AGTS Alumni Perspective: Jennifer Gale
Name: Jennifer Gale
Graduation Year: 1999
Current Position: Vice President of Student Life, University of Valley Forge
City and State: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
Right after graduating from AGTS, my part-time student worker position at the seminary transitioned to full-time. At the same time, I had the opportunity to teach adjunct Bible classes at Evangel. Professors and staff from AGTS were instrumental in helping me move into a full-time associate pastor position where I served in church leadership for ten years and loved every minute of it! Since 2011, I’ve enjoyed expressing love for God and his people through higher education work. As Vice President of Student Life, I help students grow outside of the classroom. I work with a team of student affairs professionals in the areas of residence life, student organizations, counseling and health and wellness services, security, as well as others. Compliance, budgeting, strategic planning, assessment, management, staff development, collaboration, working through other leaders—administrative ministry is fun for me!
What is your favorite memory from AGTS?
I have so many wonderful memories from AGTS! Attending classes with students as passionate as I was about God and his Word, Spirit-filled moments in the classroom, the constant flow of encouragement from professors and staff, exposure to leaders from across our fellowship and from around the world.
Two special trips stand out to me—taking a charter bus trip to the Pensacola Revival in Florida (that dates me!), and the St. Louis cathedral with Pentecostal historian legend, Dr. Gary McGee.
How did AGTS help you identify/develop your calling?
Believe it or not, I didn’t see myself serving in the church when I went to AGTS. I just knew God was leading me to go to seminary. Through ALL of my experiences at AGTS—classes, special speakers, field trips, the internship, exposure to great leaders and pastors, I began to see myself serving God in church leadership. I was encouraged to get ministerial credentials—even to apply for open church positions as a woman! Probably most impactful, was the encouragement to embrace Pentecost and explore what it meant to live the Spirit-filled life.
How did your experience at AGTS prepare you for life after graduation?
The classes I took at AGTS were both scholarly and very practical. My preaching courses were EXCELLENT. “Vision Centered Leadership” literally spelled out how to lead change. Outside the classroom, by participating in what was the Student Advisory Council, I learned how to work with decision-makers through a board. That was incredibly practical—a must-have skill for any leader. Along with our friends from seminary, my husband and I formed a preaching and ministry team that ministered to folks in a local nursing home. All of these experiences helped me prepare for the next steps in life and ministry.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
I always want to encourage students to take advantage of every single opportunity they have through their educational experience. At AGTS, perhaps your biggest opportunity is to experience your professors not only ‘teachers’ but as mentors, spiritual and life coaches, and friends. Invest in relationships with your professors and the staff—ask them questions, take them out to coffee, pick their brains. They are such tremendous resources! They will be your biggest fans.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from AGTS?
I have personally sought out AGTS graduates to fill positions at UVF! When I have an open position, I call AGTS and ask for the names of their top students that best fit our position. That is also another reason to invest in relationships with professors and staff.
When I hire someone, I’m looking first and foremost for a genuine, experiential, transformative love-relationship with Jesus that is real and growing. Then I look for a healthy, balanced view of spirituality and personal relationships. My work environment is fast-paced, requiring emotional and physical endurance, so I look for someone with the capacity and desire to work hard. Excellent communication skills (writing, speaking) are very important to me. I find that people with a servant’s heart, who just love to serve God and serve others, are some of my favorite people to work with. No one perfectly matches all these ideals! But a humble heart that seeks to love and serve God goes a long, long way!