A heart for mission and a lifetime of service to the unreached

For the 90th anniversary edition of our VOICE+HANDS magazine we interviewed Colin Lowther, Reach Beyond CEO, giving him the opportunity to share his heart and passion for mission.

Q: Where does your passion for mission come from?

I accepted Jesus in my life when I was at university, and since then I have always wanted to share about Him with others. As a young Christian I did door-to-door evangelism, got heavily involved in a local church and spent a lot of time praying about where God wanted me to serve.

I even made enquiries about missionary work in India, China, and Africa, thinking that God must have a far-flung place where he wanted me to reach out to the lost.

But soon enough God made it clear to me that I was to stay in West Yorkshire and use my radio skills to share the gospel on the airwaves. I loved those early days when I would get one of my Christian programmes played on local radio. It was so exciting to pray along with the broadcast, knowing that God’s Holy Spirit was working in the hearts of listeners through my small offering.

Q: How did God lead you to join Reach Beyond?

In the mid-1980s my wife Dawn and I began to volunteer with Reach Beyond (then HCJB-UK) and we joined officially in 1990.

My first job was as a radio producer, making programmes for Radio HCJB in Ecuador and creative gospel programmes for local radio in the UK, as well as training Christian radio producers overseas.

In 2005 I accepted the role of CEO and since then I have been leading this wonderful community of workers and supporters, enabling and encouraging them to participate in God’s mission to the unreached.

Q: What are some of the highlights of serving with Reach Beyond during the last 31 years?

I love radio. So, being able to train young Christians how to share their love of Jesus on the radio in their own language was a big highlight for me.

I remember leading a radio training course once in a very unreached part in West Africa. It was hot, there was sand blowing everywhere and we drank camel’s milk! But it was thrilling to see the excitement on the student’s faces when they were able to create a simple radio programme that would make it possible for people in their town or village to hear about Jesus.

For 13 years, I used to produce and present a show called ‘The Full breakfast’ on Pulse 2, our local commercial radio station in Bradford. It was a music-based show that gave me plenty of opportunities to play some of our listeners favourite songs and to share stories of how God had changed lives.

We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun, and I know that many listener’s attitudes towards God and Christianity were challenged by our show.

And another highlight is something that happened this year when we sent two young doctors to the mission field in the middle of the pandemic.

This couple have a clear calling and passion to serve God in an unreached country in Central Asia – and God opened the doors for them to do so! They raised all their financial support despite not being able to physically visit any churches and are now settling in their new country and learning the language.

Q: What are some of the mission opportunities Reach Beyond workers and supporters will be responding to in 2022?

I am very grateful for the generous support and prayers of supporters and churches. Together we are the voice and hands of Jesus to the unreached.

In 2022 we will continue to support our radio partners in Africa who are broadcasting the good news of Jesus into unreached areas. And we will journey with our partner stations in Thailand and Indonesia, making sure that their staff are properly trained to make programmes that can inspire listeners to follow Jesus.

What’s more, with your help and your prayers our refugee support teams will be launching new initiatives in Greece and Spain in 2022. So many displaced people are struggling without hope in terrible conditions, and together we can be Jesus to them.

And we will be building stronger connections with our mission partners in Benin who are drilling water wells and establishing new churches in unreached areas. In 2016, there were no believers in one community in Benin; but after drilling 4 wells and encouraging new believers to share Jesus with others, there are now 30 churches in that area.

These are the kinds of mission opportunities we want to support in 2022 as we follow Jesus’s command to go and make disciples of all nations.


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