It took little time for NewSpring Church to reveal the name of its interim senior pastor.
Moments after delivering the news Sunday morning that Perry Noble had been removed as leader of the Anderson-based church, Executive Pastor Shane Duffey said Upstate native Clayton King had been hired as interim senior pastor.
King is the leader of Crossroads Worldwide ministry, an occasional guest speaker at the Anderson church, and a close friend of Noble.
“Clayton will do a good job,” said South Carolina Rep. Anne Thayer of Belton, a longtime NewSpring member. “The church officials gave me confidence today in the way they handled a very difficult situation. I thought it was good that they addressed it from the start. And I think it helped that Clayton will fill that interim role.”
In making the announcement regarding Noble, Duffey said King, who preached at an Asheville, N.C., church on Sunday morning, will be in the NewSpring pulpit next week.
Duffey, along with three other executive pastors of the church – Brad Cooper (ministries), Howard Frist (campuses) and Michael Mullikin (operations) – will join a five-member pastor advisory team to “find and hire” the next leader of the state’s largest church. The five advisory members will be people who are not NewSpring staff members, Duffey said.
“The process will not be hasty; there will be no snap decision,” Duffey told a live audience of about 2,000 at the 11:15 a.m. service Sunday. “We will keep you informed as we go along in the process.”
The announcement regarding King, who will fill the role of senior pastor “for the next season of time,” drew brisk applause.
Duffey said King, along with Cooper and NewSpring member Caleb White, “will shoulder most of the load” in regard to preaching duties in the foreseeable future.
Duffey said he “has grieved deeply through this process” since learning of Noble’s departure. “This is a day I never thought would be true for our church.
“Obviously, this is a pivotal moment. If we rally together and trust God, we can still move forward. We need to stay unified.”
Duffey asked members “not to get pulled into the mess out there on social media” as they deal with Noble’s dismissal.
Cooper’s message Sunday was based on the part of 50th chapter of Genesis, which involves the story of Joseph, whose life was marked by an apparent tragedy that proved to be a blessing.
“God can take the darkest moment ... and use it for good,” Cooper said, adding that the Bible “reminds us that we are all flawed, infallible people.”
King is a graduate of Hillcrest High in Simpsonville, where in 1988 he started a Christian group, the Solid Rock Club. He began preaching at age 15. He was chosen Outstanding Male Graduate of the Year at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina in 1995.
King began Clayton King Ministries and Crossroads Worldwide, a youth organization that partners with churches to provide youth mission opportunities.
Clayton King Ministries relocated last year from Gardner-Webb to Anderson University, where King holds the faculty position of distinguished professor of evangelism.
King has written 10 books, and along with his wife, Sharie, recently completed the relaunch of “True Love Waits” through LifeWay Publishing.