Church Planter (20Schemes) - Edinburgh, Scotland
Andy is a graduate from Oak Hill College and was an Associate Pastor at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh since 2010. In September 2014, he left Charlotte Chapel to join 20schemes and eventually planted a church in a scheme of Edinburgh called Gracemount.
Testimony of Conversion
I had the privilege of being brought up in a Christian family in which the gospel was taught and modelled faithfully. Up until the age of 14 I would have called myself a Christian, however there was an antithesis between my behaviour at home and at school. Influenced by a desire for acceptance and popularity I lived not for Christ but myself.
At the age of 14 I attended an Ambassadors In Sport soccer school where I was challenged by the witness of the Christian coaches, and convicted by the teaching of Scripture to put into practice what I knew (Matthew 7:24-27). It was here that I was convicted of my sin, and asked the Lord Jesus for forgiveness.
Call to Ministry
My primary reason for entering the ministry is a desire to proclaim the Lord Jesus, for the edification and advancement of his kingdom. Coupled with this desire I have had encouragement from others to do so. With these two factors I have sought to grasp opportunities to use and develop the gifts that God has given me. Acknowledging the responsibility of gifting, and under the direction of wise Christian counsel, I entered the Christian ministry. In line with Spurgeon, I understand the inner desire, the encouragement of others to enter the ministry, and the encouragement of others concerning gifts to be the main confirmations from God.
I grew up in a home where my father was an elder, my uncle a pastor, and my grandfather a pastor. And so shaped from an early age, with an appreciation of the importance of the local church, the importance of service, humility, and integrity, that was modelled faithfully in our home and extended family.
Apprenticeship in Enfield gave me first opportunities to test spiritual gifts, and was given a broad range of ministry experiences: from cleaning toilets to preaching. Pastor modelled a pastoral heart and what it meant to shepherd God's flock. Assistant-Pastor modelled discipleship, and preaching. Both shaped me significantly.
After Oak Hill, I served at Charlotte Chapel for 4 years. 3 years as Assistant, with general responsibilities, including preaching, discipling young people & students. Final year as Associate with more specific responsibility for preaching at the evening service.
History of Ministry / Church Plant in Gracemount
My wife Sarah has been involved in gospel ministry for 13 years in Gracemount, initially informally with her brother, and subsequently through the establishing of Switch (a registered charity). Switch exists to reach the young people of the Gracemount housing scheme for Christ. It aims to use sport and other activities to provide opportunities for each young person to hear about Jesus and his life-transforming power. Switch takes its name from Ezekiel 11, where God promises to ‘switch’ hearts of stone for hearts of flesh.
Switch went into partnership with 20schemes with the hope of planting a church in Gracemount. At that stage I was committed to Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh as their Associate Pastor. However, moving into Gracemount shortly after we got married, I started to see a deprivation and poverty in my home city that up till then I had been naive to and ignorant of. Sarah sent me around Gracemount reading Romans 10, specifically asking the 4 rhetorical questions that Paul asks. When the repeated answer came back with emphatic 'They can't!' we started seriously praying through and considering planting a church in the scheme.
After meetings with my current elders at Charlotte Chapel, and with the elders at Niddrie Community Church, we felt God was calling us to pursue planting a church in Gracemount. The combination of Switch’s existing relationships and experience in Gracemount and the experience, resources, and training that 20schemes, has provided a great opportunity and a great foundation on which to plant a church. And so in 2014 we began training with 20schemes in Niddrie, with a view to being the planter for Gracemount.