Rev. Dr. Derrick Lewis Noble in the sanctuary of Crenshaw United
Methodist Church. (photo by Troy Tieuel)
In the eyes of Dr. Derrick Lewis Noble, possibilities abound at Crenshaw United Methodist Church.
“I always tell people I’m attracted to potential and Crenshaw UMC has tons of potential,” insisted the 38-year-old pastor of the Baldwin Hills congregation.
One factor contributing to his optimism is the rise in membership since being appointed six months ago.
“Our sanctuary seats over 500 including the balcony and we were practically empty when I arrived. We’re now starting to fill it and it’s good to see the growth.
“It’s a great group of people and I’m very glad to be here. Lots of young families are joining, so, we have the younger and the elders.”
Based on past experience, Dr. Noble has good reason to be confident. During his two-year tenure as pastor of Abundant Life UMC in Lufkin, TX, attendance increased from 40 to over 400 members.
In 2008, he founded Impact UMC in Port Arthur, TX, which was recognized as ‘the most successful African American new church start’ in the Texas Annual Conference. Also, the church was cited in several national magazines for its distribution of free school supplies and immunizations to over 1,200 students in that area.
While balancing the demands of a full-time ministry, Dr. Noble found time to earn a bachelor’s degree at Angelo State University in Texas, a Master of Divinity degree at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio.
Now that he’s in Los Angeles, Dr. Noble is moving with enthusiasm to implement his vision at Crenshaw UMC that focuses on dynamic worship, comprehensive outreach, total life stewardship, and internal re-organization.
“One of the reasons we believe people should come to Crenshaw is that not only will you get a spiritual experience, but an educational experience as well.
“You’re going to walk out with knowledge that just won’t make you shout, but knowledge to apply immediately to your life and see your life change,” said Pastor Noble.
Expanding the church’s outreach efforts is high on his list as well. Currently, Crenshaw ministers to residents of many local nursing homes. But, Pastor Noble wants to go to the next level.
“My vision is a comprehensive after-school tutorial program with buses going to various schools, bringing young people here to do their homework, and providing cultural classes in Black history, ballet, jazz, tap, and even rap,” he said, adding that he hopes to implement the effort in the next few years.
He also seeks to unite with organizations such as the NAACP to address learning and knowledge in the African American community.
“I recently gave the congregation my latest publication entitled ‘100 Books Every Black Person Must Read.’ I really want us to push a literacy program and so, we’re working on partnerships in that area.”
With an emphasis on God and people, Pastor Noble invites greater LA to visit Crenshaw UMC and revive their spiritual connection with Christ.
“Our motto is ‘Changing Lives For the Better’ and that’s what we’re all about. It’s a brand new journey. So we’re revamping, redefining, and redoing a whole lot of things around here.”
Crenshaw United Methodist Church is located at 3740 Don Felipe Drive in Los Angeles. For information, call (323) 292-0141.