I just returned from a three-day ministry trip to Manhattan, New York. I had the privilege of speaking once again in Freddy Noble’s church. Pastor Freddy leads an exciting Southern Baptist cell church that is having a powerful impact in Manhattan.
Pastor Freddy told me that the first twelve years of pastoring the church were dark and difficult. Board members tried to control the church. God gave Freddy the grace to pray for the problematic leaders. They eventually left the church on their own accord. Pastor Freddy slowly transitioned the people to the cell vision. Now there are 50 cells and 400 people attending the church each week. The last three years have been refreshing and God-anointed.
Pastor Freddy is a student of the cell church. He’s read all the cell church books and networked with enough cell church pastors to know the key principles. Yet, he’s more than a student, he’s also a practicioner. He personally leads a cell in his house, which has multipled. He told me that lately two non-Christians have been attending his cell.
Pastor Freddy is also willing to adjust to make the cell church work. For example, the church followed a particular cell coaching structure, but when they found that it wasn’t working, he changed it. He realizes that principles have to be worked out in the nitty-gritty reality of the church’s life or they have little value.
I was also excited by the incredible evangelism testimonies during the seminar. Cell leader after cell leader (especially from pastor Noble’s church) shared stories of friends and neighbors receiving Christ and being transformed through the cell group. I felt that the best part of the entire seminar was hearing the testimonies from the cell leaders.
No doubt that pastor Freddy, like all of us, longs for more. He sees his own faults and inadequacies. Yet, from an outsider’s perspective, I was impressed that he’s willing to pray, work hard, and make the necessary adjustments to their cell ministry. God is responding in a wonderful way.