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A year in the gap can be crucial, program leader says

Ministry founded by Georgia Baptists set to prepare students


John and Trudy Cathy White, co-founders of Lifeshape Foundation, are preparing for the first offering of IMPACT 360. The program, slated to begin this fall, will take 18-20 year-olds through a nine-month course of academic and spiritual instruction. Participants will be trained how to infuse their faith into the workplace in addition to training for vocational ministry.

ARMUCHEE — Preparation for a life in ministry, whether through a church or one’s workplace, is heavily influenced in the young adult years, attests John White.

Because of that the co-founder of Lifeshape, Inc., a ministry affiliated with Chick-fil-A, says an upcoming initiative can help students prepare themselves for a lifetime of ministry, whatever their vocation.

“IMPACT 360 is a residential program that will prepare high school graduates for their upcoming college experience – and for the rest of their lives,” says White, a member of Dogwood Baptist Church in Tyrone who founded Lifeshape with his wife, Trudy Cathy White.

The program is touted as providing a “gap year” to help students prepare for their future.

Participants of the nine-month program, set to begin this fall, will live at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, an hour southwest of Atlanta. While there, students will experience an “interactive learning community focused on biblical worldview, vocational understanding, spiritual and life formation and a month-long international experience” according to Lifeshape’s Web site at


Academic preparation

Academics will heavily figure into the program. Courses offered will apply a Christian worldview and study secular worldviews. Visiting scholars and professionals will teach the classes. Lifeshape has partnered with Union University in Jackson, Tenn. to grant 15 semester hours of academic credit for the program. Those who complete IMPACT 360 will be offered an automatic enrollment into Union’s undergraduate program. The first group to go through the program will consist of 50 students.

Participants will be pointed toward growing in three ways, says White.

“Students will [be at IMPACT] with three goals in mind: ‘to know God, to be who God made me to be, and to live a full life that gives God glory.’ We want to intentionally focus on preparing young people for life and vocational calling.”

One name familiar with Georgia Baptist students is among those endorsing the program.

“I can’t think of anything better between high school and the college years than to set aside time to discover God, explore the world and fine-tune your vision for the rest of your life,” said Louie Giglio, director of Passion Conferences in Alpharetta. Anyone interested in attending IMPACT 360 must have graduated from high school and be 18-20 years old while enrolled in the program. Other requirements include:

• a minimum ACT score of 22,

• a minimum SAT score of 1010,

• being in the top half of your graduating class,

• minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0,

• exemplifying leadership experience and character.

For more information call (678) 999-2181.