It’s never easy being a pastor. And it becomes even harder when addiction is present.
That’s what Perry Noble discovered after battling alcohol abuse the past year. He was terminated by NewSpring Church in South Carolina on July 1, Christianity Today reported.
The magazine cited a 2013 Barna Group study showing that what happened to Noble and the megachurch he led for two decades is nothing new.
About a fifth of pastors told the research group they have struggled with addiction in some form. But alcohol was not the main culprit, according to the study.
Instead, about 50 percent were addicted to pornography, sex or both. Alcohol and prescription drugs stood at 17 percent, as did addiction to food. Tobacco addiction stood at 11 percent among pastors, the Barna survey found.
In a letter to the NewSpring congregation posted online, Noble said it’s his belief the Bible does not forbid the consumption of alcohol — only of drunkenness. He said he recently “slid into” drinking too much. He said he supported the church’s decision to let him go.
“For those who are disappointed in me — let me assure you no one is more disappointed in me than myself,” Noble said in the letter. “I realize that I cannot continue to do effective ministry if this issue in my personal life is not adequately addressed.”
Another part of the Barna survey was mixed on how addiction revelations affect pastors’ ministries — 46 percent said disclosure would have negative consequences while 41 percent said positive impacts occurred.