Throughout Pastor Appreciation Month, we’ve taken some time to get to know our church staff. Today we get to know Northstar’s lead pastor, Jeff Noble.
I took a seat in Jeff’s office on the day of this fateful interview and was immediately greeted with a serenade from an out-of-tune guitar and a song that he was making up on the spot. The subject of the song? A time when he gave away the ice cream that I was keeping in the office refrigerator. As the song progressed, he threw his daughter under the bus.
Jeff Noble is a man of humility. Many people may not realize that Jeff was the valedictorian of his high school graduating class. It’s just not something he brags about. That could be, perhaps, because it was a class of approximately 60 people.
After being named valedictorian and completing his high school years, Jeff moved on to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. During college, he began a graphic design business with his best friend. Together, they ran that business for three years.
Every summer, from his first year in college on, Jeff served in ministry somewhere. During his junior year, he served in a church, but never really considered full-time ministry. In the winter of 1990-1991, his graphic design business was going well, but he began talking with his pastor, parents, and friends, feeling that God was pulling him toward ministry.
When Jeff decided to follow the suggestion of attending seminary, he sold his portion of the business and began working toward a Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeff remembers hearing fellow seminary students talk about how they were “called to be a pastor… called to be a missionary…” Jeff simply said, “I’m just called.”
Jeff is married to Carolyn, and they have two children: Sam and Adelyn. Sam is 19 and a sophomore at Central Piedmont Community College. Adelyn is in her senior year at Blacksburg High School with plans to attend Christopher Newport University next fall.
Their family was drawn to Blacksburg in the summer of 2009. At the time, Jeff describes himself as restless. “God was in the process of doing something in our lives,” he says. Jeff saw that Northstar was located in a college community, which was a priority for him, due to a love for ministering to college students and young adults. He also saw that the church hungered for God’s word and was open to change. Something he has always admired about Northstar is the church’s willingness to experiment and to try new things at the risk of failing, knowing that we would fail forward.
He goes on to describe himself as joyful, a learner, and competitive. He draws inspiration from Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” and enjoys learning about the character of David because “he was a man after God’s heart, but after God’s heart imperfectly.”
Jeff describes Northstar Church as purposeful, warm, and equipping, which he shares before again picking up his out-of-tune guitar and attempting to play and sing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Honestly, it’s not going well.
Few people realize that Jeff can slam dunk a basketball from a flat-footed standstill on a seven-foot goal. He can demolish an entire can of peanuts and half a bag of candy corn in one sitting. He can watch 3.5 episodes of The Flash before falling asleep. He can run faster than a wasp that is giving chase while screaming in octaves that only dogs can hear. He can wake up without an alarm at 3:00 a.m. to eat a bowl of cereal without fear. He is the most interesting pastor in Blacksburg.