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It’s time for Americans to discover the gap year

Clint Bokelman emailed me from Africa this month. He kept running into young Europeans enjoying their gap year in Marrakesh. Employers have found that young people who have taken a gap year before finishing school are better qualified and more mature than their peers. It’s time for Americans to …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Clint Bokelman emailed me from Africa this month. He kept running into young Europeans enjoying their gap year in Marrakesh. Employers have found that young people who have taken a gap year before finishing school are better qualified and more mature than their peers.

It’s time for Americans to discover the gap year, and it’s high-time Jesus-followers discovered what a powerful tool the gap year can be in making disciples.

We have bought into a culture that is more interested in churning out productive citizens than whole people (much less radical disciples). The result is that we sell them short.

The Mormons figured out the power of the gap year both as a discipleship tool and as a missionary tool and have experienced great growth. So much so that they doubled it to two years and made it a requirement.

Their great mistake was to restrict it to males, or they might have taken over much of the world by now.

My wife Karen and I have encouraged our four oldest to do a gap year either thru The First Year Missionary program or the World Race.

Our daughter Talia just finished her year, while Seth is in the Philippines. The results have been a parent’s dream – better than anything we could have done by ourselves.

Parents should do themselves a favor and check it out. Young people should indulge the urge God put in them to see the world and discover who they are as citizens of God’s global kingdom. It may be the best thing they ever do.

For more on Gap year, visit these sites:

Comments (5)

  • You have to admit, the Mormons have some pretty catchy commercials…

    I’ll advocate for the gap year. I wish I had done it before I graduated college. Yet, no regrets I guess…

  • I am currently finishing a 15 months work overseas. I had the privileged to work for Samaritan’s Purse and though it was a real job, it made me grow in ways I could have never done back home (Miami). I’m still young and planning to finish my BA. But taking this break was a wise thing to do … Ive certainly been faced with the most important decision: Will I make God my own God and not just my parents and will I give my life for His Glory?

  • i was under the impression that americans go penalised in their college applications if they even considered taking a Gap Year. Probably one of the reasons so few americans travel before college.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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