Flourishing: A lifetime of learning in just nine months

Meeks Presentation

Impact 360 Institute’s Gap Year is a 9-month academic intensive committed to equipping future generations to become Christ-centered servant leaders. The program challenges students to use the knowledge and experience gained from their Gap Year experience to stand firm in Truth on their college campuses and in the marketplace.

At the heart of the Gap Year experience is our desire to encourage students to “Know. Be. Live.” We want each student to understand the nature of God and how to see the Bible as the standard of Truth for their faith, life and work. As they begin to know why they believe, students are encouraged to seek God’s vision for their future through leadership training, personal assessment and true, Christian community. Then, as they learn how to seek God’s plan for their lives, students are encouraged to live out their faith and bring the Gap Year mission to life – whether serving on campus, in their hometown, or on the other side of the world.

As a part of their leadership training at Gap Year, students are introduced to the “SERVE” model of leadership developed by executives at Chick-fil-A, Inc. At Chick-fil-A, “service” refers to both an attitude – an underlying desire to serve – and specific practices that servant leaders exhibit on a regular basis. “SERVE” is an acronym that reminds us all to See the future; Engage and develop others; Reinvent continuously; Value results and relationships; and Embody the values that have become the pillars for a successful life.

All of these ideas and ideals became evident as we saw our Gap Year students deliver their final presentations at Chick-fil-A headquarters a few weeks ago.

Caleb Pi
delivered an impassioned presentation about Faith and Reason wherein he encouraged the audience to live a flourishing life. “When we are fulfilling our purpose,” he said, “we produce fruit. And we all have opportunities every day to speak truth into other people’s lives that will allow those fruits to flourish.”

He said that too many Christians are falling into the trap of believing that our aspirations are not grounded in Truth, but that when we are following God’s call on our lives and living faithfully, we are living our a biblical faith that cannot be argued or dismissed. Caleb looks forward to taking what he has learned at Gap Year to his own classroom one day to “use the classroom as a platform to build relationships and gain access to deeper conversations about the true nature of God and His will for our lives as believers.”

Caleb concluded by saying that “we all have a purpose to fulfill, and we simply need to trust God to bear fruit with the lives we choose to lead.”

Miriam Meeks delivered her final presentation about “Art and Poetry.” Miriam is an artist who believes that God allows artists to restore goodness and brokenness in a fallen world as they remember the beatitudes and to always be “poor in spirit, pure in heart, merciful and meek.”

Miriam believes that art has become distorted because of the Fall, but that “God will allow us to restore His beauty to its original nature and purpose as we glorify Him and allow others to discover Truths they never would have known without our creations.”

Miriam concluded her presentation with a beautiful poem and plea about her hope of sharing pieces of His glory: “Let me create … so that others may see… what He has for us and what He has dreamed… Let me create.”

Finally, Matthew Guzman shared about “Music.” He began with the fact that music is all around us. Every day. “But what are the messages that we are receiving and delivering? What do these messages make us think about life and our place in it?”

Matthew mentioned that music – no matter the genre – affects the brain, whether it be through inspirational messaging, ambient sounds that inspire creativity or pace or content that drives our attitudes and relationships. “As Christians, we have an opportunity to create music and drive a culture that will allow people to engage with one another and redefine what it means to be inspired and ‘moved’ by the sounds that we are all impacted by every day.”

To learn more about the Impact 360 Institute Gap Year experience, visit IMPACT360.net. To watch our commissioned students’ final presentations that were delivered at Chick-fil-A headquarters, visit our YouTube page.