Are we alone in our concerns regarding the leadership of James MacDonald? Over the past few years, many long-standing elders, highly influential staff members, and even lay leaders have departed Harvest Bible Chapel. While the circumstances of their departures are unique to each of them, they all shared one thing in common. They left during a season of ministry when Harvest Bible Chapel was struggling with a massive debt load that was threatening to topple the church.
When “The Witnesses,” originally entitled “The Void,” was first conceived, it contained the names of 18 men, none of whom had publicly spoken on record. Rather, this list was merely our observation that good leaders had curiously departed in mass during a deeply troubling season. Since that time, nine elders, seven former staff members and one set of lay leaders have publicly taken a stand; and have offered their testimony on this website.
For the sake of clarity, we have removed the names of those men who have not publicly spoken for their own reasons; and we have elected to merely list the names and testimony of those who have.
Former Elders Who Have Spoken on Record:
Dave Corning: For approximately 20 years, Dave Corning served Harvest Bible Chapel as the Chairman of its elder board. His wife, Betsy Corning, is the published author of Entrusted with a Child’s Heart: A Biblical Study in Family Life.
Scott Phelps: Following the publication of TED, Scott Phelps began to ask probing questions of MacDonald. These actions were interpreted as hostile and he was ex-communicated from the church. Since then, Scott Phelps has spoken openly on TED.
Barry Slabaugh: Subsequent to the publication of TED, Barry Slabaugh began to ask hard questions of MacDonald. These actions were interpreted as hostile and he was ex-communicated from the church. Since then, Barry Slabaugh has spoken openly on TED.
Dan Marquardt: Following the publication of TED, Dan Marquardt began to ask probing questions of MacDonald. These actions were interpreted as hostile and he was ex-communicated from the church. Since then, Dan Marquardt has spoken openly to his friends.
Jim Jodrey: From 1995 to 2010, Jim Jodrey served in a variety of capacities. He was a Campus Pastor charged with overseeing operations, stewardship and benevolence. At present, Jim is the Associate Pastor of Harvest Community Church, a ministry once associated with HBF.
Dr. Ron Allchin: For many years, Dr. Allchin faithfully served the congregation of Harvest Bible Chapel as an active member of the elder board. At present, Dr. Allchin works as the Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Center.
Daryl Rice: From 2001 to 2006, Daryl Rice served HBC as the Executive Pastor of Business and Operations. During that time, he also served as an Elder and lead the Deacon Team. He presently serves as the Executive Pastor at Oak Pointe Church in Novi, Michigan.
Fred Agase: Over the course of the past decade, Fred and his wife have served in a variety of capacities at Harvest Bible Chapel, including a three-year stint as an elder. On January 1, 2013, Fred rotated off the elder board and left the church the following Easter.
Russ Barney: From 2008-2011, Russ served as an Elder at HBC. He and his wife were long-time members, who worshiped at the Rolling Meadows and Aurora campuses. Russ released his story in defense of Phelps and Slabaugh, following their ex-communication.
Former Staff Members Who Have Spoken on Record:
Josh Caterer: For most of the first decade of the new millenium, Josh Caterer served as a leader within the worship ministry department of Harvest Bible Chapel. In that capacity, he authored several songs that were regularly performed at Harvest.
Mike Bryant: Mike Bryant’s service with HBC began in the mid-1990′s. In 2006, he planted Harvest Bible Chapel – Grayslake, and faithfully served within the Fellowship until 2012, when he was removed by the leadership of HBF for privately voicing his concerns.
Mike Mahoney: From 1988 to 2012, Mike Mahoney and his family were deeply involved in HBC. In that time, Mike served as an elder assistant, and as a lay marriage counselor. In 2009, Mike joined the staff as a counselor in the Biblical Soul Care Ministry.
Rod Van Solkema: During the 2000s, Rod Van Solkema was one of four Stowell family members to be employed by Harvest Bible Chapel. After serving as the Pastor of Young Adult Ministry, Rod was the first of the Stowells to leave the church.
Matt Till: In 2009, Matt Till left an Emmy-Award winning career to join the staff of Harvest Bible Chapel as a Director of Productions for the Elgin campus. In 2010, Matt Till resigned his position as a result of what he saw within HBC.
Steve Galt: From 2007 to 2009, Steve Galt served as an Associate Pastor of Assimilation and FOCIS Ministries at the Rolling Meadows campus of HBC. Steve is currently the Associate Pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Personally requested to be added to The Void.
Dave DeHaan: From 2002 to 2006, Dave served as Pastor of Single Adults. He also served as a Family Pastor and as a Campus Pastor for the Elgin Campus. Dave is currently an associate pastor at New Covenant Bible Church in St. Charles.
Personally requested to be added to The Void.
Former Lay Leaders Who Have Spoken on Record:
Jeff and Debbie Richardson: Jeff and Debbie attended Harvest Bible Chapel for many years; and in the mid-2000s, they were the first to voice their concerns regarding the rising debt crisis. When their concerns were not adequately addressed, they left the church.
Harvest Fellowship Pastors Whose Churches Withdrew from HBF as a Direct Result of The Elephant Room 2:
Dan McGhee: For five years, Dan McGhee served as the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel-Detroit West. In 2012, Dan and his elders became the first church to leave the Harvest Bible Fellowship over their concerns surrounding the Elephant Room 2.
Jonathan Gaus: In February of 2006, Jon Gaus planted Canyon Bible Church, formerly known as Harvest Bible Chapel – Prescott. In 2012, Canyon Bible became the second church in the Harvest Bible Fellowship to sever its ties with HBF over its concerns related to the Elephant Room 2.
Arvid Svendsen: Arvid Svendsen is the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, formerly known as Harvest Bible Chapel – New Lenox. In 2012, Cornerstone became the third church to disassociate itself from the Harvest Bible Fellowship due to circumstances surrounding the Elephant Room 2.