Leading a Crosslinks gap year team is a brilliant opportunity to invest in young adults. You'll help them grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus and prepare them for life and ministry at university and the workplace.
The training opportunity that leading a Crosslinks team provides is one which is hard to find elsewhere: as well as gaining a taste of cross-cultural mission, team leaders gain experience in bible teaching and pastoral care. The primary reason our gap year teams have leaders is so that team members can be discipled.
Roles of male and female team leaders may differ – though both must be willing and able to do the following.
- Teaching: Leading bible studies and seminars and teaching team members to prepare and lead studies themselves.
- Modeling: Showing team members what Christian discipleship and evangelism look like.
- Overseeing: Looking after safety, the team programme, holidays and finances.
In terms of support and accountability, team leaders will:
- Receive relevant training and orientation from Crosslinks.
- Work closely with the host organisation, meeting weekly with them to report and review how the team is getting on.
- Speak fortnightly with the Crosslinks short-term co-ordinator to discuss any issues.
- Have close accountability relationships with church family and friends at home.
Why should I lead a Crosslinks gap year team?
Olivia Bertie, who led a team to the Gambia wrote, 'It was one of the biggest privileges of my life so far. I cannot recommend leading a Crosslinks gap team highly enough for followers of Jesus. This is because as a leader, with and through others, I was personally…
Growing – there’s nothing like being out of our comfort zone and at the end of ourselves to make us depend on Christ Jesus and his words and so know him better and trust him more, and we all want that!
Learning – Learning Jesus and learning ‘ministry’. Jesus was with us as leaders, teaching us himself and what he’s like and teaching us to lead and teach others.
Giving – giving up western securities and comforts and not getting on the career ladder, that nine baby Christians might know God and know what Jesus has done for them and everything that he is, was the best best thing.
Tasting – Tasting, in brief and not at all in full, some of the heart-stopping wonder of an overseas missionary who goes somewhere different to where they’ve always known with Jesus and finds the same Lord to be at work there. I tasted for myself that overseas mission is possible and wonderful. I guess I ultimately discovered Jesus to be bigger and better than the fears, security, comforts, idols and assumptions I went with.'
Who can apply?
We look for team leaders who have some proven experience of bible teaching and one-to-one pastoral care. Many leaders have led teams in conjunction with, or following, a ministry apprenticeship or as a sabbatical from work or after university.
In order to apply you must be:
- Over 21 years old.
- A committed Christian, involved with a local church who will continue to partner with and support you during the placement.
- A UK or Irish resident.
- Free to be abroad from January to May and able to prepare in the months beforehand.
- Able to demonstrate some leadership experience (not necessarily in a Christian context).
- Able to work well with others.
- Willing to adapt to another culture.
What previous team leaders have said about their experiences:
Simon, The Gambia
'It was an epic four and a half months. Being totally submerged in another culture whilst holding out just the same gospel, taught me so much and provided many opportunities and experiences. I loved being part of a team, exploring a totally different country and growing in our love of Christ together. It’s not without challenges, for sure, but I look back and see what a brilliant time it’s been.'
Fi, The Gambia
I would really recommend this – it’s an incredible opportunity to spend longer periods of time pouring over and delighting in God’s word and you have the real blessing of encouraging younger Christians in their faith as they prepare for the next stage in life. You can help point them to God through this, whilst also sharing the gospel in another culture.
'It was an incredible experience that taught me lots about bible teaching, discipleship and cross-cultural mission. It also taught me about the value and importance of investing a lot of time in teenagers and young people. My advice to anyone who has a few months spare is to go for it! If you don’t have an obvious career break, think of a how you might engineer one in order to make a trip possible. It’s worth it!'
'It was some of the most amazing months of my life. It was wonderful to spend so much time in God’s word and having the privilege of teaching it to others. It was also amazing to meet so many brothers and sisters from another country and both encourage them and be encouraged by them. I would definitely encourage others to do this trip, both as leaders and as members of a team. Such a great way to spend a gap year!'