SGA Winter Wrap Up

Winter Wrap-Up

by Frank Brazell

It was a chilly evening, and my wife and I were walking back to our car after a dinner date. Small droplets of rain began to fall. As we meandered along the sidewalk, I made eye-contact with a man walking the opposite direction.

“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you this evening, but could you please buy me something to eat?”

Seeing our apprehension, he quickly followed up: “I don’t need any money, I’m just hungry.”

The Least of These

Whether you live in North Carolina, Louisiana, Hawaii, or anywhere else in the United States, no doubt you have at some point encountered a homeless person in your community. Sometimes, we might try to block out the reality that there are people living in close proximity to us, but without a roof, without a meal, without hope. The reality is, our communities deal with homelessness, or at the very least encounter it.

As the Church, we are called commanded to love our neighbor, and that includes those among us who struggle to have the most basic of needs met. Rarely are those needs so evident as when the weather turns foul, particularly in places that see temperatures drop to dangerous levels. This time of bad weather thankfully coincides with a season in which we are encouraged to show good will to our neighbors, especially those in need.

Practical Ministry

Every August, some of the students from Grace College of Divinity’s Fayetteville, North Carolina campus will spend a day in outreach to our local homeless community. They join with a local ministry partner to provide food, and more importantly, kindness through interaction for people in our own city. This outreach always inspires students to look at their community—their sphere of influence— in new ways. Beyond that, it inspires GCD students to take ownership of how they minister to the homeless community in their own backyard. It isn’t about spreading the message of GCD, or showing how selfless our students are (and they are!); What it’s really about is being the hands and feet of Jesus to some of the least-loved members of our society.

How You Can Help

So, this Fall, the GCD Student Government Association would like for all students to partner together to make a difference in the lives of people in our community, without any expectation of a return on investment. We are collecting Winter clothing, mainly hats, socks, and gloves, to give out to our local homeless community. An easily-identified box will be placed in the first-floor lobby of the GCD Building at the Fayetteville Campus. Distance-education students can mail their contributions to:

Grace College of Divinity
C/O Frank Brazell
5117 Cliffdale Road, Building C
Fayetteville, NC 28314

The drive will take place from Tuesday, November 20th to Sunday, December 9th. We will partner with local ministries to distribute the collected items by the end of the semester.

Another Incentive

As an added bonus, anyone who contributes items to this drive will be eligible to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card as a thank-you from the Student Government Association, that includes students from other Campuses and Distance Education, just make sure you put your name on the box or package so that we can get you into the raffle for the $25 Amazon Gift Card. The same goes for Fayetteville Campus students who leave items in the lobby— please put a note on the items you donate so we can enter your name in the raffle. Each item—hat, pair of socks or gloves, scarf, etc.— counts as one entry, so feel free to donate multiple items!

Let’s get ready to be a presence in our local community!

*Other campuses wishing to run a similar drive in their own community, please contact Frank Brazell at

Servant Leadership: Insights from a Leading Researcher

Looking at Jesus Christ as the basis for servant leadership, one could say that the concept of servant leadership has actually been around for centuries. Academically, servant leadership has emerged in the last thirty years largely due to the research and discoveries of Robert Greenleaf. Even more recently, Dr. Kathleen Patterson has been at the forefront of this leadership development; she describes servant leadership primarily as the leader being a servant first, then being a leader. A key distinction between servant leadership and other leadership approaches, is that the focus of the leader is on their followers, rather than on financial profit or organizational goals. True to the oxymoronic nature of the “Jesus way,” where humility leads to greatness, tithing leads to prosperity, and the least is the greatest of all, servant leadership places emphasis not on the followers serving the leader(s) but on the leader(s) serving their followers.

Dr. Patterson is currently a professor in the School of Business & Leadership at Regent University as well as director of Regent’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership program. In addition to being certified in Leadership Practices Inventory, Patterson directs Regent’s annual Servant Leadership Research Roundtable. She has won several awards such as Faculty of the Year and Chancellor’s Award, and she is involved with numerous leadership associations, The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and International Leadership Association, to name a few.  

Known for her pioneering research on servant leadership, Dr. Patterson’s expertise and wisdom in this field will greatly benefit leaders today. For more information on Dr. Patterson and her development on servant leadership, click here.  

article by Rachel Choi

Study Tips, Pt 2

photograph and post by Rachel Choi

We know studying isn’t always easy or enjoyable, but we aim to help you minimize that! This post will address our top curated tips on studying for tests and exams. If you missed part one on good study habits and tips for writing papers/discussion posts, be sure to check it out here.

Studying For Tests & Exams  

Teacher Knows Best

Professors emphasize what they think is most important… The most valuable things to commit to MEMORY are the things emphasized in class. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by all the things you could study, but your teachers already told you what was important. Go there.

Make Your Own Study Guide

Cross reference your study guide with other people for accuracy, but making your own study guide is pivotal to retaining information. A large part of the learning comes from doing the work yourself.

Write Notes By HAND!

This cannot be emphasized enough. Yes, computers and phones are nifty and save us a world of time and trouble, but nothing beats writing out study guides and notes in your own hand. Trust all those who have gone before you: you will remember better this way.

Enjoy Study Time

Trick your brain into enjoying study time by incorporating things you like. Try eating your favorite snack, going to a nice coffee shop, or listening to your favorite music. Then give yourself a small break every hour.

Freebie: everyone has their own taste in music, but research shows that classical/instrumental music provide the optimum level of concentration and energy for your brain.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask professors questions in order to clarify assignments. They want you to succeed! There’s nothing wrong with making sure that you are studying the right information.

Work The System

If you have an open-book, at-home test, invest in a digital copy of the book. Use the search tool to look up keywords and terms. This really comes in handy, even when writing papers!


At least 20 minutes of cardio/day during finals releases endorphins and makes you less cranky and more productive. This is also great if you’re falling asleep.. Wake yourself up with a quick round of jumping jacks!

Use Mnemonic Devices

Acrostics and acronyms are a great way to remember lists of information. For example: TULIP, Every Good Boy Does Fine, Good Boys Do Fine Always, etc.

We hope these tips have been helpful!

Thanks for reading this list of study tips. We hope they help make your study time effective as well as fun. But make sure you remember that these tips aren’t the secret potion to good productivity; how much you get out of studying is largely based on how much you put in. Don’t overcomplicate it. As Amelia Earheart says, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

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!