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7 Questions with Fred Noble
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7 Questions with Fred Noble
Name: Fred Noble
Current title: Director of Ministry & Outreach
Current organisation: Friendship Community Baptist Church
I truly came to Christ about 10 years ago after a messy divorce. Prior to that, I was in executive leadership in the business world, making a great salary and with an awesome trajectory. Unfortunately, that career left my now ex-wife seeking someone who would be there for her and she chose another man. I went from that to starting a recruiting company while going to seminary and then going onboard with a local church of about 250. During that time I met my current wife, an amazing Christian woman.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
Really I have found the most challenging thing people. You see, in business, especially when in leadership, if someone doesn't fall in line then you just replace them with someone new. In ministry, going after the one who is a challenge and leaving the 99 who are unified is the challenge. And COVID has made that even more pronounced.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I got a divorce. People at my previous church wouldn't let me fail and they discipled and built me up. As soon as I gave my life to Christ, I needed to know more about Him so I went to seminary. It was through that process that God called me into vocational ministry. I applied many places. Most places actually told me I was too old. But Friendship took a chance on me. I stepped in as Director of Ministry & Outreach.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day in the Word. I'd love to say I am like those amazing church leaders who gets up early and dives into the Word, but I get up and mosey into the Word. I read a chapter of the Bible each day. After that I pray for wisdom and re-read the chapter. I end with more prayer, but this time focused on application of the Word.
Once I pray, I get to work. My job is a good blend between operational and administrative. I spend about 60% of my time doing the work of the ministry and the other 40% planning the work. I typically try to take Fridays and Saturdays off, but during COVID, I typically worked 6 days a week.
When I get home, I relax. I usually do the cooking for the family. It is my happy place. After dinner I will sit down and play video games or watch a little TV.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
There are 2. First is Sun Stands Still by Furtick. Just to hear how he describes the story from the Old Testament and applies it to the modern day is amazing. The next is The Church That Never Sleeps. This is where the vision for ministry came from for me.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Going from a business mindset to a ministry mindset has been the biggest leadership lesson I have had, and it is an ongoing one. After 30 years in the business world in executive leadership roles, the way to think for ministry doesn't come natural to me.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
COVID has made it much much harder to create a succession plan for leaders and volunteers. But the main thing I have found is simply following Matthew 9 and praying for workers in the fields and then explaining to people Matthew 10, that we are those workers that we are to pray for. I spend a lot of time on the phone and email with people.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
Joe. Not long after I started, Joe was a homeless man that our church took in. We got him off the street, helped him find a job and get his life back on track. About 6 months after I met him, he decided he wanted to come to Christ and I was able to baptize him in the Chesapeake Bay on Easter morning. Soon after that, he wanted to quit smoking after 40 years. So I was able to go to the quit smoking classes at the health department with him. It built such a great relationship with him.