South Carolina preacher Perry Noble revealed that the celebrity Christian life left him “empty” as he announced that he is looking to expand his congregation into a 28,000-square-foot building just a year after launching Second Chance Church.
Noble, who founded the popular NewSpring Church in Anderson, served as senior pastor of that megachurch where weekly attendance was 30,000 until he was fired in 2016 for alcohol abuse and other "unfortunate choices and decisions."
A year after launching Second Chance Church, also in Anderson, in a return to ministry, Noble told his approximately 350-member congregation that the current location was getting too small and that he wanted to expand in the 28,000-square-foot building that at one point served as a Walmart.
“We’re going to be able to build an auditorium that seats 700, which allows us to double in size from where we are right now. We’re going to be able to have children’s ministry, birth through fifth grade,” he said.
Responding to critics who feel he just wants to build another big church to return to the limelight, Noble bluntly declared: “I don’t.”
“I’ve seen the Christian celebrity side, just to be real honest: the book deals, the conference circuit, the magazine articles, churches being written up, talked about and bragged about. You know what? I don’t care if I ever see that again,” Noble said.
“The thing to me that is the most important is individual people meeting Jesus and finding hope again. And the magazines and the book deals and the conference circuits can go do everything they want to do. I’ve had that, I’ve tasted it, it left me empty. What fills my cup is seeing people who feel like they’ve been lost and abandoned by God find hope again. That’s why we’re going to do this."
He also told the congregation that it will cost about $2 million to execute his expansion plan but he had been having difficulty securing financing.
“In the past, I’ve been able to call banks or email banks and let them know what I need and we’ve been able to borrow money and make payments and kind of get in and everything. Not the case this time,” he said.
He said the banks noted that the church was “too young.” Banks want churches to exist for at least five years before doing business with them.
“I’m like, I don’t have a time machine,” he quipped.
The second reason, he said, was due to the circumstances surrounding his firing from NewSpring Church.
“That’s great. No, it’s not wrong. It’s just life. I’m not a victim. Let me tell you something about victims. Victims never walk in victory. As long as you want to be a victim. You can never walk in victory. So you know what, if that door closes, that’s fine. There’s another one that’s going to open,” he said.
“We’ll figure this out."
In 2018, two years after Noble was fired from NewSpring Church, the leaders there amended their bylaws to reflect Jesus Christ as senior pastor over a new team-led church model.
Teaching Pastor Clayton King said the new approach to leadership had made the megachurch healthier. King, who was appointed interim senior pastor for a year at NewSpring shortly after Noble's exit, also revealed in a recent Essential Church podcast that the church was $47 million in debt when Noble left.