Menu

The Robert Stone Archive: Elton Noble Interview

I met Elton Noble in the early 1990s, when he was learning the House of God, Keith Dominion steel guitar tradition from Aubrey Ghent, under the Florida Folklife Program’s Apprenticeship Program, which I coordinated.  Today, Elder Nobel is a talented steel guitarist and a compelling preacher who serves as pastor for House of God No. 2 in Fort Pierce, Florida, and is in high demand as a guest speaker at revivals and other large church meetings throughout the geographic range of the House of God.  As a steel guitarist and minister, Elder Noble has been especially helpful to me by illuminating the role of musicians and others in worship services and explaining the details of church meetings.  We remain close friends and I frequently consult with him on a variety of subjects.

– Robert L. Stone

The Robert Stone Sacred Steel Archive:
Elton Noble Interview

00:00
00:00
  • The Robert Stone Sacred Steel Archive: Elton Noble Interview 00:00
Interviewee: Elton Noble
Interviewer: Robert STone
Date: 3/3/2006
Language: English

For the archive overview:
The Robert Stone Sacred Steel Archive

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission. info@arhoolie.org

Elton Noble Interview Transcript:

Robert Stone:

Just for your information, part of the things I’m trying to accomplish writing this book is some people see these bands, like the Campbell Brothers or the Lee Boys or whoever’s out there performing, and like this is cool, but they don’t know where it comes from and what it’s about, and all that. They may never get to have a further understanding, except for, hopefully, through this book. So I’m just trying to … I’ve got one chapter that’s about … includes some of the history of the church. Then I describe worship services, things like that, so people can get an idea how this deal works in context, where it fits in the church itself, the services, and where all this is coming from. In other chapters I get into the history of all the way back to the Eason Brothers and all that.

That said, how about if we can just start by listing, if you can tell me, what all the … In a typical church you have a Wednesday service, Friday night, Sunday morning, Sunday evening. Can you run through each one and just maybe start the first … When’s the first one, Wednesday?

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

And just go through them and talk about when they are, and how about how long they run, and sort of what goes on in that service. Because frankly, I know next to nothing except for the Sunday morning services, and, of course, Sunday School.

Elton Noble:

Oh, okay. Well, Wednesday night is Bible study. That should be pretty much the norm all over the country, parts of the country. Bible study is Wednesday night. It starts at 7:30 so they would start our devotion service normally like they would do on a Sunday morning. At West Palm Beach, we do our devotion service, and then round about 8:10, it’s always around 8:10 for me, that the preacher gets up to go into a Bible study. Then we wouldn’t stay there no longer than probably 9:30, he’s giving the benediction.

Robert Stone:

That’s pretty typical.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, that’s Wednesday night. But on Friday night, it’s a tarry service.

Robert Stone:

Tarry service?

Elton Noble:

Right. Tarry service.

Robert Stone:

What’s that mean exactly?

Elton Noble:

Tarry service is when the congregation as a whole comes to the altar, after that hymn of prayer, will come to the altar and pray and call on the name of Jesus. Yeah, call on the name of Jesus. That can last up to 15 minutes. At that time, after that time … it’s not a set time how long to be down there, but the norm is nearly around 15 minutes of just straight prayer. Then the congregation, certain ones of the congregation, would get up and return back to their seats. Some would still be at the altar praying aloud, calling on the name of the Lord.

Elton Noble:

Then there may be ones that’s left at the altar, seeking, still calling on Jesus’ name to receive baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then, the norm is that does happen. Then certain ones of the members in the church would gather around and continue to sing songs, and continue praying while that individual is still calling on the name of the Lord. Then sure enough, they’re touched and lifted up by the Holy Spirit, and it’s still a continued jubilee service right there. After that is-

Robert Stone:

Now would there be music going on?

Elton Noble:

Right, music’s going on the whole time.

Robert Stone:

The whole time, music then, which means steel if it’s there, steel guitar if it’s got one, yeah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, music is going the whole time, and it’s pretty much at that time, that’s jubilee music. That’s upbeat music right then. The guys, they would sing Power Lord, What’s His Name?, songs like that. Then, once they sing for a good period of time, they will stop. Then it’s up for the musicians to continue to hold the music at that plateau, so the steel player is pretty much playing on his own. It’s a high service, that’s what it is. It’s a high service. That steel player has to continue playing. He may be playing for a great length of time. It depends on that seeker, how soon they come through. Then that will pretty much be it, but the message, it sometimes will come before going down on our knees, or sometimes it would come after everyone has come to the altar.

Robert Stone:

By the message, that’s what I call the sermon?

Elton Noble:

Right, right.

Robert Stone:

Now, do you call that a call to the altar, or is that …

Elton Noble:

Altar call.

Robert Stone:

Altar call, yeah.

Elton Noble:

Right, altar call. That’s pretty much it. A seasoned player, steel player, will be able to handle that service very good. Also in revivals, it’s pretty much the same. Revivals are like that. You would have to have a … not have to, but whoever’s on that steel, and if it’s going to be a big night, it’s best that he’s seasoned because that steel player’s going to have to play for a long period of time, and he may have to improvise according to the way the Spirit moves in the service. He’s going to have to play for a great deal of time. Depends on the conductor of the revival.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, yeah. Now, something in particular, I’ve seen a little bit of it before, but I went to a Jewell Dominion revival just a month ago out in Mississippi, and something I’ve seen before. I guess first time I saw it I was in South Carolina, that when someone is having … receiving the Holy Ghost or conversion, whatever you call it, there will be certain people from the congregation, I imagine they’re deacons or so, and you can tell me, that sort of coach them.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

Can you tell me the sort of things they’re doing and saying, because I’m busy taking pictures or whatever. I don’t know exactly-

Elton Noble:

What they’re saying.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, and what are they doing?

Elton Noble:

Well, it wouldn’t be … it’s not all the time deacons. It would be one who is seasoned and know exactly what to do and what to say, and how to conduct that. Some may call it coaching if you will. It’s someone who’s tarries with the seeker to help them keep their mind on the Lord and stay focused on what your goal is, and that’s to achieve, to receive the Holy Ghost, or just to receive … or just even come back to the Lord.

Robert Stone:

Now, would you say you’re the guy in charge of the church, you’re the pastor, you’re an elder, would you select these people? You would say it’s going to be so-and-so and so-and-so that’s serving that function? Or do they just sort of naturally come forward? How does …

Elton Noble:

Only the ones who … Now me, I do it when I conduct my revivals. From the pulpit I look and I see those individuals that’s seeking. I look and see who I know, who’s spiritually equipped to work with a seeker. Now those who work with seekers are mature saints. What I mean by mature saints is those who know what we are taught, and seasoned in helping those to come on across, to get over. You know what I mean?

Robert Stone:

Yes, I think I’ve got it. As I kind of surmise, they may not necessarily be a deacon, say.

Elton Noble:

No.

Robert Stone:

Just someone that you know, that you can count on in that capacity.

Elton Noble:

Right. Who’s going to help them get closer, help them keep their mind on the Lord. Because a lot of times when people on their knees for a certain length of time, they tend to lose focus and the devil would try to speak to their mind. As in oh, you need to get up from here, you don’t have to do that, it don’t take all that, you tired, you’re the only ones out here. One who is seeking with them helps those things not to be on their mind, you know what I’m saying.

Robert Stone:

What are some of the kind of things they’re telling the seekers?

Elton Noble:

They would tell them, like I said, just keep your mind on Jesus. Some say, some seasoned a long time ago, they would say picture him on the cross. They would say things like he died for you, and he has forgiven you of your sins. Just give on up to the Lord, let him come in, go ahead on and receive. But we’re doing a lot more teaching on individuals, to individuals, to the people, really, to receive prior to even coming because it doesn’t take long. All it takes is to open up your heart and believe. Those are the things we would tell them and express to them, but then you have those that are … who are very good at working with seekers.

Robert Stone:

So that is a special talent some people seem to have.

Elton Noble:

Yes, some people have, a very special talent they have. Some people are known for when they help an individual, when they’re seeking, with a seeker, helping with a seeker, that seeker is able to keep their mind focused on why they’re here, and they’re able to come across. I’ve worked with plenty of seekers during my revivals and stuff like that, and when someone is there to help them keep their mind focused on what they’re trying to obtain, then it’s much easier, and they come through much quicker.

Robert Stone:

Great. I’m glad we’re talking about all this. You’re setting me straight and you’re very clear on it. That’s good. That’s Friday night. And how long might a typical Friday night service go?

Elton Noble:

A lot of times Friday will last from 9:30 or 10:00.

Robert Stone:

Start at 7:30 again?

Elton Noble:

Right. But some services can go longer, because you know as well as I do, is that if that Spirit get high in the devotion service, then you running over into a little bit of time.

Robert Stone:

Right, yeah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Well, that’s something that I have brought out. And really in any service, flexibility is a key concept.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

You go with the flow.

Elton Noble:

Right. Pretty much, you let the Spirit have its way, and it’s almost like a spontaneous service. If that spirit get high, we don’t … you try not to program your church service where we do this at this time, we do this at that time, we do that in this period. Oh, we going over time, we got to stop. It’s not like that unless you’re doing a program. That’s when services are done like that.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

But no, it’s pretty much spontaneous when tarry service is going on. Even on a Sunday morning, we get spontaneous. On some Sundays, some people say well, we’ll get out at 2:00. I beg to differ. Sometimes you may get out at 3:00.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Depending on how that service gets. So you want to be there for … somebody else may be coming across. We had one young lady say that she wanted to receive the Holy Ghost on that Sunday, and it was a quarter until two. You make way for that individual. She said she wants to get on her knees, she wants to call on the Lord, so we accommodate her and the members stay to be a help in that service. The girl did receive the Holy Ghost on that day. I believe we left there probably 3:15 because the service takes off again. Yeah.

Robert Stone:

We’ll talk a little bit about revivals later, in a couple minutes, but it sounds like the Friday night service is sort of like a one-night revival.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, a lot of times it turns into something like that. A lot of times it does, but the focal point is that we seek. In other words, we come all at the altar to pray and we’re asking God to strengthen us in Spirit, continue to open up our minds and our eyes to be able to do accordingly to His will. Pretty much that’s what it’s for, to saints be strengthened and for saints to get closer to God. That’s pretty much what that tarry service is for.

Robert Stone:

Right. In other words, a revival might … now, of course, I’m going to contradict myself, but from what I’ve seen, a revival is oftentimes … the emphasis is on people seeking the Holy Ghost for the first time.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

But there’s even, even then … that’s what I was talking about, the contradiction … there’s people that have, obviously, already received the Holy Ghost before. They’re sort of renewing, refreshing, renewing that.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

But at the Friday night service, it’s really for everybody, not just new seekers.

Elton Noble:

Right, it’s for everyone. It’s for the whole congregation. See, a lot of times on Friday night that pastor may say, “Let us all pray for this,” and everyone in the congregation is praying for one thing for God to do. We may be praying for somebody who’s sick, or somebody bereaved, or we’re praying for the church to be strengthened or stuff like that. That’s pretty much the idea is what that focal point is, for the church to be strengthened and each member to be strengthened, to be able to withstand the trials and tests of life in our daily walk. Pretty much that’s what Friday night is for.

Robert Stone:

So the Wednesday night’s a Bible study-

Elton Noble:

Bible study.

Robert Stone:

Friday night’s a tarry service. Then you have early in the morning on Sunday, is that … do you call that Sunday School or Bible study?

Elton Noble:

No, that’s Sunday School. You have the beginners class, catechism class, intermediate class, junior class, and the senior class.

Robert Stone:

Are they all together?

Elton Noble:

No.

Robert Stone:

Oh, they’re not?

Elton Noble:

No. The beginners class go off into the section of the church with a teacher or two. They have certain lessons for the beginners. Then they have a certain lesson for the catechism, but the catechism class pretty much leads up into the senior class. What the senior class will be talking about is pretty much what the catechism will be brushing over, but the intermediate class, will be getting a little bit more than the catechism class on our lesson. A little bit more. Then the junior class will be just below, it’ll be right in there, studying the same thing that we’re studying, but it’ll have … what’s the word? Different curriculum for them, for that age, you know what I’m saying?

Robert Stone:

Are these age groups?

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

And how do those age groups go?

Elton Noble:

Well, you got me good now.

Robert Stone:

Well, it doesn’t have to be exact. I mean I don’t-

Elton Noble:

Okay, those from, I guess, I think a little small, if they can walk, and then up to, I would say six. I think up to six, five or six. Yeah, up to six, six or seven. Then at 10 I believe, you got the catechism, eight until 12.

Robert Stone:

That’s what’s you call your intermediate?

Elton Noble:

No, intermediate, that will be 13 up.

Robert Stone:

Okay, so eight to 12 is what? Catechism?

Elton Noble:

Right. Then 13 will be up to … I really want to get those numbers right if you’re going to be putting it in a book.

Robert Stone:

One thing I have to watch out for is bogging people down with too much detail, so I think I’ll just … if we can just name these groups. You’ve got the beginners, the catechism-

Elton Noble:

Intermediate.

Robert Stone:

Then intermediate.

Elton Noble:

And the junior.

Robert Stone:

Junior.

Elton Noble:

Junior class. Then the senior class.

Robert Stone:

Senior. But tell me the best you can recollect what the ages are, just so I know, kind of so I can work around it.

Elton Noble:

Pretty much-

Robert Stone:

So the intermediates are about 13 to …

Elton Noble:

Intermediates, right at … My son, he’s in the intermediate class. How old is the oldest person in your class, for intermediate class? Okay, you all the same age? Junior class age start at … at 15. That’s junior class. Okay, junior class go from 15 up. Yeah, 15 to 18.

Robert Stone:

So 13 to 14 must be intermediate. Then seniors, what’s … 15 up to, say, 18 is juniors.

Elton Noble:

Uh huh.

Robert Stone:

Then seniors is 18 and older?

Elton Noble:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Robert Stone:

For seniors, whether a person comes to Sunday School, that’s kind of up to them?

Elton Noble:

Come again?

Robert Stone:

A senior, if they want to go to Sunday School, I mean when do you stop going? Or can somebody just continue?

Elton Noble:

This is continuous. This is continuous.

Robert Stone:

Okay, that’s what I thought. Okay. Yeah, I don’t want to beat that to death or bog people down in details, but this … See, this is news to me. I didn’t know you had the age groups like that.

Elton Noble:

Oh yeah.

Robert Stone:

Okay. Of course, the Sunday worship services is something I’ve seen the most of, but can you just sort of run through the elements of the service from beginning to end, how you start it?

Elton Noble:

Well, in the beginning there’s call to worship.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Right, and I know that, and I know where the scriptural source is.

Elton Noble:

Okay. Usual call to worship, and then after the call to worship is in charge, the service will be put in charge into devotion leader.

Robert Stone:

Ah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. Then the devotion leader would lead off in probably a slow-paced song. Then, after that slow-paced song … not a slow-paced, a worship song. That song would be getting everybody prepared for what’s to come next in the spiritual service.

Robert Stone:

Can you give me an example of what might be one of those songs, worship songs?

Elton Noble:

Thank You Lord.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

Then they would go into a faster-paced song, like a jubilee. They’d probably sing God is a Good God, Yes He Is. That’s pretty much would be a climax of the song. After that, the devotion leader stops singing, and quite naturally the musicians just continue on for a few more minutes. Then, after that … it’s continual, based on how high the Spirit gets in that song. If the Spirit also gets high on that first song, then they’re going through that second song. Then after that second song, they go into the hymn. One hymn would be Father, I Stretch My Hand at Thee.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Or What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Then after that prayer, one of those … after the hymn, we go down in prayer, one of those devotion leaders would lead in prayer.

Robert Stone:

Now, before we get into prayer, the hymn, is that … what I’ve seen a lot of is what people call lining or raising a hymn. Is that typically the way they’re done?

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, you got to raise the hymn. Yes.

Robert Stone:

Yeah. Okay. Then prayer.

Elton Noble:

Right. That would be led by one of the devotion leaders, or unless they choose to have a minister lead it or another deacon lead that prayer.

Robert Stone:

Then people pray out loud individually.

Elton Noble:

Well, yeah, but the loudest person you’re going to hear praying that day, or the one who’s praying continuously, where they can be heard, would be that devotion leader. What others in the congregation, what they do is they agree with the prayer that’s coming from the devotion leader.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, they agree with that prayer. He would say, “God help those that’s not able to make it out today because of illness,” and someone in the congregation will say, “Yes, Lord. Touch him, Lord.” Stuff like that. Pretty much the congregation is agreeing with the devotion leader’s prayer.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. And after that prayer, then one of the devotion leaders, after the prayer’s finished, the devotion leader goes off into another jubilee song or another praise and worship song.

Robert Stone:

Now what’s the distinction between a jubilee song and praise and worship? I got to tell you that one of the challenges I’ve had as a guy coming in from outside, I remember the first thing I would ask is to band members, “What do you call this music?” They’d say, “It’s jamming.” “Do you have a name for it?” I’ve been calling it praise music.

Elton Noble:

There really hasn’t been a name. The one thing is that- we always heard- was that it goes into a jubilee, but pretty much you can lead it there, the praise songs.

Robert Stone:

Of course, one thing that’s confusing about that, as you know, is now there is this more modern thing that they call praise teams and praise and worship. I mean y’all understand and I understand, but-

Elton Noble:

You really want the reader to understand.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, and I can explain that, not to be confused with this other term.

Elton Noble:

And they’ll originally be that jubilee. They’ll go to a jubilee song or a faster-paced song, more upbeat.

Robert Stone:

Right. Okay, so we’ve done the prayer and then the follow with the jubilee or praise music.

Elton Noble:

Then after that, then come testimonies.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

The devotion leader, after that song was finished and once everything is pretty much- has settled to where we can go on with the service, the devotion leader would testify first. He’d say, “Now I’m opening up the testimony service. I want to thank the Lord for da, da, da.” After they finish testifying, then the next devotion leader who’s standing with them would testify. After that, individuals testify. Then he says, “Now the church, you may give your testimony or sing your song.” They may all get up and start testifying, and right after they finish, someone in the congregation may bust out with a song. Or right after that devotion leader said, “Now you can sing your song.” someone may sing right then. Then after that song is over, then they would ask everyone to stand up and testify in concert.

After that’s done, everyone has taken their seat, then the devotion leader may say, “Is there a special testimony?” If there’s not any special testimonies, then they go on with the service as it would be- offering, freewill offering next. They would ask the deacon in charge of that freewill offering of the day to come forth. They would relinquish that devotion. Until … That deacon in charge would come and take the offering for the day.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Let me pause a minute and change tapes here, okay? Okay, so we got … where did we leave off? Freewill offering.

Elton Noble:

Yep. Left there, freewill offering. Then after the freewill offering, then it’s turned over into the hands of the secretary for announcements.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

Yes, and the secretary would read the announcements for the local church. Then also, if there’d be any announcements for the state, and also if there’d be any announcements from the national.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Right. Then at that time, once the secretary has finished that, then she turns it into the hands of the pastor. Then at that time it’s in the hands of the pastor to delegate someone to bring forth the word or I would just bring forth the word. We go into the word, the sermon rather. After that’s over, you would call … I normally call for closing prayer for the whole congregation. Then after that prayer, the benediction would be given.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh, right. Of course, I’ve seen and heard quite a few sermons. About how long do your sermons average, if there is such a thing?

Elton Noble:

I try not to let my sermon messages go over 30 minutes. No longer than 25 minutes.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

Right. No longer than 25 minutes. Now, once if the Spirit … well, the Spirit already has control, but once if it climaxes during the case of that message, you know for yourself that some messages may run just a little bit longer, but that message is real hard and that’s a seasoned speaker, he would stop probably in those 30 minutes. You go back into another jubilee if that message is fiery and hot to where it did touch hearts of the people that’s in the congregation. You got people jumping and shouting and everything, so you go back … you’re back in jubilee.

Elton Noble:

After that message is finished, this is the part I’m leaving off, after that message is finished, someone would sing a song, sing another upbeat song. Then after that, probably prayer, then benediction.

Robert Stone:

Now you’ve kind of been on both sides of this. Well, for one thing, what I’m exploring about, or can talk about, is the relationship of the preacher, the person who’s giving the message or the sermon, and the musicians, in particular the steel player. Steel player leads the other musicians, right? They follow him.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

You’ve been both a steel player and a minister, so I’m … and I’ve written about this some already and I’ve got some quotes, even from Bishop Campbell, about how the two half to work closely, and of course-

Elton Noble:

He said that the minister at that time is the leader.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

He can either ask the musician to help him out or ask the musicians, don’t play right now.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

They’re at his call.

Robert Stone:

Right, right. Would you say that … at least it appears to me that when you take up a steel player, and of course the rest of the band, too, but particularly the steel player and a minister that have worked together a lot, it’s almost like you can’t even see what the cues are. They’re just kind of reading one another’s mind.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, they already know.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, right.

Elton Noble:

They already know when to come in and when not to come in at, yeah. Now, I’ve done that. I worked in the privilege that playing for Craig Pringle, playing for other musicians, but when I do revivals, I talk to the musicians that night, prior to the revival. Certain musicians already know my style, how I do a revival, and they know what song to play right after I finish, when I get ready to make an altar call. A lot of times it will be I Need Thee, O Lord, I Need Thee. Even when I’m praying, they need know what to do with the music while I’m praying, and then when I’m-

Robert Stone:

You have music on while you’re doing a prayer?

Elton Noble:

What I have done is I don’t want them to play while I’m praying. It’s just that when I get to the climax of the prayer, then I would, and I can see this prayer’s touching and breaking hearts, then I look over at that steel player, and I probably go … and I let him know that’s what I want. I want him to run that until I tell him to stop.

Robert Stone:

You want to do some moans.

Elton Noble:

Right. Some moans, and play it softly, a little bit lower. That’s to help break those hearts, and the music plays a great part in that situation. But that musician has to know what that minister’s looking for.

Robert Stone:

Ah, right.

Elton Noble:

He has to keep his eyes on that conductor of that revival.

Robert Stone:

Right. Or the service, just yeah.

Elton Noble:

Right. But pretty much, during that time in a revival, it’s different. The musician has to pay attention to the preacher, because the preacher’s in control. He’s not in control at that time. Once that minister gets up, the preacher’s in control. He has to does what preacher wants him to do, and they have to be of the same accord for the service to go even higher. When that musician is working with that minister, then you see results much quicker.

Robert Stone:

Oh, yeah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, much quicker when they’re on the same page. Because a bad musician can hurt you, hurt a service.

Robert Stone:

Yeah.

Elton Noble:

If that musician is there just to shine, he won’t be playing any more for anybody, no. He has to be someone who’s humble enough to allow that pastor, that preacher to lead, and if he doesn’t, he won’t be playing any more in that service or he’ll get a stern talking to after the service is over because we have to have everything on the same page in order for hearts to be pricked and be able to come through. Because it’s not about the steel player at that time, it’s not about the minister, it’s about the message getting over to the people to help them come over.

Robert Stone:

It appears to me that, of course … well, that there’s often, I can’t say always, but there’s often … I mean there’s some sort of this, kind of a … what should I call it? A bit of a tension, or bit of tension. It’s so easy for those steel players and the musicians, with their loud instruments, to just kind of take over. They can keep cranking it up and the minister’s standing there, speaking into a microphone that’s at a set level. It seems that there’s always some sort of a, you might call it, negotiation going on, that that minister’s got to keep those guys in control. They’re always wanting to step over.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Not always, but often.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, it depends on who that minister is. I tell you who they won’t do it with, a higher rank. They won’t do it with a higher rank. See, if a general elder comes in or …. It’s different. If I go in, I don’t have that problem. I’ve been evangelizing for a long time. If this is a big evangelist coming in, pretty much those musicians are nervous. Or not nervous, they try to be careful not to do the wrong thing. That’s like when you have seasoned musicians playing for big revivals, you know what I’m saying? Because that evangelist, when they come in, he’ll say, “Who’s your musicians?” He’s not going to cut the fool or get way out there. Pretty much they’re talked to prior to that service, and in a revival you want a seasoned musician, you don’t want a beginner.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Or he plays very good, plays very skillfully, but he also has to be able to listen to commands.

Robert Stone:

Right, and pick up on the cues, different cues.

Elton Noble:

Right. Seasoned preachers, evangelists, let these musicians know, and they’ll speak into that mic, and say, “hey, y’all turn it down,” and that draws the attention to that musician, but it comes from the congregation. Pretty much it can be embarrassing, so they’ll come down, they’ll come down.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, Uh huh.

Robert Stone:

Naw, I’ve seen it many times.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. Yeah, no. It’s up to that minister. You can’t go in there light footed, you got to go in there using that authority, because it’s not about the musicians, it’s about those souls out there. You have people that’s hurting, you have people that’s going through certain things in their home. They need to hear that word. It’s not about the musicians.

Elton Noble:

I prophesied to a young girl in Crescent City. I wouldn’t be able to do that if that music is too loud, you know what I’m saying? I speak in their ear and stuff like that. You can’t have the music drowning out the preacher.

Robert Stone:

Right. But it’s kind of a continuing … the musicians have to be continually reminded. I mean that’s what it looks like to me. This thing just doesn’t get settled once and it goes away, it’s-

Elton Noble:

Yeah. Like I said, it depends on that-

Robert Stone:

On the individuals, yeah.

Elton Noble:

… on that conductor, whoever that conductor is. A good conductor’s going to get that musician’s attention right then, when he’s loud or stuff. That conductor will say, “Well, I don’t need you to play any more, period.” Right there in the service, don’t play any more, don’t play another note.

Robert Stone:

Wow.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. And then go right back in their message and give no other thought to this guy who’s playing the music, because it’s not about him. See, that’s a process that a lot of the younger guys have to learn, right? They have to learn it. See, big revivals draw musicians. My aunt, Tisha Campbell, she comes down from Carolina, every musician in the east … If she goes to the east coast, every musician in the east coast is going to come. If she’s preaching for a week, they want to get a chance to play in that service because they know it’s going to be hot. But just as I did a revival in ………. you look around, there was a lot of musicians in that house, because they know that’s going to be a hot week. They’d like to play in that service.

Elton Noble:

Like I said, revivals, a musician is going to play longer than he normally plays in a Sunday service. That very well may be one of the things, too, that help draw them, because they know that their playing time can be hot.

Robert Stone:

Well, we’ve actually been talking a lot about revivals, and actually we already, as far as your description, we already wrapped up a Sunday service. We got all the way to the benediction. Yeah, let’s talk a little bit more about revival, just what they are. How long do they … I know they go over several days.

Elton Noble:

Right. A normal, a minimum revival goes for a week, but now they’ve started doing these mini-revivals that last for three days, quoting …

Robert Stone:

Now you say they go for a week. Is it like just every night, I would imagine?

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh, right.

Elton Noble:

Every night, Monday through Friday. Some of them go Monday through Saturday and some go Monday through Sunday. A lot of times some go for two weeks.

Robert Stone:

Wow.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, in latter days, in the past, they would go for a month.

Robert Stone:

Wow, really? In the old days they’d go for a month?

Elton Noble:

Yeah. That’s a long time ago they would go for a month.

Robert Stone:

Wow, you’d wear everybody out.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. We wore out.

Robert Stone:

I can see why they quit that.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Now what are you trying to accomplish at a revival, and who comes? I know some of these answers but I want you to explain it. Why do you have revivals and what are you trying to accomplish?

Elton Noble:

Well, what you’re trying to accomplish is that those that don’t know the Lord, that week is an invitation for them to know the Lord, for them to come to the Lord. Then that’s what revival is basically for. Also, for backsliders to give their life back to the Lord. Also, to strengthen that church spiritually.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

They will be called to revive that church or restore that church.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh, good. These are run, say, for a week. How long every night usually?

Elton Noble:

Oh, wow. It would differ. Okay, like the revivals I do, that first night, I call it groundbreaking night, so I’m able to see what we have, what we’re dealing with, how God wants to lead. Sometimes the service will start at … all the services will start at 7:30 or 7:00, and they can go to 10:00. If it’s a hot night, it can go to 11:00, you know what I mean?

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

So I’ll give a space from 9:30, 10:00, or 11:00. Some have been known to go, on that last night, to 12:00 at night, yeah. It depends on how hot that Spirit gets and what’s going on, because you may have somebody who was well known in the church, in good standing in the church, but they backslid, and all of a sudden they hear about this revival and they come and they start … Everybody knows this individual, and they come and say, “I want to give my life back to the Lord.” Quite naturally, the whole church is happy about it, and that individual would get on their knees and ask the Lord to forgive them and stuff like that. That can turn into a hot night. It’s hard to speculate what time you’ll be-

Robert Stone:

No, that’s all right. I got the picture. Well, I guess we could sum it up by saying of all the things you do, it sounds like it’s probably the loosest in terms of time.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Because the real emphasis is on conversion and lifting the spirit, and so if there was ever a case where flexibility and spontaneity is most important-

Elton Noble:

That’s it.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

That’s how come I said that you would draw a lot of musicians, because they know that whoever that evangelist is, they know it’s going to turn into a hot night, a hot week. Top notch evangelist within our church draws crowds.

Robert Stone:

What kind of crowds do you get at revivals?

Elton Noble:

I get big crowds, I get pretty big crowds.

Robert Stone:

Well, like 200, 500?

Elton Noble:

In our churches, we get to about probably two, 200, but shoot, it also depends on which church you’re going to and what time you’re going to.

Robert Stone:

Right, sure.

Elton Noble:

Pompano has a large congregation, and they’re seated around- a lot of churches. Now, I went to Pompano and did a revival, that’s in the years back, drew amazing crowd. You’ve been to Pompano church, right?

Robert Stone:

Yeah, right. Can’t fit them all in the church.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, they’re standing up in the back, back there. And also in [inaudible 00:47:13], you got the whole church. I fill the whole church when I go to Osceola, I fill the whole church when I go to Leesburg, because all those people come across. I did a revival in Atlanta. That was standing room only. Had some media person come in and they was filming the revival. Then I was asked to come to the radio station the next day. It depends on who the evangelist is. If he’s well known, if that individual is well known for doing a great job, as in souls being saved and also people joining the church in those revivals, that’s one of things that I shoot for also.

Robert Stone:

Right. Now your title is elder.

Elton Noble:

My title is all kind of stuff just about now. I’m an evangelist, I was state evangelist. Yesterday I got put on as presiding elder in training.

Robert Stone:

Oh, really? Congratulations.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah. Thank you. A lot of traveling in that.

Robert Stone:

Yeah.

Elton Noble:

But they put me in presiding elder in training so next year I go up for ordination as a elder. I’m a well known evangelist in this state, also parts of Georgia.

Robert Stone:

I’ve never seen you at a revival, but I can just imagine you’d be real good.

Elton Noble:

Oh, yeah.

Robert Stone:

I can see that. That’s probably really your strong suit.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, my honing skill right there.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh, uh huh.

Elton Noble:

I like it. I enjoy it.

Robert Stone:

Well, I want to ask you about the rank, and maybe we can just list. I mean you started. You got members, you got deacons. Can you kind of list the ranks as they go up?

Elton Noble:

First you got lay members, laymans, rather. Then if someone is called to … they’re convinced that they’ve been called to preach, they’re called exhorter.

Robert Stone:

Exhorter, right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, they’d be an exhorter. Then, from exhorter you go to a local minister. You’re no longer called exhorter, you’d be a local minister and they would address him as reverend. Then from there, you have … I don’t know if I can put pastors in this as a rank, but yeah, I guess I can. You have pastors. Along with pastors you have trial elders, which I am. I’m a trial elder. Then you have elder, period. That’s the ordained elders. Then you have presiding elder. Then you have general elder, okay? After general elder there would be state elder. After state elder it becomes bishop. Once you’re a bishop, the law would have it, that bishop very well may one day be chief overseer. That’s the next step that a bishop can take. But then you have-

Robert Stone:

You have your chief helpers.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, chief helpers. But also you have evangelist bishops, and that’s still in the category of bishop. You have evangelist bishops. Then after that, the next step is chief overseer. Like you said, chief helper is in there.

Robert Stone:

Now how about deacons?

Elton Noble:

Okay, you got trial deacons. Trial deacon means that they’re not ordained as a deacon. Trial deacon means they’re learning all that the deacon does and they’re being trained in all the aspects of what a deacon should do before they do it. Then you have ordained deacons. That’s as far as they go.

Robert Stone:

Now, is there at some point where you have to have a … be some certified training or something to, say, become a pastor or-

Elton Noble:

Certified training?

Robert Stone:

Or some formal training, some certificate? I mean how does that go?

Elton Noble:

We have classes in Nashville that you have to attend prior to moving on to next levels which are given each year. Those classes last a week. After you attend those classes, I think some time a class will last hour, hour and a half, something like that, they get into you. Pretty much you’re like on the job training, but while you’re on the job training, those that’s over you are helping you make sure that you do certain things right. Then also, the deacons, who are seasonal deacons we would say, deacons who have been deacons for a long time within the church who knows the decree and stuff like that, you have people surrounding you that’s helping you and grooming you to come up higher at each level you go to. Pretty much you hands-on training. When you see those guys who are bishops, they come up through some rough stuff to obtain those levels. They have the knowledge.

Robert Stone:

Right. Now are these training in … I would assume the training is both in terms of Scripture and sort of the …

Elton Noble:

Yes, sir. Also, we have another training. Each state and each district have minister council meetings which are held once a month. Those are classes that you attend each month. Those are trainings on certain sacraments or training on counseling, training on what to do in certain situations in your church. Also, training about your church insurance, all that kind of stuff.

Robert Stone:

Right, more practical sort of business end of things.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, the mechanics.

Elton Noble:

You go through all that at the ministers council meeting. Then, when you go to the state, there’s training in there and teaching in there. It’s teaching all the time.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

The guys who elevate, when you look at a elder, he knows something. Even pastors who are not elders, they know. Pastors get a lot of training, but at first they just receive on the job training. When I became a pastor, I had just been ordained as a minister. The late chief overseer made me trial elder in … no, in state assembly. He made me pastor in the Sunday School Convention, so you can go up the ladder like in anywhere, corporate America, is how ambitious you are and how-

Robert Stone:

Right, right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

What are some of the- besides… If you could just list some of the special events, like I know you had a state assembly. Can you list in there like youth day, Sunday School Convention.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, Sunday School Convention, that’s a nice event. You can get a chance to observe the up and coming church, the youth of the church. They get to do more things in the Sunday School Convention, as in instead of an adult that’s superintending, you have a younger adult, I guess in their 20s or something like that, who would be superintendent, then just the superintendent. Then also have them working as a coordinator for the YFFU, Young Folks and Friends Union, stuff like that. Also, one night, may have all the young guys playing the music, giving those guys a chance. Special events are pretty much …

Robert Stone:

Sunday School Convention, you got state assembly-

Elton Noble:

State assembly special event.

Robert Stone:

You got a state assembly.

Elton Noble:

Revivals are special.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Then church anniversaries for certain … Over the district, they’re special. And also pastor’s anniversaries can be pretty special because they-

Robert Stone:

You say church anniversary, that would be for that … say, the anniversary of that church? When it was founded, that particular local church?

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Pastor’s anniversary.

Elton Noble:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Then they have another thing, homecoming service, which a lot of churches do. What they would do at the homecoming service is everybody that used to belong to that church at a certain time come back. Yeah, they come back to that church to have a service.

Robert Stone:

Would you do that every year, or that would just every so many years?

Elton Noble:

Some churches do it every year.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

I think Crescent City do it every year.

Robert Stone:

Yeah. So if you started church in Crescent City but now you live in Atlanta or something, you would come.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, you will come back down for that homecoming service.

Robert Stone:

Okay. Hold on a second. I’m going to change here. Yeah, okay. Is that about all of them?

Elton Noble:

Yeah, pretty much. But a special service would be revivals.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

There’s another special service, it’s a sacred service, state baptism. State baptism is a special service. Yeah, that’s a special service, because you’re going to have everybody from the district coming to that … for that state baptism, so there’s a lot of them.

Robert Stone:

Huh.

Elton Noble:

Different churches, they have candidates to be baptized, and they do it at one local spot. The last one they had was in Arcadia, and that was a special service.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Now, I think well, we’ve hit on a lot, and I sure appreciate it.

Elton Noble:

Oh, yeah.

Robert Stone:

Something I wanted to talk to you about is, and one thing I’m just curious, but also I would imagine you’re a musician as well as a minister, an elder. You pastor in Palm Beach, right? West Palm?

Elton Noble:

Right, right.

Robert Stone:

Do you typically play the steel?

Elton Noble:

Most definitely.

Robert Stone:

How do you divide yourself? How do you do that? Or is there anybody else that plays when you’re doing something else? Or tell me how that goes.

Elton Noble:

What I normally do is I would play for that Sunday. After the announcements, or during the announcements, then I would leave my guitar and go sit behind the roster and wait until the announcements are over with. Then I would go into that service, the preaching service, the sermon, the message that day.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I do it-

Robert Stone:

Now when you’re up there preaching, is there someone else playing steel? Or is it the band without the steel?

Elton Noble:

No. Yeah, well a young man plays lead. He can back up on the lead. See, that’s another instrument that’s quite well in our church is the lead guitar. When that steel player’s not up, that lead guitar is able to hold it down until he sits back down. A lot of the lead players are able to carry a service pretty much by themselves, you know what I mean? It’s not going to sound the same, quite naturally, but he’s able to give you enough to tote you, to carry that service until the steel player comes in. Normally I get up, I preach, and the lead guitarist, he would back me up. Also, the drummer.

Robert Stone:

Right, sure.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, so they work together. It works out fine. Yeah, it works out fine. If it get real hot, after I finish that message then I’ll go back to my steel and play some more of that high-spirited music. When it begins to die down a little, I get off and get ready to go into the closing of the service.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh.

Elton Noble:

Right. That’s how, pretty much how that goes.

Robert Stone:

You keep pretty busy. They get their nickel’s worth out of you.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah. You’re right about that. I’m telling you.

Robert Stone:

I’m sure, I’m sure. Well that’s great, that’s interesting. I want to come down to your place. Hey, did you talk to the guy about for me taking some pictures?

Elton Noble:

Man, that guy, I’m just going out on a limb. I think it’s going to be okay, but I’ll just let him know what’s going to transpire. I believe it’s going to be okay. That’s just my opinion, strong opinion. Cause, I mean shoot, you’re just going to take some pictures, correct?

Robert Stone:

Yeah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah.

Robert Stone:

No, it’s like I say. You know I’m curious about all this. I’m doing it … I guess multiple purposes to what I do, but generally, what I do is I document traditional culture across the board. Of course, I’ve been personally on this steel guitar tradition and everything. You can’t just document people playing a steel guitar. I mean that’s one of the first things I learned after I took so many shots of steel players. Well this gets kind of dull. I mean you got to-

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Nowadays, actually, I’m almost shooting everything but the steel player because you realize I got to round this thing out. I want to tell folks, and also like Bishop Calvin Wortham from the Jewell Dominion, I’ve got this exhibit out in Mississippi and he lives right near the university there. He said he really liked it. He said, “Yeah, feels like I’m in church.”

Elton Noble:

It’ll be good.

Robert Stone:

He said, “It brought tears to my eyes.” I said man, you couldn’t have told me anything better, because that’s what I’m trying to do. I had some other people tell me when I was out there that you really, you go it. I said okay, good, so I just want to get more. I realize that’s a key thing, the communion and the foot washing. They don’t do that in every church, different churches.

Elton Noble:

No.

Robert Stone:

That’s something that I want to capture, because-

Elton Noble:

Yes.

Robert Stone:

Some people don’t understand it, but it’s a beautiful thing.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah. You’ll be able to see and get more out of it.

Robert Stone:

Oh, yeah.

Elton Noble:

What the message is, that certain message is … it’s a certain message, a certain way a message should go for that service, you know, I’ve conducted.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

It gives you a chance to see it first-hand.

Robert Stone:

Naw, things are shaping up real nice. Even though I’m not moving as quick on finishing up writing this book, it is going well. It’s a bear, it’s a big job, but I want to do it right. I need to get it done, but at the same time, what’s more important is to get it right.

Elton Noble:

That’s right, that’s right.

Robert Stone:

I’ll get it done. It might take a little longer than I thought, but I want to get it right. Again, I appreciate you. This has been very informative, all the stuff we’ve gone over here.

Elton Noble:

Well, that’s good. Appreciating it.

Robert Stone:

Like I said, I’ve got a whole chapter here that deals with some of the history of the church and how the services are conducted, what’s what, what are the special events, those are things I’ve been asking you. My goal is, for that chapter, and that whole section might be 25 pages or something, somebody who read that get a pretty good idea what goes on and who the people are and the where the churches come from, the whole struggle of the great migration, people moving from the deep South, tenant farmers and all that up North, and the church spreading. Then, course nowadays, you’ve got today’s challenges to meet.

Elton Noble:

Yep, oh man-

Robert Stone:

Got no shortage of them.

Elton Noble:

It’s a challenge to keep it sharp.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, yeah.

Elton Noble:

You know what I’m saying?

Robert Stone:

Well, I appreciate it.

Elton Noble:

Okay.

Robert Stone:

I know you’re tired. I’ll let you go, and I hope you can rest up. Is there a particular point at which a … I would imagine it varies, but is there a usual point at which a person becomes sort of full-time in the church, like a point of rank? In other words, when that’s pretty much their occupation, where they, like you-

Elton Noble:

The chief overseer.

Robert Stone:

Everybody else has probably got to have some kind of work, eh?

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

The overseer’s one who’s … Some bishops, if they’re over quite a few states, they wouldn’t have to work. They wouldn’t have to work. If they’re over quite a few states, they wouldn’t have to work. But the one who’s really not work, doesn’t have a full-time job belongs to the chief, because the chief has to do too much to even think about being on a man’s job.

Robert Stone:

Oh, right. And everybody else is pretty much … it may vary, but they got to have something else.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah.

Robert Stone:

To have a livelihood. In other words, most of these … You see a pastor, he’s not earning his living doing this.

Elton Noble:

No, no. But some very well may be, there may be a few that are able to live like that in this church, but no, they don’t have a salary they give you every month.

Robert Stone:

Right, uh huh. I know that, of course, there’s been a lot of them. Well, I think of Sammy Taylor, of the Lee’s father, Robert Lee.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, he had a barbershop.

Robert Stone:

They had businesses.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

They had a thing going so they could devote a lot of time to the church and it keeps the business going.

Elton Noble:

That’s right. That’s how they get so far. They have their own business. If you got your own business, you can go and come like you want to, but on a man’s job, basically kind of harder. Because I was having a time when I was working for Wells Fargo. My supervisor and our manager, we got to schedule our schedule around your schedule? Because I would go out of town a lot. Then also, with that other job, evangelizing, that means that I have to be gone for a week.

Robert Stone:

Yeah.

Elton Noble:

God worked it out. Everything’s good.

Robert Stone:

So you got some job thing going now?

Elton Noble:

No, I haven’t worked in five years.

Robert Stone:

Wow.

Elton Noble:

I guess I’m blessed like that. A lot of guys say they wish they were in my shoes. It is pretty good, but there’s other things that I do and the Lord blesses me where money comes in. I work a little bit sometimes, with my dad in his cabinet business, his carpentry business sometimes. Then my revivals are … a lot of them are annually, see what I’m saying? When I say annually, then I have a lot of speaking engagements. The Lord has blessed me in a way that a lot of people wouldn’t understand.

Robert Stone:

Right. No, that’s great that you can do it, because, well, everybody’s richer for it, that you’re able to do that. I can certainly relate.

Elton Noble:

A lot of guys … They always …

Robert Stone:

Like right now I’m not picking anything.

Elton Noble:

But you have something coming in.

Robert Stone:

Right. That’s right, and my wife helps. Then I will be back on the clock soon.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, but see, about my being a pastor, that helps out, too.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, right.

Elton Noble:

Of course, they have quite a few offerings come to me so it be pretty good.

Robert Stone:

Oh, that’s great, that’s great. How big is your congregation?

Elton Noble:

Well, we had the report. It’s just 30 below 100.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. So seventy.

Elton Noble:

28 below 100, yeah. 78 people, yeah. They don’t all come at the same time so-

Robert Stone:

Yeah, I absolutely understand that.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. You got 78 on the role, and then when we have some special days then all of them show up. That’s what we have, and we’re basically 44 adults and the rest are children. Not small children, but varying different ages. 34 of them. That’s how it go.

Robert Stone:

Well, the number I’ve heard is that there’s about 8000 members nationally.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

And when you consider there’s … it’s in the high hun- At least according to the website, there’s 180 some churches, so I mean that’s only about 45 members per church, something like that.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, but I believe that’s going to increase. That’s going to increase, I believe … brings me surprise people, because we took a hit. Our chief died, and that thing with the Bishop coming in, that was a hit, a major hit. But I think that after the storm, we may be seeing the end of the rainbow coming. I believe it’s going to start coming kind of quick. That’s just my opinion. Yeah, it’s just my opinion. I believe there’s some things that’s going on to … where this has died down a little. We may not get those people back, but some will trickle back in, and some other changes being made to make that process much easier.

Robert Stone:

Right. Now something I’ve always … well, actually, I’ve kind of quit … I’ve kind of realized that it’s not that important to bark up this tree too much, but the number I used to hear when I first started documenting and stuff and going to the services at House of God, was something like 53 churches in Florida. Now I see 41 on the website. Of course, I never saw a list before, before the internet came along and the church had a website.

Elton Noble:

They closed quite a few.

Robert Stone:

But they have closed some?

Elton Noble:

Right. Yeah, they closed some, those in the emerge. Those buildings that were left with no one in it, then they sold them.

Robert Stone:

Right. I know, just right here with Ocala, they had the two churches.

Elton Noble:

Right. Now it’s one.

Robert Stone:

Then one got bought out for eminent domain for their widening that road.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

Then they bought that big one.

Elton Noble:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), Mount Cannan

Robert Stone:

Yeah, Mount Cannan got closed. Then they bought that big property.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

I don’t know. Do they even still have that smaller church in Ocala?

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, they probably do.

Elton Noble:

Yeah-

Robert Stone:

Yeah. I realize it’s always changing. Jewell Dominion is the same way, too.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. This is my first time even … because I mean it was looking dark, but it may look a little bit brighter now, just-

Robert Stone:

Well, that’s good. Well Elton, I sure appreciate it.

Elton Noble:

Okay.

Robert Stone:

We’ve talked plenty. I’ve worn us both out.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, man. I’m close to the bed.

Robert Stone:

Yeah, well get some rest.

Elton Noble:

Okay, guy.

Robert Stone:

Thanks again. I’ll be in touch.

Elton Noble:

You’re welcome.

Robert Stone:

Bye now.

Robert Stone:

I’m going to give Elton a call now … it’s March 15th … to ask him a few more questions to continue this, to complete this interview.

Robert Stone:

First of all, after you finish the sermon, then you talked about doing a prayer and a benediction, is there anything that you call like a call to the altar that takes place?

Elton Noble:

Yeah, pretty much.

Robert Stone:

When would that be?

Elton Noble:

You can make an altar call. They do it … You can do it or you can just leave it out.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh, but if you were going to do it, when would it be?

Elton Noble:

Right after I do the message.

Robert Stone:

After the message.

Elton Noble:

Right.

Robert Stone:

Okay. What is it you say to invite people up?

Elton Noble:

Well, first we offer them that … It depends on the type of service. Like a revival, it’s-

Robert Stone:

Well, let’s say on the Sunday service, the Sunday morning service.

Elton Noble:

Sunday service, just all those that are requiring prayer, we ask that you come. That you come now, come to the altar. What I will do is have a mass prayer.

Robert Stone:

Okay. All right. You did say that, I just didn’t understand it as such.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Okay.

Elton Noble:

Have a mass prayer.

Robert Stone:

One thing I didn’t get from you was your date and place of birth.

Elton Noble:

Oh, Fort Pierce, 11/28/62.

Robert Stone:

11/28/62. Geez, man, I was out of high school by then. And how about your parents? What were their names and where were they from?

Elton Noble:

Both of them were from Fort … yeah, my dad, I think, is from Savannah, Savannah, Georgia. His name is Willy Gregory. My mom is from here, Vera, Vera Fuller now.

Robert Stone:

She’s remarried?

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

Robert Stone:

Has your dad passed?

Elton Noble:

No, he’s living.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Now were they in the church, or are they in the church?

Elton Noble:

My mom is. Yeah, my mom is, but my dad, he belongs to another church.

Robert Stone:

Uh huh. Was she a minister or anything, or just a member?

Elton Noble:

She was a minister. She doesn’t preach any more, but she was a minister.

Robert Stone:

Okay, just sort of like to get that background. Oh, and the thing we left out totally was the Sunday evening service.

Elton Noble:

Oh, I don’t have Sunday evening service.

Robert Stone:

That’s why we left it. But some churches do.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, they’re supposed to, but I live an hour away, and kids have to be to school. Pretty much they get in back and forth on Wednesdays. I’m having to rush back here so they can get to bed early. Also, Fridays we’re down and it’s hard to find somewhere to rest your head unless we all stay at the church. But I come back.

Robert Stone:

Right. I’m not surprised to hear this. Well, I have heard people say we won’t have service tonight. I’ve heard that quite a bit. If they do have a Sunday evening service, first of all, are there lots of churches that don’t have it?

Elton Noble:

Well that, I can’t say. A lot of them do. A lot of them do have it, and some don’t because certain things. What my situation is, they would want me to have church at night but me getting back to Fort Pierce, driving that hour away-

Robert Stone:

Yeah, you just can’t handle it. Right.

Elton Noble:

And with kids, you know. I have a six year old, misses out on his sleep. That’s pretty much why.

Robert Stone:

If they do have a service, is it pretty much the same as the morning service, or is it different?

Elton Noble:

It’s pretty much the same. You go into devotion. You first, quite naturally, do a call to worship, then you go into devotion. Pretty much the format is the same as the daytime service, but on a night service, it’d probably be a different minister giving that message on that night instead of the pastor.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah. Because daytime, you get the bulk of the crowd, and plus different ones. We say you want to have the best minister up in that time to set forth a good example. You know what I mean.

Robert Stone:

Right, yeah. So the attendance, it wouldn’t be as heavily attended as Sunday daytime.

Elton Noble:

No.

Robert Stone:

Would it be half or something like that?

Elton Noble:

Probably half.

Robert Stone:

Yeah.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, it’d be half, but you get the bulk of your visitors come in the daytime.

Robert Stone:

Right.

Elton Noble:

Yeah, yeah.

Robert Stone:

Okay. Well that was easy enough.

Elton Noble:

Yeah.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Stay in the loop on our latest news, events, and website additions.