a freshman, I already had a deep sense of pride in being a Knight - going to CCHS vs. Illiana basketball games since you were 3 years old will undoubtedly do that to you.

Chicago Christian was much more than just school to me. It was, in many ways, a place where I felt at home. Summing up all of those years is challenging, and I’m not sure I would be able to do any of it justice. I have several fond memories in the classrooms and hallways, on the athletic fields, and in the auditorium. Chicago Christian was a place that allowed and encouraged me to spread my wings. I was not only able to be a student but also a musician and athlete. I was given opportunities to lead and safe places to fail. More than anything, it felt like the faculty and staff were more than just employees of the school. Many of them truly went above and beyond for me, poured into me, encouraged me, and corrected me. If you’re one of those teachers reading this and had me in class, a profound thank you for everything you did for me. I’m sorry I didn’t try harder in your class, and I’d also like to take this time to formally apologize for doing that Rage Against the Machine cover in chapel. Oops.

After my time at Chicago Christian, I pursued and completed my studies at Dordt University with a major in Theology and minors in Communication and Worship Arts. I worked at Dordt for a few years before marrying Jessica, also known in high school as “Delaware,” the girl who flew in to go to senior prom with me despite only having met me once a few months prior. We married in 2017 and spent some time in Pella, Iowa, where I served as the Director of Youth Ministries at Faith Christian Reformed Church. In 2019, we moved to Olympia, Washington where I currently serve as the Pastor of Worship, Youth, and Family at Olympia CRC. Many of my responsibilities are in leading worship, preaching, and leading discussions with our high school students. My wife, Jessica, and I have one son, Arie, and are expecting his younger brother in May 2024. This past year, I finished my studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church in November of 2023. 

In April of last year, I was quoted as part of an article from Christianity Today on the changing winds of youth ministry in the United States. Even though how I came to be featured in that article is pretty unspectacular, it has given me some cool opportunities to share my heart for ministry, not just in caring for young people, but also in really challenging people to rethink what it means to be the church and to disciple and care for all members as Christ calls us to. God has given me and our church unique opportunities in Olympia to be the light of Christ. It’s not flashy by any means, but it is good and beautiful work. 

I owe quite a bit to Chicago Christian - the faculty and staff and my friends. I talk often with our high school students in Olympia about their school experiences, and I feel a deep sense of appreciation for what I had at CCHS. My time at Chicago Christian was filled with godly people who showed me what leadership shaped like service looks like. They showed me what it means to walk with people entrusted to your care as they discover who God is, who they are, and what their purpose is in the world. For that, I will always be grateful.