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Missionary Training

15 Best Christian Gap Year Programs Ranked

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Written by Avery Rimiller

As Christians, we know the importance of following Jesus and taking the gospel to all the nations so that people can be saved and so that Jesus can come back soon.

This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:14 CSB

A good way to share the good news of the kingdom of God and learn through the process is to take a Christian gap year in order to get closer to the Father as well as gain experience in different types of ministry.

What is a Christian gap year program? A Christian gap year program is a mission trip for young adults that lasts anywhere from a semester to a year’s length in time. It is spiritually transformative and gives its participants opportunities to grow in language, travel, education, and ministry.

Here is the list of Christian gap year programs:

  1. LEAD Venture
  2. OneLife Institute
  3. World Race Gap Year
  4. Youth With A Mission DTS
  5. Greater Europe Mission Internship
  6. Global Frontier Missions
  7. Experience Mission Immersion
  8. Cru Gap Year
  9. Impact 360 Fellows
  10. Global Year
  11. Year4God
  12. Joshua Wilderness Institute
  13. G42 Leadership Academy
  14. Center For Global Action
  15. Youth For Christ – The Year Out

For this list of Christian gap year programs, I’ve also gathered some questions to ask in order to determine which programs are the best. These questions are:

  • Is it spiritually transformative?
  • Are there opportunities to serve different ministries and cultures?
  • Does the leadership of this program display biblical values?
  • Is there an option to gain college credit through this program?
  • Is there a wide range of countries and locations to choose from?

With that being said, make sure to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on where to go and what to do as we dive right into all the amazing opportunities available.

1. LEAD Venture

Lead Venture is a gap year program offered by Bethany Global University, a missions college that trains missionaries to take the church to where it is not.

They do this by providing their students with a years worth of college credit, which is the best accredited education you can get in a gap year program, by hosting classes on their campus in Bloomington, Minnesota while also offering their second semester overseas in Guatemala.

With LEAD’s gap year program, students will receive training in Bible and Theology and Intercultural Ministries, with the incredible option to return to BGU and finish out their degree for the remaining three years.

Age Range: High school graduate and older

Cost: $5,125 for the first semester on campus and $5,775 to fundraise for the semester in Guatemala.

Length: 1 year

Ministries Offered: Orphan care, street evangelism, homeless ministry, sports ministry, VBS, and more.

Countries and Locations Offered: Bloomington, MN and Guatemala.

To learn more about LEAD Venture, click here.

2. OneLife Institute

OneLife Institute is an incredible gap year program that walks you through their process of learning in classes, on the field, and in community.

Their unique program structure of classes and travel allows you to earn college credit while going on monthly adventures and changing the world one week and one person at a time.

Age Range: 18 years and older

Cost: $22,900

Length: 9 months

Ministries Offered: Urban ministry, worship ministry, campus ministry, and more depending on location.

Countries and Locations Offered: Campus locations include Lancaster PA, Morris PA, and Central SC. Mission trip locations include the United Kingdom, Italy, and Israel.

To learn more about OneLife Institute, click here.

3. World Race Gap Year

World Race Gap Year is for high school graduates and focuses on training them in leadership, discipleship, growth with God, love for others, and how to live on mission.

Their leadership is dedicated to seeing you grow as an individual and experience adventure and different cultures.

Though they don’t offer any chance to gain college credit, the World Race still teaches you how to apply what you learn with them to the rest of your life.

Age Range: 17-20 year old’s

Cost: $15,800

Length: 9 months

Ministries Offered: Ministry with World Race gap year could be anything from community service projects, to hosting a VBS, to relationship building, but it really depends on the location you’re in. Street evangelizing, prayer walking, and working with local churches is also common for these trips.

Countries and Locations Offered: Participants of this program will spend 3 months in 3 different countries and depending on what route you choose, these countries could be located anywhere all over the world. The most common countries are Costa Rica, Romania, Cambodia, Guatemala, Eswatini, and Thailand.

With the World Race, participants will be able to fundraise for their gap year experience and even have access to their own blog to update their friends and family back home along the way.

To learn more if World Race gap year is right for you, click here.

4. Youth With A Mission DTS

Youth With A Mission offers a Discipleship Training School for people longing for a more intimate relationship with Jesus in order to show the spiritually lost people all over the world that they can have a deep relationship with Jesus too.

This Discipleship Training School is split up into two parts, with the first half existing as an in-class training school and the last half existing as a time for putting what participants have learned into practice on the mission field.

Age Range: High school graduates and above

Cost: On average, participants fundraise $9,990 for their DTS with YWAM.

Length: 5-6 months

Ministries Offered: With YWAM, participants can pursue ministry in these areas and much more: Evangelism, Worship Ministry, Anti-Trafficking, Sports, Urban Ministry, Refugees, The Unreached, Social Justice, Children at Risk, Photography, Performing Arts, & VBS Outreach.

Countries and Locations Offered: For the beginning of the DTS, gap year students can spend their first three months anywhere in the United States, from Los Angeles to New York City, and their last months during outreach in countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North and South America, Australia and the Pacific, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Since there are so many locations all over the world that YWAM hosts, there are different leadership styles and rules for different locations, but overall every YWAM partner is dedicated to seeing God’s will being carried out on earth as it is in heaven.

Another thing to know about YWAM is that they offer classes for college credit through their University of the Nations and make it their priority to push you forward in the race you’re running for Jesus Christ.

To learn more about YWAM and their gap year opportunities, click here.

5. Greater Europe Mission Internship

Greater Europe Mission is an organization that lasers in on taking the gospel to all of Europe through conventional and unconventional ways.

Though you cannot earn college credit with GEM, they desire to train their participants in ways that prepare them for long-term service on the field and make sure you are partnered with mature missionaries and ministry hosts so that you learn as much as you possibly can.

Age Range: 18 years and older

Cost: Depends on length and location

Length: 2-11 months

Ministries Offered: GEM interns get to participate in a host of ministries, but the main bulk of them include campus/college student ministry, teaching English, arts, sports, music, media, and marketplace ministry. They also offer internships centered around church planting, evangelism, discipleship outreach, filmmaking, anti-trafficking, and even ceramic art creating.

Countries and Locations Offered: The Balkan Area, Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Spain, and Wales.

If you’d like to learn more about Greater Europe mission and how you can spend a gap year with them, click here.

6. Global Frontier Missions

Global Frontier Missions is an organization that offers a missionary training program in order to help you use your time here as preparation for your time overseas if you’re planning to become a full-time missionary.

GFM takes an intensive yet holistic approach to training its participants in how to effectively do cross-cultural ministry, as well as offering college credit for those who qualify.

Age Range: 18 years or older

Cost: $3,750

Length: 5 months

Ministries Offered: Multi-ethnic and cross-cultural ministry in urban areas.

Countries and Locations Offered: Atlanta, GA and Richmond VA.

To learn more about Global Frontier Missions, click here.

7. Experience Mission Immersion

The gap year Immersion program with Experience Mission is designed to help you grow in your faith and gifts as a believer and spread the love of Jesus to everyone you come in contact with.

During this experience, you will be immersed in a different culture and start a journey towards discovering where God is calling you to be and what he’s calling you to do long term.

No matter where you go or what you do, however, it will all be for the glory of God.

Age Range: 18-25 year olds

Cost: $5,000-$15,900

Length: 1-6 months

Ministries Offered: Worship ministry, street evangelism, community work projects, discipleship, and a focus on relationship building.

Countries and Locations Offered: Costa Rica, Africa, Israel, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

To learn more about Experience Mission Immersion, click here.

8. Cru Gap Year

Cru is a Christian ministry that works with high school and college students in order to reach the lost and spread the hope and light of Jesus. To do this, they offer a gap year for students who want to grow in their faith and experience being a part of the kingdom of God here on earth.

Age Range: 18-20 year olds

Cost: $16,000-$19,000

Length: 9 months

Ministries Offered: Sports, worship, and urban ministry, and more.

Countries and Locations Offered: Locations change each year, but there are opportunities in the States, in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.

To learn more about the gap year opportunities with Cru, click here.

9. Impact 360 Fellows

Impact 360 is an organization that provides a Christian gap year to get its participants closer to God, his word, and ready to run on mission for God’s glory and to see his kingdom on earth.

With Impact 360 Fellows, you’ll be trained specifically in leadership and discipleship while also receiving 18 semester hours of accredited college credit.

Age Range: 18-20 years old

Cost: $19,200

Length: 9 months

Ministries Offered: Discipleship and relationship building.

Countries and Locations Offered: Pine Mountain, Georgia and 30 days in Brazil.

To learn more about Impact 360 Fellows, click here.

10. Global Year

Global Year is a missions organization dedicated to reaching unreached people groups and sharing the gospel through building relationships. They do this by building their participants up into the knowledge of who God is and who they are in Christ.

They are also passionate about growing your gifts and strengths in order to accomplish their goals of loving people well and bringing the kingdom of God into their communities and the places they serve.

Age Range: High school graduates and older.

Cost: $10,000-$14,000

Length: 9 months.

Ministries Offered: Evangelism, working with churches and schools, and more.

Countries and Locations Offered: Honduras, Canada, Italy, Cape Verde, and Guatemala.

To learn more about Global Year, click here.

11. Year4God

Year4God is an organization that connects you to the best gap year opportunities out there, making sure that you get to use the gifts that God has given you to further His kingdom in a region you have been called to.

Age Range: 18 years or older

Cost: Depends on location and duration.

Length: 3-12 months

Ministries Offered: From photography to evangelism, to storytelling and theology training, Year4God has many different ministries and trainings available to you depending on what location you go to.

Countries and Locations Offered: Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

If you’d like to learn more about Year4God, click here.

12. Joshua Wilderness Institute

Joshua Wilderness Institute is a school that takes learning about God’s Word and how to live a Christian life seriously.

Through their curriculum, local ministry outreach, and community on campus, students are able to thrive spiritually in a way that shapes the rest of their lives.

Though JWI is not accredited, students with JWI can earn up to 18 credits with Moody Bible Institute if they’re willing to pay Moody’s tuition of $210 for each class they take.

Age Range: 18-24 years old

Cost: $20,000

Length: 1 year

Ministries Offered: Street evangelism, urban ministry, engaging with the poor and homeless, and community work projects.

Countries and Locations Offered: Outreaches go to the Los Angeles area and mission trips go to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Israel.

If you’d like to learn more about Joshua Wilderness Institute, click here.

13. G42 Leadership Academy

G42 is a leadership training school for young adults in Mijas Spain, where students are walked through a three-part process of discipleship and leadership.

This process takes its participants through three stages, the first one focused on identity and acquiring skills to bring about the kingdom of God.

The second stage is a practicum, where participants will learn how to apply the kingdom of God to their ideas, business, life, and ministry.

The third process is discipleship, where they walk you through how to lead, teach, and love others as you walk in your own calling.

Age Range: 21 years or older

Cost: $11,900

Length: 9 months

Ministries Offered: Street evangelism, marketplace ministry, hospitality ministry, relationship building, and discipleship.

Countries and Locations Offered: Mijas, Spain.

If you’d like to find out more about G42 Leadership Academy, click here.

14. Center For Global Action Gap Year

Center for Global Action, a program that was created from the same organization like the World Race, offers a discipleship and leadership training school to propel you into your purpose.

Surrounded by like-minded community, you’ll learn what God’s word really says about you, you’ll learn how to grow spiritually, and also how to lead and grow others.

CGA also acts as an apprenticeship, where you’ll get a job during the process to impact the community you’re in with Christ’s love.

Age Range: No age range, but applicants must be World Race 11n11 or World Race Gap Year alumni.

Cost: $5,950

Length: 4 months

Ministries Offered: Relationship building, urban outreach, and discipleship.

Countries and Locations Offered: Gainesville, GA.

To learn more about Center for Global Action, click here.

15. Youth For Christ – The Year Out

Youth for Christ is a Christian missions organization that offers a gap year program called The Year Out for young adults in the UK.

During your time at this gap year, you’ll be trained in how to evangelize, disciple others, live in community, and even gain hands-on experience in real-life job opportunities.

Age Range: 17-25 year olds

Cost: 1,000-3,100 Euros.

Length: 12

Ministries Offered: Local church ministry, evangelism, digital media, and touring across Britain as you share your faith through music and storytelling.

Countries and Locations Offered: The United Kingdom

To learn more about Youth for Christ and their Year Out program, click here.

Christian Gap Year Programs Matter

Because you’re wanting to discover what God has for your future, and because the Great Commission is so important for all people to be saved, a Christian gap year program matters and could be transformative not only for you but for the people you come in contact with too.

As you make a decision on what program is right for you and as you go until God tells you no, remember to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and know that this year is important.

This Chrisitan gap year is important because it could give you a new vision for your life, point you to a ministry to fall in love with, and most importantly, draw you and others closer to Jesus.

Wherever you plan on going, whatever you plan on doing, know that you can do it for the glory of God, in His strength, and for the advancement of the gospel and His kingdom.

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