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Union, Lifeshape team up for new biblical worldview institute

JACKSON, Tenn.Feb. 16, 2006 – Union University and Lifeshape Foundation have announced a partnership for Impact 360, a program that will help a new generation of Christian leaders to understand their calling in life.

Lifeshape Foundation was founded by John and Trudy Cathy White, affiliated with Chick-fil-A.

Union will work with Lifeshape to develop the curriculum and provide some instructors for the program. Impact 360 will host nationally prominent speakers, including Union faculty and staff members, who will serve as counselors, promoters, advisers and mentors of Impact 360 students and staff.

“Not many traditionally Christian universities understand the need to ground students in the biblical Christian worldview to prepare them to live the life that Christ intended for them,” said Larry Cox of Lifeshape’s executive leadership team. “Union gets it. Union University has a heart for taking the gospel to all peoples, and Lifeshape wants to join hands with them to help prepare students to be God’s agent of change in their culture.”

Lifeshape’s vision is that Christians should help to break “the cycle of spiritual poverty” around the world, according to the foundation’s purpose statement. Impact 360 is targeting young leaders who will undertake this vision.

Impact 360 is a nine-month “gap-year” residential program for students ages 18-20 between their high school and college years. It is geared primarily to students who wish to delay entrance into college for a year or who are unsure as to what they want to do with their lives.

Lifeshape developed Impact 360 to help such students develop a biblical Christian worldview through intense classroom work, discussion groups, service opportunities and a month-long international experience.

The program will emphasize the importance of authentic community and responsibility within the community.

“These will be students who will end up becoming Christian doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, teachers – who have a strong heart for missions, a strong heart for service in the community, a strong heart for leadership with integrity,” said Gene Fant, chairman of Union’s English department and curriculum consultant for the partnership.

Housed at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., the program will consist of four months of diverse service experiences and learning activities, followed by a month-long trip to an eastern European country. The final four months will be spent “unpacking” the international experience, Fant said, with additional service and classroom time. It will include guest speakers and time for small groups, reading and reflection.

Participating students will earn 15 hours of credit from Union University. Union University President David S. Dockery will serve on the advisory board of Impact 360 as part of the partnership.

“Union’s involvement in Impact is a natural overflow of our prioritization of Christian worldview that combines the Christian intellectual tradition and the idea of service,” Dockery said. “These students will be effective in engaging our culture precisely because they have earned such a privilege through their commitment to service.”

For more information about Impact 360, visit www.lifeshape.org/impact360 or call (678) 999-2181, extension 360.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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