News of Pastor Perry Noble's alcohol addiction and dismissal from the megachurch he founded has left the NewSpring Church community reeling in shock.
During a service on Sunday morning, NewSpring Church executive pastor Shane Duffey announced that Pastor Perry Noble was fired due to his alcohol problems and other issues. Weeks before the announcement, rumors had circulated about the senior pastor's dismissal, but there was no solid proof of the rumors because Noble was still seen preaching and speaking in online videos.
In Pastor Duffey's statement, he declined to release more details to the congregation to spare the Noble family from more hurts. He also revealed that they had planned an intervention for Noble, but failure of that measure led to the difficult decision of removing him from his position.
Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess spoke to Greenville Online and said he was indeed shocked with the news of Noble's firing. However, he added that the church is not made up only of the preacher, but of the people who go there.
Several other Christian leaders including Matthew Barnett, Russell Moore, and Johnathan Foster have expressed support for Noble during this difficult time in his life. However, Karl Vaters of New Small Church voiced out concern over Noble's obsession in making his church's population reach 100,000. He said this obsession led to Noble's alcohol addiction, marriage woes, and other church problems.
"Perry Noble's obsession with numerical goals hurt his marriage. It hurt his church. And it drove him to depend on alcohol instead of Jesus. That's what he admitted in his statement," said Vaters. "His obsession to reach '100,000 and beyond' does not excuse his self-confessed sins. By his own admission, it caused them."
Meanwhile, the future of NewSpring Church without Noble's leadership is still up in the air, but experts say the resilience of the congregation will be the most important factor in the situation. Leadership Network research director Warren Bird said a massive defection will probably not happen despite the shock and sorrow that the scandal has left in its wake, WLTX relays.
What happened to Perry Noble and NewSpring had also happened to other megachurches including Mars Hill Church in Seattle. In 2014, church founder Mark Driscoll resigned after accusations about his conduct surfaced, and the church was dissolved in January 2015.