Is the Standard Track Aways the Best Track?

by: Bob Reccord

I had opportunity this week to speak to a group of edgy young leaders who were charting their own trail…where clear trails haven’t existed before. Europe is not surprised by young men and women who don’t jump right from what we in America would call high school directly into the university. Rather, it is not unusual to take a “sandwich year.” But not so in the good ‘ole US of A.

Until now. My friends related to Chick-fil-A and the foundation LifeShape have created a super adventure for young adults between high school and college or, if desired… after a short bit of college… blaze new trails stretching through a September to May frontier in which they tackle challenges like world-view, vocation (career or calling?!?), carrying your witness to work, understanding your unique “wiring” and what God may be trying to say through that, and more.

I was impressed that these adventurers had the guts to get off the well worn ruts of conformity and chart their own course to deepen their convictions, mature their perspectives, travel and experience the streeeeetch of foreign culture. These guys and girls were serious about making their lives count!

But I guess it reflects in the foci of the program…

To build men and women with character that increasingly reflects Jesus Christ.

To drive home the reality that the true purpose of knowledge is to comprehend eternal truth.

To more clearly understand the calling on life that God places on each life…to Himself and to a Mission.

Having been with these leaders of tomorrow…and today…I feel a lot better about the future!!!! And, who knows, maybe we’re seeing a new trend launch for not just smarter, or more equipped leaders…but for DEEPER leaders! Check out Impact!
Thanks John Basie and John White!

What do you think about the idea of the “sandwich year”?

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22 Responses to Is the Standard Track Aways the Best Track?

  1. Cooper says:

    I believe that taking a year off of college has helped me further my foundation of Christ through apologetics and has deepened my understanding the Christian worldview. I have learned a lot in the area of calling and where God could possibly be calling me in my near and far future. Without this program, I don’t know where I would be.

  2. Jonathan Skagfield says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I really appreciated your words of encouragement. It really is sometimes scary when you go down a road that no one else has gone done before. IMPACT 360 has been so rewarding in my life just growing me spiritually and mentally. Thank you for the support and your time.


  3. Aaron Davenport says:

    I think that it’s surprising that taking a gap year isn’t more common. Instead of being impressed that we at Impact get off the beaten path to mature ourselves, I’m impressed with people who go straight to secular college after high school and make it fine. If I hadn’t come here, I would be stretched in a way that would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for me to bear without breaking.

  4. Chapple Chandler says:

    Impact 360 has definately changed my life. I cannot tell you where I’d be if it weren’t for this program. I highly reccommend it for any young person wanting to make a difference in the world but has been dwelling in fear or unsure of the next step. I walked into this program not specifically urged to make a difference, but to find out who I am in Christ, and I have found just that. In addition, I have grown in the confidence to communicate with and understand the world around me, and to jump in and attempt to make that difference for Christ’s kingdom!

    Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Reccord for helping us along this journey of understanding God’s call for our life! The water is definately flowing from you!

  5. Dave Darty says:

    I just want to say thank you for all you taught us this week! This year has been so amazing for me and has been one of the best things I have ever done. I have learned things that I would have never even dream about or thought about ever. THis is truely a wonderful thing to do. I know where I’m going in life and now I have the tools to stand strong in my faith and be a light for Christ that never fades! Again thanks for all everything you taught us. It help light mt way a little better! -Dave D.

  6. David Parker says:

    Great article, Mr. Reccord. I really think this is foundational to my walk with Christ and is a pivot pount from which the rest of my life will swing.

  7. Abby Perez says:

    Impact 360 has been one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. I was extremely uncertain about going straight into college not knowing exactly why I believe what I believe. The program has challenged me to be able to give reason for and to articulate the hope that is in me. I have also had time to consider and reflect on what God is specifically calling me to in my life.

  8. Vickie Tarleton says:

    Taking this year off to study God’s attributes, how to live up to His standards and how to explain my faith persuasively to others, I think was one of the best decisions I have made. Impact 360 has allowed me not only to gain head knowledge but also to experience living in Christian community, serving the local community and experience another country’s culture on our trip to Central Europe. It has given me a chance to think about not only what I want to be but who I want be.

    Vickie Tarleton (Impact 360 Student)

  9. Ben Zahn says:

    An adventure is a good way of describing it. From the very beginning that is exactly what Impact has been. The culture in America certainly does press students straight into college. This pressure made it a difficult decision to come to Impact, but a decision that I have not yet regretted in any way. The truth we are taught, and the experiences we have are more than worth sacrificing a year for. I don’t even view it as a year off, but rather a part of my education and spiritual journey. I enjoyed your time with us Dr. Reccord. Thank you.

  10. Jason Allgeier says:

    Having gone through nearly the entire program I would recommend it for any student who takes his or her walk with Christ seriously and desires to have an influence for the kingdom. It is not a program for those who don’t know what else to do, it is for those who desire to understand the workings of their faith and be able to defend it and not be ashamed of it as Paul tells us in Romans 1:16.

  11. John Basie says:

    Bob and Cheryl,

    Fantastic time with you both while you were here. Many thanks for challenging our entire community to think and live with a bold, exciting and long-term view of kingdom leadership.

    We look forward to you both coming back!

    John Basie

  12. Phil Mahoney says:

    As an Impact 360 student I can say from very personal experience how this “sandwich year” has made me much more prepared for the university and the rest of life! I have become more focused on God’s continuing call in my life. First, and most importantly, His call to a deeper relationship with Him. And secondly, a call to a vocation. When I graduated from high school I wanted to get on the expressway to get to God’s plan for my life as soon as I could. At Impact 360 I have learned that God often calls us to a scenic rout, where we answer His call to ‘little things’ every day. The nine months at Impact 360 have shaped me more into the man God’s wants me to be and I have learned what it means to ‘love the Lord with your mind!’

    Thanks Mr. Reccord for you time with us!

    edgy young leaders? :)

  13. Brittany White says:

    I just wanted to thank you for saying what you did about us here at Impact, while here and now on your blog – it was a great encouragement to us students. What you said definitely challenged a lot of us and I really appreciate you’re willingness to share your wisdom.
    I hope keep in touch with you and Mrs. Reccord!

    (By the way, I’ve started a list for books, and you’re on it.)

  14. Zack says:

    As a student at IMPACT360 I think it is fair to say that soming to the program does not fit into the average/normal trend. Having already gone to college for a year, it was especially difficult for me to make the “plunge” in deciding to take a year off from school to do a program that hadn’t been done before. I do think, however, that those in Europe are on to something big because being able to live in this small community and take a “timeout” from college has furthered me along in my maturity process and to better understand the world around me and where I fit in. High school kids might find it difficult to make a decision to not go off to school like all of their friends are doing because it might seem weird or whatever. But I think for those students who are interested in making the most of the time they have been blessed with from God and having maximum impact for the Kingdom while here on earth, IMPACT is a great tool in equipping and challenging young men and women to be the man or woman that God is calling them to be. Thank you guys for coming and teaching and being a part of this journey!
    Zack Fallon

  15. nic spalviero says:

    hey i personally think a sandwich year is a great year for young adult/ college stundents that don’t no there life to get closer to figuring it out. i also think it is good for them to figure out where they stand with there world view.

  16. Lezlie Phillips says:

    Impact360 has been such an incredible experience for me. This program has helped shape and mold me more into who the Lord has created me to be. I am grateful for the things I’ve learned and am still learning. I know that next year when I enter into my first year of college, I will be more confident in my beliefs and why I believe them far more than I would have if I hadn’t had this gap year. Without the challenges and experiences of Impact360, I would not have grown into the same person that I am today.

  17. David A. Quick says:

    Hi, Mr. Bob and Mrs. Cheryl…I just wanted to thank you both for coming and helping us recognize Gods calling on our lives, but also God’s calling on you’re lives. Thanks for letting us have and cherish just a little bit of you’re lives and time. You guys made me think more critically and develop a few more aspects in my walk. Thank you guys sooo Much. I’ll keep in touch and would love to here from you time to time.

  18. Abby Dickinson says:

    Seeing as how I am an Impact student, I obviously think the gap-year is a good idea but here is why…
    1. It’s such a crucial age where so many decisions are made and this year gives a student time to calm down and think through those decsions.
    2. Christian students need to be prepared for the college campuses and the pressures that the university atmosphere brings.
    3. Students need more guidance than they are being given and at Impact older more wise Christians help to walk us through callings and paths for our future

    So, Yes I think a gap-year is not only a good idea but i critical one for college students to think about.

  19. Mark Heath says:

    Impact 360 is a great opportunity. If anyone has the chance to do it, they should take advantage of it. I have benefitted so much from this “sandwich year” as Bob puts it. It’s really awesome and I know God has changed my life.

  20. Bob Reccord says:

    As you can see, this are kids on the edge, forging a journey that will last a lifetime. I have been so impressed with young men and women who would have enough security as to know simply conform to the cultural norm” that everyone else is doing but step out and sow seeds now for what will payoff in long term return. It takes a lot of maturity to not simply jump to a college, but take a year and make sure your lens of “worlview” and thinking skills are ready to maximize your educational journey.

    You can see first hand by the comments above that these are young men and women cut from a different cloth! If you know of some young people who might benefit from such an adventurous journey send them to!

  21. Kevin Bussey says:

    Sounds like a great ministry.

  22. Larry Cox says:

    Bob and Cheryl, Greetings from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where we are wearing the WinShape hat sponsoring a business conference. Wow! What a stirring you have brought among our students. Sorry that I was not on campus during your visit. Thank you for coming to challenge these IMPACT 360 pioneers.

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