Student Spotlight: Rachel Choi

Q&A with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership student

What is your name, and what are you currently doing (occupation/career-wise)?

My name is Rachel Choi, and I am both a GCD alum and grad student! I currently stay busy with two jobs. For my main career, I have the privilege of being the owner (plus artistic director and one of the teachers) of Alpha & Omega Dance Academy, LLC. On the side I work with Manna Church Fay/Ft. Bragg as a copy/editor and site administrator!

Why did you decide to become a student with GCD?

I decided to pursue my bachelor’s at GCD about a semester after graduating from theExperience College Internship with my Certificate in Christian Leadership and Certificate in Missions Leadership in 2011. I had the unique opportunity to be one of the first interns; it’s no joke that the directors called my class “guinea pigs” because we helped worked out all the kinks! After theExperience, I had a different plan for my collegiate journey, but that next semester I found myself at a fork in the road. I saw how much I had already changed spiritually and emotionally, as well as all the ways I practically grew in leadership through theExperience. And through God’s leading and the advice of trusted authorities and mentors in my life, I decided to redirect course and stay at GCD.

How has your time with GCD helped you with where you are at right now?

Two of the best ways GCD personally helped me was in public communication and specific, practical leadership skills, such as vision-casting, leading a meeting, planning/executing an event, team delegation/accountability/conflict resolution, and much more. With a team of over 20 at AODA, everything I learned about leading a team helped me get started on the right foot!

Would you recommend GCD to other aspiring business owners?

I would definitely recommend GCD’s leadership degree and/or certificate to aspiring or current business owners, especially if they are followers of Christ and wish to learn leadership through the model Jesus provides! Granted, if you need to learn how to balance books, fill out tax forms, set up HR, and start a website, etc, these courses probably won’t provide all the ins-and-outs you’re looking for. But honestly, I never took a class for any of that; I did my own research, talked to a lot of people who knew what they were doing, and worked hard — I mean HARD. But you know what I couldn’t have gleaned from just doing my own research that GCD provided? How to be a Christ-like leader. How to be servant-hearted, authentic, and transformational. How to communicate better. How to cast a vision and give direction, discipline, encouragement, and counsel. And I know for sure I would not have been able to bear the weight of the responsibility that comes with leading, had I not received the spiritual, emotional, practical, and knowledgeable training from GCD.

Student Spotlight: I was in prison and you came to me

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 frank.brazell@gcd.edu

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

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 Bible College student at GCD. 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

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 sertel@gcd.edu

 

In the Fight: Encouragements from a Fellow Student

Amber Redmer is a current GCD student, enrolled in our Summer Semester. As a single mother of 5, she has decided to pursue her degree, through our online degree program.  Read more to hear her thoughts and encouragements on powering through this summer semester.

 

Even while pursuing higher learning, it is important to take time to enjoy the seasons.  The spring and summer months breathe life back into us after short and cold winter days. Spring is my favorite time of year, edging out autumn by only the smallest margin.  Resurrection Sunday fills Christian hearts with promise and at the same time the emerging crocus and daffodils seem to be celebrating and praising Him with their bright and early blooms.

 

This semester I was accepted as a transfer student to Grace College of Divinity.  It’s incredibly exciting for me and I’m eager to see how God will transform the dreams I have as I continue my academic journey here.

                                                                                                                     

Because I am a single mom of 5 children, online learning has offered me the flexibility I need to complete my degree.  The joy of online learning is in its flexibility, but it’s so important to post early and often to really get the most out of each class experience!  I have been an online student on and off for several years and the most engaging class experiences were the ones where there was a great deal of participation, formal and casual, from the students.

 

Be encouraged, be engaged, pursue connection and relationship!

 

Many blessings to all my fellow classmates this semester!

-Amber Redmer