Andy Robb is a cartoonist and children's illustrator, whose comic creation Derek the Cleric is published widely, including in the Church of Ireland Gazette.
Q. Can you tell us something about your background?
A. Professionally, I'm a cartoonist and children's illustrator, although I've added author, humorist and pastor to this along the way. I was born in London (in 1958), but raised in Essex and, in fact, still live there in Billericay, which, coincidentally, is often thought to be in Northern Ireland.
Church has always been a part of my life and I was brought up as a Methodist. My wife, Jane, and I now lead Revival Church Billericay, which is part of a non-denominational network. I'm dad to Matt and Sarah, but also a granddad.
As a cartoonist and children's illustrator, I've worked on many publishing and advertising projects, but after becoming a Christian, I began to write and illustrate books (over 50 to date) which bring the Bible alive for kids, a couple of which have won Children's Book of the Year awards in the UK. I'm presently working with Hodder Faith on The God Files, an NIV children's Bible I've devised, written and illustrated. And not forgetting Derek the Cleric, my comic creation and vehicle for my brand of humour. In his time, he's had an animation, merchandise and a book and he appears in numerous Church magazines, including the Church of Ireland Gazette. To join his online "followship", head to Derek the Cleric on Facebook.
Q. How and when did you come to faith?
A. The death of a friend when I was in my 20s rocked my world and caused me to explore whether this life was it, or if there was more. It wasn't so much a seeking after God, but a pursuit of a supernatural realm. I went down some wrong routes along the way, but eventually had an unexpected and life-transforming experience of the Holy Spirit - my personal Pentecost - which brought me into a living relationship with God.
Q. Does this faith play a real part in your life? Or is it only for Sundays?
A. For the past 32 years, my faith in Jesus has been the foundation of my life and no area is off-limits to God.
Q. Have you ever had a crisis of faith, or a gnawing doubt about your faith?
A. I could never deny how Jesus has changed me. That said, the challenge is to be like Abraham and to remain unwavering. That's easy when things are going well, but you have to dig deep and hold fast to the word of God when circumstances seem to run contrary to what you're believing for. There is always an opportunity for growth.
Q. Have you ever been angry with God? And, if so, why?
A. I have in the past, when things were not going how I thought they should. However, those times really just exposed my pain, or lack of trust in God, not His failure.
Q. Do you ever get criticised for your faith? And are you able to live with that criticism?
A. Rarely. I try not to be overly contentious and look for ways to build bridges into people's lives.
Q. Are you ever ashamed of your own Church, or denomination?
A. I'm not, but I don't like it when I feel I've not been the kind of ambassador for Jesus I'd like to be, or when other believers (in my eyes) misrepresent God.
Q. Are you afraid to die? Or can you look beyond death?
A. I guess that none of us is a big fan of suffering, but the Bible clearly presents us with an expectation of "the best is yet to come". I've been at the bedside of a believer who was dying and it was a beautiful experience - Heaven's welcome was palpable.
Q. Are you afraid of hell?
A. No. My ticket to eternity is already marked with another - and better - destination.
Q. Do you believe in a resurrection? If so, what will it be like?
A. I do. I think Jesus' resurrection appearances give us a clue as to what our resurrection bodies will be capable of.
Q. What do you think about people of other denominations and other faiths?
A. It's a challenge not to point out the things about other Churches with which we disagree, but it's ultimately a fruitless exercise and only leads to annoyance. I seek to view others through the lens of the fact that we are brothers and sisters in Christ - what we have in common. I'll never judge those from other faiths, as I wouldn't judge my former self, for not believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Q. Would you be comfortable in stepping out from your own faith and trying to learn something from other people?
A. While keeping an open heart to learn from others, I personally believe that all we need to know of God is revealed in the Bible in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
Q. Do you think that the Churches are fulfilling their mission?
A If you mean in the UK, I don't. Jesus' mandate, in Matthew 28, wasn't just to get people into Heaven, but to disciple nations. That means education, business, Government and all areas of society being directly impacted by Jesus' Church.
Q. Why are so many people turning their backs on organised religion?
A. One reason could be that they aren't being presented with the supernatural reality of God.
Q. What is your favourite film, book and music and why?
A. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for reasons of nostalgia. Thomas Hardy for transporting me to a different time and place. Musically, my tastes are as eclectic as the instruments I've played: recorder, hand bells, piano, drums, trombone and saxophone.
Q. Where do you feel closest to God?
A. Nowhere specific. But, as well as having dedicated times with God, I do make a practice throughout the day of stopping what I'm doing and simply acknowledging His presence.
Q. What inscription would you like on your gravestone, if any?
A. "Misplaced apostrophes of the world - you can now relax".
Q. Finally, have you any major regrets?
A. While I know there's much I could have done better (or even differently), I try to look forward and not back.