Student Devotional: Pursuing Your Calling

Pastor Joshua Clarke shares his thoughts on pursuing your calling. Josh is a Master of Divinity online student with GCD, and his family has been instrumental in planting Manna Church, Colorado Springs.

One of the most exciting discoveries you make after deciding to follow Jesus is that you are uniquely called by God for a specific purpose to make an eternal difference. This is such a profound discovery that you immediately revert back to your childhood state and start to dream again about who you could be and what God has called you to do.

When it comes to pursuing that calling, I think the most significant thing to do is to never stop dreaming. To dream big is to have faith in who God is and what He is capable of. God desires us to be full of faith because otherwise we put our infinitely powerful, knowing, and loving God in a box. When we lack faith, we say “no” FOR God before he even gets the chance to bless us and use us. However, to constantly be living out your calling, there is a balance that you must find in dreaming big. I have always been a big dreamer, but sometimes I get so caught up in those dreams that I forget to make the most of where God has me now. This is the tension that we must live in; dreaming big for the future and being obedient to God right now. This obedience is ultimately what leads to the fulfillment of a dream. To pursue your calling is to be obedient to God in this moment. To pursue your calling is to pursue God. If you continue to pursue God, you will never be walking outside of your calling.

A year and a half ago I came to a cross roads. I knew that I was called to multiply God’s Kingdom through the local church, and I could either do that by staying where I was in Fayetteville and investing in that community or I could be a part of starting Manna Church in Colorado Springs. The question was not, “which makes the most sense” or “which one do I like most.” The question was simply “how can I be obedient to God right now?” The answer to the right question ended up being the illogical answer: to move my family across the country to be a part of starting a church. God’s dreams for me ended up being greater than anything I could think up. Since we have been out here, I have been able to be a part of an amazing church plant with unprecedented growth and Kingdom impact, and my family has experienced more blessings than I would have ever thought possible in such a short time. Pursing your calling is simply being obedient to God. There is so much joy in being exactly where God desires you to be.

Faculty Spotlight: Dick Gaffney

Long-time GCD faculty member and pastor Richard Lee “Dick” Gaffney has a heart for international missions, but that’s only part of his story.  Come meet him at GCD’s 9th Annual Golf Tournament this Friday (March 22).

Dick Gaffney’s first taste of a culture not his own came at the age of 12. His father served in the U.S. Army, with one assignment in Japan. Though Dick has served in many roles himself through his nearly 83 years, themes of service, education, and missions work have been continuously present.

Military Service

Following his father’s steps, he joined the Army in 1958. Dick married Judy Royce a year later. Susan, Rick, and Debbie were added to the family soon thereafter. The family moved with tours of duty stateside as well as two tours in Germany, allowing trips to neighboring countries. He also served two assignments in Vietnam. Diversity in culture was preparing him for a calling in global missions.

Education

His military service ended in 1979, when he retired at the rank of Major. Along the way, Dick studied at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and completed his bachelor degree with Campbell University in 1980.

He taught in high schools for many years, and Manna Church became the family’s place of worship. Dick served in many capacities, including a role as an elder of the church. Feeling a desire to be better equipped, Dick completed a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies with Regent University.

Global Missions

Unexpectedly, the Lord called Dick and Judy to teach English to students in northwest China for a year. Formal roles in missions work then followed. For a time, Dick served with the organization that prepared and placed them as teachers in China. In 1994, Michael Fletcher asked Dick to return to Fayetteville to become Missions Coordinator for an association of like-minded churches in North Carolina and Virginia. His efforts resulted in coordinating churches to adopt people groups in the “10/40 Window,” as well as in assisting Romanian churches toward growth in a post-cold war environment. These experiences uniquely prepared Dick to serve as the Missions Pastor for Manna Church until 2007.

Serving in Education for World Missions

Soon thereafter, Dr. Steve Crowther asked Dick to serve as Vice President of Administration for Grace College of Divinity. For the next five years he was busy helping the college achieve accreditation, establish a Veteran Services Office, and attain eligibility for student loans. Stepping away from an administrative role in 2012, Dick continues to teach GCD courses in World Religions and Missions.

According to Judy, Dick has several items proudly displayed in his home office: framed degrees from Campbell University and Regent University as well as a plaque from GCD acknowledging him as 2013 Faculty Member of the Year. Dick’s academic training and life experiences formed a heart for world missions as well as insight into what it means to share one’s faith in a culture not one’s own.

Adam Terry Devotional

   Adam Terry is a first year student at Grace College of Divinity. He is currently an Experience Intern at Manna Church. He He enjoys ballroom dancing and philosophical debates. He is currently spending his time at GCD seeking God and redeveloping a foundation of faith.

   Do you go the extra mile? I know this is usually the example that Christ used for us when other people make demands of us. That is not today’s focus though. Serving and loving people is important, but the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart.

   Love has no limits. What does our love for God actually look like though? Most of us as Christians have a devotional life where we spend time with God. Love is shown through sacrifice. How much do we really sacrifice for God out of love? Honestly, when I think of Christians sacrificing for God it is because we have to. We can set aside a little time for God in the morning or evening, but have I limited my love for God?

  David was a man who loved God with a reckless abandon. When I look at David’s life I see him spending time with God, but I do not see him setting limits on his relationship with God. David goes above and beyond to please God. David does not just go the extra mile, David is determined to run to God until he reaches him. We should chase God without holding back!  

   I believe that many of us think about our relationship with God in a box. What do I have to do today to not lose my blessings and fall away? We should wake up and think, how can I please my heavenly Father today? When I start to think that way, new ideas of serving, loving, and worshipping fill my mind. My motivation to have devotions is my love for the Father. Devotions are a means to an end they are not the end. If I am going to worship God to the best of my ability I cannot put restraints on how much time and energy I am going to spend on Him. Loving God is not stopping at the extra mile. Loving God is the endless journey with Him into eternity.

Fight For Peace Talent Showcase

 

Fight For Peace Talent Showcase

     Fight-for-peace-manna-church-student-ministries

     As the new year comes around people will be talking about their resolutions. Other people will talk about the new year bringing peace. Manna Church set out to achieve peace when they hosted the 2nd Annual Fight For Peace Talent Showcase.

Manna Church in conjunction with theExperience interns hosted an event on December 4th to combat the rising teen violence. This event had 13 students from different high schools come out to audition for a chance to win a prize. The acts ranged from singing, spoken word, to highland dancing. Several of the students had written their own songs for the performance.


The winners were: Sofia Perez, who sang and performed an original song, won third place and a prize of $100, second place and $200 went to Emagen, a dancing duo who did a comedy dance skit inspired by the Les Twins duo, and in first place was Ian with a spoken word won $300.

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(Sofia Perez third place winner)

Fight-for-peace-manna-church-student-ministries-3 (Emagen second place winners)

Fight-for-peace-manna-church-student-ministries-3(Ian first place winner) 

     This event was created to bring awareness to the teen violence happening in the Fayetteville and Cape Fear Region.


GCD students, who are part of the Experience internship which partners with Manna Church, helped facilitate and execute the event. There were also two students who represented the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council. These students, Ashley and Makala, spoke against bullying in the schools. Ashley also helped form an anti bullying committee within the council.

The Talent Showcase was a chance for students and families to get together for one night to learn about teen violence and to have a night of fun. This event was perfect for the coming year as the Fayetteville region continues its battle with teen violence and its cry for peace.

 

TheExperience Internship and TheExperience Weekend

 

TheExperience Internship and TheExperience Weekend

The Experience Internship

Overview

This is an internship designed to equip students to change the world through faith, character, and leadership skills. This internship combines academics and practical leadership experience. Every intern will choose a track getting specialized training and experience within a specific field.

Academics

TheExperience Internship offers a Certificate of Christian Leadership upon graduation. If desired, the intern may come back for a second year and obtain an Associate’s Degree of Christian Leadership. The Certificate is a year-long program and provides 11 Courses (30 credit hours), the Associate’s is a two year-long program and provides 22 Courses (60 credit hours).

Both years provide the following:

– Annual International Mission Trips

– National Leaders Conferences

– Weekly Mentoring Meetings with Pastor Michael Fletcher

– Domestic Trips and Outreaches

– Spiritual Growth & Biblical Teaching

– Character Development

– Individualized Teaching

– Specialized Training

– Practical Leadership Experience

Student Life

The Experience Internship

The intern will build life-giving relationships with fellow interns and participating in the following activities:

–  International Missions Trip

–  Team Workouts

–  Group Outings

–  Family Nights

–  Road Trips

–  Monthly Student Events

–  Lifelong Friendships

Track Options

Worship and Fine Arts: This track is focused on those who feel that are called to be worship leaders, graphic designers, videographers, dancers, sound engineers, etc. The interns will be developing their talent in the ministry field. Audition and interview required.

Outreach & Missions: This track is focused on those who feel called to reach the global community through long-term and short-term missions, evangelism, and community outreaches. Interview required.

Leadership: This track equips the interns in the finer areas of leadership and offer unique opportunities to develop advanced leadership skills. Interns are evaluated in specific areas of practical leadership based on their personal calling and life goals.

Want to be an Intern?

Come to our next event TheExperience Weekend November 13th and 14th. Here you will meet the staff and current interns while getting all the information you need to know about the internship. We will talk about academics, leadership opportunities, track options, internship schedule, student life, scholarships and various financial aid options. Representatives of TheExperience, Manna Church, and Grace College of Divinity will be present to answer any questions. For more information about theExperience Weekend, call or email Anne Fletcher to annefletcher@mannachurch.org or 910-849-9464.

Student Spotlight: Janeissa Ortiz

 

Bible-college-student

Student Spotlight: Janeissa Ortiz

Janeissa Ortiz is in the first year of the Experience internship with GCD and Manna Church. She grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to North Carolina with her family about three years ago. Upon graduating from high school she received a nursing assistant certificate. Janeissa also enjoys to dance; she is in a hip hop dance crew and teaches hip hop at a local dance studio. She plans to continue in the Experience internship next year to receive her Associate’s of Christian Leadership with GCD. After the Christian Internship with GCD and Manna Church Janeissa hopes to pursue a career as a missionary nurse.

 

Photos from Janeissa’s Instagram Takeover

 

IGTakeover: @lingo__cvc #StudentTakeover #IGTakeover Take it away!

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Catalyst in Atlanta with the intern family #interns2015 #gcdstudents #mannachurchleaders #catalyst2015

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

"Our mandate as leaders is to awaken the wonder in others" -Andy Stanley

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Intern girls at Catalyst having some fun learning more about our leadership…. #catalyst2015 #interns2015 #interngirls

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Interns 2015!!!!! #mannachurchleaders #interns2015 #gcdstudents

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Catalyst day #2 #catalyst2015 #interns2015 #mannachurch #gracecollegeofdivinity

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

#quoteoftheday #mannachurch #gracecollegeofdivinity #interns2015

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

Pastor Trip Lee at Catalyst #interns2015 #gracecollegeofdivinity #mannachurch #catalyst2015 #photooftheday

A photo posted by Grace College Of Divinity (@gcdivinity) on

 

 

Transformational Leadership from a Christian Perspective

Transformational Leadership from a Christian Perspective

 transformational-leadership-from-a-christian-perspective

What is transformational Leadership?

Transformational Leadership is a type of leadership used to grow and transform a community. It is a process where a leader can connect and interact with their followers and transform their lives by increasing the level of morality and motivation. This type of leader focuses on the  mission of the organization by motivating their followers through role modeling the vision, challenging each individual to grow and ask questions, considering the needs of the individual, and inspiring the employees through motivation to reach their fullest potential. Often this type of leader is charismatic and enthusiastic since they are focused and passionate about the mission of the organization. In the Christian world, an example of a transformational leader would be a worship pastor who motivates the worship team to improve their skills with different ways of rehearsing or performing. A transformational leader would be someone who encourages a person to become better for the sake of the whole team, like a mentor or an accountability partner.

A transformational leader is a good listener who does not judge your situation but encourages you to keep going and tells you to never give up. This is a leader who is focused on the mission, calling, and vision of the organization.

In Manna Church and Grace College of Divinity (GCD) we are blessed to have different transformational leaders who encourage us, the youth, to work hard for our dreams and to not give up on them. They motivate us to not quit and keep pushing through until we reach our calling as a group and as individuals as well.

A great example of a transformational leader from the Scriptures is Abraham; was one of the best transformational leaders in the Bible. He became a great transformational leader by creating a vision, having courage and confidence, caring about people, and having a strong sense of justice.  The founder of the Experience, Shawn Withy-Allen, GCD and Manna Church’s Christian internship program, often says, “Teamwork makes the dream work.

Ever since Jesus’s time we have had transformational leaders. Let’s be transformational by actively advancing the Kingdom of God in both our personal and professional lives while inspiring others (transforming them) to do the same. If you want to learn more about leadership and how to become a transformational leader, you can do so here at GCD through the Associate of Christian LeadershipBachelor of Christian Leadership, or the Master’s of Christian Leadership Programs.

 

GCD Partners with Manna Church

 

GCD Partners with Manna Church

manna-church-and-grace-college-of-divinity

          Grace College of Divinity is a very unique college in North Carolina in that it partners closely with a church. Manna Church is a 9,300 member mega church located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Many of the professors who teach at GCD also are on the pastoral staff at Manna. Dr. Crowther, the president of GCD, is an elder with Manna Church. Mrs. Bermudez , the financial aid administrator, attends the Hispanic service with her family. Her father is the pastor at the Hispanic service at Manna.

Grace College of Divinity has become the pipeline for leaders at Manna Church. Michael Fletcher, senior pastor at Manna Church, was in the first graduating class of Manna Christian College (now Grace College of Divinity)  before going on staff at Manna. Many other men and women involved in Manna have come through GCD to gain knowledge of ministry, missions, worship and leadership. Just recently we had a united event with Manna Church where many leading community members such as the mayor of Fayetteville and the mayor of hope mills came out. Some school principals and the superintendent came and participated in a friendly game of Family Feud. Many influential leaders came to speak to the students at this event and Dr. Crowther was among them.

Grace College of Divinity and Manna Church also partner in a very unique way with the Experience Internship. The Experience Internship is a way for students to grow in faith, character, and leadership. GCD values these characteristics and allows students to earn college credit while completing an internship. One year in the  Experience Internship earns a certificate in Christian Leadership. Those who complete a second year earn an Associates in Christian Leadership. Interns attend classes at GCD and gain ministry experience so they can further develop in their faith and leadership. Interns serve at Manna on Sunday mornings through Children’s Ministry, Greeting, or Host Team. They also have different tracks they are involved in such as Worship, Leadership, Outreach, Children’s Ministry, and GCD Track. In each of the tracks the interns gain skills and knowledge in that particular area.

GCD and Manna Church are very connected, they partner together to build faith and increase character for everyone involved. They share many professors and pastors and quite literally share a campus. Manna Church and GCD are similar in many aspects, chiefly in their desire to equip and empower leaders. They work together to see the Kingdom of God advanced in the Cape Fear region and beyond. 

 

United Event

 

Student Ministries

United Event

student-ministry-united-event

Hey guys just wanted to talk to you about a great event Manna Church had this past Sunday called the United Event. You may ask, what is a United Event? Well, a United Event is when students from all the Rush clubs and Conversations from Manna come together with their families for a night of games, worship, a message and just a lot of fun. But what is a Rush club or a conversation? These are different small groups that meet either at the different high schools, middle schools, and colleges during the week or during the evening on a Sunday at a Manna Church location. This event took place at Manna Church, our next door neighbors. We had the privilege of getting involved with it by having our own table to talk to students about our degrees and certificates by giving them general information about GCD. Other groups that were involved were College internship-theExperience, Angel’s Kitchen, and the Fayetteville Dream Center.At this event we had the honor to have the Mayor of Fayetteville, the Mayor of Hope Mills, the Superintendent of the Cumberland County Schools, and Nicole Carr from our local news. Many important people from our state attended and spoke great words of wisdom to our students. One of our very own interns, Belle Szalkowski, gave a great testimony of how God has worked in her life and how she got to where she is now. She spoke amazing words of wisdom to our younger students and parents, it was great to see her up there.

           Let’s talk a little bit about how GCD relates to Manna Church and how the Christian internship relates to us.

Grace College of Divinity is a Bible college in North Carolina that shares the same property as Manna Church on Cliffdale Road. Many GCD students are involved with Manna Church. GCD as a whole is very involved with Manna Church, and vice versa, many of the outreaches for example that we plan are assisted by Manna Church staff. Also, many of the faculty and staff here also work at Manna Church, which means we are like a big family. On the other hand, Manna Church has a program called theExperience Internship which is a Christian internship where young adults get the opportunity to have a year only focused on God. The “interns” at the end of their first year receive a certificate called the Certificate in Christian Leadership and after their second year they receive an Associates in Christian Leadership.With all this being said, I hope many of you attend our next United Event going towards the Holidays. God Bless you all.