11 GAP-YEAR IDEAS: Thanks gang!

A couple days ago I wrote a post titled, “IS THE ‘AMERICAN DREAM’ DYING? Today’s teenagers seem to want more than college” and it created a lot of traffic and comments. I took some of the ideas people presented via Twitter and Comment sections and did a cut/paste job and listed them below (thanks for your input gang).

I didn’t vet any of these and this isn’t an endorsement of any one program, instead it’s simply a list gathered for youth ministry friends. Hope you find something helpful here:

1. Check out an Australian program called year 13. www.year13.youthworks.net (@mattyjacobs)

2. Mission Waco Internships http://www.missionwaco.org/intern.html & it has close relationship with http://churchunderthebridge.org (@Len_Evans)

3. Awesome south African led gap year program engaging issues of poverty and injustice http://purehope.co.za (@chriskamalski)

4. 24/7 from Church of the Highlands Birmingham, AL is terrific. http://www.churchofthehighlands.com/hli/247/ I am sending 4 students next year and have 2 there this year. (@jradhouser)

5. A great gap year missions is Ventana Ministries in Mexico! www.ventanaministries.com (@sandyhughes)

6. The Presbyterian Church of Ireland has a program called SWIM (students working in missions) (@brit_windel)

7. The best one I’ve heard is @theworldrace http://theworldrace.org/ (@mclanea)

8. emergingleadernetwork.com and http://getignited.org (Shawn Michael Shoup)

9. I have had many students work with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). They can literally go anywhere in the world to do this. (Sarah Vestal)

10. I did a year of service after college with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, totally life changing. (Chris Wesley)

11. J-Life is a great organization and I have sent two students to serve for a year there http://www.jlife.org.za/ (@grantbyrd)


Please add to the list. What did we miss?


  • http://elevatingageneration.org Shawn Michael Shoup

    Thanks for sharing these links, Doug. Looks like a lot of really great opportunities for students to plug into hands-on discipleship and ministry after high school. Very cool! :D

  • Amy Biemeck

    Yay! Ventana Ministries is my sister and brother-in-law’s ministry. Thanks for including it! It’s an amazing ministry.

  • http://www.DavidMartinBlog.com David Martin

    Hey Doug!

    There is one that is truly exceptional called “Walkabout” at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, TX (about an hour & 1/2 from San Antonio).

    I’ve had 3 students go through this program over the past 2 years.

    If there are students looking for a gap-year program, I’d highly recommend this one: http://campeagle.org/#discipleship

    P.S. Doug, everything you do is art.

    • http://www.dougfields.com Doug Fields

      David…not sure I know what you mean by “art”…but I’m excited to look into “walkabout”

  • http://EmergingLeaderNetwork.com Tim Mossholder

    Doug…great list! Thanks for the compilation and for including the Emerging Leader Network (ELN). We have a growing affiliation of 20+ local church schools of ministry that are ALL dedicated to discipling college-age students and helping them to develop and flex their ministry muscles.

    Two other organizations worth mentioning:
    – Honor Academy, run by Teen Mania http://www.honoracademy.com/
    – Master’s Commission, with local church sites spread across the country http://mcin.org/

    Thanks again! @timmossholder @emergingleader

  • http://youthworktalk.com Phil Bell


    When I lived in the UK there was an organization called Oasis Trust. They are still providing Christian Gap Years. http://www.oasisuk.org/volunteering/

    Hope this helps.

    Phil <

  • Matt Flinner

    Here is a program from our denominational mission agency called Radical Journey. I know a few folks who have gone through it and have had very good experiences. Thanks for posting those other links. It’s good to share!


  • Taka Iguchi

    You should also check out Focus One. It’s a gap year program based out of Rockford IL that has 18 years experience and over 1200 alumni.


  • http://marymargaretc.blogspot.com Mary Margaret

    Two that I’ve heard of by reputation are:

    Camp Kivu (started by Andy Braner, a Christian Worldview expert and former Kanakuk Colorado Director) – http://www.campkivu.com

    Impact 360 (started by the Cathy Family of Chick-fil-A) – http://www.impact360.net

    I’ve heard great things about both!

  • http://kfbcstudents.wordpress.com Jody

    We have students who are doing a year with global year. These guys are all over the world and are amazing. Definitely worth a look…ok, well a lot of looks http://www.globalyear.org

    • Kerrie Peterson

      I am interested in what you know about Global Year. Our daughter is interested.

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  • Chris

    Teen Mania’s Honor Academy is a great gap-year program as well! I participated in 2003 and it prepared me well as a young christian leader in college.