What will my year look like?
Teaching and training
Students will take part in our exciting Daytime Eastgate School of Spiritual Life (ESSL) programme. ESSL runs for 2 days a week. For more info see the ESSL pages.
As part of the ESSL programme, you will have opportunities to go on two mission trips with others from the school. Travelling with others on the course and bringing God’s love to various locations around the UK and Europe is an incredible opportunity to see what God is doing through His Church around the world. These are financed by individuals and are not included in the cost of Thrive.
The rest of the week will consist of volunteering within Eastgate, alongside the staﬀ and team here. Students will be assigned to one of four diﬀerent streams, serving alongside the leaders in these areas:
- Children’s Ministry
Students can state a preference for which area they wish to focus on. Each stream will vary, but are likely to include both day time and evening activities. Your stream mentor will help to form your timetable. By working alongside the Eastgate team you will be trained, given the opportunity to lead and the chance to contribute meaningfully to all that God is doing through Eastgate.
Here are some stories from our previous Thrive students about their year.
I took the GAP year because I wanted a year to discover more about myself and as someone who had been going to Eastgate already, I knew it was a comfortable and safe environment to grow in myself as a person.
It was a step of faith for me taking part in this GAP year but I’m so incredibly grateful that I took this opportunity because the amount of blessings that have came my way, the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met inside and outside Eastgate while I’ve been on my GAP year have been amazing. I just know this was Gods way of showing me he’s looking out for me and he appreciated the step of faith I took. I can actually say for sure that this has been one of the best years of my life.
My favourite thing about the GAP year has been the people and the community. Like I mentioned already, Eastgate is such a safe environment to grow in yourself. I’ve even been given the great privilege of being mentored by people who have lot’s of experience in the particular field I want to go into after I finish the GAP year at Eastgate, which is media. It’s also been great to witness the growth of Eastgate Media while I’ve been here and it’s been a privilege to be apart of it. I am certainly looking forward to seeing where it goes within the next few years.
I am a part of the media team at Eastgate. I’m in usually on Mondays, Tuesdays and even other days when I’m offered to come in and help with certain film shoots. My role in the Media Team is predominately within the editing process of a lot of our videos. The video announcements for the Eastgate Sunday Services take up most of my time, which I shoot with the help of some of the other members of the Eastgate Media Team and edit myself. I’m also going to get involved with the Heaven in Health Care show that is currently in the works by the Eastgate Media team.
ESSL has been an amazing experience. First of all I’ll start by saying that the community there is amazing. It’s going to be truly sad to say good bye to everyone at the end of the year because we really are like a big family and the internal support there is so great.
The teachings I’ve received though throughout this year have been incredible. I really believe, that this is what I needed before heading out into the next step of my life (which is University for me). I’ve discovered so much more about my identity and built even more of a relationship with God, which was one of my main intentions before I started this GAP year. Now I can take this and apply it to the rest of my life.
The school really is a mad place but in a good way. You will be amazed by the crazy testimonies of healing and grace that you will you hear week in and out and even potentially witness first hand.
After finishing college, I knew 2 things: I wanted to take a year out and spend a lot of it in church. My sister recommended Eastgate after doing Day School. Seeing how much she enjoyed it and the way it transformed her I decided to go for it! I’ve always wanted to get involved in worship and here was my chance!
I’ve loved Every. Single. Part. from using my creativity to create social graphics as well as a newsletter for Eastgate Music to singing with amazing and encouraging people on a Sunday and at EGY worship. I’ve also been able to join in with so many amazing things that have added to my development as a person and a believer like the Worship School, Youth and other conferences and events. The way my Gap Year leaders have trusted me and encouraged me to get involved in whatever I want, as much I want to has been a real highlight and has meant I haven’t only grown in my confidence in music but also in many other areas. It has given me a chance to push myself outside my comfort zone and explore areas that I wouldn’t have thought to otherwise. Being in an environment where Holy Spirit is so clearly sewn into everything has been so important in the outworking of what we are taught during ESSL. The people you get to meet is also a big part of it! Namely, the other Gap Year students… It’s so nice to have other people who are at the same stage in life as you that are also just trying things out. Everyone is so supportive and empowering – you end up really feeling like part of the family. There is always someone to help if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you just need someone to talk to, like Jo and David Carter. There really is freedom to be yourself, discover God’s calling for you, mess up a few times but mostly succeed!
My choice to apply for the Eastgate Gap year was initially a bit unexpected for me. It all started after I finished school in Sweden and desired to spend a year for God. I was hungry to grow and experience more of what God had for me. The first thing I had in mind was to rent a cabin for a year, but as it was difficult to actually find something reasonable. I had to rethink. At one point I was having a chat with my Pastor about bible schools. I said that if I would do one, I would like to do it in an English speaking country. My intention was to invest in English while doing a Gap Year for future studies. However, my pastor eventually remembered and mention that there was this school in England he had heard about once. What he said about it made me interested and I started to check it out. What I didnt expect was that they had a Gap Year running which involved the day school. I thought that was really convenient and seemed to be something that would be great to be a part of. I eventually chose gladly to apply with high expectations on what were to come.
Having almost finished my Gap Year, now I can say that it has been better than I expected. The maturity and culture of freedom that exist here has been a huge springboard for me to step further into my calling in God. Apart from how much good stuff the day school has given me, I have also enjoyed being a part of the Eastgate staff and contributing to the youth work. The staff here is really keen on encouraging and seeing each other grow in different areas. Personally, they have given me several opportunities to plan, lead and talk on several occasions. The people here and the culture they cultivate has been a safe place for me to feel secure and confident in taking responsibilities. With English as my second language, I have felt comfortable to lead both youth sessions, events as well as a family service where I got to preach. When you’re here as a Gap Year student, be keen and ready to seize opportunities as you are given more responsibility in this environment. It will really benefit you and help you grow.
During this year I have also had opportunities to do graphic designing and be involved in music. I had experience of both graphic designing and music before I came here, but it has been great fun to revisit and play around with these things. In a sense, my stream turned into not just be about youth, but more like a mixture of youth, media and music. On the other hand, it has still been purely a youth stream since everything I have done has been youth related. Anyway, it has suited me very well.
Getting to know my fellow Gap Year students has been great as well. Spending loads of time with each other and watching how we all develop individually have probably been more significant than I always have been aware of. The aspect of being on a similar journey together with other Gap Year students adds another relational dimension to the whole year which is very good.
Summing up, I would say that experiencing this presence centered culture, taking on different responsibilities as well as getting more rooted in my true identity has really equipped me to move stronger and further into more of the life God has for me.
If you want to position yourself to surrender your life to God for a year and experience increase in whatever God has for you, this Gap Year should definitely be an option for you to consider.
I took the Gap year because I wasn’t sure if University for me and I was massively put off by costs and felt that I hadn’t done enough time exploring other options. Also, I was talking to God about what he wanted me to do next year.
When considering what I would do for my next year I asked God if there is anything, he would like me to do. Sometimes the way God speaks to me is he says a small amount to me and will tell me more as time goes on. So, when I asked him what he wanted me to do and he said he wanted me to take a gap year. So, then I asked where he might want to do and where I might do it. No response. This was on a Wednesday. So, I started to look around at some of the options that are around. With loads of options around I went to God, “okay, in this next week can you provide me with an option for next year”. Then on that following Sunday my youth leader came up to me and said, “we are thinking about running a gap year here would you be interested in doing it?”. I was excited, such a God moment. That was something I know that God really had his hand in. So, I deffered my university place to allow me to do this gap year.
For this year we get to do the daytime school as well as our two days volunteering. School has been an amazing experience this year and I have learnt so much. I have really discovered more about who I am and what I carry. I have grown so much in my relationship and connection with God. And now I am surer of my calling, my destiny and my purpose. It’s something I would recommend, the worship, the teaching, the outreach and the whole experience.
On our two days volunteering, it’s a really great environment to work in, really fun place to work and they will keep you busy. You have some great colleagues and mentors for your year and everyone wants you to succeed and have a great year.
Some of my best parts of the year have been getting to know and work with the other staff but also with the other GAP year students. It has been such a good year with so much fun and something I really could not recommend enough. Whether you’re debating university, apprenticeships or something else or you just want a year off from education then this is a really great option I recommend considering. It genuinely will change your life! 😊