Andrew swaps jet-set lifestyle for ministry

19/8/2011'Andrew Openshaw and his New Mill Baptist Church,Tring.
19/8/2011'Andrew Openshaw and his New Mill Baptist Church,Tring.

A CORPORATE supply chain manager has left a life of jet-setting and business meetings within a multi-billion pound company to lead a small town congregation as a student Baptist minister.

Andrew Openshaw, who will take on the position at New Mill Baptist Church in Tring on Thursday, September 1, quit his job at American multinational company PPG because he wanted to spend more time in church.

He said: “It will be a complete lifestyle change – my children have never lived in England and I haven’t for 17 years. My work colleagues said that I was either mad or very courageous.”

The 40-year-old father-of-three was based in the company’s offices in Lille and had been very much a part of an English speaking church there when he made the decision to become a minister.

He said: “You arrive at a certain point and wonder what to do next. We were spending so much time doing church things that I thought it would be nice to give all our energies to it.

“My brother-in-law is a senior minister at a church in Stafford so I spoke to him about it two years ago and applied through the Baptist Union of Great Britain.”

Mr Openshaw, his wife Kate and three children Catriona, aged 13, Nathaniel, aged 11, and Ellan, aged nine moved from their country house on the outskirts of Lille to their new home in Grove Road, at the beginning of August.

New Mill Baptist Church, in New Road, has not had a minister for 18 months and Mr Openshaw will be welcomed in with a service and gospel concert on Sunday, September 18.

His role will include leading the congregation of about 30 people as well as attending ministerial classes at Regents College Oxford two times a week.

He will continue to juggle work and study for three years and will be fully accredited after a further three years of ministerial work under supervision.

The church has services on Sunday mornings, a youth club, prayer meetings, an over-60s club and takes services at old people’s homes once a month.

It may seem a world away from his nine to five job dealing with corporate clients, which included Coca Cola and Ford GM but he said that being a minister will also have similarities to his previous work.

“It involves vision, strategy and tactics. You have to know what you are there for, your strategy and what you intend to do to achieve it,” he explained.