Transforming lives on four continents

Action Teams - Christian Gap Year

Action Teams is a Christian gap year programme for 17 - 23 year olds to serve God around the world. One month's training, six months overseas - in Africa, South America, Asia or Europe - and two months UK mission tour.


Action Teams – a unique, challenging and totally life changing Christian gap year programme.


It's not too late to apply for Action Teams! We are currently looking to fill some spaces in our Uganda and Kosovo Action Teams for 2016-17 and are holding a third selection event on Wednesday 1 June at our International Mission Centre in Birmingham. Do get in touch to find out more and the deadline for applications is 20 May!


It’s a chance for you to get involved in what God is doing across the world. An opportunity to plunge yourself into another culture, share the love of Jesus in practical ways, inspire others for mission and let God work in your life every step of the way.


If you’re 17-23, a Christian and want to do something extraordinary with God in your gap year, read on...


Christian Gap Year Programme



The Action Team gap year is totally unique and made up of three parts: training, overseas and tour.


Training - Christian gap year

Your four weeks of training at IMC in Birmingham will include preparation for crossing cultures, getting to know and share Jesus with others better, team building, church placements and much, much more.  


Training on Action Teams Christian Gap Year


"Training was incredible! There was such a community feel and I made some lifelong friends. Spiritually it was a privilege to be able to worship, learn and grow alongside like minded young Christians. Amazing!" (Ben - Italy Action Team)


 Overseas Christian gap year

Step out of your comfort zone, connect with another culture and make a difference in people’s lives. From working with the homeless in Asia, to teaching street kids in South America; from youth work in Africa to church work in Europe – we’ll commission you out in teams to share your Christian faith in practical ways to one of our many locations around the world.

  Christian Gap Year Overseas


"Overseas was six months of learning from new cultures, tasting weird and wonderful foods, putting our awesome and challenging mission calls into practice, growing in faith and love for God and being able to reach amazing people and share in Christian fellowship. It’s eye opening, inspiring and a life changing experience. Do it!" (Beth - India Kolkata Action Team)



The UK tour is an amazing opportunity to share your gap year experiences and inspire others to get involved with mission. Eight weeks spent at eight churches leading youth and children's events, taking lessons and assemblies in schools, leading church services and anything else that comes to mind…


UK tour christian gap year


“I loved tour but it was the most challenging part of the gap year and stretched me the most as a Christian. I have realised that through God’s power I am able to do so much more than I ever thought I could.” (Hannah - Nepal Action Team)






BMS works in over 35 countries across the world. Below is where we are hoping to send our Action Teams in 2016-17. You can find out more about each location, and the kinds of things you’ll be doing at our Encounter events, details of which are in the Find Out More section. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for any updates.


Christian Gap Year in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Action Team (TBC) will be living and working in rural Zimbabwe at an agricultural training centre. They’ll be getting their hands dirty, involved in lots of hands on manual work, but will also spend some time in a town setting with other ministries helping marginalised people.


Christian Gap Year in India

The India Kolkata Action Team will be involved in a number of social action projects, including mobile schools for street children and employment projects for women caught in Kolkata’s red light district.


 Christian Gap Year in Thailand

The Thailand Action Team will be based in Chiang Mai, living and working alongside young people from rural villages. They’ll also spend time helping at a home for disabled children and getting involved in local church life!


Christian Gap Year in Nepal

The Nepal Action Team will be based in Kathmandu, helping with an education programme for children and young adults with disabilities, a women’s empowerment project, Nepali church and plenty more.


The 2016/17 Italy Action Team will be based in Reggio Calabria, working alongside the local church. They’ll help to lead Sunday school sessions, run youth clubs, teach English and be involved with a local food distribution programme.


Christian Gap Year in India

The Delhi Action Team will be helping in a local school, engaging in women's empowerment projects and playing sports. The team will also get involved in a local church working with youth, helping to lead worship, visiting and praying with people in their own homes.


Christian Gap Year in Uganda

The Uganda Action Team will be based in Gulu, where they will be involved at juvenile detention centre, leading Bible studies, teaching literacy and running music sessions. They'll also be working with a local church and education project. 


Christian Gap Year in Kosovo

The Kosovo Action Team will be based with a small local charity, getting involved in all kinds of ways, from DIY and maintenance work to children’s education programmes, teaching English and running craft clubs! They’ll also get stuck in with a local church.


Christian Gap Year in Mizoram

The Mizoram Action Team will be working alongside the Baptist Church of Mizoram, teaching English in schools, visiting orphanages, getting involved in youth work and much more! They’ll also have the opportunity to embark on a few ventures outside of their base town.



Do also keep an eye on our facebook page for the latest updates! For information about how we decide who goes where, please see our FAQs on our Find Out More page.















Think the Action Team gap year might be for you? 


If you are:

  • Between 17-23

  • A team player

  • A Christian who wants to make a difference in this world

Then we’d love to meet you at one of our Encounter events. Pray about it, chat it through with someone like your pastor or youth worker and apply using the form below. If you have any questions first – just contact us: or phone 01235 517647.






Once we’ve received your application, we’ll invite you along to Encounter! This is a free 24 hour taster event at IMC, which gives you the chance to find out more about Action Teams and meet other people thinking about joining the programme. It’s also a chance for us to get to know you and to see if we, and you, feel that Action Teams are right for you.


Encounter is always a blast: expect great community, great food, info about the different locations, worship, a chance to meet people who have done the gap year before, and all you need to know about the Action Team programme.


Coming to Encounter doesn’t mean you’ve signed up for Action Teams, but by the end of it you should have a good idea of whether this is for you, and you will have had a brilliant time either way!


"Encounter was an amazing chance to get to know people, find out about Action Teams and play lots of stupid games! Afterwards I was confident that this was the gap year for me, and that BMS would help, support and guide me through everything". (Tim – Brazil Santos Action Team)


"Going to Encounter was always going to be daunting but the BMS staff helped me to settle right in; meeting down-to-earth Christians and seeing that God doesn't only move in 'Holy' People". (Jenny – Brazil Sao Paulo Action Team)




Application deadline: 20 May 2016


Encounter 1: 12 – 13 Feb 2016


Encounter 2: 4 – 5 March 2016


Encounter 3: 1 June 2016


Training: September 2016


Overseas: October 2016 - March 2017


Tour: April - June 2017




How much does it cost? 

The cost of the 2016-17 programme is £4450.


How will I raise the money?

We know that one of the biggest obstacles to people coming on an Action Team is the cost. But we say don’t worry about that or let it put you off – we’ve never had a team member who hasn’t been able to raise the money before. We'll tell you more at the Encounter event about different ways of raising the money. See also our guide to raising support. We may also be able to help subsidise applicants who think they will be unable to raise the money.


BMS World Mission operates an equal opportunities policy and encourages applications from all sectors of the community. To this end, we actively work to ensure that the financial contribution is not a barrier to people coming on the Action Team programme - particularly those with lower socioeconomic status. We have access to a trust fund to support such applicants, more details of which are available on request or at our Encounter events. 


What does the cost cover?

The cost covers all food, accomodation and basic living costs for both the UK and overseas sections of the prorgamme. It includes all your training and debriefing fees, as well as your programme related expenditure and travel both in the UK and overseas. Your payment for flights is made to a seperate travel management company but is also included in the £4450. It also a covers a contribution towards a team holiday mid way through your time overseas. It covers your visas and your insurance. 

It does not cover personal spending money , the cost of vaccinations, minor medical costs, nor any insurance excesses. It does not cover your travel to and from a London airport, or our training centre. A more detailed breakdown is available at Encounter or on request. 


Do you take graduates onto the programme?

Yes we love to take graduates onto our gap year programme! You will need to be between the ages of 18 and 23 at the start of training. Click here to read reflections from some of our recent graduate participants.


I'm from Scotland so I'll only be 17 next year!

Not a problem - we are happy to accept 17 year old applicants from Scotland, although please be aware we may be more limited on the countries we are able to send you to.


Who is BMS World Mission?

You can find more about us by going to the About us page, or get an introduction from the short video below.

Why BMS? from BMS World Mission on Vimeo.



What kind of people are BMS looking for?

Throughout the bible we see examples of God using the weak, the unlikely, the underqualified and those who are a bit rough round the edges. It is with that firmly in mind that we approach our selection of Action Team members. We’re not interested in perfect Christians – whatever that even means – we’re looking for ordinary people prepared to put their faith in an extraordinary God. 

Our programme is very popular, so we do receive more applications than we have places. We choose those who we think best meet our selection criteria, which can be summed up like this:

  • Team players who are willing to work in partnership with others
  • Committed Christians with a desire to live out their faith in another culture
  • Servant hearted and willing to work under the authority of supervisors overseas.
  • Flexible when situations change at short notice
A full copy of our selection criteria can be found here

Do I get to choose my location?

We’re really excited about our locations for next year and we hope you are too. We’d also like to add though that we think who you go with is probably more important than where you go, and it will certainly have a bigger impact on how much you enjoy the gap year.


Ensuring we send teams who are going to get along and work well together is our main priority when placing people on the programme. We also take into account health restrictions, gender balance, matching of appropriate skills, your personal preference and of course lots of prayer. This means that we can't promise to give people their first choice location. However, you don't have to accept your place on the programme until you find out where you are going - which you'll find out soon after the Encounter events. We'll explain more about all of this at Encounter.


How will I be supported?

We realise that going to a different part of the world for six months can seem like a really scary thing. We've been running this programme successfully for over 25 years now and pride ourselves on supporting our team members really well. At every stage of they year, they'll be people responsible for ensuring your safety and well being. 

  • BMS UK staff, who you will get to know well, will provide overall support
  • Your overseas supervisors are carefully selected and prepared. They are accountable to BMS and invested in the Action Team programme. 

  • Your team will be a crucial place to give and receive support, and we are extremely thorough in training our teams to work well together

  • We work closely with your church to help co-ordinate their ongoing prayer and pastoral support for you

 action teams - christian gap year

My parents are worried! Anything I can tell them?

BMS has successfully and safely sent hundreds of Christian gap year students to a variety of overseas locations through our Action Team programme. Find out more about BMS’ commitment to Action Team participants by reading the PDF below, or speak to us (01235 517647) if you have any further questions or concerns.

BMS’ commitment to Action Team participants


Do I have to be a Baptist?

No. While most team members are from Baptist churches, this is not a requirement. We welcome applications from people of all Christian denominations with a genuine, living and active faith in Jesus.


Do I have to be from the UK? 

Yes, we only accept UK participants onto the programme.


Does BMS operate under the Global Connections Code of Best Practice?

Yes, BMS World Mission is recognised by Global Connections as operating under the Code of Best Practice in Short-Term Mission.



Do you carbon offset your flights?

Ah, we thought you'd never ask. Yes we do! BMS is committed to creation care as part of our integral mission. See our Future Shape videos for more information.


Anything else?

Acceptance for all programmes is subject to medical clearance though Interhealth, obtaining an acceptable criminal record disclosure at enhanced level (DBS) and satisfactory completion of training.



I didn’t find my answer!

Contact us! E-mail us at or phone us on 01235 517647.







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