Student Spotlight: Janeissa Ortiz



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



Step Away From The Student


Step Away From The Student


flickr photo from Melissa Maples


So after you’ve finally created a relationship with your students, the next step is this: Step away from the Student!

Do you feel your leadership isn’t having the impact it should?

Do you feel like you’re not connecting with your students deeper than a surface level?

Does it seem like your group is with you because they’re checking off the “religious duty” box or the “make my parents happy” box?

That’s because it’s not…and you’re not…and they are.

So do us all a favor and step away from the student. Do it now – I mean like right now.



Inherent in the term “student ministry” or “youth ministry” is the problem with how we conduct it.

Your students aren’t just students, they’re an individual with several factes of life that happen outside of their student life. They’re someone’s child (possibly somone’s parent!), friend, sibling, employee, boyfriend/girlfriend, aunt, uncle, relative, etc.

Youth aren’t just youth, they’re a person with a soul, heart, emotions, thoughts, dispositions, beliefs, stances. All of which are repeatedly confronted by their entire life, not just their student life. Youth is a term that’s simply being used to designate their current age demographic. However your “youth” is so much more than just young.

2 Action Steps to Effective Student Ministry

Step 1: Your “student” has a life outside of being a student, engage them holistically.

Step 2: Life exists outside of your designated meeting times and location, invite them into it

When I was in an after school club with my mentors in the faith, the most important thing they did for me was invite me to hang out with them oustide of that club which was held in a school classroom. Stop meeting with your students JUST in a classroom or small group setting and start doing life with them. Get away from the “student” classification of their life and begin to invest into who they are holistically in every part of their life. Invite them to the movies, out to eat, to play ball at the park, to hang out while running errands, anything in addition to that more-than-likely mundane classroom session you hold once a week.

Engage them(when they’re comfortable) about matters of home life, future aspirations, fears, curiosities, disagreements, etc.

What I mean is get away from the “student” part of who they are and engage them as the person they are that holds these different roles, invite them to be more than someone who listens while you teach bible study and someone who just gets to talk about their school life. Engage them as a person whose an entire life to live and not just the life as a student sitting in your weekly bible study.



How To: Student Ministry

How To: Student Ministry

brushesflickr photo by futurilla

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 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

Talk Less

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.

Live More

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.