Over the course of the past year, we at TED have met people or received private emails from individuals that shared their story regarding their departure from Harvest Bible Chapel. And, from time to time, someone will anonymously leave a comment at this site that tell something of their experience and possibly their reasons for leaving HBC. In more recent weeks, these encounters and communications have been on the increase, due – no doubt – to the video HBC chose to post on its website regarding the excommunication of two of its former elders.
Yesterday, one individual, shared his full name and story with us as a comment under the Your Story section. Since this is the first person to share both their story and full name at this site, we elected to publish it, as it expressed a story we continue to hear again and again. So, you can read Mike Medow’s story below or in the Your Story section.
My name is Mike Medow, and I attended – and was a member – of Harvest Bible Chapel Rolling Meadows from October 1999 until the summer of 2003. At that time, my fiancé – now wife – and I chose to shift our attendance and service to the Crystal Lake campus. We faithfully served at that campus until 2011.
Just to give you a sense of our involvement at HBC, I led two men’s small groups while at Rolling Meadows in the Young Adults and Men’s ministries, respectively. Additionally, I served in the Children’s Ministry (Life Rock) as a teacher at Crystal Lake for roughly seven years. Towards the latter portion of our time at Crystal Lake we served as small group leaders. I was involved, also, to one degree or another in the prayer ministry, monthly breakfasts, and evangelism efforts through HBC. I also spent roughly two years in a small group with Greg Bradshaw and five or six other families from 2004-2005.
My wife and I were also a part of several other small groups during our time at Harvest, that included men who were flock leaders at Harvest. As a side note, my wife and I were married by Mike Bryant, and we knew him and other elders of Harvest Crystal Lake when the church was a plant of HBC, before running into significant financial troubles over the acquisition of a building and subsequently becoming a satellite of HBC after a financial bailout. All this to say, we were deeply committed members and servants at HBC, and our decision to leave HBC was not easy or taken lightly. Here is my open letter to my friends at HBC.
To My Friends at Harvest Crystal Lake and Beyond, I’ve recently begun sharing with others why I/we “really” left Harvest and asking people candidly if they have questions or concerns about the direction Harvest is headed.
In the meantime, I am urging friends we know, as well as the friends we have yet to meet, to prayerfully and carefully read 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and ask an honest but necessary question, “Has James MacDonald disqualified himself, by virtue of his character and conduct, over the course of many years, from being an elder (teaching pastor)?” And if, according to God’s Word, he has disqualified himself, and is allowed to remain in position of great authority and influence, does that truly bring glory to God? I would like to follow up that question with another – Is the leadership at HBC handling this issue, one that simply will not go away, in such a way that shows a greater concern for “protecting” one man’s declining reputation . . . at the expense of the care, concern and love for the 1000s of sheep that leaders like James are supposed to be shepherding?
Friends, shouldn’t we ask and inquire of God and search His Word to see if it offers wisdom that can answer questions such as these? For if God in His Bible has already spoken on matters similar to these, shouldn’t we expect that His Spirit will guide us into the wisest, and may I suggest, most loving way to deal with a senior pastor seemingly bent on trampling under foot anyone and everyone who stands in opposition to his way? Or, put another way – What should be on full display at the Church for all to see? Should it be the glory and holiness of our God-Man, Jesus the Christ, and His tender-loving care for His Bride… or, should it be the glory and sinfulness of one man and his god?
I know this is a very difficult time for so many, yet I hope and pray we seek the wisdom of God, and not man. People of Harvest, may the Holy Spirit and your conscience given by God, lead you and your families into greener pastures, quieter waters, and ultimately down paths of righteousness. You have been warned.
Another voice sounding the alarm for all with eyes to see and ears to hear,
Mike Medow Former Member of HBC 1999 – 2011