“I knew I was actually being a part of a family”
Student Story, Jo Dorsett (Oaks College Alum)
Jo Dorsett is one out of many Oaks College (OC) students who transitioned into a full-time ministry position after graduating from OC. When starting her experience in Oaks College, previously known as Oaks School of Leadership (OSL), Dorsett remembers being a shy, insecure student in the Kids Department, while struggling with big personal challenges such as clinical depression. However, being stretched in — what she described as — a “healthy family-oriented atmosphere” allowed her to become the strong, confident woman of God that she is today.
Childhood and Family
Alongside her younger brother, Dorsett was always involved with ministry opportunities due to both of her parents being ordained ministers. As a result, she always had the perspective of ministry being a family-oriented mission. Within these opportunities, Dorsett became mostly involved in kids ministry because of her natural abilities in encouraging and connecting with children. Despite growing up in ministry, Dorsett claimed that, as a kid, she didn’t feel the obligation to pursue ministry vocationally.
“In high school, I actually wanted to pursue neuroscience instead of ministry.”
She first considered pursuing neuroscience when her mental health began to plummet. Dorsett identifies her mental health journey as her biggest personal challenge growing up. She shared an aspect that still serves a vital lesson in her life:
“In middle and high school, I began to struggle a lot with suicidal thoughts and clinical depression. Spiritually and psychologically, coming to college and choosing Jesus above everything else in college helped me reset my priorities and my mindset, which helped transform the person I am today. Seeing a psychiatrist and visiting people who were professionals in this field helped extravagantly, but going to Jesus consistently while being in a healthy family-oriented atmosphere helped reform who I am.”
Oaks College Experience
When touring Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU), Dorsett began to realize that ministry was something that she was truly passionate about. Her tour guide was a current OSL student, who is now the Oaks Church Youth Pastor: Andrew Prescott. Dorsett was then connected with Lauren Brassfield (now Prescott) who introduced her to not only the Kids Department, but to the concept of Oaks Church being a family. Growing up in ministry, Dorsett never had a home church so, hearing the Oaks being described as a family was very intriguing to her. As a matter of a fact, the day she moved in, Lauren brought her cookies and assisted her in settling in!
“That was when I knew ‘Oaks Church is family’ wasn’t just a saying; I knew I was actually becomin part of a family. Ever since then, I never felt like I was overlooked here at the church because of how intentional every single person is. I always felt seen, recognized, and valued.”
Throughout her experience in OC, Dorsett claimed that one of her difficulties while in the program was struggling with the perfection mindset. She importantly noted that although Oaks Church is very excellence-driven, they recognize that excellence isn’t the same as perfection; despite this truth, it was still very easy for her to get lost in the perfection mindset. Consequently, Dorsett constantly felt like she had to prove her value to people and that she had to earn everything that was handed to her. Little did she know that her directors and leaders already accepted her for who she was. With the help of mentors, exemplary leaders, and directors in Oaks Church, she stated that she has improved on this personal struggle by having a lot of hard conversations, accountability, and mentorship. Oaks College helped her become the person she is today because she was stretched, comforted, and valued by the Oaks family.
“Dear Future Student,
Oaks College is not like an ordinary intern program. When I first came in, I thought it was going to have a more ‘internship’ feel. Oaks College is a lot more family and unity oriented. The growth atmosphere is so extravagant that the program surpassed my expectations. Let the staff pour into you because the leaders in the church really want you to grow and want God’s best for you. Whether it’s the ministry things you do or the way your character reflects God, don’t take the opportunities of growth offered in the program for granted.”
What Does Your Life Look Like Now?
After graduating Oaks College, Dorsett was offered the position of being the Powerhouse Administrator. In Powerhouse, she deals with a lot of administrative support, helps with registration for daycare and creating summer camps, and oversees many other aspects and supplies in the department. She even got to help with restarting chapel in their afterschool program. As one may come to know, Jo Dorsett is one out of many students/alumni that exemplifies what God can do, and it is an honor for Oaks College to be a part of these stories.