Study Tips, Pt 1

photograph and post by Rachel Choi

Studying — like anything else — might not always seem fun. Studying takes grit and perseverance, and it has to be done whether we feel like it or not. After interviewing students, professors, church leaders/pastors, and educational researchers, here are some of the top study tips that will make your studying both more effective and fun!

Study Habits

PLAN Time To Study

If you don’t make studying a priority and actually plan time to do it, it won’t happen! Dr. Elmore addresses this in his principle “Big Rocks First”; there are always a million other things you could be doing, so be sure to prioritize what’s most important and then build your schedule accordingly.

Focus Where It Matters

If you can get an A in one class even if you get a C on the final, then focus on another class.

This might make you cringe, but remember that doing your best often involves prioritizing where you invest your time. Look at your assignments objectively to see what needs the most attention and prioritize accordingly.

Eat, Sleep & Pray

  • Eat an apple or banana. They provide the healthy sugar your brain needs to function at its best.
  • Sleep on it. Besides the obvious benefits of a good night’s sleep, research shows that when you sleep, you “turn off” your conscious brain and allow your subconscious to connect information in new ways.
  • Pray and relax your soul. Seriously, ask God to help you study productively, remember important information, and test well!

Work First, Play Later

When Thanksgiving or Spring Break comes around, it’s easier to push through one or two extra days of homework first and then take the rest of the week off. It’s much harder the other way around.

Writing Papers & Posts

Teach Someone

Teaching someone is proven to be linked to how well an individual retains information. Especially if you’re an external processor, talking with someone about your thesis statement will help you process what you want to say, and then writing it down will be that much easier. Afterwards, be sure to change the vocabulary/style to be academically appropriate.

Outline Your Paper

When reading and researching, keep your paper and discussion post in mind and type up any quotes/notes you might want to use. Go ahead and include the author and page number; this way, when you go to write your paper, a lot of it is already written!

Get A Second Set Of Eyes

When writing your final paper, get a second set of eyes. No matter how good you are, you may have missed a comma splice, misspelling, horrible sentence, or even the paragraph that doesn’t have a link to your thesis statement. Get someone to help you.

P.S. When editing for grammar and spelling, read your paper in reverse. Reading backwards messes up the flow of your paper and helps you catch more errors — it’s what the pros do.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Tips on studying for tests and exams!  

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving for Leadership

Today we are in need of leaders who can think critically and effectively solve problems. This may seem elementary, but in reality it’s hard to find. According to Garrette, Sibony, and Phelps at Forbes, “Organizations need effective problem solvers, but they’re telling us our business schools and universities are failing to meet this need. Such training is critical because, for most of us, problem solving doesn’t come naturally.” We, at GCD, have decided we want to actively attack this subject-matter by training our students, today’s leaders, to think critically and actively solve problems!

How do we do this? One, by integrating these topics within our current classes; two, by having instructors that are skilled in these areas; three, and newly added, have a class that specifically addresses this need. We are offering a NEW class in fall of 2018>> Critical Thinking and Problem Solving for Leadership. This course emphasizes the development of skills to include creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, strategy formation, and effective analysis for effective leadership in both the marketplace and social sectors. Students will also learn to evaluate their own ideas and to develop skill in communicating their points of view effectively.

This course will be taught by Marcia Johnson and will be offered both live, on-campus at our main campus, and online. Mrs. Johnson has over twenty years of experience in the development and implementation of employee training programs, designed to help both the individual employee and the overall organization be successful at meeting the many demands on their time and energy, through becoming better, more efficient leaders, supervisors, and individual contributors.

It is time for us as leaders to be effective problem solvers, and this may mean to change our thinking. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Come and join other emerging leaders as we discover new viewpoints and learn how to develop these skills to maximize our influence with others!

To register for Critical Thinking and Problem Solving for Leadership click HERE.

Or if you are not a student at GCD but would like to take this course, click HERE to start an application.

Author: Stefanie Ertel

Student Spotlight: Ariel Agsalud

Recently, some of our GCD staff took a trip to visit with the GCD community out in Hawaii! It was an amazing time of learning and exchanging personal stories about what they’ve gleaned from their time as long distance, GCD students. While we were there, we got to hear Ariel’s story as well as many others. As you watch this video, we hope that you’re blessed by all that he has to say!

Student Spotlight: Astrid Quezada

Grace College of Divinity’s mission is a global one; it fuels the heart behind the several countries and regions that God has called us to be involved with outside of the United States. Currently we are involved in 5 Latin American countries due to the partnership and tireless efforts of the late Alan Winter. These countries are Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, and Honduras. Due to our involvement in these countries, we have had the privilege of equipping and getting to know amazing leaders both young and old from these parts of the world. Their stories and their hearts inspire everyone involved with GCD staff and faculty to serve our students both domestic and abroad with excellence.

One of the students that we have met along the way is Astrid Quezada. Astrid has been a student with us for about 4 years, studying long distance as an online student in Honduras. She is one of the many students that were introduced to us by the hard work and influence of the late Alan Winter. Astrid first encountered Alan at the age of 15 on the first of many missions trips she had taken on his team. Alan became like a spiritual father to Astrid on these trips. She describes Alan as always being able to identify the brokenness that she dealt with and knew how to get through to her every time. Alan continued to inspire a heart for missions in Astrid, and she is currently involved in several ministries in her hometown.

Astrid’s main skill that she brings to the table within ministry is her ability to translate. She has been translating messages from from both Spanish to English (and vice versa) since her teen years. As a matter of fact, on her very first trip with Alan she was brought on as a translator at the age of 15. She is still heavily involved in translation for her home church by translating messages whenever American teams come to visit. Aside from her translation ability, Astrid is an outstanding leader, who is involved with raising funds to pay for the tuition of many children within a local orphanage known as “La Casa Del Nino.” Astrid adds that many of the leadership qualities that she taps into when accomplishing these ministry tasks were learned or put into practice within her GCD classes. She is currently seeking her Bachelor’s of Arts in Christian Leadership and hopes to complete her degree on campus in 2019.

Astrid’s pursuit of a life in vocational ministry was and still is heavily inspired by the life and legacy of Alan Winter. She admits to the fact that she was reluctant to go on her first missions trip because she felt as if the choice was made for her. Her heart began to change however as she began to prepare as a translator for Frontline Missions and was immediately moved by the love and guidance of Alan’s leadership.

He was like an adoptive father to me. I always felt that God had sent Alan to my life to make me feel the love that God had for me. He taught me to love others as much as I could, because there are so many people out there who need to be loved. We need to love others no matter what, and we need to love them as much as Christ has love us.”

Alan’s life was one marked by enormous influence and obedience. Astrid, as well as many of Alan’s closest friends, attest to the heart he had for every person he met. Dr. Crowther, President of GCD, describes Alan as being able to “disarm people by loving them.”

“ I truly admired him for his strong faith and obedience. Whenever we were on a mission trip and had a situation that we could not handle he would always pray and listen to God. Only after that he would act.” – Astrid

Alan’s lifestyle of love and obedience inspired so many people like Astrid to pursue lives in ministry in order to carry on that legacy that he leaves behind. Here at GCD, we want to honor that legacy as well. In order to do so, we’ve built a scholarship designed with international students like Astrid in mind. It was one of Alan’s dearest wishes that Astrid have the opportunity to travel to the United States to complete her degree on campus at Grace College of Divinity. For years to come, we want to give students like Astrid the opportunity to pursue their callings both abroad and domestic. To find out how you can become a donor follow the link below for more information.

Leadership in Action: A Quick Breakdown



Students that are new to the GCD community are entering a community that is centered around leadership development. With that said, there are several ways that GCD staff and faculty try to implement opportunities for GCD students to apply classroom principles into the real world. One of these opportunities are found within the Leadership in Action (LIA) assignments that are required of each student every semester.


In order to  introduce students to LIA who may be unsure of what it is, here’s an excerpt from the student handbook that breaks down the details:


“Engaging in the actual practice of ministry responsibilities enables the student to relate classroom work (theory and concept) to everyday encounters of the Christian Professional involved in ministries (teaching, preaching, counseling, etc.). Through the Christian Service Program, we enrich the student’s educational experience, as well as serve the church community. Every undergraduate student must fill out the Leadership in Action (LIA) form every semester enrolled and every undergraduate degree seeking student must complete the minimum number LIA projects for his/her degree program as a requirement for graduation. Each semester, it will be the responsibility of the student to fill out an LIA form. Bachelor degree students are required to complete at most eight LIA projects, and all Associate degree students must complete at most four LIA projects. The student will not be required to complete more LIA projects than semesters enrolled. For a project to be accepted it must be either an outreach to the community, a leadership position, or a consistent position of service (a minimum of a three month commitment to that position). The LIA Google Form is sent out to students via email every semester.”


Once your LIA form is completed and approved, it gets reflected with the rest of your grades at the end of the semester. It as simple as that! We always encourage students to start thinking ahead about what they want their projects to be, but often times if a student is heavily involved in serving in their church and communities, most students are able to complete this assignment with ease.


We asked some our own students about what ministries they got involved in to complete their LIA, and they came up with some pretty creative and impactful projects.

Our very own Andre Spell, who has been student since 2014 organized his own outreach, and since that time has been fulfilling duties as an elder and executive Pastor in his home church.


His very first outreach back in 2014, consisted of developing bags full of treats and different necessities to pass out to the community, to serve as opportunity to connect and pray for people. Andre admits to learning a lot about coordinating volunteers throughout that project, and how to as a leader motivate people to get on board with outreach. Since then Andre has been fulfilling his requirements by serving as executive pastor at Breath of God Church in Fayetteville, NC.


Another one of GCD’s own who we asked to share their experience was the one and only Adam Yow.


Adam was enrolled in theExperience College Internship back in 2015-2016 and submitted his intern responsibilities as part of his LIA project. Adam was the leader of the RUSH club at FCS during his time as an intern, and Pioneered the first RUSH club in a private school. The biggest leadership he learned while fulfilling his role as RUSH leader was the importance of asking more seasoned leaders for guidance on how to accomplish the mission of what he was doing.

Stories like Adam’s and Andre’s exemplify the heart behind LIA. At GCD we want to provide any opportunity we can, to equip our students to apply principles they learn from us, into everyday leadership opportunities. We want to encourage both our new and returning students go all in this semester for their Leadership in Action projects, and never grow weary in doing good!




Alumnus Spotlight: Jonathan Love

Jonathan Love is currently the executive pastor of Grace Church, Chapel Hill, but back in 2002 he was a member of one of GCD’s first graduating classes. Years later this is what Pastor Love has to say about his time spent as a GCD student. He has several thoughts and encouragements, that we hope bless GCD alumni, students, and prospects alike. Click the video to hear more!



Written by: Sofia Perez

Alan Winter Memorial Scholarship: A Legacy of Service


Alan Winter was a man whose life was marked by his love for God and his heart to see the lost found. Alan’s heart was to see people’s lives transformed by advancing the kingdom all over the world. To accomplish this, Alan and his wife, Heidi,  founded a missions organization known as Frontline Missions. As an organization, Frontline has pioneered across so many borders, and brought the gospel to some of the most remote places in the world. Alan’s ability to connect deeply with people from all walks of life, helped him in accomplishing this because his love for people was so genuine. His connections in different countries, specifically in South America, have been instrumental in GCD gaining its own influence in these countries. Grace College of Divinity is now involved in nations such as Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela because of Alan’s tireless efforts to both evangelize and equip people to teach the gospel. Dr. Crowther’s partnership with Mr. Winter lasted for almost 35 years, and his connection with Alan was far more than just a working relationship. As one of Dr. Crowther’s closest friends, this is what he had to say about Alan:


“He knew how to do ministry but he also knew how to have fun. He knew how to be a friend.

He was my personal encourager; everybody needs somebody in their life that they can get encouragement and be real with. You can’t replace that easily.”

“The four prominent things that stand out when I think of Alan are his integrity, his humility, his absolute, real love for people, and his ability to be a friend.’


‘He genuinely loved everyone. It sounds so trite, but even people that would threaten him or overtly hated them, he would still love them; He disarmed people because of the way he loved them.’  

‘He was good at what he did for no other reason than because of the person who he was.’”


The gratitude here at GCD for Alan Winter’s life and legacy is immense. That is the heart and the motive behind our newest and most upcoming scholarship in his honor. The Alan Winter Memorial Scholarship is established to continue sponsoring and equipping foreign students to be trained in the work of the gospel. Alan’s influence and legacy has impacted the lives of so many people across the globe, and GCD wishes to keep that flame alive.


For international students wishing to apply, contact GCD at (910) 221-2224 for more information on the forthcoming application process. 

If you wish to be a donor, visit  the following link for more information:


Written by Sofia Perez.

Student Spotlight: Pastor Norman

A few months ago, some of GCD’s staff took a trip to Hawaii to connect with the GCD student community on the island of Oahu. Pastor Norman is an instrumental member of GCD’s student body in Hawaii through his partnership with the Experience Internship and Manna Church. His wisdom and leadership is appreciated by all who interact with him daily. Here are some of his thoughts from his experience as a long distance, online GCD student. We hope you gain something from Pastor Norman, as he shares his heart with us!

DREAM RUN: Two Years in Review

Grace College of Divinity prides itself in preparing emerging leaders to change the world. Often times, world changers start their work within the context of their own communities. That is where the motivation and mission behind the GCD Dream Run carved out its foundation. Since 2016, GCD students and staff have partnered with the Fayetteville Dream Center and other outreach initiatives to fundraise for and bring awareness to local needs. All in all, the Dream Run provides the opportunity for students to take ownership of certain needs in the community on behalf of GCD, by stepping into leadership roles in the execution of these events.

These events not only helped fundraise and bring awareness to GCD itself, but fundraised and called attention to several outreach ministries within the Fayetteville community that operate year round. Many of these ministries function out the Fayetteville Dream Center, and primarily reach out to the homeless population and youth within the community. These ministries include BackPack Buddies, which is a ministry devoted to children in the public school system by providing them with educational supplies as well as food to take home on weekends. Often times children living at the poverty level rely on school lunch and breakfast as their common source of nutrition. On weekends, when this isn’t an option, BackPack buddies sends its kids home with food to last them till the next school week. Kids events have also been held in Festival park to interact with youth within the community, with resources provided by the Dream Run earnings. The homeless community has been impacted by the Dream Run as well; in 2017 the Dream Run fundraised for the Dream Center to provide bus passes for homeless individuals to have transportation to job interviews and/or medical appointments.

So many of GCD’s own were heavily involved in the execution of these events. Students like Sarah Beth Miller, recipient of our Servant Leader Award, were instrumental in helping our school shine a light in our community and we are gearing up for another round this year! Partner with GCD for our 3rd annual Dream Run happening September 22nd, 2018.


For more details, contact Stefanie Ertel at