Clayton King, a ministry leader and teaching pastor at NewSpring Church in South Carolina, is serving as the multi-site church’s interim after the termination of founding pastor Perry Noble.
Noble, in a Facebook video June 13, stated, “I am sorry that I allowed a dependency on alcohol. I ran to it other than Jesus for my comfort, and that was wrong … and I am going to do whatever it takes to make it right.
“I am checking into a treatment facility and going to work with some excellent people who are really going to help me take my next steps. I’m serious about fighting for my wife and my daughter and I’m serious about following Jesus.”
Noble, 45, encouraged members to stay committed to NewSpring, stating with emphasis in the 3-plus-minute video, “I. Still. Love. My. Church. … The leadership of NewSpring Church made the right decision. God has gotten my attention. … I’m not bitter. I’m focused on getting better.” Noble’s termination was announced to the church on Sunday, July 10.
The naming of King as NewSpring’s interim senior pastor “has been lauded by many Christian leaders across the state and may ensure that NewSpring will avoid a significant attendance drop, which many churches often face following the departure of a longtime pastor,” the Baptist Courier, the state convention’s newsjournal, noted in a July 12 article.
NewSpring, South Carolina’s largest church, has 17 campuses across the state, with the latest, in Clemson, slated to open this fall.
King is president of Clayton King Ministries and Crossroads Summer Camps, a nonprofit evangelism and discipleship ministry based at Anderson University. He and his staff have been leading Crossroads Summer youth camps for 21 years, with an anticipated attendance of 5,000 teens during one of this summer’s seven weeks of camp. By the end of end of week 4, Crossroads had recorded 600 campers’ spiritual decisions for Christ.
King also holds the position of distinguished professor of evangelism at Anderson University. He is the author of 14 books and he and his wife Sharie are involved in LifeWay Christian Resources’ relaunch of the “True Love Waits” abstinence-until-marriage initiative.
Anderson University President Evans Whitaker said of King: “… even with all his notoriety as an author, evangelist and organizational head, Clayton has a natural, consistently humble spirit. With him as senior interim pastor, I believe NewSpring will continue to thrive, win people to Christ, and create disciples of the Lord Jesus. More than anything, that is what Clayton wants to do.”
King told the Baptist Courier he wants to “love and shepherd our people well” during the transition.
“I want to point them to Jesus Christ,” he said. “I want them to dig into His Word and see this challenging time as an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus.” He added, “I also want to love and support my friend, Perry. We have been close for 26 years, and I love him and his family.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Rudy Gray is editor of the Baptist Courier, baptistcourier.com, newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention; Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press.)