Frequently asked questions relating to the radical gap year

General Questions

The Radical Gap Year is a 9-month fellowship designed to assist high school graduates in becoming fully engaged disciples of Jesus Christ who will leverage all areas of their lives for the sake of God’s glory among all nations. To reach this goal, the program will focus on equipping students in all areas of life, including godly living, intellectual development, daily responsibilities, and life skills.

The Radical Gap Year is run by Radical in partnership with McLean Bible Church. There are both Radical and McLean Bible Church staff who will oversee and implement various aspects of the program. Jonathan Derbyshire is the Program Director, and Bethany Derbyshire is the Operations Director. More questions? Contact: [email protected]

The Radical Gap Year 2021/22 is being hosted by McLean Bible Church at their main campus in Vienna, Virginia, located about 40 minutes outside the nation’s capital in the Metro DC area.

Weekly program activities, outreach, and discipleship will be in and around this greater metropolitan area.

The 2021 program will begin in September 2021 and will end in May 2022. Move-in weekend will be September 4-5 and move-out weekend will be May 14-15.

For questions regarding the upcoming program year, please contact us.

This fellowship is for students who have graduated from high school and are 18–20 years-old by September 1 of the year they enter the program.

Students applying should be in a committed and growing relationship with Jesus Christ, members of a local church, teachable and willing to be fully engaged (mentally, physically, spiritually) in every activity in the program, a high school graduate or equivalent, a US citizen, have a 2.80 GPA or higher, and have test scores of at least 20 on the ACT, 1050 on the SAT, or 72 on the CLT.

If you were not able to join us for the Virtual Preview Day, you can go back and watch the video HERE. If you would like to watch the recording of the Q&A session with the leaders of the Gap Year, you can do that HERE.

College credit is available and individuals may email [email protected] for more information.

Housing, Logistics & Health

The Radical Gap Year directors and other leaders are committed to students’ safety while they are participating in the program. While the Radical Gap Year program is designed to push students to act outside of what might be their typical comfort zones, we will take appropriate precautions during daily activities to care for the well-being of all students who participate in the program. For more details on safety measures, please contact the program directors.

The Radical Gap Year students will be housed near the McLean Bible Church Tysons Campus (Vienna, VA). Students will be housed by gender, with 4-6 students of the same gender in a two- or three-bedroom apartment. Program supervisors will live nearby and will disciple, care for, and supervise students.

Like college, students who have a car and would like to bring it are permitted to do so. However, they will be encouraged to use ride shares or public transportation when possible. Students who bring a car are responsible for their gas, car insurance, and other related expenses. There will be times when students will be required to use only public transportation. During those times, students will be required to use their own designated travel money as described in the budget.

A typical schedule will include weekly individual Bible study/prayer time, physical training, chores (housing), peer discipling community, lectures and course work, group debrief and prayer/journaling, weekly church worship at McLean Bible Church, and more. Students will have a day of personal rest included each week.

Radical reserves the right to deviate from the ordinary schedule of activities as already described and as established from time-to-time, at Radical’s discretion. 

Yes, there will be a Christmas Break. The cost of travel to/from the program during break is not included in the program cost, and each student is responsible to plan their travel.

While in the United States, students are responsible for and have the freedom to control their own food-related restrictions. During the international mission if students have a medical dietary restriction (due to allergies or illness), we will do our best to accommodate as able. However, please note: if a student has a dietary “preference” (i.e. not medically necessary), due to the nature of international travel, they must be willing to put aside personal preferences in order to grow spiritually and serve most effectively.

There is always an inherent risk in any type of travel, whether that be national or international. Our intention is to mitigate risk and engage missions with wisdom. Radical and McLean Bible Church take the safety and security of students and staff seriously. In preparing for any international trip, program staff will continually consult three sources: ministry partner(s) in-country, The State Department, and the Travel Insurance Agency. Should a situation arise that potentially compromises the ability to travel to a destination, options and alternatives would be considered.

Students will be spending the majority of their time in the foothills of the Himalayas, learning from long term workers about what it looks like to serve among an unreached people group. Students will also be lead on a trek into a remote village in the Himalayan mountains.

On all treks, students will be accompanied by at least one Radical Gap Year team leader, one South Asia expat team leader, and one translator. These treks are physically exerting, as you will spend the majority of the day hiking in a high altitude climate. Throughout the duration of the 9 month program, we will help you prepare physically so that you will be ready to handle trekking through these mountains.

During the international trip, we intend to:

  • Expose participants to God’s heart for all nations
  • Learn how God can use many different platforms, careers, and giftings for the sake of the gospel among the nations
  • Seek to understand, encounter, and share the gospel with unreached people groups
  • Help the long term personnel already at work in the area
  • Encourage local believers and churches


The Radical Gap Year program will collect $16,000* and is not tax-deductible. Below is a breakdown of that cost.

The program cost includes:

  • 4 week international trip ($6,000*)
  • Housing with furniture ($7,500*)
  • Utilities ($600*)
  • Group activities ($1,900*)

The program cost does not include:

  • Food costs
  • Daily travel within the city (While the Radical Gap Year directors will not be collecting and managing finances for daily travel needs, students must come prepared with $1,575 ready to use toward public and private transportation as directed.)
  • Travel to/from the program (start/end)
  • Travel from/to program during Christmas Break
  • Travel immunizations
  • Passport fees

* Amounts listed are not exact quotes and are subject to change.

Yes, applicants will have an opportunity to apply for financial aid, and scholarship recipients will be notified before they complete their enrollment into the program.

For Radical Gap Year 2021/22, financial aid applications are now closed.

All donations to the Radical Gap Year program are not tax deductible.

Discover the purpose, objectives, and outcomes of the Radical Gap Year and what to expect from your time in the fellowship.