NewSpring Church founder Perry Noble, who was fired from his position as pastor over alcohol and marital issues, has said he is checking into a treatment facility and will "work with some excellent people who are going to help me take my next steps".
Noble, who saw the church grow to around 30,000 members since he founded it 16 years ago, made his statement – the first since his firing – in a Facebook video for his supporters.
He said: "I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for the unbelievable support you guys have showed me. I want you to know I felt those prayers, I felt encouraged, and I am taking steps to get better."
He continued: "I ran to [alcohol] instead of Jesus, and I'm sorry. I'm going to do whatever it takes to make it right."
Noble added he was "serious about fighting for my wife and for my daughter, and I'm serious about following Jesus, and that has not changed".
He encouraged those who had criticised the church over his departure and said they would leave to "be at NewSpring this Sunday, and the next Sunday, and the next Sunday. I love my church, I still love my church."
In a reference to his church growth target, he said: "I still believe NewSpring is going to reach 100,000 and beyond."
NewSpring officials removed Noble from his position on July 1, saying: "Perry's posture towards marriage, increased reliance on alcohol and other behaviors, were of continual concern. Due to this, the Executive Pastors confronted Perry and went through the steps of dealing with sin in the church."
The Facebook video drew more than 6,000 comments, most expressing sympathy for Noble and prayers for his future ministry.