My husband, Clayton, is a retired service member and we’ve lived in Fayetteville for more than 20 years. We’ve been members of Manna for about 12 years.
What made you decide to take classes at GCD?
Off and on, I’d hear about the college, but at that time, the college was not accredited. As I raised our four sons, I had taken courses – a class here and there. Once GCD became accredited, I felt the leading of the Lord that this was where He wanted me to be. I enrolled in the Bachelor of Divinity program in the fall of 2012. Five years later, I joyously walked across the stage at Manna EP – tears running down my face! I began working toward my Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degree the following semester and I am loving it!
Can you give some examples of ways your experience with GCD has prepared you to fulfill your calling?
My classes at GCD, especially those in Christian Leadership, have provided me with skills to more effectively lead at Manna Church’s EP Site. I’ve been in leadership for more than ten years on the SERVE team there and I consider it an honor to minister alongside my extended family at Manna EP and to be involved in training emerging leaders.
Recently my master’s curriculum has afforded me the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant in the classroom. Once I have completed this degree, the dream would be to fulfill the calling on my life to instruct at the undergrad level.
What tips could you offer a new student at GCD?
A life statement of mine is: “All that I Do is Ministry.” All that we do throughout our lives should be ministry as unto the Lord. With this in mind, we should definitely guard our lives, guard our mouths – I especially have to remind myself of this – and present our whole being as a living sacrifice unto the Lord, daily.
What have you enjoyed most about your experience with GCD?
I consider it a great honor to be a student here at Grace College of Divinity. I love being in the classroom. As I interact with ‘young minds,’ it keeps my ‘older mind’ sharp – at least I would like to think so!
What would you say to a person who is thinking about attending GCD?
Do it! It doesn’t matter how old you are. You’re never too young; you’re never too old! I’m so thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a student throughout my lifetime. He encourages me to always remain a lifelong learner, to constantly enrich my life on the foundation of His Word, and to continue to serve His body with all the skills that He has entrusted to me.
I am the currently a first year intern in theExperience College internship. I’m quite a simple homie. I love Jesus. I really think the biggest fight for number one in my life is Jesus and food. I am proud to confess I also love girlie drinks and I don’t care who knows about it. That’s all.
What does God REALLY want?
Have you ever wondered what God wants the most? Have you ever just taken time out of your day to think, “Hmmm, what is the number one thing God wants from my life?” I think people, despite being a Jesus-follower or not, have asked themselves a question similar to the one I am portraying today. If you are a human being, you have a purpose, and, ultimately, that is what your life is searching for.
Speaking from my own Jesus-following perspective, my view on what God really wants has gotten skewed through time and experience. When the question of what God really wants is brought to my attention, my natural instinct is to think of some form of work – like reading my Bible more, praying for my family, or sharing the gospel with non-Jesus followers; but I think I lead myself away from what the truth really is. Though doing things like doing ministry is good, and we should be incorporating these disciplines in our relationship with Jesus. God has been teaching me that those are not His priority for my life.
As I have been reading through the Old Testament, specifically the Samuel’s, King’s, and Chronicle’s, God has been radically shifting my mind when I think about the main purpose of my life. Reflecting on the lives of those kings and prophets who ended well, I come to find the a common theme in all of their lives. Though they did amazing things for God, they all gave up their lives to God. Their primary focus was to constantly place their lives on the altar.
Fast forward to Jesus, one day Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Essentially what is happening is someone is saying, “Yo Jesus, what does God really want? What is the most important thing to Him?” The golden question, right? And his response totally blows me away. Jesus simply says, “Just love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Yeah, that’s what my Pops wants the most from humanity.”
WHAT? This changes everything! Jesus Himself tells us that God is looking for people who will enter into relationship with Him, not just another religious way of living. At times we make our relationship all about “what do I need to do” with all these works in mind, but Jesus suggests that we should consider “what do I need to give up.” You see, I have come to discover that God is not looking for those who will just do all the right things, but He is looking for those who will give Him their heart. And it is from a heart that is truly surrendered that real life change can be produced personally and publicly.
So I encourage you, if you are in a relationship with Jesus and seek to grow closer to him, don’t start off with thinking about what you should do to fix the issue, but go to Jesus with your whole heart – the good, the broken, and the ugly – and give it up! And that is where I believe you will experience the most satisfying peace and freedom. Brothers and sisters, the best days are still ahead of us. Give up your hearts, so you do not miss out on them.
How To: Student Ministry
How To: Student Ministry
“Talk Less, Live More..”
“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation” – Plato
First things first, can we admit student ministry can feel like trying to run a triathlon..in the sahara…while fasting.
Students might be the most exhausting demographic to work with but also the most rewarding. I worked in student ministry for several years and now I’ve been removed from it for several more. A couple of things I learned are this:
Reflection 1: Students are exhausting
Reflection 2: Leaders are Messy
As imperfect as both parties are, there is hope.
Here’s the two sided coin of student ministry.
1) Good side: Students will mimic their leaders 2) Bad Side: Students will mimic their leaders.
Ever hear the phrase: “Leadership is being.” As in, it flows out of who you are?
Well spend enough time leading and the people who look up to you will begin to reflect your being – who you are. That means they’ll reflect your insecurities, your behavior, the things you applaud, the things you shun and much more.
The best way I learned to navigate through this terrain of exhaustion and messiness are as follows:
Talk Less, Live More
If I could go back and change how I led as a campus minister, I would’ve shut my mouth more often than not. I would’ve invested more time into hearing my students share their thoughts. I would’ve eased back and let the natural flow of friendship and life take course and treated those groups like relationships instead of classrooms. Making a particular effort to talk long whenever I was giving encouragement or support and trying to keep my words few otherwise. As few as I would keep them in a casual friendship.
I would’ve led more by how I lived rather than trying to give lectures on principles from the bible. My boss always says “If you teach a seminar on measles but you have the chicken pox, the people are going to catch the chicken pox.” Because people are malleable and when you lead, who you are as a person becomes contagious. I would rather mold leaders who learn to influence by how they live rather than leaders who try to speak more than they act – I think the body has enough people giving their opinions on life issues, it’s time for more of us to begin spending our efforts on influencing by how we live.
Often as leaders when we speak on matters of life in Christ we tend to speak aspirationally and very seldom acknowledge the very slow process of life that it takes us to reach those aspirations. Do the students you lead a favor and lighten the burden of expectation you unknowingly place on them, you can do this by living aspirationally which means actions and a lifestyle that reflects a desire and progress towards sanctification as well as constant acknowledgement of your shortcomings, imperfections, missteps and laborious effort towards those aspirations.
At the end of the day, we can’t change that our flaws are going to permeate into how we lead. But we can make a particular effort to lead out of who by striving for high goals in action but acknowleding to ourself and those we lead that we always come up short but never cease striving.
Trust me when I say one of the best encouragements you could give to a student is to let them know that the leader they look up to is a imperfect person just like them.
“Elijah was a man, just like us..but he prayed fervently” – James 5:17
Talk less and live more..lead more.
Bible College partners with Manna Church’s student ministry
Grace College of Divinity collaborates with Manna Church for the Experience internship program. The Experience program uses the academics of Grace College of Divinity with the practical training through an internship with Manna Church.
The Experience Program through Grace College of Divinity offers a Certificate of Christian Leadership and an Associate of Christian Leadership. The Experience program takes place on GCD’s Fayetteville, NC campus and Manna Church’s Cliffdale site. The program is broken into specific tracks to be able to better prepare students for their area of interest to better reflect their calling.
In addition to weekly practical ministry through student ministry the Experience program also takes a cross cultural missions trip. Past mission trips have been to Guatemala and Honduras.
Pictures from 2012 Missions trip to Guatemala