Perry Noble, former pastor of NewSpring Church, returned to the pulpit last weekend after he was invited to preach at Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C.
On a post to Facebook, Noble thanked Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick for inviting him to preach—something he never thought he would do again—and said Furtick had stood by his side and was a source of encouragement during trying times.
“In July of 2016 I thought I would never preach again!” Noble wrote. “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.”
“Last night he allowed me the honor of returning to preaching on the stage at Elevation — and what I thought was dead came to life again,” he added.
The post included a photo of him and Furtick embracing.
Noble and Furtick’s friendship goes a long way back. Furtick often refers to Noble as the person who believed in him and helped him see God’s vision for his life when he was a nobody.
When Elevation Church was established 11 years ago, Furtick chose Noble to be one of the church’s out-of-town pastors on its board of overseers, according to Charlotte Observer.
In July 2016, megachurch NewSpring, which was started by Noble 20 years ago and where he served as senior pastor, was rocked by controversy after it made a surprising announcement that the church’s board of directors had reached “a difficult and painful decision” to let Noble go.
NewSpring executive pastor Shane Duffey said in a statement that the board of directors decided Noble was “no longer qualified to serve as pastor,” Greenville Online reported.
Noble had been struggling with alcohol use as he fought with depression for years.
The statement also said the board was concerned over the former senior pastor’s “posture toward marriage.”
Duffey then read a statement from Noble addressed to the church, in which he confessed that he had slipped into an “overuse of alcohol,” depending on it more than Jesus, and said he would be seeking help. He also admitted his work had caused a strain on his marriage, but clarified he had not been involved in infidelity or abuse.
After leaving NewSpring, he went to a treatment center in Arizona for 30 days, where a psychologist and a pastor helped him get back on his feet.
In his Facebook post last Sunday, he thanked Furtick and his wife Holly for standing with him. He also encouraged those who are going through seasons of doubt and those who felt “dead,” reminding them that “Jesus brings dead things back to life.”
He echoed the same sentiment in his preaching over the weekend. Talking about his struggles and how God dealt with him, he told the story of a time when he was at his “lowest point” during rehab. He took a walk and, while he was watching the sunset, he heard God whisper to him, “I’m not finished with you yet.”
“Maybe, just maybe God sent me here tonight to tell you that there’s still time left on the clock,” he preached. “And that if you’re not dead, God’s not done. ... He still has a future for your life.”