Rev. Perry Noble, founder of NewSpring Church in Greenwood, S.C., has been removed as the church's senior pastor over problems with his alcohol use.
The NewSpring board of directors said they had to make the change in leadership although it was a "difficult and painful decision."
Executive Pastor Shane Duffey made the announcement during the church's early morning service, Sunday. It came three days after a closed-door, unscheduled meeting of church officials, GreenvilleOnline.com reported.
"I wish this were a joke, and part of a sermon illustration, but it is true," Noble said in a statement read by Duffey.
Noble confirmed his overuse of alcohol in the statement and said he had "come to depend on alcohol instead of Jesus."
He denied any allegations about infidelity and abuse in his marriage saying that neither of those things happened.
"No one is more disappointment in me than I am in myself," Noble said.
Noble is the founder and the only senior pastor the church has had in the 16-year history of the church. He officially started the church in 2000 and by 2006 it grew to 8,000 members.
By 2015, NewSpring had 17 campuses across South Carolina with more than 30,000 people attending weekly services.
Duffey announced that Clayton King, founder of Clayton King ministries, will serve as interim senior pastor.