A Wider Purpose

by the Wider Horizons Committee with William Wood

Encouraging & Equipping a New Generation for Mission

A warm welcome awaited participants as they arrived in the early evening – the Scottish night might have been dark by then but the lights from the house shone out into the landscape. Each person was allocated their bedroom. The rooms are named after Scottish mountains, such as Ben Schiehallion and Beinn a’Ghlo, which, if you are not familiar with the Gaelic, takes a little searching to find your way.

Wider Horizons
The aim of Wider Horizons is simple: to encourage and equip a new generation of believers for partnership in global mission. Over the years, a number of those who have attended these events have gone on to serve in short- and long-term mission with Echoes International or other organisations. Two recent attendees of a Wider Horizons weekend, Abigail and Eilidh, chose to use their qualifications in physiotherapy to serve short term in Central Asia. Echoes International was able to arrange this for them through our partnership with People International.

The Wider Horizons weekends serve a parallel purpose – to enthuse and inform believers in the UK. We see in Scripture that the Lord calls some to go and others to send. It is crucial that every local church has advocates for cross-cultural mission in every generation. Wider Horizons, therefore, seeks to cater to future mission supporters as well as those who may go on to be mission partners.

Exploring Mission
The first evening, we heard from the Wider Horizons committee as they welcomed everyone. There were icebreaker activities to help everyone get to know each other and then a time of worship and Bible teaching, led by Stephen McQuoid. Throughout the weekend he took us on a whistlestop tour of the Book of Acts, focusing on the growth of the church in the early days. Stephen said, ‘The best thing about Wider Horizons is seeing a group of young folk understanding Scripture and being challenged about mission.’

In each session, Stephen explored the way in which the Holy Spirit moved the early church from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. He particularly focused upon the incredible courage that God gave to the apostles – as they refused to be silenced by the religious authorities, repeatedly witnessing in the temple courts and beyond. We also explored the way in which the Spirit is at work in the mess and confusion of an unbelieving world, demonstrated by the conversion of characters such as Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8. Finally, we saw the strategic way in which the Holy Spirit led Paul to minister in influential towns and cities within the Roman Empire, enabling the gospel to spread rapidly across the then known world.

The aim of Wider Horizons is simple: to encourage and equip a new generation of believers for partnership in global mission.

Throughout Saturday, mission partners, Mike and Alison Packer, organised interactive seminars on ‘what is mission?’ Mike noted,
‘My highlight of Wider Horizons is being with a group of young people who are really trying to think through what mission is and how they can be involved in it, with really good Bible teaching as well.’ Alison shared, ‘this is what I love doing – getting alongside young adults who are keen to listen to God and are seeking His will in their lives.’

On Sunday morning, even though it was damp and drizzly, the campers set off in two groups for a prayer walk. As we strolled along, admiring the lovely forest and the stillness of the water, we stopped at various points while committee members, Gareth Armstrong and Ewan Speedie, led us in prayer for those considering the call of God on their lives to serve overseas, for current mission partners and those preparing to go out, for the work in difficult to access countries and for people who have yet to hear the gospel.

Time for Fellowship

There was also space in the programme for young adults to spend time together. On the Saturday afternoon, some chose to go for walk in the Scottish landscape, others went out for a coffee and chat. Some of the men organised a game of football, while a few brave souls ventured into the extremely cold water of the river for a brief swim. We had an amazing team of cooks – Christine Brown, and Norman and Jackie Bremner – who rustled up an abundance of food and kept us well-supplied during the weekend with teas, coffees, hot chocolates and home baking. Spending time together over meals was appreciated as an opportunity for people to build new friendships and talk about their lives or chat about something they had been struck by in the teaching or seminars.

Going Forward
The Wider Horizons committee has planned a new event for 2024 – a Wider Horizons taster night on Saturday, 31 August, at Greenview Evangelical Church. This will be a casual evening for people aged 18 and over to get a flavour of the annual weekend. They will eat together and hear a short presentation about the needs of mission and what a Wider Horizons weekend entails.

For those youth fellowships or young adults’ groups that live further away, we would be delighted to send them an invitation for 2025 with more information about our programme. The next full Wider Horizons weekend will be at Faskally House, 31 January to 2 February 2025. Any young adults aged 18 to 30 would be welcome to attend. The location is an-hour-and-a-half’s drive from Glasgow and near a train station in the town of Pitlochry. In 2024 participants to Wider Horizons had travelled from Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Fife, Motherwell and Newcastle.

 

The Beginnings of Wider Horizons

by William Wood

In the early 1980s the Missionary Council of the Home and Foreign Mission Fund, Interlink, which was ultimately to become part of Echoes International, felt that there was a need to stimulate interest in foreign missions among young people in Scotland.

Arrangements were made to have an annual residential weekend in various centres. The first weekend was held in a centre in Lanarkshire, which had seen better days. The boys had to do without hot water in the showers – good missionary training! During that weekend, the late W. K. Morrison from Falkirk gave memorable and relevant Bible teaching. A young John Lennox was the speaker at the next two weekends. Over the years, many able speakers came, including the late Peter Maiden who described those attending as ‘a rich seam of young people’.

Over the years God has been pleased to bless the young people and many are in positions of church leadership today.

The missionaries played a vital role in these weekends, sharing their own experiences of how God had led them into their ministries, the challenges they faced then and what God was doing in their lives.

What of those attending? Over the years God has been pleased to bless the young people and many are in positions of church leadership today. It was at Wider Horizons that Andrew and Lorna Burt felt that they should go to GLO for training prior to going to the Republic of Ireland, where they have served for many years. Additionally, others felt that attendance at Wider Horizons had a significant input into their future service. It is gratifying to know that the weekend has continued with a view to introducing a new generation of young people with the need for mission, both here and abroad.

 

Pray

  • That we would reflect on the Book of Acts and be inspired by the Scriptures of the need to share the gospel with the world
  • That participants would continue to seek God’s will for their lives
  • For young people to have a desire to serve either in short or long-term mission
  • That new people would be encouraged to attend in 2025 and that Wider Horizons would continue to be used for the glory of God.

 

News & Stories

Find out how God is moving across the globe.