By John Aitken
Echoes International Director John Aiken considers how we hope to encourage more believers to get involved with mission.
Through the decades, as mission workers associated with Interlink and Echoes of Service have served across the globe, new churches have been planted and believers have been established in their faith. Healthcare and educational establishments have impacted local communities, through the care and compassion of Christian doctors, nurses and teachers. Churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America are now the responsibility of indigenous believers, who are carrying the gospel to their own people with energy. The story of what God is doing in mission today is inspiring: the Lord Jesus is building His Church. Our prayer is that Echoes International will encourage more believers to be involved in God’s great purpose in mission.
Prayer, Mission Support, Equipping, Training & Moblisation
Over the next years, Echoes International, along with mission workers, will faithfully continue the work of the previous decades, as well as launch new initiatives. The strategic emphases of Echoes International will be prayer, mission support, equipping, training and mobilisation.
Prayer That Fuels Mission
From the earliest days of mission involvement, prayer has been the foundation of all that we do. We have had a significant role in providing information to fuel regular, informed prayer in the UK. Echoes International will continue to share stories of transformed lives and communities from around the world. We will strive to improve our methods, challenging more and more people to engage in the task of global mission, encouraging them to pray and to bring the gospel to the unreached.
The Interlink and Echoes of Service magazines have been an effective and valued means of mission communication. For 2018, Echoes International will publish a prayer guide and a monthly magazine. As a gesture of thanks to faithful supporters and to encourage new readers, the Trustees of Echoes International have agreed to waive the annual fee and offer a year’s subscription to the Echoes International magazine free of charge.
Launching New Channels of Communication
In addition to the magazine, we intend to significantly expand how we communicate God’s work in the world. While some prefer the feel of the printed page, others would rather read online. The past 20 years have seen a transformation in the means of communication, revolutionised by smartphones, social media and other digital technology.
Digital platforms will allow us to engage thousands of people who never read our magazines. Therefore, the website will be developed further and we will also make greater use of social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, as well as an ‘Echoes International app’. These will allow real time interaction with mission and mission workers, in a way which will ‘speak the language’ of a new generation. If you are excited by the prospect of following missions news online, keep an eye on our Facebook page and website.
Continuing What Has Been Done Well
Echoes International will continue to provide financial, pastoral, administrative and logistical support for mission workers. This will include the routing of gifts from churches and individual supporters, and the allocation of monthly discretionary finance to mission workers from the trustees, as the Lord provides. You can continue to give financial support to people and projects as you do at present.
Equipping, Training & Mobilising
We believe that it is God who calls and equips His people for service. However, the Lord Himself encouraged His disciples to look to the harvest and pray for more labourers. We feel an increasing burden to mobilise people to serve in the regions of the world where indigenous churches have yet to take root. We want to be intentional in informing people of the tremendous spiritual needs and opportunities for service in the Muslim World, among unreached people groups, in Europe and in Reverse Mission within the UK.
The migration of people to Europe, especially in the past two years, has focused many on the challenge of the world on our doorstep. People from hard-to-reach places have come to us and cross-cultural mission within the UK must be a focus for Echoes International. We intend to partner with fellowships which have ethnic communities around them, helping them to maximise the opportunities they have locally.
Meet the Team
Echoes International – Based in Glasgow & Bath
In order to take Echoes International forward, the Trustee Board has appointed an executive team. John Aitken, as General Director, will lead the team, assisted by Operations Director, Jim Armstrong and Missions Director, Rupert Abbott.
The offices in both Glasgow and Bath will be retained. Jim Armstrong as Operations Director will be responsible for a staff team, including a Communications Manager and a Finance Manager. The Communications Manager will oversee the magazine team and staff members delivering Echoes International’s digital communications. The Finance Manager will be responsible for staff in administration and finance.
Rupert Abbott, as Mission Director, will lead the Equipping, Training and Mobilisation functions. He will be assisted by Richard Harknett, former mission worker in Peru, and by directors, trustees, mission workers and others. Through this, we trust that our partnership with local churches and their elders, in the UK, will be strengthened. Increased help and support will be made available to those seeking to fulfil their responsibilities in mission commendation and in the preparation of new workers. Partnering with and enabling indigenous leaders, and emerging mission service groups overseas, will be a key part of our future role.
The Echoes International executive team will be supported by a Trustee Board, a Board of Reference and an Advisory Council. Each group will serve a distinct purpose.
The Trustee Board will meet a minimum of six times a year to set policy, bring accountability and provide advice to the Echoes International executive. The Board of Reference will be a representative body which meets annually. Finally, the Advisory Board, a slightly larger group, will meet in March and September each year, and will advocate for the new organisation, providing both advice and accountability.
The Trustee Board
Paul Young (chairman), Ian Burness, Jim Crooks, John Gamble, Hugh Mitchell, Jim McGregor, Eric Noble, Simon Prince and Alan Smith.
The Board of Reference
Paul Clarke, Glyn Davies, Wesley Downs, Gordon Dunbar, Martin Erwin, David Farrell, Alan Gamble, Peter Maiden and Willie Wood.
The Advisory Council
Paul Coxall, Andy Gibson, Liz Greig, David Henderson, Derek Malcolm, Andy Mayo, Jonathan Newell, Alan Park, Sam Phillips, Judy Quelch and Jill Silverthorne.
Please Pray With Us
The mission team of Echoes International includes many more people than those listed above such as, those from assemblies, who have faithfully supported mission workers through the years. Please continue this support and pray with the Echoes International team, that we will see a new mission generation raised up, by highlighting new initiatives in mission and encouraging increased mission engagement in the UK.