CHARLOTTE, NC — Former pastor Perry Noble occupied a pulpit for the first time Feb. 4 since his firing last summer from Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, due to issues stemming from alcohol abuse.
Noble appeared at the invitation of friend Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church near Charlotte, NC, marking the congregation’s 11-year anniversary. Noble thanked Furtick in a Saturday night tweet after his first message, and prior to the one he would deliver the following morning.
Furtick spent more than seven minutes outlining Noble’s contribution to his own ministry prior to Noble taking the stage. In his message, Noble addressed the topic of God not being through when you sin.
“If you’re not dead, then God’s not done. God still has a plan … a hope … a future for your life,” he preached.
From church start to largest in South Carolina
Noble founded Newspring in January 2000, growing eventually to be the largest church in the state with an average weekly attendance of 32,000. Utilizing the multi-site approach, Newspring established campuses at numerous locations throughout South Carolina. In addition, Noble’s messages became widely downloaded online, with him becoming a highly sought-after speaker.
Last July that changed when Newspring leadership removed Noble upon his admitting a problem with alcohol. Clayton King, leader of Crossroads/Clayton King Ministries and an occasional guest speaker at the church, soon thereafter became Newspring’s interim senior pastor.
Noble remained under the radar until an October Facebook post. There, he outlined his struggles discovered after visiting a counselor:
I chose isolation over community. I was a hypocrite – I preached, ‘you can’t do life alone’ and then went out and lived the opposite …
Isolation is where self pity dominated my thinking, thus justifying my abuse of alcohol.
Isolation is where self-doubt dominated my emotions, causing me to believe I just could not carry the weight anymore, and alcohol was necessary for me to make it through another day.
On Dec. 26, Noble addressed 2016 in an end-of-year post on Facebook. In it, he outlined five things in particular he’d learned. Items in the list included the consequences of sin, Jesus’ payment for that sin, honesty with loved ones, and the promise of redemption.
Preaching out of Zechariah last weekend at Elevation, Noble spoke on God using those who have made mistakes.
“Before He created you, He knew about the addiction. He knew about the affair. He knew about the abortion. He knew every stupid, foolish, sinful decision that we were gonna make, and He created us!
“And,” Noble continued, “[He] made arrangements for the payment to be made!”