Harvest Bible Chapel’s Big House undergoes an expensive renovation, and HBC creates a new web page to explain.

Update (19 Aug 2013)

Many people at Harvest Bible Chapel are aware that there is a house, roughly 2500 – 3000 sq. ft., located on the church’s camp property in Newaygo, Michigan, also known as The Big House, but what most don’t know is that the house underwent costly renovations in 2012.  Moreover, what some people are beginning to realize is that HBC may have attempted a subterfuge by adding an explanation to the questions raised by TED readers.  We are publishing this post with two subsections for easier reading, and they are: New Web Pages and Paying for Expensive Renovations.

New Web Pages

Photographs of The Big House renovation, taken from the interior designer’s Facebook page, can be seen by following this link to our Documents page and scrolling down.  The story about the expensive renovation and the photos first came to our attention when a comment appeared on August 14, 2013, at this site.  It quickly raised obvious questions for our readers which they published through numerous comments.  The questions were:  How much did this renovation cost?  Who authorized this expenditure?  Who paid for it? If 5G funds were used then why was the congregation not told about it?

On August 16, 2013, Harvest Bible Chapel posted an addition to their web site, adding a tab titled Pastor’s Retreat Area.  The leaders of HBC are clearly reading TED and the comments because the new web page was a point by point response to the many questions raised by our readers.  But events would taken an even stranger twist.

On the evening of August 16, 2013, a comment left by “John” asked commenters why they were so bothered with questions about the Big House renovation.  He suggested that their bewilderment was not warranted because HBC had a web page answering these questions. But what was troubling about his comment was the fact that he claimed that he had seen this web page “quite a while ago.”  Clearly, “John” was lying and attempting to argue that the questions TED readers were asking silly and out of touch with the transparent communication HBC has with its congregants.

Our readers quickly investigated “John’s” claim, and provided technical evidence to show that the HBC web page was in fact new and it had not been created “quite a while ago,” as “John” claimed.  This in turn raises an entirely new series of questions:  Who is “John?”  Is he part of the HBC leadership?  Is he someone that HBC leadership used to get out their newly minted web page?

Hopefully, the elders at HBC will be concerned enough to investigate these questions by finding out which staff members created this page, who ordered them to create the page, and ask each party involved with the creation of this page if they or someone they know lied about its creation at this site.

Finally, why, after 10 months of this site’s existence and HBC promises to its congregation to become more transparent, are stories like this brought to the congregations attention through TED as opposed to HBC?

Why do congregants learn about elder resignations here and not from their own church?  

Why do congregants learn about elaborate home remodels here and not from their own church?  

Why do elders learn about their senior pastor’s salary here and not from their own senior pastor?

Paying for Expensive Renovations

According to HBC’s newly created web page, the Big House was donated to the MacDonald family for them to use as a retreat.  It effectively functions as MacDonald’s personal property even while HBC holds the deed.  As evidence for this assertion, we cite the fact that MacDonald family effects such as family photographs adorn the space, accordingly to individuals that have stayed at the residence.  Also, this picture, provided by HBC, confirms that the property was donated for the MacDonald family to use, and these photos of the guest book show that the guests personally thank the MacDonalds for use of the property.  To be clear, there is nothing questionable about accepting such a generous donation; and their decision to allow others to use the property when they are not up there certainly shows generosity on their part.  But, the issue regarding functional ownership begs the question as to whom we should hold responsible for the choice to spend at least tens of thousands of dollars to extravagantly update this vacation home?  Furthermore,  it also begs the question as to whether the elders knew what was going to be renovated and how much it would cost.  This is yet one more data point in a picture of a senior pastor that sees fit to live a privileged life through the use of donations.

Also, HBC states that the property was in need of repairs, including a leaky roof and a faulty heating/ventilation system.  No doubt that all homes need basic maintenance of this kind, and no reasonable mind would object to 5G funds being used to keep this property in proper working order.  However, as you can see from the photos that far more than basic upkeep and maintenance was performed.

As to the questions of who paid for this renovation, HBC states,

In January 2012 the Elders approved a needed renovation of the main retreat house (the guest house was renovated in 2003 as part of the “Seize the Opportunity” campaign in 2003).
The Lord provided Andy and Maida Korte (Harvest members since 1996 and owners of the award-winning Designs by Maida), who donated their time and renovated this “House in the Woods.” Needed repairs were funded through 5G campaign contributions and improvements to furnishing and decor were funded outside the 5G campaign by a generous and anonymous donor.

First, it must be pointed out that the question as to how much was spent and donated to update this vacation home so exquisitely was not addressed.

Second, HBC is clearly attempting to assuage their congregation, especially the 5G donors, that their money has only gone to the necessary, routine upkeep of this property, and that the more extravagant updates were paid for by a private donor.  But are such distinctions really that meaningful?  

If MacDonald has the ability to pick up the phone and successfully solicit this anonymous donor for at least tens of thousands of dollars for something as superfluous as opulent interior decorating on his vacation home, then could he have not solicited that same amount of money, or even more, from this donor for more worthwhile Kingdom pursuits?  In other words, money used for such creaturely comforts could have been directed into the 5G campaign to make up lost ground on last year’s debt repayment schedule, church planting,  Harvest Christian Academy, or any number of other necessary projects that HBC is taking on, even as giving to the 5G is slowing down.

This entry was posted in HBC Statements and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Harvest Bible Chapel’s Big House undergoes an expensive renovation, and HBC creates a new web page to explain.

  1. Sad HBC Member says:

    The HBC congregation needs a shepherd who cares about his flock more than his personal interests and benefits. James and Rick focus on what’s best for them rather than God’s people (ie. salary, benefits, personal agenda, pet projects, the Big House, etc.) I am sad to say I no longer trust them. James’ hurtful and destructive behavior towards others has hurt me too. I have compassion for those of you who have been shouted at, belittled and intimidated. I believe Rick witnessed and allowed that to happen in some cases. And that’s wrong. Apparently, James’ damaging behavior continues to happen. According to God’s Word that warrants James’ removal. He needs Biblical counseling. I need a shepherd who will lead me with compassion, love, gentleness and humlity- not pride, anger and no empathy. James has been given many chances for change.

    How come other HBC pastors and staff that have done sinful behavior are removed immediately? But James continues to do sinful behavior and is allowed to stay? Why the double standard? I’m counting on the HBC Elders to do the right thing. I pray the Lord gives them the courage. In the meantime, I’m stopping my donations to the church.

  2. McShauno says:

    You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Your letting your bitterness destroy you and own you. It is obvious in everyone’s comments. Bitterness drips from this website. Just stop it. Your obsession with money and funds is completely transparent to your real problem — bitterness.

    I see first hand the genuine fruit that is being created by Harvest Bible Chapel and Harvest Bible Fellowship. The authenticity of the this fruit is jaw dropping. It is AWESOME because HBC serves an AWESOME GOD.

    Yet, no one here can see it because you are blinded by your bitterness.

    I probably shouldn’t have posted this and added to the drivel you all are bitterly spinning up but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the names of good people and good friends and Christians being dragged through the mud.

    Just stop it. Shut this silly website down, repent of your bitterness and move on.

    I’ll never post here again.

    • Gary O'Brien says:

      I am well versed in propaganda, mind control and psyop techniques. I am amazed at all of the new people posting here under pseudonyms and who only use their first names. Let’s call your post what it is, damage control intended to cause confusion among good Christians who come here seeking the truth and protecting Harvest. ‘McShauno’, you wouldn’t have a horse in this race would you? Are you an Elder at HBC, or with all of that “Bitterness” maybe someone higher up the food chain?

      “Just stop it. Shut this silly website down, repent of your bitterness and move on.” You say. I sense that you are starting to get frantic now. Yes, put everything back in the box where it can be controlled. Back in the darkness. Satan likes the darkness. The darkness that has become Harvest.

      You say you’ll never be back. I posit you will be, just under a different name.

    • James 4:7 says:

      Bitter? No, actually, on a personal level, I am relieved to be free of a system that grinds people up and catapults them out, if they dare to object. And I am glad to be free of James MacDonald–there’s only so much hypocrisy that anyone can stand. But I am sincerely grieved when I think of the many who are still being used and abused. As Christians, we are charged with rescuing the innocent–and this is our only avenue to warn the many. Whether it can or will make a difference remains to be seen. If anyone should be ashamed, it is the leadership at HBC.

    • Gary O'Brien says:

      And when you post again I’ll still be here.

    • Chris Pence says:

      “I’ll never post here again.” A drive-by, eh? It’s a shame when someone won’t defend their comments.

      Believe it or not, genuine fruit and shady practices can co-exist. We’ve no doubt real growth is taking place in many who attend HBC. The shadiness should still be brought to light.

      Defend HBC and James after the testimony of Dan Marquardt, Josh Caterer, Mike Bryant, Daryl Rice, Jeff and Debbie Richardson, Mike Mahoney, etc.

      Ah, yes, the “b” word. Funny how so many HBC apologists fall back on this word, a state of the heart that no one can prove. Unless I’m mistaken, McShauno, and you have the gift to see into the hearts and judge motives?

    • Despeville says:

      If one would go with your emotional rhetoric, superficial generalizations and subjective redefinitions of terms then most of New Testament and certainly pastoral letters of Apostle Paul correcting churches and calling them to SELF correcting are nothing else but exercise in “bitterness” and spreading of that “bitterness” all over the mediterranean world. Of course that is not the case with teaching of Paul and others yet you are unable to see this massive Scriptural witness to what needed to be done then and there and therefore what needs to be done now and here. You are not able to understand the gravity of warped and mutated ecclesiology of HBC, the enablement of such a rampant abuse of people, money and pulpit. How about the other “fruits” of Harvest mentioned here more than few times? “fruits” of damaged witness to the faith in and through people whose faith and trust have been shaken to the core and on the top of their emotional and psychological hurt? Should that be a “fruit” of Christian congregation? No, the good tree DOES NOT produce diseased and bad fruit. It is literally impossible. Thats fruit come from diseased tree, a clear teaching of Matthew 7:15-20. The reason for this kind of inability and willful blindness is the very reason this abusive and false scheme will be continued until God will pulverize. This reason is cognitive dissonance and as such it belongs to flesh and flesh only.

    • Michael says:

      I agree with what is said above. Is it possible that while being so obsessed with the sins of MacDonald (which are certainly real and of concern) the owners of this site have lost sight of their own sins?

      MacDonald needs the work of the Holy Spirit to humble him. That has been pointed out. I think most people generally accept that part of it.

      What about the rest of the people here? How long will your bitterness linger and eat at you? This may have been a good idea at one point, but it is starting to look a lot less like concern and a lot more like bitterness and vengeance.

    • Chris Trees says:

      McShauno,

      I’m afraid that you’ve made an unfair generalization regarding the motives of your brothers and sisters who post here. First, there are other motives than bitterness, including jealousy for God’s Righteousness and the holiness of Christ’s church that have prompted many to speak in this forum.

      I’d stick my neck out and say that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind who posts here, that amazing things have been accomplished through people who attend HBC. But, that said, nothing ever done by anyone at HBC, up to and including Pastor James, excuses ungodly conduct and attitudes on the part of the HBC leadership, and should not be ignored or tolerated. There’s a reason that in Matthew 18 we are to present to the church evidence of unrepentant, sinful behavior on the members and leadership. It’s first to encourage the sinner to repentance, and secondly, and ultimately more importantly, to preserve the holiness of the church.

      If you can, I’d like you to point me to one Scripture that says that it’s proper to conceal sin, for the sake of preserving appearances. On the other hand, many people who have posted here have pointed to numerous passages of Scripture exhorting the body to expose unrepentant sin either expressly or implicitly for the reasons mentioned above.

      If you read carefully, and without prejudgment, you’ll have a hard time convincing yourself that this web site is only about “money and funds”, “Money and funds” are important only to the degree that they illuminate other problems. It’s never been about money. As someone has written here earlier, “last time I checked, God has plenty”. What is is about is the degree of honesty, humility and transparency that are required to promote true, biblical unity and family in the Body.

      To this end, many have, with the best interests of HBC and the wider church in view, elected to “take it to the church”. Although the internet is open to the eyes of both the saved and unsaved, so is the Bible that for a couple of millenia has openly exposed sin in the lives of the patriarchs, priesthood and and the early church and Church fathers through the human authors of the Old and New Testaments

      Whether or not you choose to never post here again, or even if you never agree with one word you might read on this sight, or even if you choose to never even visit again, don’t imagine for a moment that those with whom you disagree should be ridiculed or mocked. This forum is open to all who seek to promote the well being of Christ’s Church, even if sometimes we can only agree to disagree

      Remember, those with whom you disagree just may be right.

      One more thing. Harvest’s production of “authentic fruit” in no way precludes the possibility that there are also, serious and sinful problems with the leadership that can work to the harm of all. As a pastor friend of mine is fond of saying. “Remember rat poison is over 90% cornmeal. It’s the stuff in the remaining 10% that’s lethal.”

  3. Cara says:

    I reached out to a current flock leader to ask about the number of people who have left because of the controversy this site has highlighted. He said that he while he didn’t have any hard numbers, his understanding from other friends in leadership (elders included) is that HBC hasn’t seen a blip in membership or attendance since this site launched. He said, just as many people are leaving HBC as any other time in past years (by percent anyway), and just as many are joining.

    I’d be interested to know some stats on this. According to Dan, PJ’s impression is that it’s just a super tiny vocal group of 12-14 families. But from reading this site, it sounds like there’s a whole lot more. I understand there aren’t “exit interviews”, but if there’s usually a 5% membership loss and a 10% gain year over year, I’d expect to see a change from this with all of the activity and discussion here and on Twitter.

  4. Broken says:

    Speaking of 5G- It was a 3 year campaign 2012-2014. We are past the halfway mark and we should be approaching 17 million given. We are about 6 million behind (For those concerned with numbers that would be 20% of the total or 35% of what we should have so far). I think it shows that a) the people of the congregation are struggling in these financial times and therefore stewardship of the money is all the more important and b) this website is causing people to take an interest in what is happening with God’s money. Also, I wonder if the elders who approved the renovation had as much time to consider it as they did the budget?

    • Ex Member of HBC-RM says:

      They can subtract my 5G pledge. I was manipulated and lied to.

      I would be curious to know how much of the 30 mil. has been spent. I seem to remember them saying they would only spend when they got the money, but it sure seems like a lot of projects going on at once.

      Have they spent more than they have received from the 5G campaign?

  5. Mary says:

    At the risk of being censored for a second time, let’s see if my comments will be posted. I agree with Sincerely. GOD will accomplish what concerns James and HBC. What a sad testimony to a watching world. As our brothers and sisters in Christ are being slaughtered in Egypt, churches being burned to the ground, daughters being raped, Islam on the rise, as we watch prophesy being revealed before our very eyes, this website is furthering God’s kingdom how? When someone comments, “I’m never going back to church..” and yet this website keeps stirring the pot of their “righteous agenda” God is glorified how?

    “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. Gal 5:15-16

    “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against his brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

    “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD”. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12

    Time is short. Our redemption is at hand. God is on His mighty throne. He calls us to be faithful and to proclaim the name and fame of His Son. Oh how this must grieve the heart of our Holy, Heavenly Father. May His mercy be upon all of us.

    • James 4:7 says:

      “…GOD will accomplish what concerns James and HBC…”

      Did you forget that we are charged by our Lord Christ, with keeping His Bride chaste and beautiful? Ever read the letters to the churches in Revelation? He very clearly gives orders to cleanse the churches of wrongdoing.

      “…What a sad testimony to a watching world…”

      Yes it is Mary,—very, but it is necessary that there be no more hiding of the truth.

      “…When someone comments, ‘I’m never going back to church..’ and yet this website keeps stirring the pot of their “righteous agenda” God is glorified how?…”

      Should the deceit be allowed to continue then–so that even more can be abused and used?

      “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. Gal 5:15-16

      I think this passage probably wasn’t quoted enough to JM by his Elders.

      “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against his brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

      Interesting that you chose the NASB here when all other translations indicate that slander is what is being spoken of. Shouldn’t JM have had that read to him before he decided to slander the Elders when he tried to absolve himself of blame a few weeks ago?

      “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD”. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12″

      Yes. So will you, Mary. And, sadly, so will James MacDonald.

      “…Time is short. Our redemption is at hand. God is on His mighty throne. He calls us to be faithful and to proclaim the name and fame of His Son. Oh how this must grieve the heart of our Holy, Heavenly Father…”

      Do you not think it grieved Him before, when all of this was being hidden?

      “…May His mercy be upon all of us…”

      Now to THAT, I can say a hearty Amen.

    • Despeville says:

      No, what is grieving God is FALSEHOOD and DISBELIEF and not the truth and seeking it no matter how painful it is. If the credibility of the visible church is being damaged by mega pastors ( and it surely is ) on mega salaries living in mega mansions with mega expense accounts who at the very same time tell “their” people to toughen up and cough up more money while at the very same time they are manipulating for themselves mega raise on the top of their already mega bloated salary then this does not help the stance and faith of Christians being slaughtered in Egypt or Zanzibar or oppressed or attacked anywhere else. The reason someone is repelled from the church as HBC is not this site and its stance for the truth, but up side down and mutated ecclesiology of James MacDonald and his elders who do not take the teaching of the Word of God seriously enough to act according to it.

      You are taking Scriptures out of their context as you do for example with Romans 14:10-12 where the context is judging based on adherence to Jewish regulations, feasts and festivals and NOT church discipline. Yes, we will give account about what we could do and influence as for example voicing out needed purging and correction of a diseased and mutated church locally and not what we cannot really influence outside of prayer on the other hemisphere of this planet. Whether time is long or short in human terms no human knows but how the church should be structured and function we do know for we have the witness of Apostolic church in the Scriptures inspired by God Himself. Let’s get busy with that and do not turn a blind eye to a corporate like greed and ruthlessness posing as love under the guise of concern for sensationalist eschatology. Have you forgot this command below? It is in the very eye of this situation. Heed it:

      “Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to CONTEND EARNESTLY for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later DESTROYED those who did not believe.”

      Jude 1:3-5

      Blessings.

    • Gary O'Brien says:

      Maybe you are married to Sincerely and have much to lose in this matter. Edward Bernays was the father of propaganda and a couple of his tactics are beautifully demonstrated here. Change the subject and try to manipulate public opinion by appealing to the sensibilities of good Christian character. Something that is sorely lacking at HBC. HBC is PETRIFIED of the truth of their sin being revealed. This is why they come on this site and try to manipulate what the rest of the church may see. To cast fear and doubt.

      You ask what purpose this site serves? How does it further God’s kingdom? When so called Elders and so called Pastors are willing to do whatever it takes to protect the corporation then REAL CHRISTIANS got together and ruminated about what to do about it. It is only because of the heinous sins of Harvest that this site even exists at all. If the so called leaders were concerned at all they would have addressed the grievances of their members. However, they were ignored or catapulted out of the church. Very Christian of them isn’t it? By the way, that’s another one of Bernays’ propaganda tactics. Oppress and expunge all opposition.

      Your scriptural arguments ring hollow. I’ll compartmentalize the whole thing very succinctly for you. We are not to judge the hearts of men as only God can do that. But if we do not judge their words or their actions then we leave ourselves open for deception.

      You are correct when you say that time is short and this puzzles me even more when I see what is being done to people in this ‘church’ in the name of Jesus Christ. I’ll leave you with this: Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
      Job 8:2-4
      HBC is about to experience God’s justice.
      Please try your propaganda elsewhere.

      • James 4:7 says:

        Excellent post, Gary. By the way, interesting that you would note the possible marriage connection–that was my impression as well.

  6. Sad to See says:

    The day that people quit financially supporting JMAC with their tithes; they will start coming forth with small details. There is too much at stake for the people at the top (executive team, JMAC, JMAC’s kids on staff), you say what is at stake? Their salaries, benefits, expense accounts. The only way JMAC keeps a few satisfied is letting them in on the take too. As ruthless as he is he couldn’t pull this off without the support of the people in the know.

    It is interesting the comments and concern people have shared when the “Big House” was made so all could see. Just think the backlash if people knew what JMAC salary, benefits and expense account were. The “Big House” is the tip of the iceberg.

  7. Pam says:

    Trying to recall where Jesus’s vacation home was located, or his McMansion, anyone?

    Quote: Since you like numbers why is it that you do not mention at least hundreds if not thousands of believers who left this “pattern free” HBC system of your admiration and left with deep hurt and not emotional and psychological only. Many of them are now disillusioned about the faith and some inoculated with distrust. /Quote

    The hurt I’d left with is comparable to that which I had when I left the Catholic Church after God showed me the truth there. I have no desire to even “church shop” at this point, I’m so disillusioned and disgusted.

    • Despeville says:

      Pam,

      I am sorry to hear that, but do know this, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the Triune Lord is faithful no matter the swarms of impostors who buzz around the mammon. Lift your eyes from this and do not look at people, especially like that and surely not in terms of any verification. You have left Romanism for a reason and it is unfathomable grace of God over you no matter this pope wanna be and his mammoncracy

      God is not a man, that he should lie,
      nor a human being, that he should change his mind.
      Has he said, and will he not do it?
      Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?”

      Numbers 23:19

      • James 4:7 says:

        Well said, Despeville. I echo Despeville’s comments, Pam. It is easy to get disgusted and lose our focus on Christ and His true Bride. But rest assured that “she” is still here and she is still beautiful to her Bridegroom. Cling to and treasure those who show the “fruit of the Spirit”–they are part of the Bride. God always has a remnant. I have prayed for you and will continue to do so in the days ahead, just as I pray for ALL those who have been hurt and disillusioned. But–I assure you–it is always much better to know the truth. “The truth will set you free.”

  8. Scott Thompson says:

    One of James’ favorite quotes keeps popping up in my mind throughout all of this.
    Numbers 32:23b
    Make no mistake, its all coming out.

  9. Hope says:

    Hope,
    It sure would be nice if more than 1 Elder, At least 1 Pastor, 2 Flock Leaders and a Worship Leadership, along with Ryan and Scott, had the moral strength of character to come forward and the biblical compass to speak publically about what’s wrong at HBC, because it all comes back to the leader and his top leadership team. If you’re around the top staff, you’d know. Please let the Holy Spirit show you.

    There is so much more abuse of power, financial deception and sheer manipulation to be concerned with, but the ones mentioned here are public and easier to document – that’s all. No deception or manipulation should be part of any church protocol functionality. It’s ungodly.

    So where’s the open communication? 2 years of financials? 2011/2012 and 2012/2013? Why not be part of the ECFA? Why not post full balance sheet financials like Willow? Why are the elders so weak? Why, why why? Why is James still the Sr. Pastor, whose church is it? Has there been unknown constitutional or church governance changes? Who is in charge?

  10. sameoldstory says:

    The same kind of behavior is popping up at Harvest church plants. When the model is broken, the plants are broken. There is no disclosure at our plant of anything other than total funds given. The church is run from a worldly business model that a 12 year old could recognize. We just had a sermon a few weeks ago to the effect “if you don’t like it, leave”. Sound familiar?

    Harvest will never get my tithe. It will go to a worthy organization. And we will be looking for a new church home.

  11. Chris Pence says:

    1. The context of improper spending and handling of debt.
    2. The context of improper spending and handling of debt. The context of elder manipulation and abuse.
    3. The context of a sustained lack of forthrightness and transparency. See also, Point #1.

    Without these contexts, the Pastor’s Retreat is, at worst, a very minor deal. Within them, it becomes, intentional or otherwise, part of a larger pattern.

    • Despeville says:

      @Josh,

      Since you like numbers why is it that you do not mention at least hundreds if not thousands of believers who left this “pattern free” HBC system of your admiration and left with deep hurt and not emotional and psychological only. Many of them are now disillusioned about the faith and some inoculated with distrust. How about millions of dollars given by so many thousands of people appropriation of which is known to none but to an extremely small group of MacDonald’s alter egos? Would those numbers be intrinsic of a reasonable pattern or they must be automatically dismissed? Cui prodest?

    • Chris Pence says:

      “Lemming or a fool.” False choice. Plenty of people stay in the HBC system out of respect for current relationships, while determining their future course, or out of hope of a turnaround, to name a few.

      How grateful you must be that, in the history of the Church, when leadership holds a majority then it is never wrong.

      Consensus arguments prove nothing outside of Congress.

  12. Emily says:

    Josh, I do not think the authors, by their own admission, have any problem with a Pastoral Retreat House. The issue at hand is the continual thread of how the leadership at HBC ignores their congregation in the transparency of what the church is doing. Does the congregation need a “to the penny” accounting of the budget? We would all agree a firm No to that question. However, does the congregation have a right to know how their tithe money is being spent when asked? I would say YES – the biggest concern I have in these instances is not always the spending but the inability to be transparent to the congregation. Everything is a big secret and if you ask you are labeled as being “disloyal”, “not trusting in the leadership”, or whatever other quote you want to interject. The fact that a web page is created on august 16th and passed off as being there for “quite awhile” is bothersome. Every frivolous spending adventure seems to have an “anonymous, generous donor”. Yes the cost of the renovation is a fraction of the $30 million, but it is the overall impact of how these things are done that makes the person in the pew question things. The other hard issue is that is hard to avoid is that all of these secret things seem to involve the senior pastor.
    A Church should be run like a church not a fortune 500 company. HBC leadership thrives on fear and intimidation of those under them just like major corporations,. I have not heard any updates from the elders about the items they were working on per their Oct 2012 update: a) where is James in his accountability to reconcile with those who have been wronged? 2) Has the “whistleblower program been implemented? 3) Why have the elder updates disappeared from the HBC website and why is there no archive for people to review?

    As usual, the church responds with its base mission of protecting the image of HBC and its pastor instead of responding to those who try to pursue Matthew 18 confrontation.

    • Scott Thompson says:

      Emily, I couldn’t have said it better.
      Sadly this repetitive & unfortunate drum beat continues..

  13. Sincerely says:

    Really? Clearly the authors and commenters need more to do with their time than concern themselves with this situation. The ministries of Harvest are clearly impacting thousands locally and around the globe, not because of the leadership but rather in spite of the leadership. Isn’t it true at any ministry? The Lord will not be mocked, by Elders, staff or even this dispicable website.

    The authors and commentary does no one any good, other than taking up time in their own schedule.

    You all need to consider what good you’re bringing to the Kingdom. If you’re at HBC, and you can’t lead well, then leave well. There’s no reading between the lines required. Just do what the scripture commands in Matthew 18. Maybe I’m misreading it but seems to me that it says go to your brother in private, if he doesn’t listen, take one or two with you. If he still doesn’t listen tell it to the church. If he still doesn’t listen, let him be to you as a gentile or tax collector. However, pay close attention to 18:18 then, let The Lord so His thing.

    What it doesn’t say is, The Lord needs you to take it to the www if the church doesn’t listen because then you’ll be able to involve a whole bunch of people that know a little bit or a lot or nothing at all about the situation.

    Wake up and smell the roses folks. Money is being spent on things that the leadership feels is important. Who cares about the generous anonymous donor that decided where to give his money and for what. Well, clearly you all do.

    It’s ok to have disagreement with church leadership. I doubt there’s a church in he world where there is no disagreement. But, given the course of history as we know it, hasn’t The Lord been faithful to redeem his Church? And you?

    We’re all sinners. Even me too. But, thankfully, The Lord has been faithful to me as I hope you understand he will be to you if only you trust in him.

    • Despeville says:

      @Sincerely,

      It is amazing to see how you are concerned about the time of others, or are you? 🙂
      Yes, you are misreading and terribly Matthew 18:15-17, and especially 18:18 and the authors of this site do EXACTLY 18:15-17 says. After all, attempts of resolving in the first two steps have been exhausted and failed thanks to the pride of James MacDonald and his “board”. The authors take it TO THE CHURCH as Matthew 18:17 teaches. Yes, I don’t think this will be news to you but this site is actually read by believers, members of the church, including members of a visible church like HBC so asserting that this is just “www” is disingenuous to say at least.

      Matthew 18:18 speaks about proclamation of the Gospel which results in both, freeing and binding power.Freeing when for belief and binding when met with unbelief so do not mix it up with the issue of church discipline please. Wake up and see the reality of pride, worldliness, secrecy, hypocrisy, manipulation, evasion, lying and hurting people by James MacDonald and the system he stands for and do not obfuscate the truth about it by your loose appeals to generalities or misguided eisegesis.

      • Jon says:

        I’m not defending JM but to say that this website constitutes a local church is a bit much. This website is most definitely not “taking it to the church”. In fact I would say that this website is dangerously close to violating 1 Cor 6 … especially considering that commentators are talking about contacting the local newspapers.

        • James 4:7 says:

          Um–Jon–1 Cor. 6 is speaking of lawsuits. No one here is threatening to take JM or HBC to court.

      • Sincerely says:

        You all are a bunch of bitter, Self-righteous, judgmental people.

        Are we not all sinners? How about we write a website about you and your sin and do our best to destroy you, in every possible way. Oh and when our best attempts fail, we’ll try again, and again and again.

        Not close to the situation you say? Well I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on that point.

        But try all you want. Remember this, The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. May he be as merciful and gracious to you for your public persecution of on of his servants as I pray he’ll be to me and to the leadership of Harvest.

    • Colten says:

      Matthew 18 has been attempted many times. You should read the purpose of this website, because you sound like you know little or nothing at all about the situation. Before you comment please learn about the entire situation and if you do not like this website, please don’t visit it and comment.

    • Gary O'Brien says:

      Sincerely,
      Feeling a little pressure in the big house are we? Seems to me I’ve heard these manipulations and obfuscations of scripture before. Your readers are advised to pay close attention to Matthew 18:18 but I now ask you to pay close attention to verse 17. We are the Church, however nameless or forgotten we may be.

      I have read COUNTLESS replies on this site from people suffering from spiritual abuse at the hands of HBC. They have gone to their brothers in private, they weren’t listened to but were ostracized and catapulted out of the church so they came here. This is their power over tyranny.

      Yes, we are all sinners. But the egregious and perpetual sin that has become HBC must stop before more good people are destroyed. The so called leadership there refuses to listen. Sincerely, I can’t tell from your first name but your ancestors wouldn’t originate from the North Atlantic region would they? Say maybe, Scotland? Please note that because I do trust in the Lord I have used my real name here.

    • James 4:7 says:

      “…Clearly the authors and commenters need more to do with their time than concern themselves with this situation…”

      Thanks for your concern but I can’t imagine anything that would be more important than defending the purity of Christ’s Church. Do you have any idea of how hard it is to defend the faith to anyone who knows about the wealth and possessions of “celebrity pastors” who, to all appearances, shear the sheep to satisfy their own greed? Sadly, James MacDonald appears to be just one more who is violating the clear teaching of Scripture on the kind of man who is to be an Elder.

      “..You all need to consider what good you’re bringing to the Kingdom. If you’re at HBC, and you can’t lead well, then leave well. There’s no reading between the lines required. Just do what the scripture commands in Matthew 18. Maybe I’m misreading it but seems to me that it says go to your brother in private, if he doesn’t listen, take one or two with you. If he still doesn’t listen tell it to the church. If he still doesn’t listen, let him be to you as a gentile or tax collector. However, pay close attention to 18:18 then, let The Lord so His thing…” (sic)

      Really? Matthew 18:18? How does that help your argument? In that passage, the Lord is conferring responsibility for judgment on the Church, in the matter of correcting a fellow believer.

      “…What it doesn’t say is, The Lord needs you to take it to the www if the church doesn’t listen because then you’ll be able to involve a whole bunch of people that know a little bit or a lot or nothing at all about the situation…”

      By your own words, you acknowledge: “…The ministries of Harvest are clearly impacting thousands locally and around the globe…” Therefore, the responsibility for judgment falls on all who are impacted by James MacDonald’s ministry–even those who access his messages on the WWW.

      “…Wake up and smell the roses folks. Money is being spent on things that the leadership feels is important. Who cares about the generous anonymous donor that decided where to give his money and for what. Well, clearly you all do…”

      Well SOMEONE needs to care more about the welfare of the sheep than the welfare of the Senior Pastor. An Elder who cared about the welfare of the sheep would not play fast and loose with the church’s money (or allow JM to do so). Paying out-sized salaries, and running up enormous debt is being a poor steward of God’s resources. And to add insult to injury, you don’t even give membership the courtesy of informing them as you are compiling the huge commitment of resources.

      ‘…We’re all sinners. Even me too. But, thankfully, The Lord has been faithful to me as I hope you understand he will be to you if only you trust in him…”

      Oh, I definitely trust Him–it’s some of His errant children I have a problem trusting.

      • Despeville says:

        “Do you have any idea of how hard it is to defend the faith to anyone who knows about the wealth and possessions of “celebrity pastors” who, to all appearances, shear the sheep to satisfy their own greed?”

        Ditto, and you have touched on the most important dimension and a deadly “”fruit” of MacDonaldomania that is utterly lost on so many. As incredibly grievous and devious MacDonald’s fascination with Mammon is that is only a ripple from a real mammoth trashing in the pool – i.e. continuos and active damaging of the credibility of the visible church. This is only too convenient to hostile to the Gospel world and those who belong to it.

    • Patrick Bridge says:

      May God have mercy on your soul. You complain about this site and how many people are reading it, and the harm it’s causing, but obviously you’re reading it!

  14. Chris Trees says:

    At the risk of again being accused of oversimplification and of having a critical spirit, perhaps the answer to the many questions raised about why church funds were used to remodel the “Big House” to benefit a small number of the Pastoral Staff at the expense of many, less fortunate others may possibly be explained by referencing the Merriam-Webster, Collins and Cambridge Dictionaries.

    Merriam-Webster;
    Arrogance; noun; an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

    Collins; C14: from Latin arrogāre to claim as one’s own; see arrogate
    Arrogate: transitive verb;
    1 a : to claim or seize without justification
    b : to make undue claims to having : assume
    2: to claim on behalf of another : ascribe

    Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary& Thesaurus: to take something without having the right to do so

    Or closer to home: “Even a child makes himself known by his actions; whether his conduct is pure and upright.” Proverbs 20:11

    Or more simply; “If it quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck and walks like a duck, don’t be too terribly shocked if it turns out to be a duck.”

    • Scott Thompson says:

      Yup, I have been witnessing and experiencing that word first hand for years, even tried to tell leadership on multiple fronts only to be told, and I paraphrase, shut your mouth, there’s the door.

      • Scott Thompson says:

        Oops, I almost forgot. Three elders of the five that I met with earlier this year, and not counting those with whom I met that had all ready left the church, did exactly that a few months later, and have been mentioned here on TED.
        Apparently my concerns were also observed, shared, voiced, and stymied at the board level as well as at the congregant level numerous times. So sad.
        I wonder how the leadership views James 3:1.

    • Despeville says:

      Since lexicography seems to be of help let’s use it to call this defining characteristic of this systematic abuse by HBC scheme and its perpetrators, coordinators and enforcers:

      PRIDE
      late Old English pryto, Kentish prede, Mercian pride “pride, haughtiness, pomp,” from prud (see proud). There is debate whether Scandinavian cognates (Old Norse pryði, Old Swedish prydhe , Danish pryd, etc.) are borrowed from Old French (from Germanic) or from Old English. Meaning “that which makes a person or people most proud” is from c.1300. First applied to groups of lions late 15c., but not commonly so used until c.1930. Paired with prejudice from 1610s.

  15. T.E.D. says:

    The request to put ALL the past elders update pages have yet to receive any responses. As of 8/18/2013, no elder updates on the HBC website.

    It’s odd the church members at the Niles campus are not more vocal during this season of construction. At the 45 sec. mark of this video the campus pastor, Mo Zachariah, seems so excited to build out the multi-purpose room along with testimonies he heard during the ground-breaking ceremony.

    http://www.harvest5g.org/content.aspx?site_id=10735&content_id=330745

    Can anyone confirm if that multi-purpose room has been delayed and the focus now is only on the worship center? If this is true, it’s too bad the money that was used for the pastor’s retreat area

    http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/10780/content/content_id/367974/Pastors-Retreat-Area

    could not have been used elsewhere – maybe the multi-purpose room which families were longing and waiting for, patiently. I’m sure the pastors at HBC, if asked, would have sacrificially postponed their retreat first to serve families and their children first – right?

    Sorry Niles campus, you may be waiting awhile longer for your multi-purpose room (if it has been delayed). Maybe “John@8/16,8:32PM” would be able to shed some light in this decision.

    On the HBC website it says “5G is a 3-year spiritual journey, that we began as a body in 2011.”
    http://www.harvest5g.org/10735/content/content_id/320928/I-m-New

    As 2013 has 5 more months to go, and the 5G campaign has only reached a little over 1/3 it goal,

    http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/10780/content/content_id/343845/Stewardship-Update

    its going to be approximately six more years to reach its expected pledges of $30,000,000 at its current pace (unless an another anonymous donor pops up similar to the pastor’s retreat area).

    For those who have opposing views to this site, have we quickly forgotten the contents of Dan Marquart resignation letter (from the previous post)?

    “Who cares about twelve or fourteen families whose faces or names I don’t even know leave!… What about the shepherd?!”

    “Later in the meeting he also stated that he does not accept any blame regarding his decision to purchase his house in Inverness. He blamed the Elder Board at the time since they gave him permission.”

    “We approved a $30,000,000 annual budget with a pie chart in thirty seconds. As Elders we requested a line-item budget and that request was denied.”

    or Jeff and Debbie Richardson letter ?

    “Please understand, that when I write that we parted amicably, this doesn’t mean that the entire meeting was delightful. James was alternately, charming, impatient, dismissive, condescending, and sometimes just plain rude, and we noticed that during those times when James was at his most abrasive, his father would stare out the window and sometimes “tear-up” a little.

    At one point in the conversation, Deb told James that she had been witnessing to her employers who were a billionaire and millionaire respectively and who were highly suspicious of “mega-church” pastors and television preachers. Deb explained that although she understood that James was biblically free to buy any home that he might choose, his choice in this case had unintended consequences and had damaged her personal testimony with her employers. “James replied, “ I’m sooooo sorrrry that I ruined your witness”. He then followed up this statement by telling us that we didn’t “have a fully orbed theology of wealth”.”

    Would you permit a man with this kind of consistent speech to be your shepherd? I share and firmly agree with the points the authors make, when you click on “The Hope” tab of this website. I believe this is what most people desire, which come to this website, is have all 5 points come to complete fruition in “The Hope”.

    • Chris Pence says:

      You stink at reframing contexts, Josh.

      It’s about the leadership. It’s always been about the leadership. Worship and word mean little if the leadership is askew.

      Are you really this adept at missing the point?

  16. timneff642924851 says:

    This is getting crazy I saw MacDonald driving a Ferrari down rt 14 the other day, he had a Rolex on each hand, and was throwing stacks of $100 bills out the window. I followed him to the mall where he spent a million dollars and charged it on his AMEX black card.

    Clearly none of this is true however you’ve created a forum where anyone can say anything they want with little regard to truth and accuracy so I’m hoping you’ll publish this like you have the others.

    Although I don’t agree with the website I’ve come to accept you’re not taking it down or going anywhere. What criteria have you employed for checking the facts of the commentors? Have you contemplated only allowing people to post that are close to the situation and are strong enough to put their name next to there slander.

    • What is Close Enough? says:

      Tim Neff,

      How would you propose that the authors establish who is “close to the situation?” For instance, should the authors have allowed you to post? Are you “close” enough?

      • Chris Pence says:

        No one, not even a former elder writing in their own hand, is ever “close enough” to count for HBC apologists, it seems. Dan Marquardt’s words were treated as the bitter spewings of a spurned former employee who attempted a mad power grab and failed. The other two elders who resigned concurrent with him met the same accusations.

    • James 4:7 says:

      Now, you are getting desperate, sir or madame (your username doesn’t even indicate gender, let alone indicating that you are “strong enough to put [their] your (?) name next to your slander.”

      The owners of this website have NOT “…created a forum where anyone can say anything they want with little regard to truth and accuracy…” That sir, or madame is a wild accusation against the people who have already given their personal testimony as to unseemly conduct on the part of James MacDonald (and they have been willing to let THEIR NAMES stand in mute witness to the substantiated claims on this website). The comments from just “anyone” are mostly from either present or post members of HBC. But, I guess, since James MacDonald apparently (based on Dan Marquardt’s testimony) sees us as just faceless, anonymous sheep, perhaps our opinions don’t matter to him or to any of you with close ties to him. That attitude is arrogant in the extreme. JM made a comment once (to Elders who opposed him) about HIS “control of the money”. WRONG. As far as human hands are concerned, it is the people who control the money as you (and he) will likely discover to your dismay.

      • Jack says:

        This isn’t true. The authors of this website have you used people’s names who haven’t said a word. Over 80 pct of ‘the void’ has never breathed a public word. Rather, most of this entire ‘investigation’ is people speaking without being willing to put their names in front of it.

        Hold the righteous indignation please.

        • James 4:7 says:

          Jack,

          Just allowing their names to stand on the website is mute witness to the accuracy of the charges being made here. They probably didn’t want to get involved in the rancorous back and forth that JM apologists now seem prepared to pursue.

          Righteous indignation? Aren’t we supposed to have righteous indignation when a church leader’s conduct brings scorn upon the Church–Christ’s Bride? (see 1 Cor. 5:6) However, I’m just some anonymous “nobody” from some anonymous HBC (not Rolling Meadows). Would it really help to give my name? Would it even mean anything to you? I don’t press any buttons–don’t get a big, fancy, salary and expense account from HBC (as a matter of fact, I’m retired and, considering the interest rates, it gets harder and harder to give a tithe). But I do know what the Scriptures say about how an Elder is to conduct himself. My Bible says that we are supposed to be imitators of the One who is “humble and gentle” (Matthew 11:29 NLT) One who is “better than Moses” (and Moses was the most humble man on the earth in his day).

    • Gary O'Brien says:

      Where is YOUR name? I don’t see it next to your slanderous attack on this site.

Comments are closed.