The Fall of Perry Noble
At this point, this is old news, but between the adoption, graduate school, and trying to catch them all, I haven’t had much time to blog about this topic.
About a week and a half ago, a local news group reported on NewSpring church, of which I have written quite a few times before. Okay, so it’s four, but in specific topics, NewSpring has been up there on the list. Generally, my responses are about how I think Perry Noble, the lead minister, is wrong and why. Perry Noble and I basically never see eye-to-eye on anything, which is pretty amazing in my opinion. I can usually find something to agree on with someone.
The local news group reported that NewSpring church had had some super secret meeting that no one was privy to except those immediately involved. They also mentioned that the church’s automated response was to “tune in on Sunday.” This raised a lot of questions for me, the main one being that this local station must have some sort of spy action going on because this meeting couldn’t have stood out from any of the other countless meetings that I’m sure the church had.
NewSpring has been known to go above and beyond to “get people in the seats,” and part of me wondered if this was just another one of their poorly thought out publicity stunts. This was when I starting seeing the rumor mill begin to crank into action. There was all kinds of things about the reasons why, but the major theme was that Perry Noble had been fired.
I went to church last week like I usually did so that I could get the classrooms set up for Sunday School, as part of my job as Youth Education Director, and completely forgot to check in on what the big news was. When my teacher came in for second service, she told me that Perry Noble had been fired.
Fired. He didn’t step down, he was pushed out.
A church that touts about “all are welcome” removed their senior pastor from his position. The irony of that statement is not lost on me.
However, I completely understand why they made the move they did, and also think they handled it the best way they possibly could.
Perry Noble is sick. In his statement to the church, he mentions just how sick he is.
Perry Noble is an alcoholic. He suffers from addiction, a sometimes silent illness that can and will creep up on the individual who has it. Addiction can take many different forms, but they’re all characterized by one common trait: a dependency on a substance that begins to effect your life in a negative way.
His dependency problem began to affect his ability to be a good pastor to the members of NewSpring. I speak from the point-of-view of those who regularly attend NewSpring here because my definition of a good pastor does not necessarily include many of the things that Perry Noble preaches.
He mentions that he plans to focus on his family, which has also been affected by addiction, and to get help to get better. I sincerely hope and pray that he follows through with these statements and is able to get better. His addiction will never go away, but he can learn the tools to fight it, and that is what he needs.
I do not, in any way, wish ill of him. While he and I do not meet eye to eye on a lot of things regarding faith and spirituality (and I will go as far to call him completely 100% WRONG on a lot of things), he has, from what I can gleam literally saved the lives of some of the people in his church. He honestly believes he is doing the work of God.
Just like I want love, happiness, and wholeness for all people, I want it for him too.
What happens to NewSpring going forward will be an interesting story to watch unfold. The church has already stated that Noble will NOT be allowed to come back as senior pastor or even be allowed back on staff. With everything he invested in the church, I doubt he’ll just come back as a visitor/member.
And this decision by the church has already had some fairly negative reactions by members.
NewSpring refers to its members as owners to give them a greater sense of responsibility. This responsibility is spilling into a “shouldn’t we get say in if he can come back or not?” Some have mentioned how it doesn’t seem very forgiving to not allow him to come back on staff (true) and that it feels like a really presumptive decision to make about what is best for the church when they don’t know what God’s plan is (also true).
And apparently the new minister, Clayton King, has a bad habit of screaming or shouting a lot from the stage. There’s been more than one comment about how it is bringing back bad memories of experiences from church times past.
Personally, I would not mind NewSpring to get knocked down a peg or two. I do not wish harm on any individual person within this body, but this body as a whole is preaching and living some pretty nasty non-truths that they are passing off as truths. It’s highly unfortunate, and a smaller body may help bring down the community effect the church tends to have.
Whatever happens with NewSpring, though, my one main stronghold is this: The Gods are working, and I know they are working for the good of all involved. I hope and pray for Perry Noble’s healing.