Step Out: Where Are They Now?

For over 30 years Step Out has been enabling young people to come together and reach out into communities across Scotland with the Good News of Jesus. The summer of 2017 saw the last ‘Step Out’ teams go out on mission across our nation. Over the past 30 years there have been holiday clubs, games afternoons, street evangelism, laughs, tears, disasters and triumphs. Many young people and churches have been deeply impacted by the experience of stepping out into mission together.

Reading the testimonies of those who have served on teams since the mid 1980’s stirs 3 thoughts within me. Firstly, how important it is that we give young people a platform to step out in faith from. In a culture that tends towards being part of the crowd. Jesus calls us out, to be distinct and to follow him by stepping out in trust. It’s there we discover the freedom, joy and adventure that it is to be part of His mission to the world.

Secondly, the importance of celebrating all that God has done through this long running initiative as it comes to an end. It’s incredible to think of all the teams, holiday clubs and missions, all the preparation and all the ways Jesus has been shared throughout Scotland. God is amazing, faithful and His work through Step Out is more than worthy of celebration.

Finally, I find myself asking ‘Why stop Step Out?’ Do we want to stop our young people from having these formative experiences and not reach their generation with the good news of Jesus? Of course not! Culture has changed dramatically over the last 30 years and we have heard from the Lord that there is a need to develop new ways of reaching the younger generations. My prayer and our intention as a Union is captured in John 12:24 “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

The Kingdom of God is a movement of multiplication and growth. We desire to see even more young people engaged and enabled to take a step of faith out their comfort zone and reach their generation. As you read these stories lets pray for multiplication that whatever the future holds we see many more young lives impacted by Jesus.

Ali Laing – Next Generation Development Coordinator

Where Are They Now?

Name: Shãron Mathers – previously Shãron Sleith.

Years involved in Step Out:

I am a huge Step Out old timer! My first Scottish Baptist Mission was in1987 (before it became Step Out) in Rosyth – I was 16 and petrified. I also needed to leave halfway through for knee surgery. However I have to say that the friends I made then, 30 years ago, I still feel I could call on.

1988 was the year of the world Baptist Youth Conference in Glasgow and there were no summer missions. However in 1989 I went to Kilmarnock and in 1990 I went to Ellon. After that I served with Step Out in Montrose, Irvine, Linwood and Springburn – sometimes a week, mostly a fortnight.  Most of my trips were on my university holidays, with my best friend Jennifer…. really special times.

What are you doing now?

Now I’m married with 3 children and living in Aberdeen.  I work as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school – which all those years of Step Out kids clubs really prepared me for – you’d be amazed the amount of puppets I use on a daily basis!

What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out? I learned so much in these amazing trips – faith, patience, love, hard work, community…it struck me years later that we thought we were working for the churches to help them out when actually they were helping us so much.  It must have been tough for them to house us and feed us and put up with us!  Thank you so much to all the churches that ever hosted a Step Out team.

Name: Yvonne Faddes

Years involved in Step Out:  1992-1996

What are you doing now?

I am currently working for SU Scotland as their Church Partnerships Coordinator. I am trying to create better links with the churches we are connected with all across Scotland.

What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

Doing Step Out helped me to gain a better kingdom perspective, learned to share Jesus with people through building relationships as well as being on the streets chatting with strangers. It pushed me out of my comfort zone into a place where I learned to rely on God in any circumstance. Serving churches within the BU helped me to see the wider picture of church throughout Scotland as I came from a church where there were no youth my age. It was an invaluable experience for me.

Name: Mo Gibbs

Years involved in Step Out:  1997-2000/01ish

 What are you doing now?

Domestic Engineer and People Developer – a.k.a stay at home mum of two. We moved to Cambridgeshire last year. Lionel pastors an LEP church and I’m getting to know people informally. I’m involved in various things at church and have recently started volunteering time with the Eastern Baptist Association as Secretary of the Ministerial Recognition Committee.

 What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

Serving God is fun and worth giving everything to…and I was called to ministry, Step Out started me off.

Name: Jillian Ferguson

 Years involved in Step Out: 2003, 2009, Step Out Plus 2006 and 2007, and I was Young People’s Coordinator from January 2010 to June 2011.

 What are you doing now?

I’m married to Greig who is the pastor at Yoker Evangelical Church in Glasgow. I’m a full time mum to our three children Alistair (6), Eilidh (very nearly 4) and Jonathan (2) and I do what I can to help with things at church, mainly the toddler group and starting soon the youth group.

 What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

I think it would be that God always gives you the strength you need to accomplish for him what he wants.  In week 6 of sleep deprivation, I mean Step Out Plus, He gave us the strength to remain energetic during the kids and youth groups we were doing, to serve him well and share the gospel with those who came. And He still gives the strength I need to serve him each day.

Name: Ailie Shaikh (Colville)

Years involved in Step Out: 2004 Lossiemouth & 2006 Step Out Plus

What are you doing now?

I have a gift shop in Portobello in Edinburgh with my sister called ‘Two Sisters’. We have had the business for 7 and a half years.

What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

I honestly learnt so much from Step Out! One thing that stands out to me was how many effective ways there are to show people Christ, rather than just preaching at them. That along with how to play a good prank!

Name: Iain Black

 Years involved in Step Out: 2005 – 2012

 What are you doing now?

I work in Sainsbury’s as a check-out operator. I go to Kirkintilloch Baptist, where I am involved in the youth work.

 What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

Not every week is going to be the same and it doesn’t always go to plan, but God will use it. Don’t think because it’s not perfect you have failed – God can use it. It’s amazing what the kids and youth get out of the holiday club! Lastly, always rely on God

Name: Andy Shaiman White

 Years involved in Step Out:  2008-2012

 What are you doing now?

Just moved south of Seattle, Washington with my wife Katie taking on a joint youth director position in a local church.

 What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

The most important lesson I learned while on mission is one I presume most people have answered – to trust God. Regardless of how prepared you were for a week of mission, or by week 6 how familiar you were with everything, God always surprised you. Sometimes that was scary. Sometimes hard. But always brilliant. I’m so grateful to the BUS for giving me the opportunities I had to learn this and much more!

Name: My name is Kayleigh Nicol

Years involved in Step Out:   I started Step Out in 2013

 What are you doing now?

Nowadays I work in a small shop in Fife, and lead the Friday night youth clubs at my Church.

 What is the most important lesson you learned on Step Out?

The most important lesson I learned on Step Out is that God works in wonderful and surprising ways. God has pushed me into situations I never thought I’d be in and help me learn and grow in them. He has also showed me that being a Christian is not in any way easy, but in every way worth it. Also within Step Out, God has shown me the difference I can make for Him.