Perry Noble, the recovering alcoholic who was fired from Newspring, the church he founded in Anderson, SC, for, well, alcoholism is starting a new church–and its doors open tomorrow. Just two-and-a-half years after his departure, he’s found his way back to the pulpit.
Not that Perry Noble was ever qualified to preach from the Pulpit–he wasn’t–he took to Facebook today to explain to his followers why, despite his disqualification, he still plans to lead a congregation.
One of the problems with emergent type leaders like Noble is that they conflate the biblical terminology of being “unworthy” with “unqualified.” To be a pastor, you must be biblically qualified, however, biblically speaking, nobody is worthy.
Here’s what Noble says:
I’ve received numerous text messages as well as people on social media asking me about how I feel about Second Chance opening tomorrow.
Here are FIVE thoughts I’ve had all week.
1 – I Have NEVER Felt So Under-qualified In My Life!
I used to believe the Lord blessed my ministry because I was a good person, you know, read my Bible every day, prayed and didn’t say (a lot) of cuss words. Overall I would have said I was a good person.
Um, I don’t really believe the whole, “I’m a good person” anymore.
I have said things I never thought I would say, done things I never thought I would do and my life took a turn to places I never thought I would be.
I feel like the ONLY reason the apostle Paul could claim the title, “Chief of Sinners” in I Timothy 1:15 is because he didn’t know I would be coming along.
If the Lord only blesses “good pastors” – well, I’m pretty much screwed.
However, an overwhelming awareness of my sinfulness has brought about a level of empathy and compassion in me that I can honestly say I’ve never experienced in my life.
I’m always going to be an easy target for people who use the “unqualified” argument (heck, I agree with them) – but – as long as the Lord gives me opportunity I figure I should use my gift rather than bury it just to impress people who don’t actually know me.
2 – I Know I Will Let People Down
I hate disappointing people–I mean…REALLY hate it! However, I also know if I become everything that everyone wants me to be–I will absolutely get swallowed up in the expectations of others and lose sight of who the Lord has actually called me to be.
Someone has already made a comment to me about how I need to be at the door greeting people – and, as hard as it was–I had to simply let them know that wasn’t going to happen. Not because I think I am above it – but because I am SUCH an introvert – and shaking hands and posing for selfies with people causes me a tad of anxiety.
I’ll say some things people don’t like…
I’ll take stands (or refuse to take stands) that will offend certain groups of people…
I will do things that cause people to shake their heads…
…I simply will never be the pastor that has all of his stuff together.
That used to bother me; however, I am getting more and more ok with it – because, at the end of the day there is a calling on my life…but it’s not to please as many people as possible. That being said – I really hate disappointing people, but I would rather disappoint that pretend to be someone or something I am not.
3 – I’m Scared
I’ve done this before – and while I experienced some of the best days of my life, I also experienced a train wreck.
Not pointing fingers – I have taken responsibility for my part and fought like hell to get better.
Getting a proper diagnosis was KEY to this (I was actually diagnosed with PTSD when I was in treatment and not as an alcoholic–they told me alcohol was my coping mechanism for me to deal with traumatic issues I had buried since the age of around 5.) BUT – once you are labeled (especially in “Christian world”) – it sticks with you for the rest of your life.
When I was 28 I was full of energy and certain I could do just about anything…now I’m 47 and know I am definitely not Super Man (heck, I don’t even think I could be Clark Kent!)
I know there are people who are watching and waiting on me to fail – so they can pounce with their “I told you so” arguments.
I know there are people who are screaming this is “too soon!”
I’ve experienced hurt and confusion on levels I never thought I would see – and I’ve cried more tears than I thought I had in me.
BUT…here I am doing it again.
It’s simple – I just can’t get away from it. I tried – trust me, but the Lord just keeps bringing my busted up, broken, sinful self back to the idea that the local church really is the hope of the world – and I’m supposed to be right in the middle of it.
4 – I Honestly Don’t Know That Much
When I started a church the first time I had vision statements, mission statements, core values, statements of beliefs – I knew what we were going to do if/when just about any situation happened. I knew where I stood theologically on just about every position out there…
…but today, well – we have a church name (Second Chance) and our vision is to reach people far from God and help them to follow Jesus step by step.
That’s it right now – not a lot of theological stances or 150 page membership books (honestly don’t know if we will ever have official membership!)
What I do know is people need a safe place where they can come–and be fully known (don’t have to fake) and fully loved. And – Second Chance will be that place.
The rest – I guess we will figure it out as we go along.
5 – A Part Of Me Wonders If Anyone Will Actually Show Up.
I can’t even begin to emphasize how honest that statement is. I know people have said they are coming, and I believe some people will show; however, I guess because of my personal insecurities – and the fact I’ve screwed up so bad – I battle with it.
However, I can honestly say – whether 50 or 250 show up…I’m going to give it my best shot. I can’t believe Jesus, with all He knows about me, is actually letting me do this again. So – whatever He gives me, I’ll take it and pray I will be a great steward of the calling He’s placed on my life.
I’ve started with nothing before – so – I believe because God has called me to this, He will see me through it as well.
So – there you go – raw and real – those are my thoughts on the eve of our opening. I hope that if you took the time to read all of this–you’ll maybe consider saying a five second prayer for me–I know the Lord will use it.
This isn’t where I thought I would be at 47…but…the Lord is NOT surprised by this–and so I will take this opportunity He has given me, knowing and believing with all my heart that the best really is yet to come.