Noble’s dismissal “difficult and painful” for NewSpring

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Last Sunday, Executive Pastor Shane Duffy of NewSpring Church announced during morning services that founder and senior pastor Perry Noble has been removed from his position, effective July 1, and that Clayton King will serve as interim senior pastor.

According to a statement posted on NewSpring’s website, the board of directors and pastor advisory team, in accordance with the church’s governing bylaws, ultimately made the decision to dismiss Noble.

“While this is the most difficult and painful decision we have had to make, unfortunately it was necessary,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, Noble has made “unfortunate choices and decisions,” and executive pastors met with him several times to discuss “concerns regarding his personal behavior and spiritual walk.” Noble’s “posture toward his marriage” and an “increased reliance on alcohol” were cited as primary concerns.

Ultimately, because Noble “chose not to properly address these ongoing issues and didn’t take the necessary steps toward correcting them,” it was determined he was “no longer qualified … to continue as a pastor at NewSpring Church.”

The statement concludes with a request for members to “join us as a church family in continual prayer for Perry, his family and our church.”

NewSpring Communications Director Suzanne Swift could not be reached for further comment.

The church’s website also posted a statement from Noble, who said his “obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 [members] and beyond … has come at a personal cost in my own life and created a strain on my marriage.”

Noble addressed his growing “overuse of alcohol,” which he described as “a spiritual and moral mistake on my part.”

“I realize that I cannot continue to do effective ministry if this issue in my personal life is not adequately addressed,” his statement reads.

In addition to seeking spiritual guidance, Noble said he is currently seeing a psychiatrist for treatment.

Noble also addressed any misconceptions surrounding the reasons for his dismissal, stating, “Let me be clear, neither [wife] Lucretia nor I have committed any sort of sexual sin. I have not stolen money. I have not been looking at porn, and there was absolutely no domestic abuse. This is the story — period. I simply need to address an issue that has gotten out of hand in my life.”

Noble stated that although he did not know what his next step would be, his main focus would be “becoming the best husband and father I can become.” He said he still believes “NewSpring is the greatest church in the world,” and he asked church members to pray for him and his family as they move forward.

On Wednesday, Noble posted a video message on Facebook to thank everyone who has offered prayers and support.

He said NewSpring’s leadership made the right decision to appoint King as the interim senior pastor, and he expressed his continued love and support for NewSpring.

“I ran to [alcohol] other than Jesus for my comfort, and that was wrong,” Perry said in the video. “God has gotten my attention, and I am focused on getting better.”

He said he would keep everyone updated on his journey, and that “the best is yet to come.”

NewSpring Church held its first official service in Anderson in 2000. The church’s roots can be traced back to the weekly Bible sessions Noble held at his Anderson apartment beginning in 1998. Today, NewSpring has 17 campuses across South Carolina. With an average weekly attendance of more than 30,000, it is one of the largest “megachurches” in the country. In 2015, according to an annual report on the church’s website, NewSpring had an income of $64.2 million.

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