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7 Reasons To Take a Gap-Year With Us

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Having been around for decades in Europe, Gap-Year is only now becoming a known term in the great old US of A. There is a reason it works and here are 7 of many reasons for you to do a gap-year with us.


1. Grow in Relationship with God
The 360 Experience is designed to provide a rich environment for you to be able to get to know God. This is accomplished through various teachings on the Christian life, consistent times of worship and prayer, personal mentorship, community discipleship, structured quiet times, Bible based assignments, and much more. This will be perhaps the only time in your life when you get to devote all of your time to simply growing in God and developing yourself through Him.


2. Know Who You Are
The Bible says we are made in the image of God. The more you get to know Him the more you will find out about yourself. During your time with The 360 Experience, you will have the ability to discover who God created you to be and find your identity in Him. We also place an emphasis on practical self-discovery and development. You will cultivate your passions and strengths as well as learn how to allow what you do flow from who you are.


3. Save Time & Money
The average college tuition costs roughly $30,000 a year. 80% of college students change their major at least once, and on average students change their major up to THREE times! That is an extra cost of $30-80,000! Less than half of college graduates say their college education was worth the time and money. Taking a gap year will allow you to discover who you are and develop your passion and identity in a safe environment. With a greater understanding of who you are and what your place is in the world, you will be more prepared to go to college and focus on what you want to do! 

4. Life Experience 
You will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set aside 9 months of your life simply to pursue God and explore life with Him. You will gain practical experience in evangelism, ministry, fitness, arts, cooking, humanitarian aid, running a home, leadership, and more. You will also gain deep lasting relationships, step out of your comfort zone, try new things, learn a lot, and see the world.

5. Develop Your Self
Self development seems to have become a rather popular undertaking these days. We value Biblical self development and are committed to helping you grow as a Christian and as a young adult. Above all, this is a dedicated time for God to reveal Himself to you and in turn, help you grow into who He created you to be. Using resources such as Gallups Strengthsfinder, DISC Profile, Meyers Briggs, and others, you will get to find out your personality traits, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you interact with the world. This will help you to determine what you want to do with your life and how you can succeed.


6. Setup Your Future for Success
60% of young adult Christians fall away from the faith once they go to college. You don’t have to be part of this statistic. Devoting a year of your life to growing a stronger faith and relationship with God will equip you to successfully navigate through your college career and the rest of your life as a Christian. An alarming less than 1 in 5 young adults have any idea why the Bible is important and applicable to every day life. We believe the Bible is vital for the Christian life and have incorporated Biblical Worldview teaching into our curriculum. You will also gain practical teaching and training that will prepare you for the adult life, such as money management, marriage & family, work ethic, conflict resolution, communication, and more.


7. Help Change the World
During your time in The 360 Experience you will get to participate in various local relief and overseas outreach efforts. You will get to be part of helping to rebuild homes for Hurricane Sandy victims in NY, reach out to the local communities around Maine, and spend two months in a third-world nation. You will get to provide homes for those who lost them, bring hope to those who are hungry, fight human injustices, share the Gospel with those who have never heard the name of Jesus, and be equipped to fulfill the Great Commission wherever you go in life. 



The 2 Shall Become One – YWAM & The Local Church

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A friend asked me what it was like having YWAM partner with the local church, all of the benefits and challenges. When I began my answer, I spoke as a staff member of 360 Maine. I gave her all the ways it benefitted the students to be a part of the inner workings of the local church, and how it exposed the local church as the backbone of missions… you know, all the answers you can find right here on our website.

The challenges are what you won’t find on our site. What we encountered was no more than the usual challenge of marrying together two entities that have the same heart, but different ways of operating. It’s much like a marriage between two people; the first year is spent coming to understand how the other person operates and adapting together. Even in the midst of those difficulties, I saw great things happen as a result of bringing together YWAM and New Life, the local church partner here in Maine.

Towards the end of my response to my friend, I answered not from the perspective of a staff, but as a member of New Life. In the six years I’ve attended this church, I have never seen such growth than I did in this past year. Now, I don’t mean growth in numbers, but in our ability to reach out to the people to whom we’re already ministering, as well our reach into the surrounding community. We as a church have been involved in the community for some years now, with our Family Fun Fall Festival and Winter Fest, and each year they seem to get bigger, better, and see more people attending. This past year was no exception. In one of my conversations with our children’s pastor he explained that having students intern under him allowed more man power to get the smaller things done, thus freeing him up to dream big, and carry out some of the innovative ideas. 

It was encouraging not only to see the ministries growing, but the sense of community within our congregation. As a YWAM missionary, I know how important it is to have the support of the people at home. It’s so much more than financial support, but the moral support and encouragement of your church family, who get excited about the work God is doing through you. When I came back from my DTS, I had the notion that no one cared; after all, we had been prepared for the worst case scenario during our debrief time. As I spent more time with my church family, I discovered that not many people understood what I did and why I was doing it. Most of the church body doesn’t know how to support those in missions, apart from writing a check. 

This began to change when we brought YWAM to our church. The way people rallied around our students and invested in their 9-month journey was amazing to see. I saw YWAM’s value of being relationship oriented being lived out among our church members. As the only person who stayed back in Maine while everyone was on outreach, I became the middleman for communication. There was rarely a day when someone didn’t reach out to ask me how our students and staff were doing on the field. More and more our church looked like a living, moving, unified body. First, we took care of the members within the body so that together we could be the hands and feet of Christ out in the world. Just like in any marriage, the challenges pail in comparison to the beauty that is seen when two things with the same heart and vision are joined together, and work together in loving one another and showing Christ’s love to others.

by Natalia Barroso, staff of 360 Maine

Backyard Missions

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Former Students IMAGE

Sometimes missions means hopping on a plane and heading to a land of people much less fortunate, providing them with basic needs. Sometimes missions means adventuring to the beyond–to forge upon the forsaken ground, to reach the unreached. But sometimes missions means approaching the sullen soul in the grocery store. Sometimes missions means inviting someone new over for dinner and committing to share everyday life with them. Sometimes missions means taking the time to ask your cashier how their day is going. Sometimes missions means reconnecting with a long-lost friend and sharing with them how your life has changed. And sometimes missions means packing up a fifteen-passenger van and driving a few states down to offer oneself as a servant wherever needed.

Our school decided to ring in the New Year by living out Jesus’ primary command: love your neighbor. We partnered up with a church in Staten Island, New York to help out with hurricane Sandy relief. Though we are not professional contractors, builders, or demolitionists, we had one driving motivator and that was to serve where there was a need. Our week consisted of full workdays tearing down walls and ripping up floors, installing insulation, industrial cleanup (moving cement rubble, rotted wood, etc), framing windows, installing heaters, landscaping, and painting. We also spent one day driving from house to house shoveling the driveways and sidewalks for widows, pastors, and churches as well as doing housework for the mentally disabled.

You never know how God may use your eager hands to minister to a hungry heart. The simple action of dedicating yourself to help out a perfect stranger speaks volumes of God’s relentless and unconditional love that seeks out and saves the lost. I saw this played out personally in the life of a woman with whom I got to spend several days. A single mother, unemployed, and recently converted, Frances was losing hope. A year after the hurricane, her house was still in much need of repair. I got the privilege of taking part in restoring her home and making it more livable. As I helped with whatever need she presented, I was able to spend many hours talking with her and sharing life. It was amazing how instantly the Lord bonded our hearts and how He chose to use my limited time with her to sew seeds of eternity. Our last day together she drove me home in tears the entire time. She wept over the many hopeless situations she found herself stuck in, the despair and depression weighing down her own heart, and the reality that I was leaving. I had the amazing honor of praying over her, bringing hope and restoration, and speaking life into her darkness.

Even now, almost three weeks later, we stay in touch via phone calls, text messages, and emails, and God is still using me to speak into her life, pray with her, and shine His love where all seems lost. It greatly humbles me to hear her say, “It was a dream come true to meet you. You have blessed me so much. Please stay in touch.” Here I am, a twenty year-old single woman simply learning how to love my neighbor, failing at it every day, and yet God takes me and still uses me to draw others closer to Him.

Here at 360 our vision is not just to see missionaries sent to the field overseas. But rather our goal is to raise up a generation of missions-minded people wherever God leads them in life. It’s not about selling all of your possessions, making your family live on bread and water, and going into remote villages to tell people about Jesus. It’s about consecrating everything that you have to the Lord’s cause and using it for Him right where He placed you. We are called to be His hands and feet not just overseas, but right here with our neighbors. I would submit to you that if everyone loved their neighbor as Jesus commanded us to, we would see this world turned upside down. Jesus said, “Go,” and that starts right here in our very own backyard.

“The call of missions is to love Jesus in such a way that you don’t need a specific even or place to witness but that from a heart desiring to see humanity saved, we live every single moment committed to being witnesses of the Gospel and its transforming power.”

Believing is Seeing

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IMGA0086-e1390320280475With 84% of Americans identifying themselves as Christians, shouldn’t America be standing on a firmer foundation of morality and ethics? Why are we still debating over whether abortion is okay? Why are the masses fighting against what has been clearly defined as good and acceptable by God, in the name of equality?

The answer lies in the following statistic: only 9% of American adults have a Biblical worldview. According to the Barna Research group, this means that less than 1 out of 10 adults believe that there is absolute moral truth; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. The percentage is even less among young adults, with only 1% of 18-23 year-olds holding to these beliefs. With every generation that leads this country, we are moving farther away from the very foundation on which this country was built.

Still it not enough to simply know the statistics, to be aware of the deterioration; we must do something about it. That is why this week our students have been watching Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, which purposes to provide a Biblical worldview by focusing on different aspects of life and culture and explaining how they are defined by God’s Word. After each of the twelve lessons, the students had time to discuss what they heard, ask questions, and at times wrestle with the truths that challenged their beliefs.

The question that everyone kept asking themselves was, “do I really believe that what I believe is really real?” With most of the students having come from a churched background, they had to self-examine and see if the truths they learned from the Bible held up in the way they perceive different aspects of life, and most importantly, in their actions and manner of living. It was made evident that whether it is a conscious thing or not, a person’s beliefs will define how he or she sees things and how they live.

Our aim, not only with this week’s teachings, but with the entire 360 Experience, is to do more than provide knowledge of what a Biblical Worldview is; it is to have the students use the knowledge to examine their lives and proceed in walking in the truth. Too often people are spoon-fed information and told what to believe, whether in church, or even by the media. It is time to train up a generation that will seek truth and apply it. Though the statistics are alarming, it should not cause despair. There is still time before this generation of young adults are the ones in power, leading the nation. The average age of the president at inauguration is 55. So there is still the opportunity to make a difference, to correct our course, but we must start now.