So many people have asked me about what I’m doing with this year, I’ve decided to write a cover all blog post about it.
This year, I’m doing a Christian gap year course called year 13 [so named because you do it after year 12, and it takes only one year]. Every Wednesday and Thursday [for some people it’s Thursdays and Fridays, and yet others do it in blocks of three weeks], I head up to Loftus in the Sutherland shire and we cover everything, essentially, that makes a good Christian leader. We’ve done Biblical Theology of Mission [how does the Bible fit together in a way that actually impacts our lives?], Ethics [answers to all of life’s sticky questions], are going to be tackling Apologetics [how to explain Christianity in a loving, non Bible bashing way], Practical Ministry things [like how to run a kids program]. You also get to do some super helpful extras like getting your Scripture Certification, First Aid Certificate and Safe Ministry Accreditation. Even for people who this isn’t necessary for [anyone not teaching Scripture or being a leader within the Anglican Diocese] [I, for instance, am neither], it’s been super helpful in everything else I do.
Having those two days a week means I have time to work [building up funds for uni], some recreational time [rest and relaxation], and as part of the course you have to do two ministries, so it’s given me the opportunity to get stuck into the things I love, like Sunday School. You also get a plan to read the Bible in a year [questions are answered by lecturers during the week], hear some kicking sermons and meet some new mates to catch up with.
In short, it has so far been the best year of my life. Being constantly surrounded by people my own age who are passionate about the most important things in my life- Christ, ministry, and being young and free- is an incredible freedom and privilege I never imagined I would be able to partake in. In a few days [!] I’ll have the opportunity to head over to Fiji on a mission trip with these guys, and it’s something I didn’t think I would feel prepared for. Yet, after just a few months, I actually think I might be able to tackle it, especially surrounded by these amazing people of faith. I can’t express how grateful I am for the people who led me to do this this year, and I definitely don’t regret taking a year out before uni. As was pointed out on the open day, it’s a good time to clear your head and focus on what you love. I’ve had time to seriously consider what I career I want to pursue instead of jumping into a course I didn’t have the energy or motivation for yet. I have built relationships that will carry me through the rest of my life and provide strength and support for years to come. I have so many wicked memories under my belt from nights spent hearing testimonies, receiving and giving encouragement and sharing life with people who were, a few months ago, strangers. Plus, a lot of us are going to uni next year, and now we’ll know a few strong Christians already.
If you are thinking about your faith, and how you can grow it, get closer to God, do Year 13.
If Year 12 is overwhelming you and you can’t imagine jumping straight into a career, do Year 13.
If you’re worried about your social life, and not knowing enough amazing people, do Year 13.
If you are a Christian teenager, and this is your HSC year, next year, DO YEAR 13.