Perry Noble, a pastor fired last July from his South Carolina megachurch for problems that included alcohol use, returned to the pulpit over the weekend – at Charlotte's Elevation Church.
It was at the invitation of Elevation Pastor Steven Furtick. The two are close friends and Furtick chose Noble, soon after Elevation was launched 11 years ago, to be among the out-of-town pastors on the church’s board of overseers.
“In July of 2016 I thought I would never preach again!” Noble wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Last night, (Furtick) allowed me the honor of returning to preaching on the stage of Elevation – and what I thought was dead came back to life again. ... Jesus brings dead things back to life.”
And on Twitter, Noble wrote this on Saturday: “Thank you @stevenfurtick for allowing me the honor of preaching at Elevation tonight – cannot wait to do it again tomorrow!!”
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After his ouster from NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C. – one of the biggest churches in the country – he spent 30 days in an Arizona treatment center and worked with a psychologist and ordained pastor on plans to return to ministry, according to the (Anderson) Independent Mail.
In his Sunday Facebook post, Noble wrote that “I allowed myself to be deceived by the enemy and depended on alcohol more than Jesus! However ... during this entire time Steven Furtick hasn’t been someone who ‘had my back,’ but rather has stood by my side and been a source of encouragement, friendship and has been willing to tell me what I needed to hear.”
Also included on Noble’s Facebook page is a photo, presumably from the weekend, of him and Furtick embracing.
Elevation officials did not respond Monday to requests for comment.
Elevation is one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in America, drawing more than 20,000 people to services every week in 11 locations in and around Charlotte. It also has extension sites in South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Toronto, Canada.
Like Elevation, NewSpring, Noble’s former church, is a Southern Baptist church that started small and just kept growing. Founded in Noble’s apartment in 1998, it had 17 locations around South Carolina when he was fired last summer, About 30,000 people were attending services, and the church’s annual report said NewSpring took in about $64 million for 2015.
Elevation Church’s annual report for 2015 reported a “total revenue breakdown” of $41.3 million, according to the church website.