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Holy Habits

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The story behind Andrew Roberts 

Andrew Roberts was born into a Christian family and made his personal commitment to be a disciple of Jesus in his teens. University years in York were a hugely formative time. Andrew studied economics and served as President of the Christian Union – a role in which he was mentored by Graham Cray, for whom he would work many years later. Attending St Michael-le-Belfrey, he was greatly influenced by the ministry of David Watson. David’s seminal book Discipleship was particularly inspirational, and Andrew reread this while writing Holy Habits.

After graduating, Andrew went to work as a financial analyst with Ford Motor Company, indulging his boyhood passion for cars. When the call to ministry came, it was a struggle to leave that dream career: a struggle that reached its climax one evening at Spring Harvest when, at the age of 25, Andrew wrestled with the Almighty on Minehead beach. The Almighty won, and Andrew went to Durham to train for the Methodist Ministry in partnership with the Anglicans at Cranmer Hall. It was in Durham that Andrew met and married Shona. Among his tutors were the great biblical scholars Kingsley Barrett and James Dunn. Years later, their commentaries on Acts would provide the theological foundations for Holy Habits.

A first Methodist appointment followed in Doncaster, where Shona and Andrew welcomed their son Matthew into the world. The family then moved to Kingswinford in the West Midlands, where, unusually for a Methodist ministerial family, they have lived ever since. Andrew helped to grow a church there to over 200 adults and 100 children and young people.

In 2005, Andrew became part of the newly formed Fresh Expressions team working under the leadership of Steven Croft and then Graham Cray. Steven Croft, now the Bishop of Oxford, encouraged Andrew to do an MA, which renewed his contact with Durham. One of the modules was on the book of Acts and involved writing an essay in response to this question: 'To what extent do we see the picture that Luke presents in Acts 2:42-47 reappearing in fresh expressions of church today?' Unbeknown to anyone at the time, that was the piece of work from which Holy Habits emerged.

Andrew has recently retired from full-time Methodist ministry, in part to concentrate on Holy Habits: writing, consulting, training and simply being alongside churches and communities as they embark on this journey.

‘Discipleship fundamentally entails a set of disciplines, habits and practices that are undertaken as regular daily practices.’

Walter Brueggemann