The long awaited day arrives—caps, gowns, and diplomas mark an important event—graduation day is upon you and, finally, high school days are done!
It’s a time of celebration and transition for the entire family. You know what you’re graduating from. But do you know what you’re graduating to?
The word “graduate” also conveys the meaning of something divided into sections or intervals. When the graduation ceremony is a memory, the first interval of life will have ended. What does the next one hold?
The answer to this question is determined by one vitally important element: preparation.
The first eighteen years, the first interval, of a student’s life are spent in basic preparation for adulthood. This preparation happens within the mostly parentally-controlled environments of family, church, and school. High school graduation marks the point when the environments are no longer controlled by parents. After graduation, teens will make choices as to the environments to which they are exposed.
Most people in older generations are supremely aware that every environment has a controlling agent—someone is in charge and sets the tone. However, those just graduating from high school have not yet come face to face with this fact. They look forward to the days of choosing their own courses and determining their own environments.
Yet when these teens enter the college doors, they are in for a rude awakening. Every classroom is controlled by a faculty member; every job is controlled by a manager; every dorm is controlled by an advisor; every dorm room is controlled by its strongest occupant. This pattern will continue throughout life. There will always be someone controlling the environment in which we find ourselves. Rarely, will we be the ones in control.
Since control of external environments is a rarity, the best we can hope for is having our teens prepared to face life as the ones who choose their internal environments—the way they react and respond to the external environments of their lives. While the training in this life skill received in the first eighteen years of life is crucial, students will not fully comprehend the implications until facing life head-on. Not only do students need to realize all environments are controlled by others, it is imperative that they are prepared for life by realizing we each determine who or what will set our internal controls.
Christian students (of all colleges, especially secular) will be required to be exposed to certain externally controlled environments that may be in opposition to personal beliefs and values. If they are not prepared in advance to rely upon their own internal environment and controls, they may be taken unaware and their thinking skewed by contrary worldviews.
The internal environment of a Christian is faith. Without it, we cannot please God and we cannot face the external control of the world without faith being the rock on which we stand. Even the strongest of Christians has found their faith weakened by the extremes of external environment and fiery darts of doubt. We must strengthen our young people to stand strong.
1. Studies show: only 18% of millennials attend church at all. (Pew Research)
After Impact 360 Gap Year experience: 86% attend church services one or more times per week.
2. Studies show: 70% of young people between the ages of 18 and 22 have not attended church for a year or more. (Lifeway Research)
After Impact 360 Gap Year experience: 4% of alumni stopped attending church for a year or more.
3. Studies show: only 6% of young people believe moral truth is unchanging. (Barna Group)
After Impact 360 Gap Year experience: nearly 90% believe moral truth is unchanging.
We are losing our young people by failing to prepare them for the alien environmental controls of college life. We need to bolster their faith and prepare them for the external controls that can rob them of their faith.
The Impact 360 Gap Year is a 9-month Christian worldview and leadership experience located in Pine Mountain, GA for students 18-20 years of age. The program features classes that focus on developing a biblical worldview, life and spiritual formation, vocational understanding, as well as a one-month international experience.
We here at Impact 360 seek to provide the skills needed by teens entering the college scene—the second interval of life. We strive to help them develop a strong internal environment of faith to face the college experience with strength and confidence. It is our desire to provide young people with the tools they need to stand firm in their faith and face the challenging external environments of college life by discovering and employing their own personal beliefs and convictions. We challenge them to “choose for [themselves] this day whom you will serve”. We will help them live out Paul’s insight that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) and we will prepare them to follow their own internal controls by reminding them that it is the shield of faith that quenches the fiery darts of doubt and confusion (Eph. 6:16).
At Impact 360 Institute, we’d like to partner with you in this amazing time of transition to a new interval of life. We would like to help your student enter the college experience with a heart filled with strong, confident faith—ready to choose to serve the Lord each day. Our Gap Year team is made up of experts in the fields of biblical worldview, higher education, and engaging culture. All are here to assist you in guiding your student through this crucial time. We strive to equip parents and teens with a Christ-centered approach as you transition to the college years. We can help you build a plan and gain the needed confidence to assist your student as he or she strives to live a life of faith, especially on campus. It’s never too early to start preparing for this new interval of life.
To find out more about Impact 360 Gap Year, visit http://impact360institute.org/gap-year.