Monday, July 11, 2016

Perry Noble--Asked to Leave his Mega Church

Perry Noble
 photo by Helari Hellenum / flickr
Since I have been back in South Carolina the last four years I have heard the NewSpring Church mentioned often. Lately I learned they have 30,000 members and about 17 satellite churches. Right now they are building another satellite for worship in Clemson. Some Pastors have gritted their teeth as they have said the NewSpring name. I have never attended a worship service there but I have observed their worship services on the internet.
Almost every time I hear the church mentioned I also hear the Pastor’s name: Perry Noble. Newspapers this week-end have carried large detailed 
accounts about the Pastor’s forced resignation. The charges are a mite fuzzy but it seems he has an alcohol problem, some marital difficulties and charged with “inappropriate behavior.” The news releases say that he is under psychiatric care. His wife has been quoted as saying that she supports the resignation. 
Churches all over this area have lost members to this church. We in the trade call this sheep stealing. Small wonder that these Pastors find little collegiality with New Spring’s dismissed Pastor. I have often wondered why the church had to have sattelites all over. Why not just establish churches and let them be independent and not under the NewSpring umbrella?
I guess I want to say that you cannot build a church—any church around a particular individual. Almost every time this happens serious problems follow. Mr. Noble was called not the Minister or the Pastor but really the CEO. Whatever happened to the Biblical terms? Remember Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral? Just to name a few. The rock on which you build any church is not the Pastor. Why? We all have clay feet. Some feet are clay-er than others—but if we begin to believe all the good things many say about us—we are headed for a fall. The spotlight is mesmerizing and often intoxicating. It is very easy to get lost in the trappings of ministry.
Families suffer. Marriages suffer. The Person suffers. His/her church staff suffers. The Church suffers. I cannot rejoice in this church’s embarrassment or this man’s demise from his ministry. Thousands that followed him will be disappointed and devastated. Many will drop out of the church entirely. Unbelievers on the outside will say: “See…see—we told you what church was like." 
This man obviously had real talent and much charisma. Most of us Reverends could not build such an empire. The church has done a lot of good. They provided school supplies for disadvantaged children in many schools. They have attracted hundreds of young people that did not attend church. The church at Christmastime has provided each student in several Title One schools with a pair of shoes. Some of these children will never forget those pencils, backpacks and shoes. Years from now they may not remember NewSpring by name but they will recall that back in a  hard time there was a church that really cared for them.
Paul says that we always have the treasure in earthen vessels. And earthen vessels are not much. When we mix up the treasure and the vessel we are in trouble. Every Pastor out there enjoys the spotlight. We love shaking hands at the door and being told we are so great. But we have to remember whose church this is—Christ’s. We also have to remember we really are not Jesus. That’s why a good wife that knows the truth can keep her Husband-Pastor’s feet in the real world. (The same holds true for female Pastors another husbands.)
Pray for our brothers and sisters at NewSpring. Pray for Perry Noble and his family. We are not to rejoice in the wrong, folks, but in the right. We’re all in the same boat—standing in need of prayer. Amen.

--Roger Lovette /

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