Perry Noble, What's Working For You?
Perry is the founding and Senior Pastor of NewSpring Community Church in Anderson, SC. Perrry is an outstanding communicator and leader. Perry has lead New Spring from 15 people to 3700 average in just 6 short years. I have had the honor and priveledge to get to know Perry very well, and I can tell you he is one of a kind!
God has done an amazing work in our church. I have to pinch myself almost daily when I think about all that is going on. We began meeting the fall of 1999 with 15 people in a living room, and so far this spring we are averaging around 3,700 people and are still meeting in rented facilities.
Often people call and ask what is working for us. Let me go ahead and get the church answer out of the way-this is a GOD thing. I know that if God were not in this, then all we could produce is wood, hay, and stubble. However, if God were the ONLY element in a church experiencing explosive growth then I believe that every church in America would be experiencing an increase in numbers…and we all know that is not the case.
So here is what is working for us, and coincidently it all comes right out of Genesis Chapter One:
I served as a student pastor for 8 years before planting New Spring. I remember once a kid asked me, “Hey Perry, Wednesday nights are so much fun-why can't church be that way on Sunday mornings?”
I didn't have an answer then-but I do now. The reason many churches are boring on Sunday mornings is that people are not intentional in planning a creative worship service that engages people from the time they hit the parking lot until they are walking out the door.
The Bible says that in the beginning God CREATED-He is creative, and because we are made in His image then we should be as well. Jesus was one of the most creative communicators of all time, He held the crowd captive by telling stories, He proved to His disciples that He was Lord over everything when He walked on the water (I really do believe He was smiling the entire time that whole deal was going on!), and He fed over 15k people with fives loaves and a couple of fish-that's creative.
I have said for a long time…if you are really striving to be more like Christ then you are striving to be more creative.
At New Spring we strive to be relevant. In Genesis Chapter One, everything that God created had a purpose. (Although I am still trying to figure out WHY He created the cat!!!)
When we design a service or a program at New Spring we strive to make sure it has a purpose-and when it fulfills its purpose we get rid of it. We have come to understand that dead horses will not carry you very far.
As a pastor I want to communicate relevant messages. I came to terms with the fact that the majority of the people that I have the privilege of communicating with on Sunday do not care that Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days or that a boy named David killed a giant. What they want to know is, “How can I keep my marriage from falling apart? How can I overcome this addiction to pornography? How can I raise godly kids in the society that we live in?” And the Bible SCREAMS about those issues-it just takes work to connect the Bible with modern day culture. But the people who sit in the chairs every Sunday are worth the effort.
I have been to too many BAD church services; in fact, we all have. We have been a part of struggling through listening to people sing who could not sing. We have seen people who haven't smiled in years “welcoming” people. We have seen children playing in kids facilities that are downright nasty. And what is sad is people will give the excuse, “Well, it's just church-we will have to let it go.”
LET IT GO!? Let me be clear-that standard does not apply in the world. Parents would never take their kids to an unsanitary daycare. We would never go to a concert and listen to a tone deaf singer. We would never tolerate people being rude and inconsiderate in our favorite restaurant-but we will tolerate it in church-that is SAD.
The Bible says in Genesis One that everything God created was good, in other words He offered us His very best. Why should He expect less from us?
The church has Jesus Christ as the Head, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, called by God to make a difference, and according to Scripture we have unlimited resources at our disposal. I have always said that the church should be THE example for excellence in the world. I believe that fortune 500 companies should be looking to the church when it comes to doing things with excellence and not the other way around.
Understand this-excellence is not perfection, trust me, we are not perfect-excellence is simply offering God our very best.
Creativity, relevance, and excellence-these things take effort, but I promise that every church that will gives these three things serious attention will reap some incredible rewards.