A Crosslinks gap year offers first-class opportunities for service, evangelism and discipleship overseas.

On a gap year with Crosslinks, you'll experience life in a new country while sharing the good news of Jesus with the people you meet. As part of a small team, you'll engage in practical, useful work, take part in team bible studies and seminars, and get the chance to travel and experience a different culture. It's a great way to get a taste of overseas mission work and have fun!

Who can apply?

If you are a committed Christian and a school leaver up for a challenge, this is for you! You must be a UK resident aged 18 or over by the time of the trip.

Where can I go and what will I do?

A typical gap year team is made up of 10 school leavers (male and female) and two team leaders. Experienced mission partners host the team for the duration of the placement. 

We hope to send teams to Kenya, South Africa and The Gambia from January to May 2023. 

In The Gambia, the team will work in schools alongside the national Christian Union. Activities may involve:

  • Teaching and running bible studies in schools.
  • Serving in and with a local church.
  • Helping run youth and children’s activities at conferences.
  • Participating in university student outreach.
  • Taking a break and exploring The Gambia.

In Kenya, the team will work alongside mission partners Gerald and Louise Mwangi and TransformD. Activities may involve:

  • Mission trips to different local cultural groups.
  • Serving in and with a local church.
  • Helping with youth and kids work.
  • Teaching in local schools.
  • Taking a break and exploring Kenya.

In South Africa, the team will join James and Lucy Buchanan at Hope Church in Johannesburg. Activities may involve:

  • Leading youth groups and children’s clubs.
  • Giving talks and leading bible studies for children and teenagers.
  • Studying part-time at Johannesburg Bible College.
  • Taking a break and exploring South Africa.

How will you help me prepare?

Team members will take part in two team weekends away in October and November, where you'll meet each other and think about your time overseas together. You'll then be asked to attend a four-day residential orientation course in December. There will be input on communication, cultural issues and safety, plus training on mission and other topics. Practical arrangements for your trip such as accommodation, itinerary and flights will be taken care of for you.

What if my parents are worried about my safety?

We receive regular updates from the Foreign Office about security in the place you'll be serving in and our partners keep us abreast of any safety or security concerns. If there is any concern about safety, we will not send a team out. Team leaders are fully briefed on emergency procedures and we have comprehensive insurance cover. 

What support do you offer when I’m overseas?

Your team leaders will look after you on a day-to-day basis and they will be in regular contact with our dedicated gap year team co-ordinator. You will also write regular prayer letters that we'll send to your friends and family, so you will be well supported in prayer.

What happens when I get back?

Within a month of your return, we will organise a debriefing day for you and your team to discuss and reflect on your time together. 

How much will it cost?

It varies depending on location but it costs us around £3,000 per person to support you while you carry out charitable work in a gap year team. We look to all volunteers to raise at least this amount of funds for the society before they go. This comprehensive payment covers the costs of accommodation, meals, local travel, insurance, visas, team weekends, orientation training and other pre-travel administration. We’ll help you with budgeting and fundraising and arrange your flights using our charity discount air fares. Flights are provided at a separate cost and are authorised under Diversity Travel (ATOL 9566) and protected under the ATOL scheme. Aside from the budgeted items, team members will just need to cover their personal preparation costs, such as necessary vaccines. You might choose to raise sponsorship from your friends, family or church, or use personal savings or earnings to fund your trip. If you are accepted into a team, we ask you to pay the full amount before the orientation conference in December. You can choose to pay by instalment or all at once.

How can I apply?

We are now accepting applications for teams for 2023. If you're applying to be a team member, download, complete and return this form. To be a team leader (over 21s) fill in this form. You'll also need to sign our Declaration of Belief. Please discuss your application with your church leader as we will contact this person about you. Contact Beth if you have any questions.

What happens next?

If we think you could fit into one of our teams, we'll take up the references you supply. We'll then invite you to our London office for a friendly and informal interview. We'll let you know within a few of weeks whether we can accept you into a team. When we have completed all interviews and confirmed our team leaders, we'll assign you to a country team. We cannot guarantee you'll go to the country of your choice but we'll do our best to match your preferences. After this, we'll ask you to complete DBS and health checks. If you pass both, we will then make you a formal offer to join a team and ask you to sign an agreement.

What some previous gap year team members have said:

'My experience of a short-term mission placement in one that I will surely not forget. Serving God and living with a group of Christian brothers and sisters in a different culture has been one of the most memorable, instrumental and precious months of my life and walk with Christ. I will cherish every experience I had during the placement. I am so glad I chose to take a gap year and venture on a short-term mission programme with Crosslinks to strengthen my faith in Christ, to form some invaluable friendships and to prepare to stand firm on God’s word at university. I would highly recommend the Crosslinks’ short-term mission programme!' Phil, The Gambia

'Go for it! If you’re looking to take a gap year and you want to grow as a Christian you need to be thrown in the deep end. By being taken out of my comfort zone I was able to develop my own deeper relationship with Christ and have the amazing opportunity to teach about him to so many kids. I have made friends for life and learnt so much about other cultures that has truly humbled me. Hope Church is such a special place – ministries are always growing and there is always so much to praise and pray for!' Kayley, South Africa

'A great opportunity to strengthen your faith, meet new people, explore a new culture and make a difference.' James, Thailand 

'I absolutely loved it and am SO glad I went! I would definitely recommend it. It was a chance to meet wonderful people and make amazing friends – both from Kenya and the UK – and help one another serve God in a new setting. It was also the chance to be refreshed by and immersed in gospel truths whilst surrounded by Christians. Coming from a Christian family, it was great to have time to really think about my decision to follow Jesus for myself, before the wordly noise of uni started shouting at me. I miss it already!' Lucy, Kenya