Your organization offers a “Christian gap year” opportunity. But, what is a gap year?

What is a gap year?

Maybe you have read the information on our website. But maybe you are wondering: “What is a gap year?”.

A gap year is any year between educational transitions. People take gap years after graduating high school, in between university, during their studies, or right after they graduate. In this “year”, you can take time away from your education to pursue something different. We see it as an experience of a lifetime. It’s a unique opportunity to take a little detour from your regular life. And do things you’ve always dreamed of but never had the chance to do. For example exploring new countries, meeting people from all over the world, do volunteering work or work abroad. Or learn new things by taking a course or classes. Traveling also helps you to improve your English or learn a new language.

Our ministry in Amsterdam is a great place to spend your gap year. First of all, because you will become part of an international community of young Christians. Secondly, through this community, the Shelter is a place where you have the opportunity to grow in your personality and to discover your unique gifts. You will grow in your faith and gain life experience with over people who chose to do (part) of their Christian gap year at the Shelter. Come and spend your Christian gap year at the Shelter! Experience ministry and life in Amsterdam, live in an international community, grow in your faith, and share Christ with others. Read more about our gap year opportunities here!

Christliches FSJ im Ausland (German only) – Is it possible to do my FSJ at the Shelter?

Yes, you can! It is possible to spend your FSJ as a volunteer in our Christian hostels in Amsterdam. We think our ministry is a great place to do your FSJ im Ausland. You will be living and working in our international Christian community. Through and with this community, you run the hostels in a team of Christians between 18 and 30 years. As a community, you share the gospel of Jesus Christ with travelers from all over the world. Want to know more? Read more about out hostel ministry and mission here. Important: If you want your FSJ to be officially recognized, you have to apply for our ministry through the organization Co-Workers International. Please check out their website for more information and their application procedure.

Mission – Why is your ministry focused on travelers ministry?

Ever since the very beginning, the Shelter hostels have been a travelers ministry: focused on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ among backpackers. We offer travelers in Amsterdam a low-budget way to travel. Through great hospitality, hostel activities and personal interaction we openly share Christ.

Why we share the Gospel with travelers

Backpackers are often very open to new experiences. And they usually love to interact with people of different cultures, backgrounds and interests. We often see that travelers are often not only on a physical journey, but also on a spiritual journey. This brings opportunities to think about and discuss beliefs and the purpose of life with them. We spend time conversing with them about regular things, attempting to make “bridges” to the Gospel. Travelers often like to exchange ideas and personal stories, to philosophize about God, Jesus and the Bible. But they don’t like to be pushed or preached at. We teach and help our volunteers to share in a culturally relevant and respectful way.

Travelers ministry

Each guest receives a booklet with a biblical message upon arriving and with further interest they can also get a free copy of the New Testament. We invite them for different activities, such as Bible Meditation, City Walk and Open Mic. Through these activities we make bridges to the Gospel. We want them to experience the Shelter as a safe place, and it is our deepest desire that they find God, the ultimate shelter for life.

Type of work – What kind of tasks will I do as a volunteer?

To give you a impression of the type of work in the hostel, you could first of all check out the video at our homepage. As a volunteer you will start working shifts in the hostel café. Therefore you will do tasks like preparing food, serving guests, and being a great host. Probably your most important task here is to create a loving and welcoming atmosphere. If you stay with us from four months up to a year, the type of work will vary. You will become part of our receptionist team. Also you could improve your leadership skills as supervisor in our cleaning ministry. There are many opportunities to share Christ by connecting with our guests.

Evangelism and activities

We will train you to lead different activities that fit to the people we want to reach. Examples of such activities are: Hostel Night, City Walk, Bible Inspiration Time, Open Mic Night etc. During your shift you will have enough time to share the Gospel.

Short term or long term – How long should I volunteer?

Our Christian volunteer opportunities vary from one month to one year. Ideally, we would like volunteers to serve for 3 months or longer. Especially if you would like diving deeper into faith and have the time, we recommend you to consider staying longer. We often see that volunteers want to extend their stay after a few months of serving. So consider staying longer on forehand: you won’t regret! If your visa allows you and you have the time, join our ministry for 4 up to 12 months.

Goal – What is the organizations’ mission?

First of all, is our mission to make the gospel of Jesus Christ knows to travelers. We have two Christian hostels located in the heart of Amsterdam. In this context of hospitality we connect to guests, through both our words, actions and a personal approach. Through meaningful conversations, we try to share how Jesus is the center of our lives.

In addition to this goal we train and equip young volunteers. Our volunteers (between 18 and 30 years old, from all nations) learn to engage in hospitality and practice evangelism in a culturally relevant manner. Through our ministry and Christian community, we especially want to equip you for a life of ministry and service. So you will have the chance to grow and discover your unique gifts. Want to know more? You can read our full Mission Statement here.

Free time – How much free time will I have?

“Lots of free time” is probably not how a volunteer would describe his or her Shelter time. You will be working five to six days a week. On these days you will be working at one of the hostels. And you will have MTP classes and small group, join worship sessions or lead evangelism activities. So living and working in the Shelter community can be quite intense! But you will have enough time to grow in your relationship with God, make fun with other volunteers, explore Amsterdam, practice sports, make music, etc. We make sure you have at least one day off every week. If you stay longer than three months with us, you also get some vacation days.

Language skills – My English is not so good. Can I apply anyway?

To be able to live and work in the Shelter community, it is important that you speak English. Volunteers from many countries join our Christian community. Also guests from all over the world visit the Shelter hostels. So that is why we do our training, work and all communication in English. Consider if you are able to have training and conversations with managers, volunteers or guests in English. Is the language something you worry about? Please let us know via your application form. In the interview we will have with you we will check if your language skills are good enough to join our ministry. One thing is sure: if we do accept you as a volunteer, you will surely grow in this!

Money – Do we get pocket money?

We ask a fee of €60,00 per month for the food. With this fee we provide you with all the meals and drinks you need. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner (as much as you want!). You can have your meals at the hostel and in the community house. You will work with us on a voluntary basis. So we will not give pocket money to our volunteers. Therefore we recommend you to bring some extra money to spend, if you want to explore the cities’ activities or to buy clothes.