A Crosslinks gap year offers first-class opportunities for service, evangelism and discipleship overseas.
Working alongside local Christians, our gap year teams experience life in a new country whilst sharing the good news of Jesus with the people they meet. You’ll build relationships with the other team members and with local people as you engage in practical, useful work. Team bible studies and seminars will help you to grow in your faith. You’ll get the chance to travel, experience a different culture, serve God, get a taste of 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 and 18 or over by the time you travel overseas.
Where can I go and what will I do?
A typical gap year team is made up of up to 10 school leavers (male and female) and two team leaders, usually slightly older. Experienced mission partners host the team for the duration of the placement.
In 2022, we hope to send teams to Kenya, South Africa and The Gambia (January to May 2022).
In The Gambia, the team will work in schools alongside the national Christian Union. Activities may involve:
- Going to schools to teach lessons and run bible studies and Christian Union meetings.
- 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, joining the TransformD discipleship programme. Activities may involve:
- Mission trips to different local cultural groups.
- Serving in and with a local church.
- Helping with youth and kids work.
- Some 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?
When we accept you into a gap year team, we invite you to two initial team weekends. These are usually held in October and November. You’ll get chance to meet your team and think about your time overseas together. You’ll cover practicalities and get your questions answered.
We also ask you to attend a four-day residential orientation course, just before Christmas. You’ll get input on communication, cultural issues, child protection and safety. You’ll explore ‘What is Mission?’ and other topics that will equip you for your time abroad. We also take care of practical arrangements for your trip. We’ll set up your accommodation, arrange your itinerary and co-ordinate your flights.
What if my parents are worried about my safety?
We receive regular updates from the Foreign Office about security in the places our mission partners are working. Our partners are well aware of security situations and keep us abreast of their concerns. If there is any concern about safety, we do not send a team out. We brief all our team leaders fully, ensuring they know how to follow a clear set of emergency procedures. We provide comprehensive insurance cover for our short-term volunteers.
What support do you offer when I’m overseas?
We have a dedicated short-term mission co-ordinator who keeps in regular contact with team leaders. During your time overseas, your team leaders will look after you on a day-to-day basis. We also ask gap year teams to write regular joint news and prayer letters. Before you leave the UK, you tell us who you would like to receive your updates. On your behalf, we then send these letters to churches, families and friends who are supporting you in prayer. We also put them on our website.
What happens when I get back?
After the trip, you take part in a debriefing day with our short-term co-ordinator. This meeting usually takes place within a month of return. It is a time for you and your team to discuss and reflect on your time together. In some cases, we can give ongoing support in conjunction with your church.
How much will it cost?
Depending on location, it costs Crosslinks around £3,000 per person to support you while you carry out your charitable work in a gap year team. We look to all volunteers to raise at least this amount of funds for the society before you go. This comprehensive payment covers the costs of your 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 (usually one month before you go). You can choose to pay by instalment or all at once.
How can I apply?
The deadline to apply for 2022 teams has now passed. Email Daisy if you are interested in joining a 2022 team or would like to find out about 2023 teams.
You can find the team members' application form here and an application for team leaders here (for over 21s). 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.
What happens next?
If we think you could fit into one of our teams, we take up the references you supply. We then invite you to our London office for a short, friendly and informal interview to get to know you better. We let you know within a few of weeks whether we can accept you into our gap-year mission scheme. When we have completed all interviews and confirmed our team leaders, we assign you to a country team. We cannot guarantee mission in the country of your choice but we take your preference into consideration and do our best to match preferences with teams.
Anything else I need to know?
Offers depend on passing a DBS (disclosure and barring service) check and health clearance, both of which we arrange for you. We then make you a formal offer to join a Crosslinks gap year team and ask you to sign an agreement.
What some previous gap year team members have said:
Phil, The Gambia
'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!'
Kayley, South Africa
'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!'
'A great opportunity to strengthen your faith, meet new people, explore a new culture and make a difference.'
'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!'