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An Interview with Andrew Wilson: multi-tasker extraordinare

18 July 2012

Each week (if possible) I hope to interview someone far more interesting than myself and ask them questions that will link to one if not all of the themes of this blog – Dublin, family life, theology and Christian community.

So it is with great pleasure that my first interview is with Andrew Wilson (who I actually posted about yesterday which make this  fit all rather nicely). I phoned Andrew up not to long ago to ask about doing a PhD alongside being a full-time Pastor and I soon realised that I wasn’t cut out for it and came to see that he is a multi-tasker extraordinare and makes the rest of us mere mortals feel very unproductive! I have hugely appreciated his blog, his teaching, his passion for truth and for Jesus, his humour and his willingness to give me his time.

Anyway, here is what he said

(1) Hi Andrew, in 2-3 sentences tell us who you are, your history, what you do & your most favourite thing about Dublin?
I’m Andrew, I’m 33, I’m an elder in the Newfrontiers church in Eastbourne, and I’m married to Rachel with two beautiful children: Zeke (3) and Anna (2). After studying History and Theology at Cambridge, I became a Management Consultant in London, and then moved down to Eastbourne to work for the church, first running a gap year programme called Impact, then working for Kidz Klub, then doing more and more teaching and training, and eventually going full time and becoming an elder. When I’m not doing that, I run a Leadership Training course, blog, and study for a PhD at Kings College London. My favourite thing about Dublin – well, I think it’s the sandwiches at Gruel, or the way Guinness tastes when it’s local. But the streets south of Dame St are very cool as well.

(2) Who have been your inspirations growing up, who do you enjoying reading & what is your all time favourite Christian book (outside of the bible)…and why?
I didn’t really get serious with God until I was about 22, but the one inspiration in God that I encountered before then was an American preacher called Judson Cornwall who did a series on the Names of God at a Bible week in the 80s. For reading, my two favourite authors are John Piper and Tom Wright – which is funny, because they disagree a lot – and other great modern writers include Don Miller, Tim Keller, D A Carson, Eugene Peterson and David Bentley Hart (who would also disagree a lot). But the best book I’ve read is either The Pleasures of God or Desiring God, both by Piper. They switch between #1 and #2, depending on when I’m asked.

(3) You are part of the Theology Forum and help run the theology matters blog, tell us a bit about how this group was formed and what are it’s aims?
Apparently it was formed thirty years ago! I’ve only been involved for four years, but the big idea was to help shape theology in the Newfrontiers churches, and until last year this mainly happened by writing papers on theological hot-button issues (Penal Substitution, Islam, Healing, Israel, Environment, Politics, etc). When we launched the blog at, though, the focus – at least for me! – has been much more around writing shorter, more personal, punchy, immediate pieces which respond to contemporary issues quickly and (sometimes) controversially, but stimulate theological reflection in everyone who reads them, whether or not they agree. The best thing about it, in my view, is that the main contributors don’t always agree, and this enables us to discuss issues while also (hopefully) modelling how to disagree agreeably. We also aim to ensure no Newfrontiers elder writes “it’s” when they mean “its”, but that’s probably a pipedream J

(4) What do you think are some of the key theological and ecclesiological issues facing church in the 21st Century (and why)?
Theologically, I think it’s the doctrine of Scripture and hermeneutics, because that’s the issue that drives all the other controversial issues (hell, the atonement, gender roles, sexuality, charismatic gifts, and so on – I’ve just finished a short piece on whether or not you should smack your children, and even that turns out to be about the doctrine of Scripture and hermeneutics in the end!) Ecclesiologically, in my view, it’s apostles: who they are, how they work, and how their authority interacts with that of local churches and their elders. But that’s quite specifically an issue in our type of church; it’s not like the rest of Christendom is worrying about it or anything …

(5) Tell us, how do you balance doing a PhD, writing articles for the Forum/Blog, preaching regularly as well as all the pastoral care and strategic thinking that is involved with being an elder of a local church?
Well I’m not sure I do! On a good week, preparing a preach takes a day; leadership meetings, strategic stuff, pastoral work and any admin that my assistant can’t do takes a day; and preaching three times on Sunday takes a day. In theory, that leaves two days to run the training courses and do a PhD. Blogging is almost all done in my own time; getting an iPad has massively increased my productivity, so now I blog whenever I’m on trains, waiting in queues, getting coffee, hosting courses, and so on. But it doesn’t always work according to plan, particularly when new things (like books, or new apostolic spheres) start appearing!

(6) If God Then What has been a huge success, what is the topic of the next book you are hoping to write?
To be honest, I won’t write any more books while I’m doing the PhD, so the next thing I publish (apart from the odd journal or magazine article) might end up being the PhD itself, if an academic publisher will take it on. But in terms of the next accessible book I do, I’m really not sure. I have a couple of ideas, but they’re both a bit more theologically deep than the stuff I’ve done until now – and I’m not sure I’ve heard God on writing them or anything. We shall see!

Anyone else feel rather unproductive when you read that?

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 April 2016 2:58 pm

    I went to school with Andrew, he was a legend and I’ve often wondered what happened to him. Anyone know how to get a hold of him?

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