Student Reflection: Dog Days of the School Year

by Sam Fletcher

My struggle throughout each and every semester has always been the mundane and the consistency of sixteen weeks out of the year. It can be slow and frustrating, and sometimes I would just like to be done. If every student who is in school is being honest, then they would agree that school is not the highlight of their day or week or month.  It is not for me. It can really be taxing! School is about character and building on the knowledge that you have as a student.  Every great leader is a good student. The character aspect of school is about doing what you do not want to do.  

If I’m being honest, school has never been a particularly favorite hobby but it has taught me so much about discipline, diligence, and excellence. As a millennial, I tend to focus on my feelings. I do not want to do what makes me feel bad. School is that thing! School has provided me an opportunity to grow in discipline.  The hardest thing about school is that it never goes away when you are in it! When one week is done, here comes another the next. School has provided an opportunity for me to grow in diligence, in that, when I get to it early, the easier it is!

School can be frustrating, but I guess, it is on purpose!

Sam is a 3rd-year Bachelor of Arts in Christian Leadership student, and a graduate of theExperience internship. He currently serves as the Student Ministries Assistant for Manna Church, Fayetteville/Fort Bragg.

Student Spotlight: Vonnie Bellamy

Q&A with a Bachelor of Arts in Divinity student

Vonnie faithfully attended church most of her life, but was unsure about going back to college after a long break from school. GCD’s helpful staff and student body encouraged her to take the next step.

Bible college studentWhat made you decide to take classes at GCD?

One day as I was driving on Cliffdale Road, I saw GCD and call to inquire about the curriculum being offered. After speaking with one of the academic advisors, I decide to attend an accredited Bible college. I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Divinity program.

What do you like best about your experience with GCD so far?

The three things I like best about my experience with GCD are the helpful/friendly staff, the help of tutors, and at my age how to navigate online.

Where/when do you do your best studying?

I do my best studying in the school’s learning lab and at home in my quiet place, my Lazy Boy. I do my best studying anytime when I’m alone.

Bible college students

What tips could you offer a new student at GCD?

Come with an open mind to learn and grow, and to be willing to do the homework assignments in a timely manner.

How has your learning at GCD helped you grow personally?

Learning at GCD has helped me to grow in the areas of self-discipline. That is, being consistent with early morning devotions and managing finances more effectively. Also, It helped me to learn how to search out the truth of God’s word, and to grow in the area of marriage and family.

How has your experience at GCD benefited your ministry to others?

I am more able to minister to others with confidence and assurance in a better understanding of what the Bible truly means.

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.

Alumni Highlight: Adriane Harrington

What brought you to Fayetteville?  

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.  

GCD Student Spotlight – Christina Reed

Mom, Hair Designer, Student

 

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.

Student Spotlight: Jonathan Fletcher

Bible College Student:Manna Church teaching pastor

Meet our student spotlight of the week through his answers to a few questions about his life and what he is doing right now.

What is your current occupation?

         “I am the Teaching Pastor and Executive Place Site Pastor at Manna Church.”

How did GCD help you get there?

         “GCD has helped me by providing sound Biblical training to assist in my vocation.”

What was your favorite thing about GCD?

        “My favorite thing about GCD is that we are not just about people learning information. Rather, we attempt to provide sound Biblical teaching that helps people understand more about God, while at the same time helping them use that knowledge in practical ministry experience.”

Experience at GCD.

      “I have taken classes as both an undergraduate and in the master’s program, and I have found both of those experiences to be incredibly insightful. I feel better prepared as a pastor through my involvement at GCD.” 

There you have it, Pastor Jonathan Fletcher everybody. If you want to learn more about our students here at GCD and want to see more about our students’ lives let us know in the comments below.

Belle Szalkowski Devotional

 

Belle Szalkowski Devotional

Student Devotional

     Have you ever felt completely and utterly out of your depth? Like you are grasping for air and you can’t seem to get your head above water? Finally you wade into shore and you can breathe free and clear again. You look back at the water and realize that no matter how hard it was, you survived. You feel invigorated, you made it! You’ve accomplished something huge by just surviving and smiling! This has been my relationship with God through my life. One of my favorite verses that I keep coming back to is:

Psalm 13:6 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.”

     I have spent many years of my life simply trying to keep my head above water. College is overwhelming. I’ve had multiple exhausting injuries, and serving in ministry can be draining. It is through God’s grace that I’ve made it as far as I am in life. The reason I keep going back to this verse is because no matter what point of my life I am in it applies. If I am drowning in schoolwork I can still praise God for blessing me with an education. If I am overwhelmed with my ministry work I can praise God for giving me a chance to share His glory.

     I say all this because I have learned that praising God even in the midst of struggle is the best lesson I’ve learned. Even when I was homeless I thought of this verse and that God, no matter my circumstances has been good to me and is worthy of my praise.

     I challenge you to meditate over this. If you truly believe God is good, then doesn’t He deserve our praise even when things aren’t going our way? Even if you feel that you are drowning, God has been good to you and is worthy to be praised.

 

 

Tips for Refocusing

Tips for Refocusing

Grace-college-of-divinity-online-bible-college

     Spring Break is here and we are all ready for it. The semester has been long and tedious for most and everyone is ready for a chance to kick back and relax. Before heading back to class we should take this time to refocus ourselves.

     With the semester soon ending and Spring Break providing an opportunity to relax, we must all shift our attention to the final stretch of the semester. How do we refocus our attention? Start with these three tips to help you get by.

     1. Realize God is the center of everything

     With all the tests, assignments, activities, and events of this past semester it is easy to lose sight of where God is. Acknowledging God is the center is the first step in putting him back into focus. Also putting God at the center gives you a chance to step back and take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Matthew 6:33 ESV  But  seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

     2. Make a plan

     The end of the semester is around the corner, do you have an idea of how you’re going to get there? Plan out your homework and study times so that you can have less stress as exams come up. Make a definite decision to excel in these last few months. By planning out the rest of the semester you will be more likely to follow through and keep the goal of graduation in mind.

     3. Rest

     To refocus you need to take some time to rest. Spend the remainder of the spring break trying to refocus your goals and plans for the semester. Even after spring break ends find times to rest so that the day to day tasks do not become overwhelming. Not taking time to rest can make you lose focus and feel overwhelmed. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep. Simply make time to relax or do a hobby you enjoy. Find peace in the things that you love.

     Refocusing is about recognizing God in all things, planning for where you are going, and taking time to rest and recuperate. Don’t waste time running around frantically with no direction or energy. Take advantage of the time you have to improve and move forward towards graduation.