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.
Jessica Fletcher is a GCD alumna, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Divinity degree in the Fall of 2017.
Scene: Africa. Subjects: wild dogs and wildebeests. The only way the wild dogs have the advantage is if the wildebeest run. However, if the wildebeests have the courage to stop running and stand their ground, the wild dogs are powerless. If you desire a more detailed and graphic demonstration of this truth, go watch The Hunt on Netflix.
Everyone is made on purpose and for a purpose, and that purpose ALWAYS involves others.
Here’s the big question: are you surrounded by people who are going to have the courage to stop in the face of danger and stand with you? Are you running alone? A very important lesson can be learned from the wildebeests. When we stop running and stand together, the enemy is powerless. We are not meant to do life alone. We need to surround ourselves with people who have the faith to stand and the courage to stop running. When we stand together, we halt the enemy.
Hebrews 4:11 (ESV) – “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
Two words spring off the page: “us” and “no one.” Earlier in Hebrews 4, the author of Hebrews references the moment the nation of Israel fell prey to the fears of the faithless reporters.
Hebrews 4:2 (ESV) – “For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”
With whom are you united?
Now, let’s take a moment to look at the word REST.
In this passage, “rest” is the Greek word katapausis, used in three different ways. (1) Rest as in the way we would use the peace of God, (2) rest as in the Promised Land, and (3) rest as in how God rested on the seventh day after his work was completed.
Here’s the truth: being out of rest is being out of faith.
Hebrews 4:1 (ESV) – “…while the promise of entering his rest still stands…” He has promised, we need to enter. God has promised peace. God has a promised land for you. God has work for you to complete. Let us enter in; let us enter together.
Here are three action steps:
- Surround yourself with faith-filled people. Reach for the fearful ones, don’t surround yourself with them.
- Practice listening today (Heb. 4:7, ESV)
- Choose to remove the words ALWAYS and NEVER in reference to yourself and those around you. Those are eternal words, only God is eternal.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16, ESV)
Church, let us be found standing together, striving together to enter into His rest.
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.
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.
Transformational Leadership in Non-Profit Organizations
Transformational leadership is a rising form of leadership. This is not only a popular form of leadership, it is effective and specifically for non-profit organizations. So, what is Transformational Leadership and why should your non-profit organization embrace this form of leadership?
First, let us do a quick overview of Bass’ transformational leadership theory.
Every person wants a leader that they believe is worthy of following, leaders who lead by example and who embody the values and vision of the organization. These types of leaders influence their followers to also become individuals who demonstrate high levels of respect and integrity while embracing and internalizing the values and vision of the organization.
Not only should leaders embody the values and vision of the organization, but they should also share it in an inspiring way, providing both meaning and challenge to the followers.
Do you always do the same thing you always did just because you have always done it that way? Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” A transformational leader uses their intellect to creatively problem solve and to develop creative ideas for the future.
Considering each individual within an organization or group can be difficult. While the leader is embodying the organization’s values, the leader must also consider each person that makes up the organization, encouraging and helping each individual according to their individual specific needs. This focus is not simply for transactional purposes, but to strengthen the individual which will grow them, and ultimately will build up the organization.
Why does this type of leadership work so well with non-profit organizations?
– The leader working for a non-profit organization has a value and vision of an organization that is transformational in itself. Non-profit organizations are in the business of change for a purpose, and often those working with these types of companies have a higher purpose, a passion to make a difference and are doing so through working at a non-profit organization.
– Non-profit organizations are all about bringing meaning and challenge to others. Many of these organizations would not exist if they were not able to do this. Some accomplish this through helping find a cure for cancer or stopping child trafficking; non-profit organizations tug on the hearts of people today to make a difference for ourselves, for others, and for the future.
– Non-profit organizations must continue to creatively problem solve and to develop creative future ideas to be able to figure out how to cure cancer, how to stop child trafficking, and many other problems today that continually increase and must be addressed.
– Many of these organizations were developed because of the individual. It is not about the comfort of the many, but the needs of the few. As societies come together and help those in need it strengthens the individual and the entire community.
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 Leadership, Bachelor of Christian Leadership, or the Master’s of Christian Leadership Programs.