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Union, Lifeshape ‘gap-year’ program to focus on worldview

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Union University and Lifeshape Foundation have announced a partnership for a nine-month “gap-year” residential program primarily for students ages 18-20 who wish to delay entrance into college for a year or are unsure of what they want to do with their lives.

Named Impact 360, the program will seek to help build a new generation of Christian leaders who understand their calling in life.

Lifeshape Foundation was founded by John and Trudy Cathy White, affiliated with Chick-fil-A.

Union will work with Lifeshape to develop the curriculum and provide some of the instructors and mentors in the program, which will be housed at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.

“Not many traditionally Christian universities understand the need to ground students in the biblical Christian worldview to prepare them to live the life that Christ intended for them,” said Larry Cox of Lifeshape’s executive leadership team. “Union gets it. Union University has a heart for taking the Gospel to all peoples, and Lifeshape wants to join hands with them to help prepare students to be God’s agent of change in their culture.”

Lifeshape’s vision is that Christians should help break “the cycle of spiritual poverty” around the world, according to the foundation’s purpose statement.

Toward that end, Impact 360 will help such students develop a biblical Christian worldview through intense classroom work, discussion groups, service opportunities and a month-long international experience.

“These will be students who will end up becoming Christian doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, teachers -– who have a strong heart for missions, a strong heart for service in the community, a strong heart for leadership with integrity,” said Gene Fant, chairman of Union’s English department and curriculum consultant for the partnership.

The program will consist of four months of diverse service experiences and learning activities, followed by a month-long trip to an Eastern European country. The final four months will be spent “unpacking” the international experience, Fant said, with additional service and classroom time. It will include guest speakers and time for small groups, reading and reflection.

Participating students will earn 15 hours of credit from Union University. Union University President David S. Dockery will serve on the advisory board of Impact 360 as part of the partnership.

“Union’s involvement in Impact is a natural overflow of our prioritization of Christian worldview that combines the Christian intellectual tradition and the idea of service,” Dockery said. “These students will be effective in engaging our culture precisely because they have earned such a privilege through their commitment to service.”
For more information about Impact 360, visit www.lifeshape.org/impact360 or call (678) 999-2181, extension 360.

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