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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
GCD was pleased to mark our fifteenth commencement ceremony this past weekend, seeing more than 40 graduates take the stage to receive their formal acknowledgement of program completion. Family and friends were on-hand to share in this momentous occasion for our graduates. A sense of celebration and accomplishment was in the air as students received their symbolic degrees. The ceremony was held on Saturday, May 12, but the festivities began the night before in a special event for students who completed a program of studies at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s level.
The Chrio Convocation was held on Friday evening, May 11. The title refers to the Greek word for anointing, and this service focused on recognizing student awards for academic accomplishment as well as a time of prayer and encouragement for attending graduates. In a touching conclusion, select family or friends gathered around each graduating student as prayer leaders asked for the blessing of the Lord to be poured out. One graduate’s grandmother travelled from California to be present, and was bursting with smiles as she described her thankfulness to God for her granddaughter’s achievements.
Graduation commencement featured a keynote message from Dr. Tracy Davis, President of Olivet University. Dr. Davis’ main text was Philippians 2:12-13, from which came the encouragement for graduates to “work out” their salvation “with fear and trembling.” In an energetic manner, Dr. Davis echoed the Apostle Paul’s reminder that it is God who is at work in his children. No matter what challenges the graduates may soon face, Dr. Davis assured them that their Father in heaven will be with them as they submit their hearts, minds, and souls to His work in their lives.
Commencement also marked a time to honor distinguished efforts by GCD’s faculty. Dr. Steven Crowther, President of Grace College of Divinity, presented the Faculty of the Year award to Dr. Robert Clanton. Dr. Clanton has tirelessly taught GCD courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has been instrumental in the expansion of GCD’s online learning to provide academic training for those called to serve in the advance of God’s Kindgom. In a pre-recorded video acceptance speech, Dr. Clanton expressed his thankfulness for this award from his office at New Life Church in Monroe, LA.
Some of GCD’s graduates have already been serving in active ministry roles. Others have already been accepted into GCD’s Master of Arts in Christian Leadership program or the Master of Divinity program. Whether continuing their academic studies or focusing on the next step of their calling, we are excited to see how our graduates will put to work the many lessons they have learned to lead well in their service to the Lord.
Adriane Harrington has always considered herself to be a lifelong learner. Immediately after working to receive her bachelor’s degree from Grace College of Divinity, she decided to continue her pursuit in education and is currently on her way to a master’s in Christian leadership. Read to find out more about her experience as both a current student and an alumna here at Grace College of Divinity.
“My husband is a retired service member, so we’ve lived in Fayetteville for a little more than 20 years. And we’ve been members of Manna for about 10 of those years. Off and on, I’d hear a lot about the college, but at that time, the college was not accredited. So, at that time, I had classes that I had – I’ve been a lifelong learner. That’s a way of saying it’s taken me a long time to get my bachelor’s degree. For forty years, I’ve been working on my bachelor’s degree, and I just graduated last May. Praise God. So, actually, I say, also, I’ve been smelling the roses and which, is wonderful.
“I had taken classes during our military career, evening classes, I had taken classes at Fayetteville State just before I transferred here. Once it became accredited, I felt the leading of the Lord that this was where He would want me to be. And I entered the program for my bachelor’s in divinity. They transferred in most of my credits and I started about, maybe four or five years ago. So, I was so thankful to walk across the stage – tears running down my face, and right away, I began my master’s work. It’s Christian leadership. I’m loving that. Christian leadership just suits me perfectly because I am in leadership over at EP.
“I’ve been there in leadership for probably four or five years for the SERVE team, VIP team. Love the work there, love the people there. I think a life statement of mine is that all that we do is ministry. Wherever we go, it is ministry. All that we do, all that we say is ministry as unto the Lord – it should be, at least. So, in that way, we should definitely guard our lives, guard our mouths, guard our whole being as presentation unto Him, as a living sacrifice. So, I consider it a great honor to be a student here at Grace College of Divinity. I love being in the classroom, especially where I can interact with other students, and hear students your age – their views, and their viewpoints and just mull those over in my mind. It keeps me, I think, young!
“It doesn’t matter what age you are. You’re not too young, you’re not going to be too old to come. I’m so thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a student throughout my life and He continues to encourage me to learn, to always be a lifelong learner, to always be enriching my life with His word and with people of like faith.”
We sat down with Hunter Turner, the current president of GCD’s Student Government Association, and asked what student life here at GCD means to him. Read on to find out what he had to say.
“Student life is about creating connectivity, involvement, and belonging within the student realm. One of the biggest things about it is the impact that it has on retention rate. If people are actually going to stick it out in school, it’s because they feel that sense of oneness with their kin, and it has direct correlation with how often they feel involved. We are not dealing with business degrees, and that’s not to say that God’s calling on their life is not to that, but for people that are stepping into this school, it is because they see themselves in vocational ministry. And if they do, that means that they have a specific call to it, and if they’re here, they’re getting trained specifically for it.
“The reason I think that student life is impactful is because at the end of the day, what they want to hear is, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ This is a pivotal part of them ever stepping into that call. If they don’t have the ability to feel connected – if they don’t have anybody that is saying to them, ‘Hey! You can do this. You’re a part of something bigger than yourself and you are with us and we’re for you’ – it can have a huge impact on whether they actually finish or not. Student life, in a small way, is helping people to achieve the calling of God on their life.
“The students come together for school, but they don’t stay together because of school. You never know the importance of friends – the importance of community – until you lack it completely. It’s correlated to student life because there’s community. You never want to get to the point where you need help and you don’t have any because you haven’t sowed into that. That’s probably one of the biggest things about student life. If you want to make friends, you need to be a friend. If you want to make friends, you need to go out and you need to get outside of your comfort zone. Ultimately, student life is the life of a student. It is happening regardless of whether it’s being captured or not, and it is happening regardless of whether it’s being enhanced or not. I think it’s so important because we here at GCD want to enhance it.”
It began with an Internet search. Soon after, he found himself driving 10 hours from New Jersey to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Though it’s only been a little over a year since he’s made roots in the South, Michael Krieg’s decision to make Fayetteville home has been nothing short of transformational. Read to find out more about his experience as a student here at Grace College of Divinity.
Michael: On a random occasion of me searching for schools, I found an obscure list of the top 50, 100 – I don’t know – Christian colleges that are affordable and accredited. And randomly, I went down – I might’ve picked one or two others – and found GCD. I was doing some pastoral training in advance. I already had an associate’s. I was looking to complete another two years of training through a good college, and GCD offered a program in which I could do that. So, I gave them a call and I came down the next week or two.
Q: What’s been most challenging for you as a student here at GCD?
M: I think what’s been most challenging is working a full-time job and also doing full-time classes. As a student with a job, I can be much better about scheduling blocks of time for assignments.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about the college?
M: One thing that I love the best is that the teachers are really willing to work with you. The content you learn in class is intended and designed for real-world application outside of the classroom. You can get by at any school – even a school like this – and just get the work done, get all A’s, graduate, and be like everybody else, or you can let the opportunities that are before you come in and really transform you.
Something else I really like is how small the school is. I went to a small school before, but it was a university compared to this college, and everybody knows everybody fairly well. I don’t really know how large the student body is, but having access to the teachers, being familiar with your peers – that’s a good thing.
Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to become a student at GCD?
M: Pray. Pray a lot. It’s so much better to have God empower you to study and give you those little advantages you need. He’s really good about helping you out.
So, for you who aren’t too sure if this is where you’re supposed to be, is it fear that is causing that uncertainty, or do you feel like God’s calling you somewhere else? Is He closing this door, or are you shutting the door because you’re not sure what the walk on the other side is going to be like?
I came to GCD because I Googled it. I think God had led me here, and after being here for a little over a year, I’ve seen why He’s led me here and all these cool things He’s done with me and inside of me. I was really intentional about finding out what God’s will for me was. For me, it was to go to a place in North Carolina I never heard about before – never heard about, ever, in my life. From that, He confirmed time and time and time again where He wanted me to be.
Today, it’s common for businesses and companies to actively participate in social causes that call for help and offer support for communities. There are many modern-day examples of businesses improving local and global communities in need. This movement is best described as social entrepreneurship.
Described as the “One for One” company, TOMS has grown in prominence since the creation of the uniquely designed, one-of-a-kind shoe.
With every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, a new pair of shoes goes to a child in need in a developing country. Since 2006, TOMS has given more than 75 million pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world and has provided them with improved health and access to education.
Similar to TOMS, Bombas made its mark by designing specially-engineered socks that, when purchased, donate a new pair of socks to a person in need.
Bombas has been able to donate and provide over 7,136,758 pairs socks to those in need of them since its inception in 2013, meeting the number one need requested by homeless shelters nationwide.
Last, but not least, Love Your Melon is an apparel brand known for its uniquely crafted hats and dedicates its mission to support the fight against pediatric cancer by giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America. With every purchase made, 50% of profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund, which supports its nonprofit partners.
Over $4,328,259 have been donated to partners around the country, and 132,586 hats have been given to children in need.
You may recognize a pattern here. TOMS, Bombas, and Love Your Melon are companies that were founded on and operate by principles and values rooted in social entrepreneurship.
So, what exactly is social entrepreneurship? A field, a profession, and a movement, social entrepreneurship is described as being “a process by which citizens build or transform institutions to advance solutions to social problems” like poverty, illness, illiteracy, environmental destruction, human rights abuses and corruption to make life better for many,” according to Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Blake Mycoskie, Randy Goldberg and David Heath, Zach Quinn and Brian Keller – the founders behind TOMS, Bombas, and Love Your Melon – are all social entrepreneurs. Though unique from one another, every social entrepreneur possesses common characteristics and exudes certain behaviors. They:
– Create public value
– Pursue new opportunities
– Innovate and adapt
– Act boldly
– Leverage resources they don’t control
– Exhibit a strong sense of accountability
As a result, community members from the local scale to the global scale can be positively affected by the actions and innovations of social entrepreneurs.
Want to learn more about social entrepreneurship and how you can incorporate it into your ministry? Consider enrolling in LEA 460: Social Entrepreneurship online for Spring B Term. Spring B Term classes are eight weeks long and can be taken online or on campus.
What do you do all day? This is a question that makes many people cringe when they hear, because we all feel busy in our everyday lives, but can’t always recall exactly what they did all day. I know that I felt absolutely overwhelmed with the things going on in my life and wondered how people could ever add the task of school to their lives when they already worked numerous hours a week and were raising two kids, like in my case. Yet the tug at my heart would not cease the gentle but constant tug to enroll at GCD. “Me, God? Are you sure you weren’t talking to the person next to me and I just overheard?” This was a question I kicked around for a while before enrolling here at GCD. I am a hair designer and have been for 19 years. This job suits my ADD quite well and my need for instant gratification from something that doesn’t lose my attention easily. I was sure I couldn’t focus long enough to make it through a class and actually pass it. I talked myself out of enrolling for some time. I had all kinds of excuses but the biggest one was that I did not have enough time. Time is something we all get the same amount of and choose to use in the way we decide is most important.
I finally quit ignoring the gentle, consistent tug at my heart to enroll at GCD and took the plunge. Thank God there was an amazing person that answered the other end of the phone and literally walked me through every aspect of the process; I’m sure she was tired of seeing my number pop up on the caller ID but she always answered the phone with grace and guidance. I was ready to quit the first week of school and another student there talked me out of it, how grateful I am now for these two people that helped usher me into a new era. I now have a much more positive outlook on my journey and have earned high marks so far in all my courses here at GCD. Every single day I am proving myself wrong; there is no place for the previous negativity that once controlled my thoughts.
I am still a hair designer and raising two beautiful kiddos and have somehow found time to add in school and still go the park with my sweet babies and not miss out on the life God had planned for me. God has a plan that involves me trusting Him and letting Him manage my time. So, what do I do all day? I am walking out God’s plan for me, one step at a time.
There are many ways to describe Alan Winter. The most consistent is friend. Alan was a friend with everyone he met. You may know Alan as one of the board members, guest instructor, or a missionary. For those who don’t know Alan Winter, he was a Youth Pastor in Atlanta for many years then started an organization to lead short-term mission trips. Alan told me that when he was a Youth Pastor he would spend years trying to help young people change. Years later he led a missions trip with his youth group. Alan told me that the transformation he saw within two weeks surpassed the changes he saw in all the years he had worked with this group before. He was so inspired by the power to transform others by serving others that he quit his job and began an organization that helped others do the same. The past sentence misses the reality Alan faced in the process. Alan quit his full-time consistent job with benefits and a steady income as his kids were about to enroll in college because of his passion for the transformational power of loving others.
Alan’s founding of Frontline Missions was a labor of love, for everyone he met. Alan loved to make everyone that he encountered feel loved. He specialized in groups of people that no one else cared enough to do anything for them. No one escaped Alan’s hugs or fatherly love.
Alan’s relationship with Grace College of Divinity was multifaceted. He was a GCD board member, he co-taught Communicating the Relevance of God’s Story and Destiny and Calling, many students worked with Alan on missions trips and others interned with Frontline missions. In addition, Alan was a close personal friend to Dr. Crowther. Much of the mission and heart of GCD is a direct influence of Alan.
Alan was on a missions trip to Cartagena, Colombia to help train pastors in a school that was started by GCD and Frontline Missions. Alan had a stroke on his way to Columbia, and was admitted to the Hospital in Cartagena. There were complications in the medical care he received in Columbia. Alan was medevacked to the United States to receive better medical care. While in the United States he underwent several surgeries that were not able to bring Alan back to good health. Alan went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, March 1st.
Everyone is invited to a memorial service for Alan on March 15th at 11:00 am at New Hope Baptist Church (551 New Hope Rd, Fayetteville, GA 30214). His family requests donations be made to Frontline Missions in lieu of flowers. The family will be wearing Easter colors in celebration of Alan’s life and invites all to join them. GCD will endeavor to offer an online option for students, staff, and faculty to participate if they would like and are unable to attend.