NewSpring leadership talks changes at church meeting - FOX Carolina 21

NewSpring leadership talks changes at church meeting

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NewSpring leadership meeting (July 21, 2017/FOX Carolina) NewSpring leadership meeting (July 21, 2017/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

During a leadership event on Friday night, heads of South Carolina's largest church talked about changes in its congregations.

NewSpring operates more than a dozen locations across the state with thousands of attendees, including Upstate churches in Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Powdersville, Greenwood and Clemson.

At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, church leadership announced plans to hold a 90-minute event to "explain the church structure moving forward" and answer questions. It drew a large crowd to the main campus on Concord Road.

Former NewSpring head pastor Perry Noble was removed from a leadership position in the church in July 2016 after a battle with alcohol abuse. After time in a rehab facility in Arizona, many wondered if Noble would return to the megachurch but on Friday, current leadership confirmed he would not be returning.

Teaching Pastor Clayton King said he has reached out to Noble as a friend over the course of the last year but Noble has not responded. He said NewSpring can't speak for other churches, but they don't believe that Noble currently meets the biblical criteria for a pastor.

The church's current lead pastors are pastor of direction and culture Brad Cooper, pastor of ministries Shane Duffey, pastor of campuses Howard Frist and pastor of operations Michael Mullikin.

There are also four senior teaching pastors.

They are confident in the direction the church is moving with a group of leaders "team teaching," rather than a single head pastor. Over the last 13 months, leaders said the church has been paying down debt, has baptized thousands of people and are moving forward in the community.

"We believe that that's what the Bible prescribes - is team," Cooper said.

NewSpring said it is tithing 10 percent of its income to outside charities, missions and others in need, stressing the desire to be a generous church in the community.

The church currently has more than $15 million in surplus in the bank after paying off debt, Cooper said.

"We're going to continue to move forward debt-free," he said.

According to a financial audit on NewSpring's website, the church's expenses totaled more than $50.5 million in 2016; this included $22.5 million in human resources expenses, $4.8 million in operating expenses, $3.8 million for the youth Gauntlet program and $1.8 million in expenses for missions.

At Friday's meeting, leaders said they were working to cut down on expenses.

The church said it received $49.3 million in general tithes and offerings last year from more than 18,000 households.

Pastors said they have seen "waffling" in attendance which declined after Noble's departure, but they are working on plans to grow and expand. They encouraged the congregation to bring friends and neighbors to fill empty seats.

Cooper said now is an exciting time to join NewSpring as their team continues to grow in a new direction. Approximately 6,000 attendees are attending the church's summer camp and they are launching a new college-age ministry called "Rally."

"I absolutely believe with my whole heart that it's never been more exciting a time to jump in and be a part than right now," Cooper said. "We've got fresh vision, fresh clarity, energy, excitement, the right people are here."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: NewSpring pastor Perry Noble removed from church

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