Andy's journey from rock star to Norwich pastor
Norwich youth pastor Andy Eyre’s dramatic journey to faith brought him through turbulent teenage years on Guernsey, a hedonistic lifestyle in a successful rock band to a transformed life in full-time church ministry.
By Helen Baldry
Born in Croydon, South London to Baptist pastors, Andy moved around a lot as a young child. His family settled on the small channel island of Guernsey when he was eight years old. He lived there for the next 11 years and spent his formative years on the island where his parents led the church.
Andy found there was not much to occupy young people and he got caught up in the heavy drinking culture on the island. He said, “I started drinking at the age of about 11 or 12, even though I was still going to church and involved in the worship. It really was one foot in the world and one foot in the church.”
From the age of 15, Andy’s drinking had escalated and he had started smoking and taking drugs. Despite this, he experienced incredible success, firstly in a financial career back on the mainland, and secondly, in his early 20s playing regular gigs and festivals in a punk rock band.
Andy said, “My whole life started to go very far away from church. I cut my dad off a lot. I didn’t really like him at all because he was pastor of a church. It’s a strong word but it was borderline hatred - but that’s where I was at.”
Andy spoke about his sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle. In a day he would consume a litre of vodka, followed by 15 or 20 pints and a lot of drugs. He said, “I thought I was fine, but I was a mess.”
Andy describes the point at which things began to change when he had an experience while he was living in Camden. “There was a moment when I woke up and I just felt something evil. I couldn’t describe it. This thing told me I was going to be in a band and have money and success but I had to follow it – or I could choose a wooden door. It was just a wooden door. There was nothing special about it.
“It felt wrong. I didn’t like how I felt. I said I want the door – even though I was pursuing that success and fame and everything that came with it. It didn’t feel right. I chose the door but I carried on my life as before – I was drinking lots, smoking, drugs... all of that stuff.”
Shortly after, Andy went to Reading Festival where one night he had a spiritual encounter which changed the direction of his life. He believes there was a wrestle for his soul that night. “I was lying there and I knew I was dying. I felt incredibly empty. I had nothing to show for all the success I had had. I had friends, I had gigs, I had the band. I got offered a couple of record deals...all the success the world could chuck at you but actually it was meaningless. I had nothing.”
Andy decided to go to church just once to see if God was real. Stepping into an Elim Pentecostal church in London, he had his doubts, yet suddenly he felt the most incredible sense of God’s presence and love. “I felt addictions being taken away from me. It was like somebody was cutting the addictions from inside.”
Following his dramatic transformation, Andy discovered a passion for people, particularly teenagers and he returned to Guernsey to work as a youth pastor.
“My motivation is that I love people. My heart’s desire is that we all connect with God in an authentic way.”
Andy got back in touch with a family friend, Ellie who had heard of his testimony and they are now married and have three children. They moved to Norwich in April this year and Andy started work as Youth and Children’s Pastor at Norwich Central Baptist Church.