Noah Builds a Ministry
Noah Spargo is a musician, producer and event producer based in Wellington, who also works at our Territorial Headquarters in Children’s Mission. Hope Burmeister talks to him about studying for a music degree, travelling to America, his band Paper Plates and how God moves in those who want to see him move.
Have you always been interested in music?
Music is definitely something I’ve always wanted to pursue. I can see pictures of myself sitting on the living room floor as a four- or five-year-old playing planks of wood with my chopsticks. What draws me towards music is that it just does something that words can’t do. They call it ‘the universal language’—something that transcends race, religion and language barriers.
What has the creative journey been like for you?
I started playing in a high school band. We wanted to record an EP together, so we ‘make-shifted’ our way into recording one. We released it, and did lots of gigs. But then once we were out of high school we all dispersed, and I went on to do my music degree at Massey University. I was constantly composing music, performing and meeting lots of new people. With all the connections I made, I very quickly started marketing myself as a session musician, which is someone who plays for other people. Then during the pandemic over the past one to two years, for online church I started upskilling in the production area and doing a few cool videos.
What has been the highlight for you?
One highlight for me would be going to America and travelling with the National Youth Band. We marched in the Rose (Bowl) Parade, which is a massive televised event in America. We marched through Disneyland and got to go to Disneyland. It was a very surreal experience, something that is not afforded to a lot of people.
What do you think God has called you to do?
More and more I’m learning that what I do is minister to people. We always say it’s all about the people, but I’m learning that it really is! My skills and abilities and what I do take me into places where I meet new people all the time and develop relationships. I see God moving through me in the spaces where I just let him do what he needs to do, and it’s there where he ministers to people.
Your EP with Paper Plates was about advocating for mental health. Tell us about that.
I haven’t personally struggled much with it throughout my life, but it’s something that I’ve become more in tune with over the past three years, as I’m sure a lot of us have been sitting with ourselves and our thoughts and being more observant of what’s happening around us. I think music is such a powerful tool. And at Paper Plates, we think music is a powerful tool to explore the world of mental health and to give permission for people to feel a certain way or to experience emotions in certain capacities that they might not otherwise.
What drew you to your role at Children’s Mission?
I’ve been working in Children’s Mission now for two years. In my role, I have the capacity for resource design and helping create resources for not only children’s leaders, but corps officers and other people to use in their spaces. Something that I’m really passionate about is intergenerational ministry. I like to have an eye out for the little guy in the room. In this case, they are quite literally the little guys, because they are children in our corps and in our spaces.
What would you say to a young person wanting to follow their passion and dreams?
Don’t second guess yourself. I often find in my creative process, my biggest discourager is myself. Whether I’m creating music or doing anything creative, I put up a wall before I’ve even taken the first step. I come up with the idea and think someone’s done that better, or that’s not good enough. Be your biggest encourager not discourager; just step out in faith and don’t be afraid to fail—failing is a great learning opportunity. I look back at some of the stuff I did five years ago and think I would do that differently now, but I would only know to do it differently because I did it in the first place.
Finally, where do you see God moving around you?
I see him moving in the people who want to see him move, if that makes sense? It’s a bit backwards, but the people who have caught the vision, who are passionate in their areas, who have their foot on the floor and say, let’s go get it!
Words: Hope Burmeister