God called and Andrew followed

God called and Andrew followed

“I don’t want to be a minister. I really don’t want to be a minister!” The young Andrew wrestled with himself. Yet, the impression dogged him day and night. It was not that there is anything wrong with being a minister. His father was a minister. He had had a very happy childhood as a minister’s child. It had taken him all over – Italy, England, Scotland, and South Africa. It is true that the longest he lived in one place was 5 years, but he enjoyed staying in different places. As a child he had been encouraged to take part in church. Participating in the opportunities provided gave him self-confidence and numerous soft-skills like public speaking, success in negotiating intercultural relationships, discernment and problem-solving skills. Yes, he was a happy minister’s child.

As he reflected on his life, he could see God leading even when he was not aware of where God was taking him. Before University he decided to take a gap year and ended up teaching English at the Adventist school in Poland. He had never thought of being a teacher, but loved it. On returning to the UK, he was accepted to study Business Law at a nearby University. Something he had really wanted to do, and so was excited by the prospect. Yet, just two weeks before courses started, he suddenly decided to change and study History and Literature at Newbold College. He enjoyed his courses, but something just wasn’t right. As time progressed the call to ministry kept beckoning. Finally, when others saw the calling and encouraged him, he stopped fighting it. “Ok Lord, I’ll stop running and do whatever you want me to do!”  He changed his course and studied for the Ministry.

He loves his work as a minister, but is passionate about teaching. As Andrew says “I enjoy teaching. I believe it is one of my gifts and so I try to develop it and use it help build up the Church. But teaching isn’t just about imparting information- it’s about equipping people to grow, develop and learn.”

Andrew pastored in Scotland and worked at the Adventist Discovery Centre, before joining the Irish Mission in January 2019. He is the pastor at the Larne and the Banbridge churches. He and his wife, Krista, live in Banbridge;  just a mile from her old school. Krista is a pharmacist, currently working in local doctors’ surgeries after previously working in hospitals. Andrew can see God’s leading even in his move to the Irish Mission. As he says; “It may sound like a cliché- but we both believe this is where we’re meant to be right now. Believing this helps keep me motivated and not to get discouraged too often!”

Ministry can be very demanding. I asked how he intentionally nurture’s his spiritual growth. “This is something you have to continually work on- at the moment I’m discovering that due to all my usual routines changing due to the lockdown/pandemic, that I have to look again at what I do and why.  I used to use car journeys to listen to podcasts (I need to feed my academic side- so a lot of podcasts and books), so without this I’m looking for new ways of fitting this into my day. Lockdown is also showing me that if I neglect other parts of my life (exercise, rest and wellbeing) then my spiritual growth will suffer. God created us to be balanced and holistic and we need to embrace that.I find my soul is fed by beauty. Art, music, poetry and creativity are all important spiritual pathways for me and help me feel connected to the creator.”

Some facts about Pr Andrew:
What are you currently reading? Some cycling history (to make up for pandemic cancelled racing), a book about Soren Kierkegaard.

The most influential philosopher who you did realise impacted you? half a dozen ministry/mission books that I’m dipping in and out of…

Watching? I rewind by watching old sitcoms, relax by watching subtitled dramas, and learn by watching documentaries… I also like to put cycle races on in the background (with the sound turned down)

Listening to? It varies… from Josh Gauton to choral evensong!
What is your favourite song? It changes all the time!
Who is your favourite author? I don’t have one! I’m always on the lookout out for a new good book!  

Favourite Bible verse. John 1:1-18

We believe Andrew and his family are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. We are very thankful that they followed God’s leading to the Irish Mission. Our prayer is that God will continue to use Andrew as he ministers and teaches.