Ready to leave high school behind but not ready to jump straight into further study or work? With one in four Australians choosing to take a gap year, Trinity College Queensland’s Activate program provides a challenging new option for Christians. Dianne Jensen reports.
Trinity College Queensland Activate coordinator Simon Gomersall has developed an innovative three-days-a-week gap year program aimed at post-secondary young adults taking time out to consider their future.
“Primarily this is a program to help young people to think meaningfully through their faith and to prepare themselves for whatever vocation they may enter into, whether it’s a doctor or an engineer or a teacher or a carpenter,” says Simon.
Students will undertake an accredited Diploma in Ministry, local and overseas mission and service activities as well as a mental health first aid course, safe driving course, camping and recreational activities.
At the heart of the program is the creation of a vibrant Christian community where young people will be nurtured and stretched in their faith.
“As Trinity undertakes responsibility for stimulating theological education in Queensland we see this as one of the ways we can engage younger generations in spiritual formation and theological education,” says Simon.
“It may be that some of the students who come and do the Activate program discover a love for theological education and want to continue with that, or it may be that some years down the track they’ll hear God’s call and respond to that. Whatever their vocation, we want them to hear that sense of God’s call on their lives.”
As part of the program, young people will learn practical skills such as cooking for large groups and barista training. They’ll also move outside their comfort zone by working with local community service agencies and experiencing overseas mission.
With fewer churches offering youth and young adult groups, Simon believes that Activate will provide fertile ground for young Christians transitioning to adulthood.
“I’m hoping that the experience of Christian community will really fuel the imagination of a cohort of young people who will go back to their churches and want to recreate that, or want to contribute in ways that allow others to experience it.”
The inaugural 2018 intake will take advantage of an introductory all-inclusive fee which will cover all costs for the equivalent cost of the academic component, allowing the full program to be covered using FEE-HELP.