My Story: Andrew Randoll
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matt. 4:19
Andrew Randoll joined First United Methodist Church as the Junior High Director in September, 2018.
He hails from Marion, Illinois, a small town where he spent his early childhood on a farm with three younger siblings, two sisters and a brother, in a close family. The Randoll children had an idyllic childhood with plenty of space, a pond for fishing and time for play.
Andrew grew up attending Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Marion. His parents placed a great deal of importance on church attendance. Andrew’s dad was raised Lutheran and his mother was raised Baptist. They compromised on the Methodist Church after they were married. There was no compromise when it came to Sunday School and church attendance since his parents were devoted to life in the church.
Hal Hamilton, a name FUMC members will remember, was youth pastor at Aldersgate and Andrew became a participant in Hal’s work at the church until Hal moved to Tulsa.
Andrew recalls a significant experience with the Lord when he tells us, “God got a hold on me.” He was in the eighth grade and attending summer camp. There was an emphasis on the Holy Spirit and Andrew entered into that emphasis and found his way to the altar where he received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This experience was a profound meeting with the Lord.
“I had a young man who was our youth intern pray with me.” Andrew says that during this time of prayer the young man revealed two visions he had for Andrew’s future call that left a vivid impression on him. The latter was Andrew speaking in front of a crowd. Andrew, an introvert, could not see that vision becoming reality. He had never been comfortable speaking in front of a group. Andrew wrestled with the second vision for a long time. He had a heart for youth ministry, but he wondered how could he ever do it?
Although Andrew received the Lord when he was only about five years old, he remembers the moment clearly. His parents took him to a Christian concert and upon returning home Andrew told his Mom, “Mom, I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
His mother took him to the bedroom where they prayed together and as Andrew puts it, “That was my moment of knowing.”
Following graduation from high school Andrew attended Greenville University, near St. Louis. He went with the intention to study physical education. As a talented soccer player and a member of championship teams, he planned to play soccer for Greenville and obtain a degree in physical education “God had another plan,” says Andrew. After suffering some injuries, it was clear that sports would not be in his future as a career and he switched to education with plans to teach.
After finishing college he sought a teaching position but after several years that plan just never developed. He worked in volunteer positions and coaching soccer at the high school level. Finally he says he felt led to call Hal Hamilton who was on staff at FUMC.
“I called Hal and he asked, ‘Did you know I was looking for a Junior High youth minister.’”
“I was interviewed for the job, twice as it turned out,” and got the job.
Andrew loves the fact that he gets to share his story and his heart for Christ here at FUMC. He feels Junior High school age is the time they start asking important questions. He encourages these kids to “dig and pray and find answers”.
“I love that I get to love on them and watch them grow. The more I love on them, the more they come back. I have seen some terrific changes in the past couple of years. Watching these kids come out of their shells and working through things. I love that.”
For now, Andrew has tabled any thoughts about seminary. He feels he is where God wants him to be and until that changes he is content to fulfill the call at FUMC.
Andrew enjoys watching soccer when he can. You might say going to a World Cup game someday is on his bucket list.
As a single, young man approaching 30, Andrew’s goal is to, “Serve well. I want to be somebody that is a disciple and makes other disciples for Jesus.”
Andrew with a group of Junior High students on their July, 2019 Mission trip to Denver.