OneLife Institute is Lancaster Bible College’s gap year program for students between high school and college that focuses on discipleship, travel and service. We talked to OneLife alumna Joy Bright about her experience, why she loved it and how it changed her and deepened her relationship with Christ.
How would you describe OneLife to someone who’s never heard of it before?
It is an experience that touches every aspect of your life with Jesus. Through intentional community, travel and a solid Christian foundation, you become more mature in every area of your life.
How did you first hear about OneLife?
Funny story - I hadn’t done something my mom had asked me to and as a consequence, I was forced to go to a conference with her and my sisters. I went and sulked most of the weekend, including when we had small group discussions led by these two random guys from this “OneLife” thing. My mom asked if I wanted to visit their booth - I told her “no” and she asked again in the way that made it clear I had no choice. That’s where I first learned about OneLife!
What made you decide to enroll?
That same weekend I found out about OneLife, my mom “encouraged” me to apply - so I had to and did right then and there. I remember telling myself it all seemed way too “Jesus Elite” and it’d be invading my personal privacy, so I’d never go. However, a couple months later I visited and I was instantly curious and knew I had to give it some serious thought. In the end, it was the fact I was torn between what to do after high school that made me choose it as a gap year program.
What is the value of a gap year program (like OneLife) for college-age students?
Seriously, even if you think you’re certain of what you want to do after high school, you should still check out OneLife. It gives you time to break out of the high school stereotypes, to decide what kind of person you want to be and gives you amazing people who are older and wiser that can help guide you on this journey called life. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, and yet I walked away from OneLife confident in what God was calling me to pursue more so than ever before.
Did having that extra time in between high school and college help you to decide what you wanted to do?
OneLife helped in huge ways and I will be forever grateful. They do all these personality tests to help you get to know yourself and you get to see how you’ll act in an environment outside of high school. You get to take a step back from everyone back home (i.e. your gym teacher, school counselor, aunt, or cashier at the store) and their opinions of what you should do with your life and think for yourself. In the end, the suggestions of what to do to serve God and glorify Him come from people who truly know you and they’re key in encouraging you to pursue your calling.
A big part of OneLife is the travel component. Where did you go and what kinds of things did you do?
The biggest trip and the first one people bring up is our international trip to Israel. That trip was an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to see the places where Jesus grew up and carried out His life’s calling and ministry. Other travels included a trip to Detroit, Michigan where we interacted with local churches and Muslims; Greenville, South Carolina where we learned about non-profits and hospitality in Jesus’ name; and New York City, New York, where we learned about evangelism. One of my favorite trips was hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail, where we had a firsthand experience of the revelation of God’s character in nature.
What was the best part about being a OneLife student?
Learning how to build and maintain an edifying and God glorifying community. I have used the tools and experience I’ve gained so many times this past year – the education I received is invaluable!
Why did you decide to continue your education at Lancaster Bible College after you completed the OneLife program?
At first, it was because I wanted to take advantage of the OneLife to Lancaster Bible College transfer scholarship. Now I’m staying because of the business program and my sweet and supportive community!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’ve ever had a really good dream or a surreal experience, you know firsthand how inadequate you feel when it comes to articulating just how amazing or life-changing it was - that’s how OneLife was for me! I could talk for hours and hours about it and still not capture the depth and the scope and the mission of OneLife and how it has changed my life forever. Please, look into it – it will change your life and you’ll walk away so incredibly blessed.
To learn more about OneLife and apply, click here.