Perry Noble will have a big opportunity if he decides to start a new church in Anderson, but he’ll also have big challenges, said a church planting expert.
Noble filed paperwork last month for a nonprofit called Second Chance Church. He has declined through representatives to talk about his plans.
Dave Travis, CEO of Leadership Network, said Noble’s plans could be for something that isn’t a traditional church and it could be a church consulting operation or some other faith-related enterprise. Noble founded The Growth Company, which offers consulting to churches and businesses, last year.
But if Second Chance does become a church, Travis said, Noble will be in a unique position because of his work building NewSpring Church.
Noble founded NewSpring, which was one of the nation’s largest churches last year with 14 campuses and an attendance of around 33,000. In July 2016, Noble was removed as NewSpring’s senior pastor for his “posture toward his marriage, increased reliance on alcohol and other behaviors.”
The church has lost membership in the past year and has switched from a model of having a single senior pastor to having a team leadership model with pastors splitting up leadership, preaching and administrative roles.
In the Baptist tradition, anyone can start a church, said Roger Oldham, vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention, which counts NewSpring as a member church.
Each church has autonomy and if Noble were to create another church, it would be considered a plant, a new thing, Oldham said.
"As the entity tasked with helping Southern Baptists start new churches, we help plant churches that are focused on reaching unchurched people, not those who are already attending other congregations," said Mike Ebert, executive director of public relations for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, which handles new churches, in an email. "If you look at the New Testament, new churches are the primary means by
If Noble starts a new church, it likely wouldn’t look much like NewSpring, Travis said.
It would likely have fewer attendees and fewer campuses, he said. Noble’s big opportunity would be his name recognition and reputation, Travis said. But name recognition can also bring out detractors, he cautioned.
Travis said dramatic changes at the senior pastor level happen often, including denominational differences.
He said part of Noble’s path toward NewSpring included going from traditional to contemporary church models.