For many people, the last they heard of Perry Noble was back in 2016. At the time he was the founder and lead pastor of Newspring Church, an SBC mega-church with a daily attendance of 32,000. He was seen as a rock star in evangelical circles, headlining major conferences and sending social media ablaze with every new provocation from the pulpit. He was also widely known for several minor scandals, such as playing AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ for their Easter service, being rebuked by his denomination for bad theology when he called the 10 commandments “10 promises” and to a lesser extent being the foil to reformed folk and discernment bloggers alike when he rebuked congregation members in his church who said they wanted to go “deeper” and dismissed them as “jackasses.’
Then the story broke. Perry Noble had been kicked out of his church by his elders for his “posture toward his marriage and increased reliance on alcohol and other behaviors.” (essentially being an alcoholic whose life and marriage was out of control.)
Unfortunately, reconciliation did not occur, either with the Church or with his wife. A year after he had been whisked away, the elders at Newspring still deemed Noble unfit for ministry, with lead Pastor Clayton King informing the congregation “Perry currently does not meet the biblical qualifications of a pastor, teacher, shepherd.”
Removed from his Church, he spent 30 days in rehab and went through a dark time of depression and doubt, including having suicidal thoughts at having lost it all. With no more involvement with Newspring and no money coming in (other than the monster severance package he likely received) he founded a business called “The Growth Company”. The company offers on-site, personal Church consulting and workshop, with the goal of growing your Church. In the case of the latter, it comes in the form of a 6-hour workshop, capped out at 5 participants, at a cost of $2000 a pop. Furthermore, he offers other personalized consulting to develop “A strategic plan to help you shatter your next growth barrier, A crystal clear marketing and outreach initiative that will increase your attendance…a strategic process that helps you move people from attender to convert to fully devoted follower of Christ. “
Perry also wrote several ebooks on losing weight, overcoming anxiety, and started an online Church, which featured him in his living room giving little mini-sermons/ rambling talks to whatever people still disagreed with the decision to give him the boot out of NewSpring. Slowly by surely, things started to calm down in his life.
In those two years his audience stuck around and grew, and grew, and in January 2019 he made the decision to go from an online service to a physical location. Named “Last Chance Church,” it focuses on and is themed around the notion of ‘it’s ok to be not ok” and on “being real” about how messed up you really are, but embracing that because “God wants to give you a second chance” and “The best is yet to come.”
Worried about whether anyone would show up to his Church on the big grand opening onJanuary 27, 2019, Perry needn’t have stressed. Over 700 people showed up across two different services, so much so that they had to turn people away.
In the eleven months since these numbers have only increased. Second Chance is averaging close to 800 people across three services and their kids program has close to 70 children. Continuing this trend, they had almost 1450 people attend their Easter service, 1500 for Christmas service, and have claimed that they’ve seen several hundred people saved.
This attendance is nearing mega-church numbers, and in fact, even on a regular Sunday morning service, Noble’s Church is larger than 98% of churches in North America.
As far as his temperment and previously obstreperous disposition, some things change, and some stay the same. He’s not so arrogant as he used to be, and his sermons are generally more subdued, focusing on Christianized self-help mantras. He still twists scripture on a weekly basis and can’t exegete his way out of a paper bag. He hasn’t played anything like “highway to hell” for Easter, but he did do a sermon series on the violent and disgustingly pornographic TV show Game of Thrones, featuring an iron throne on the stage, and all the greeters wearing Game of Thrones fan shirts.
All things considered, things are looking up for Perry Noble. His progress and trajectory in the last year is on the rise and in a few years he will likely have one of the biggest churches in the US, again. In the mega-church world, it is only a matter of time before hot talent cycles between “disqualified” and “better and more broken and real than before.” In Perry’s case, he fits that to a tee.