July 26, 2001 was the fulfillment of a dream for Brett Noble. Testimonies. Covenant making. Prayer. And food—lots of food. Brett had overcome incredible odds to give birth to a small group. And now he was enjoying a well-deserved birthday party.
Brett's small group was one of the five that had started in an initial burst of excitement in 1999. But the excitement died when the pastor left, dividing the church in the process. Brett's group managed somehow to survive, while the others died slow deaths. And now Brett, the lone survivor, was celebrating the fulfillment of a dream.
As we gathered in Brett's home in Redlands, California to celebrate, we rejoiced in a mission accomplished, a dream fulfilled.
But I'm sure many, especially those with a long history at Brookside Chapel, were wondering, "Why Brett?" He seemed shy, even reserved. "What did Brett do different from the leaders that fell along the wayside?" As I talked with Brett, two things became crystal clear.
Brett persisted. Even when the pastor left, Brett knew that God wanted his group to give birth. Knowing this, he pressed ahead, seeking to honor God. "It was tiring," he confessed. "I really didn't know what I was doing. At times we would go for weeks and weeks, and the meetings seemed so unfruitful."
"But each time that I got to the point of quitting, I heard the Lord say, be patient, I will do it in my time." While the others dropped out, Brett kept his ear attentive to the voice of God, knowing that God had called him to lead the group. "It's amazing to me that my group is multiplying," he said. "God has truly done wonderful things."
Brett also asked for a commitment from the group. "For a long time," Brett said, "People would come and go. ...