HBC Elders Remove MacDonald from Leadership; Retain Him for Teaching

Update (27 Sep 2017)On September 22, 2017, the HBC Elders released an Update stating that James MacDonald was relieved of leadership duty, and he is to remain on staff solely for purposes of teaching/preaching. James MacDonald has been released from the Executive Leadership Team or the XLT (the staff team that runs the day-to-day of the church), and a new team will be assembled. The new XLT will report directly to the Elder Board (EC) and not James MacDonald. As usual, the Elder Update lacks sufficient transparent details to explain this significant decision, but rest assured we are dedicated to writing again on a regular basis to unpack the details.

As you know, on June 14, 2017, James MacDonald claimed to have “resigned” as President of HBF; we posted on this matter which can be found here. From a very reliable source we now can say definitively that this was a forced resignation/termination. This source also confirmed that certain HBF pastors threatened to leave HBF if MacDonald remained as President. As a natural consequence of his termination, HBF demanded an audit of HBF funds, utilizing their own auditors.

Since June, several high level meetings have taken place between HBF leadership and HBC elders to sort through significant concerns over the management of HBF funds. HBF insisted that their own auditors be present to review any available documents of transfers between HBF and HBC. HBF auditors were members of HBF churches, and these auditors were not able to conduct an Internal Control Audit (ICA) which would allow them to see bank account records, cancelled checks, and other specific documentation to determine who signed checks and to whom those checks were written. HBF auditors walked away troubled as to the manner in which a few select HBC staff members managed HBF funds. In short – we will get into the details in subsequent posts – HBF funds in the amount of $573,000 were not accounted for by HBC staff or elders in detail.

After facing intense scrutiny over the character of James MacDonald, particularly his handling of money and greed, the Elders of HBC promised church members greater oversight, accountability and transparency regarding church finances and leadership. It appears by admission of the Elder Update from 9/22/17 that they were still not sufficiently “informed and proactive” in their oversight of key staff, and they discovered their “system of governance did not work nearly as well at protecting” the church.

Why does this Elder Board still not have control and true accountability over the finances of this deeply indebted church?

Who at HBC can account for the $573,000?

Who knows the person or persons that signed those checks?

Who knows to whom those checks were written?

Why have the Elders chosen to hide the answers to these simple questions?

143 thoughts on “HBC Elders Remove MacDonald from Leadership; Retain Him for Teaching

  1. Anyone with eyes and a concience knows harvest wouldn’t be what it is without James. If James is gone, it won’t succeed because no one in their right mind will follow son Luke, who has a wake of bad reputation and broken relationships behind him. Unfortunately, HBC is a family-run business and the only reason any of them have jobs is because of their father, who is a very gifted teacher.
    HBC is going to be humbled if they won’t humble themselves and get over themselves. It’s pretty obvious that there is a constant campaign for how great HBC is compared to “other churches”. This is one reason why my family and I left HBC 2 years ago. We just couldn’t take it any longer.

  2. Lord I have fallen short. My attitudes and thoughts have been prideful at times. I’ve held grudges and spoken from my flesh.

    I pray for your forgivness and thank you that you made a way home thru your Son Jesus Christ who died for my sin long before I was born.

    You are an amazing God. Your Grace is beyond comprehension and you are worthy of the highest praise.

    Lord please bless the men and women reading and posting on this site. Please bless the Harvest elders, pastors, and staff that has fallen under review by the body current and former.

    Lord, serious charges have been made against leadership and we need your guidance and wisdom as we try to navigate the current season.

    I pray for myself and my brothers and sisters… that we would gaurd our hearts and remain impartial while continuing to be watchful and endure in faith.

    Lord Your Word teaches us that you gave us a spirit not of fear but of Power, Love, and Self Control. Im praying for a fresh filling of Your Holy Spirit for all that read this.

    Through Love with Self Control we can be Powerful in Christ. Thank You for The Great Helper.

    Praying that You would use me at Harvest as an instrument of Your Will.

    Praying you would use those who have gone before me where they worship today.

    I thank you Lord.

    I pray all of this in The Mighty Name of My Lord Jesus Christ who takes away the sins of the world.

    Lord have mercy on us


  3. Piper: “Pastors who pursue wealth or live to show it are shameful. Labor to make Christ look supremely valuable! Not his gifts.”

  4. It is too bad you are not as committed to prayer as you are to this blog. You’re not committed to helping your brother is you are too exposing his nakedness. Regardless of whether this is truth or fiction you’re only harming the church not helping it. Writing an expose on other Christians it’s just a way of being vindictive at times. Although the things you are saying may or may not be right your attitude towards it is all wrong.

    1. Matthew 18:15-20English Standard Version (ESV)
      If Your Brother Sins Against You
      15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

      Calling out james is a biblical mandate by God. our attitudes/feeling are not relevant to what the church is ordered to do when someone no matter what their title becomes a ‘backslidder.’ How could anyone allow him to continue ‘preaching & teaching.’ People at harvest are declaring their complicity in these broadening scandals by rationalizing the importance of one man who has let his love of money and things destroy him.

      2000 years ago when Pilate offered the jews a choice between Jesus and barbaras they said “give us barbaras.’
      today it is a choice between Jesus and james. I say give us Jesus as our teacher and preacher!


  5. Name Calling, Insults, Sarcasim and a lie about a chance to meet you..

    Its clear you have no idea who I am..”Asking me to resign when Im not even on staff” Yet you insist on trash talking me and attempting to slander my name.

    Not good fruits Tim.

    Let me know when you want to meet for coffee and forgivness .

  6. So in all actuallity the Elders removed James from the xlt but he remains on the EC which approves all that the xlt does, and his two sons are on the xlt, his daughter works in HR and his wife works for walk in the word.
    Nice family business going there with no accountability and the Elders admitting that this form of leadership doesn’t work well, and that theres been some bad patterns over the years.
    One might conclude that the problems with the leadership set up is that one family runs the business of the church and some reoccurring issues with money and behavior keep popping up, and Godly leaders keep leaving.
    I wonder what the common theme in this whole big mess is?

    1. Nice! In a nutshell.

      1. pasquale presto October 7, 2017 — 8:33 am

        according to many HBC members if judas had not committed suicide they would have readily accepted him as their teacher-preacher/apostle as long as he was blocked from miss-handling the groups money.
        Well even that would have been a higher standard as long as judas didn’t have a big family occupying all the other positions like xlt, hr, walk in the word, etc……. ad nausea.
        It is a strange unholy ( devil powered) grip this family has on many. who are self deceived.

        Galatians 6:7
        Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

        Don’t be complicit in these sins by remaining in this ‘now evil’ place deceiving yourself into rationalizing that it is good to stay.

    2. I believe just one son, Luke, is on the XLT. By the way MacDonald is still part of the XLT on the Harvest website. I was not aware that Kathy MacDonald was on the WITW payroll. I do not know the history, but at some point James MacDonald became the brand; and Harvest a personality driven church. He and his wife are quite prominent on the website front page. I wonder what the succession plans are. Neither Luke nor Landon have the preaching skills. Somehow the MacDonald family came to “own” Harvest. In fact James MacDonald does legally own the Camp Harvest Pastoral Retreat House; which seems unethical since Harvest Church should hold the deed.

      1. Sorry that was an incorrect statement. HBC has the deed to the Pastoral Retreat, The MacDonald’s use the retreat and apparently have personal belongings in the home.

        1. pasquale presto October 8, 2017 — 8:34 am

          Like everything else that comes out of Harvest there are two sides and then there’s the truth. I was present when James told the congregation how the donor of the property & acreage, for the camp, was only accomplished after James – at the insistence of the donor – agreed to take personal ownership of the house located on the property. So, then what is the truth? As we all have subsequently come to learn, we can’t look to James about anything to do with the ‘TRUTH.’

          Were better off asking him to teach us about the biblical difference between ‘necessity & excess’ as it applies to our ‘example to others’ of how God wants us to be a good steward..

        2. How about following Jesus instead of James or Luke?

          How about The Lord will decide what succeeds and what falls?

          How about some of us dont want to run for comfort elsewhere?

          How about do The Lords work where ever He has placed you?

  7. James was removed from The XLT “Executive Leadership Team” not to be confused with The Executive Committee of The Elders Board. The Senior Pastor is named as an auto appointment to this Committee as shown below in the bylaws.

    The XLT handles day to day Church Leadership. Being a part of The XLT is not what had James in a position to overstep his authority and remove HBC from The Fellowship. The Elders Executive Committee is where you find that kind of juice.

    Composition. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Senior Pastor
    and the Officers of the Church, as described in Section 8.01. No other Staff will serve on the Executive Committee, though some may attend meetings as requested from time to time for clarity of reporting and accountability (for example, the Senior Executive Pastor), but may not participate in the decision-making process. The Elder Board shall appoint an Executive Committee Chairman (described in Section 8.03(a)) that will preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee, except in such instances wherein his recusal from the meeting is required. The role of chairman is for the purpose of facilitation and does not carry a greater level of authority than other Executive Committee members.

    All that to say…

    Im still a Member! Im not going anywhere! Harvest is Christ’s Church and my home. God gave us a spirit not of fear! I covet all of your prayers. I pray for those who have been hurt and for those whom have caused hurt. I thank God knowing in faith that He will flatten all that does not glorify Him.

    Ill end with this… A reminder that I need myself more often than I like to admitt..

    Some, and I fear a multitude which no man can easily number, there are amongst us, who call themselves Christians, and yet seldom or never seriously think of Jesus Christ at all. They can think of their shops and their farms, their plays, their balls, their assemblies, and horse-races (entertainments which directly tend to exclude religion out of the world); but as for Christ, the author and finisher of faith, the Lord who has bought poor sinners with his precious blood, and who is the only thing worth thinking of, alas! he is not in all, or at most in very few of their thoughts. But believe me, O ye earthly, sensual, carnally-minded professors, however little you may think of Christ now, or however industriously you may strive to keep him out of your thoughts, by pursuing the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, yet there is a time coming, when you will wish you had thought of Christ more, and of your profits and pleasures less.

    George Whitefield

    1. Why exactly did the elders remove him from the XLT and what authority did he have to remove HBC from HBF? It is not clear in what you stated. Are you implying the elders were incorrect?

      1. Im not on staff

        Just a guy that reads bylaws

        The Elders Executive Committee is where the big decisions are made legal and otherwise.

        The Senior Pastor ” JM ” is automatically 1 of the 4 on this committee as stated in the bylaw I posted.

        The XLT is a day to day oversight leadership team. Im not sure what James roll was in regards to XLT.

        The point of my post was to note that while James is no longer on the XLT he is as far as the bylaws indicate still one of the 4 men at Harvest that make the big decisions. The team that he was removed from does in essence report to the committee he is still on.

        I dont have insight regarding the “whys”

        I am not calling The Elders incorrect.

        Im staying at Harvest. I do not fear. And I intend to seek and share truth where there may be confusion without getting into judgement and condemnation.

        I was confused. I researched. Now Im sharing.

        God Bless

        1. In regards to issues of Authority to leave HBF.

          My understanding is The Elders Executive Committee had the authority to leave. James alone did not have the auyhority to make this decision. Specifics have not been stated. What has been stated is that James was outside of his authority when he agreed/decided to leave HBF. James himself has said such.

          The Church did not strip James of his Authority.

          The Church did take the burden of day to day operations away from James so he can focus on Teaching, Training, and Preaching while retaining his roll on the Elders Exec Committee.

          Hope that clears things up for you

        2. charles pearson October 6, 2017 — 7:27 pm

          exactly like the dear preacher/leader said a while ago, that as long as he controlled the pulpit he controlled hbc. nice place for general james custer to make his last stand.

  8. No one wants to gossip, what are we left with when the Elders do nothing.
    Last Sunday’s message was incredible painful as he actually stood there and lied, he had many church memebers working on his mansion, and they regrettted it when they tried to collect. Did not his designer go bankrupt?
    There is lots of money misused and people abused.
    The bigger question is why have all the men who have left been quiet about the horror that caused them to leave?
    If they stay quiet and don’t expose the sin the he is trying desperately to hide they are just as guilty.
    The new XLT formation is a scam to look like action but same old players.
    Please pray that the Lord would expose the sin and that good men would wake up and lead us through this with integrity.

  9. I have been attending HBC-RM for 22+ years. My children came to Christ by dedicated believers pouring their hearts and souls into my children. Please remember that we recently witnessed pure evil by a man in Las Vegas and need to fervently pray for ALL involved in that massacre to put issues into perspective. James is not over the church, Jesus Christ is and he will be judged by a righteous God for his behavior and any other staff members who are not right in the eyes of the Lord. I pray for more transparency, more accountability and some radical changes to the managing of the Lord’s house. It is not the entire congregation or staff that is at fault here, please remember the staff that are truly living out Christ in their lives! Lets make those at fault accountable, but in a respectful, loving, non-gossiping way.

    1. Why do you want to continue attending a church that is being led by a man that is not following God? Plain and simple. People that are responding on this site want to see their fellow brothers and sisters grow in Christ. They don’t want to see them hurt. This site isn’t about hurting others. It’s a warning system and I’m truly thankful for all of you.

  10. Is James MacDonald part of the new HBF —–> Great Commission Collective?

    1. Small HBC Church Member October 3, 2017 — 6:37 pm

      At the GCC gathering in Dallas, they were very vocal that James would not be involved with the new organization.

      1. It’s unfortunate it took the other Harvest churches this long to disassociate themselves from James

        1. Small HBC Church Member October 3, 2017 — 8:48 pm

          I don’t know if GCC is going to succeed though. My understanding was many of the pastors went to Dallas under the impression they were going to talk about a framework and they got there to ‘sign-on’ to an already existing organization, which I don’t think a lot were keen to do. The GCC website, during the gathering had a list of churches that had ‘signed-on’ and soon after the conference, the page vanished. Take that for what its worth. There also were some who were gun shy of the ‘commitments’ they require to become a GCC church.

    2. another small hbc church member October 5, 2017 — 12:39 pm

      Harvest Chicago now has their own planting ministry functioning as a ministry of their own church called “Mission Harvest.” James is not a part of the GCC entity in any way. The GCC’s focus is on the Gospel and the Great Commission. Unlike HBF, GCC will not plant churches, but sees itself as a support, resourcing and coordinating ministry helping local and international churches plant churches. There is no need to be a “Harvest” church to become a GCC church. Less about the walls and some proprietary posture…more about the task we’ve been called to spend ourselves on. The GCC is a decentralized approach with a true board independent from any single church. Yes, there could have been a departure sooner, but in the spirit of 70×7, I think there was always hope, mixed with short corrective seasons, where it appeared as if things would alter. Not an excuse, just an possible explanation. No doubt sin to confess for a variety of leaders.

      In the Dallas meeting character and humility was emphasized multiple times. This painful lesson (a lack thereof of those essentials) has not been lost on the leadership in the least. It is a new day for the church planting partnership of those who are aligning with the GCC…a ministry that has tried to build on the foundation elements that were not amiss (prayer, Scripture, evangelism and worship) adding two additional elements about intentional-disciple-making and church planting. The emphasis is clearly on the Gospel and the GC, no one personality or church.

      While it may take time for some to “sign on” that isn’t the goal as I see it. It is instead, to avoid flushing the great things being done to build Christ’s Kingdom in the wake of a heartbreaking but very necessary corrective. Aid, people and gifts, for example, were sent to Texas, Florida and several of the Caribbean churches by this family of churches…it’s the body being the body. There’s no imperialistic agenda, but a belief that there is fruitful Gospel progress when like-minded people partner toward a common goal (be it A29, Sovereign Grace, Redeemer’s “City to City” or the SBC). We do not need to lose that…should not lose that…but we have seen the dangers/sin of a single driving element.

      My prayer is those who have written here would see that their concerns have been/are being addressed in the Lord’s timing and way. We all struggle in many ways…and the GCC will not be perfect…but there are many many good churches, people and pastors who are and have served with HBF that need our love and encouragement to be about the real work (not the ongoing drama) that has clouded what Jesus means for us to truly be about. It is a season of chastening, pruning and the fire of refinement. And it is good.

      As it relates to those attending the Chicago churches, if they do not see healthy redemptive progress, then they should find a church another home, pray for the leaders they could not remain under and guard against a root of bitterness.

      Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked. None of us will avoid God’s chastening love for His children. For my own faith journey, I am grateful that mercy triumphs over judgment and it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. For those who will not humble themselves…God will take care of that.

      Finally/again, for those who have been led to create this site and those posting here, I’d hope these unfolding events are evidence of prayer, the Holy Spirit’s work and a sleeper that is awaking.

      I am grieved for those who have been hurt/abused or disillusioned by their experience…but the Holy Spirit is sufficient for it all. There are lots of great churches that I’m sure would be God’s provision in the gap and help each one toward healing and an even stronger place because of what they’ve been through. That’s the work God is so good at. There are lots of lessons for the body of Christ through this account. I want to learn, listen and see God redeem it all. Lots of prayer needed…and I pray we will not lose sight of the amazing Gospel and missional lives we’ve been called to share with a chaos filled world (and church.) Thanks for the site, the prayer and the heart to see the bride adorned and without blemish. Lots of work to do 🙂

  11. It’s always the comment “You don’t go to church here so just let us do our thing because it doesn’t concern you” that provides the most cause for concern. Those in leadership and the members that use this fail to remember one thing…the body of Christ is not just a church or a place people meet. The body is all believers and followers of Christ. The responsibility is not to some man speaking up front for an hour a week, the responsibility to is Christ. When there are wrong doings, financial issues, and followers of Christ being hurt, believers of Christ have responsibility.

    HBC is run like half cult / half small family business and always will be. The spiritual manipulation, the “spin”, the lack of transparency, the portrayal of being the victim…all in the name of Christ. It’s beyond sad. James is out as “leader” but who will take that role? Rick, Jeff, Luke, Landon, the collective group? Let’s be honest, we still know who is and will be calling the shots when the aforementioned leader(s) takes over. Eventually, James will step down from teaching as well and Luke will take over. All the James worship will be gone and no one sips the Luke kool-aide. So, they’ll move on. Using the Driscoll model, they’ll take a year or two break then maybe run Vertical Churches, or spin up some new venture with a power packed “elder” board of heavy hitters and do this all over again. Greed, pride, and ego are like a drug. No matter how much you have you want more. More money, more power, or maybe more recognition. It’s different for all. This is the reason James and HBC are in the position they find themselves today. He had enough, he got to do whatever he wanted…but it wasn’t enough.

    The people who will be truly be hurt are not these people like Daniel (who commented below) that are willfully blind sheep. “I know things go on behind the scenes but I just don’t want to know.” However, who I fear for is the new believer at that church. Those who are new to faith and will be devastated when the truth of this business comes out. As will be those people who may have believed in Christ but never could step in church because they viewed “church” as a fraud…a place for people to earn wealth off people giving towards something they thought was for a greater and just cause. The sheep will go on living a life of whatever makes them comfortable and promotes “feeling good”. But the new believer will have few to come up alongside them and walk them through the hurt of spiritual manipulation and disappointment.

    No man is perfect. No church is perfect. However, a man’s character is not defined by what you see one hour a week. His character is defined by the moments when no one is looking. Those conversations behind closed doors. His responses in difficult times. Most importantly, as man of God, leading and teaching at a church…just ask…”Is this man a reflection of Christ”. Those who know, know. They’ve been close enough to hear the conversations, to know how they speak of people, how they speak of the “business” that is Christ’s church. Just seek the truth.

    Lastly, one item never discussed is the responsibility of the elders, teachers, and members of leadership staff who stayed on at any point during the last many years knowing the actions of James and the inter-workings of HBC and/or HBF. The same men who now chastise James but for years took the position of supporting James and all his actions or indirectly supporting by turning a blind eye. The same men who would chastise anyone who asked questions, had concerns, or didn’t agree with James on any single matter. For these men, it’s easy now to tell their story and share the wrong doings, but those same men are those that allowed this. Allowed people to be hurt, allowed people to walk away from their faith, allowed the image of Christ to be damaged in so many ways. Time to step up and “Act Like Men” and own it.

    1. Thank you for articulating my thoughts exactly.

    2. It’s all nonsense, I’m coming to see. The whole model is based on Temple worship which is done away with/fulfilled. Go back to the synagogue model, get boots on the street, abolish human abortion, become relevant, etc. No more time for MIC (ministry-industrial complex). It’s over.

  12. I noticed that there are 28 Elders not including MacDonald. No wonder why an Elder has very little power to promote oversight. The Elder Board Chairman is Steve Huston is none other than famed leader of the “these men should be shunned and are evil video”. I don’t seem to recall seeing a video with Steve Huston, Randy Williams, Jamie Harrison, and Paul Inserra apologizing for their slanderous conduct. Oh well sweep it under the rug and promote Huston to Elder Chairman, and Williams to Elder Executive Committee Chairman.

  13. Listening/watching September 30-October 1st online message: Wow. In my opinion, he’s “preparing” the church for his removal–be it forced or him choosing to leave the opposition/oppression of those who have come against him (as he sees it).

    It’d be interesting to hear from those who have experienced the direct opposite of so much of (what I hear to be) self-exegesis of this scripture. I’m just shaking my head throughout. IF you didn’t know about the Elephant’s Debt; if you don’t know or choose to not believe the testimonies of countless leaders, Staff, Elders, church members, well, he’s creating the story he [James] wants you to believe.

    I sure miss the “precept upon precept” James’ from years and years ago.

    1. I felt that preparation for his removal vibe too.

  14. Sounds like the elders of HBC have disqualified themselves to be elders. To even think they can get away with trying to cover this whole thing up, is a major error. The more you dig, the more skeletons you find with HBC.
    By trying to cover up James, they are digging themselves into a deeper hole – a web of lies that will eventually come to the surface (as we’re seeing here.) Do they really think the congregation can’t handle the truth?

    I was personally astounded at the way the men were manipulated and shamed at Act Like Men and how the sermon on Sunday was used to cover up what’s really going on. That is not what the pulpit is for.

    HBC – your people aren’t going to take this anymore. As soon as everyone starts to find out where their tithe money is REALLY going (aka MacDonald family), it’s game over. You’ve lost all credibility – I know this might be shocking to you since you consistently try to convince your people otherwise, but in reality there are many other incredible churches in the area.

    1. No Longer Attending October 3, 2017 — 9:36 am

      Not sure it’s true that people will stop attending Harvest due to the financial scandal. The people who were bothered enough to leave are long gone. The people who remain say they are there for the teaching, friendships, children’s ministry, etc.

      I have been told that I, a layperson, am not qualified to say that James is overcompensated. I assume laypeople should not worry over the missing 500k either…trust the church to manage the money.

  15. No Longer Attending October 2, 2017 — 10:47 am

    Mega churches like Harvest have become places for Pharisees to gather to grow in their knowledge of religion. These churches believe they have a corner on the truth, and consider themselves much more spiritual than those unbelievers at mainstream denominations. Yet, they put purity of doctrine as their priority, and worship a Jesus that looks so much less loving than the one I have encountered in the Gospels. Lord, have mercy on me. A sinner.

    God will make all things known in his own time.

  16. As with any leader in the secular or Christian world there is always one truth that follows any scandal: follow the money

    5G campaign but the church is still $40 million in debt
    Where is the soccer field and athletic fields promised by the 5G campaign? where are the other items promised by the 5G campaign? so glad we left when we realized we could not respect the pastor or leadership anymore. As JM often said in his sermons “Truth and time go hand in hand” and today he is now the recipient of that tag line he loved to espouse while pontificating about other leaders.

  17. Attended this morning. Disappointed to see Pastor James use the pulpit to vent his thinly veiled negative emotions instead of focusing on exegeting the Word of God. There is no perfect church or pastor, but this is looking really bad. I know he was on sabbatical already this summer, but it may be wise for him to take some time away from the pulpit…

    1. charles pearson October 2, 2017 — 8:06 am

      The dear preacher/teacher is now without God’s anointing. He has become deaf, dumb, and blind
      by the things of this world.
      “How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Luke 6:42 NLT

      All of his building locations will become desolate. And he knows it too! Time for him to return to Canada and take his merry church elders and pastors with him.
      He needs to stop assaulting the real ‘children of God.’

      1. Canada? Nope, no matter what happens with HBC, James will be sitting pretty in his million dollar mansion in Elgin.

  18. I write this to validate some feelings some people may be having. We left HBC after 18 years. It was very hard to do but we didn’t respect the leadership or the pastor and could not in our spirit keep enabling them by staying there. After prayer and visiting other healthy churches we knew it was time to leave. But it wasn’t easy to leave and pull our kids out of the Harvest School as well. We have now been at Willow Creek for 6 years and LOVE it. It’s hard to start over, but worth it.
    Sent from my iPad

  19. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  20. I just attempted watching the live stream and had to turn it off. So troubled by PJ using the pulpit as damage control – once again. My heart is breaking.

  21. Watching the live stream. Many empty seats. Our family went to HBC. We were very active. We left in 2012. Pastor
    James, tell the truth today please!

  22. It’s always refreshing to see a bunch of Christians (as am I) getting together to chant for the downfall of a church. Ironic.

  23. MLA,

    Too much time on you hands. Go on with your own new church and call it day. No one will miss but me. I’ll pray for for you !


    1. Yes…I have PLENTY of time to warn the masses who are being misled my JMD’s years of impropriety, arrogance and overall abuse of the pulpit. I along with many have attended Harvest and been *directly* impacted by the secrecy and lack of transparency / honesty top-down that remain clearly evident to this day.

      No matter how blind you choose to be in your loyalty to dysfunction, I’m thankful that you, and many others [who have rightly left HBC] have been duly warned lest you are surprised by the implosion of HBC.

      Praying YOU and all who remain will one day soon be able to experience the joy of a truly healthy church and leaders who are above reproach.

      In Christ alone,

  24. I’ve heard of that the orchard, willow, and Ron zappias high point are decent churches. Anyone have info on them or can confirm that they are free of pastors with absolute power, but have solid church governance? How about any of the city churches, missio dei, soul city, park?

    1. I can comment on Willow. It is the opposite of Harvest. It is a healthy place and yes, if it free of the absolute power issues that Harvest worships. While I have a certain amount of church PTSD after Harvest, Willow has been very good for my soul.

    2. 3+ years at HBC-Naperville aka high point. Fine if you worship and leave, music, preaching is good (sound familiar?). But if you dig in you’ll discover its harvest 2.0, and its ron’s church. Don’t get too attached to the pastors or ministry leaders, they will be going out the revolving door soon. The funny story about James losing Dan Lidstone in a poker game (I could care less if it’s true or not), well after 10 years of building relationships and United We Stand and plant your roots, etc, etc, Dan saw it fit to leave HBC-n and return to James in his year of Jubilee! (Where is Dan now, btw?). Debt, yes please! Multi-site expansion? Check. They’re the total package. Remember what James and HBC did to Winnetka Bible a few years back? Well Ron and hbc-n did essentially the same thing first-to a small church called Addison Bible in their early days. I could say more. I’m afraid the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. One question I’ve asked myself regarding harvest is-does it attract or produce these corrupted characters?

      1. Yes, MacDonald actually took a grand piano for himself from Winnetka Bible Church when they tried to do their hostile take over using WBC elders as their all too eager inside pawns. He called it “God’s gift” for him… Sounds familiar? By the way, those pawns used for failed take over attempt ended up on the board of HBC with one of them preforming as the inquisitor in the famous “they are of the devil” video.

        1. LOL, The Pirates of the Chicago Evangelica should be a ride at TBN’s Holy Land Experience

        2. Just a second. James took a grand piano from WBC? What?

    3. Here are some good church with great teaching pastors. The Bridge Church-Algonquin, The Orchard-Barrington and Arlington Hts., Village Church of Barrington-Barrington, Bridge Church-Desplaines.

      1. Also, Calvary Memorial Church-Oak Park

      2. Beware of The Bridge Community Church in Des Plaines. Basically a mini-Harvest. The pastors and elders will silence and evict anyone who questions their authority or actions. Among other things, the pastors essentially tell you who you can, or cannot marry, even when both parties are born-again Christians. Broken up many families. Hundreds of walking wounded have had to leave over the past decade.

    4. The Orchard is a good church preaching the gospel without any of the Harvest drama.

      That has become evident in their preaching, the EFCA statement of faith and what they say and are doing in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

      There is a balanced rotation of preaching between the lead pastor, campus pastors, etc.
      I find out campus pastor exceptionally gifted in expository preaching.

      We are becoming members at the Barrington campus. I would strongly recommend visiting the Orchard; from personal experience the pastors are very open to meeting and discussing the church or any concerns you might have.

      1. Former Deacon at Harvest October 6, 2017 — 8:42 pm

        We’ve been attending First Baptist Church, Elgin off of Highland Road just East of Randall. Very good church with solid preaching by a humble pastor who preaches the word with integrity. Highly recommend if you’re looking for something close to Harvest-Elgin that will make you feel at home and encourage you to grow in your faith. Former deacon at one of the early Harvest church plants, I left after four years of seeing the pride swell up in the leadership among other things. Fellowshipped and served with many great people at Harvest who love the Lord dearly and are committed to living for Him on a daily basis.

  25. I was a long time member of HBC, having finally left within the past year… I felt extremely uncomfortable attending since the 2013 “challenging season.” I stayed, primarily due to the long time relationships I had with many in the church, and because (in spite of all the issues at the corporate office) there were and continue to be many good things going on at Harvest in the lives of people.

    I just finally came to the point where I couldn’t worship, week after week, with all these questions swirling in my head, and really no opportunity to have the questions answered. I have personally witnessed what happens to those that ask questions.

    In some ways, I am glad to see the current elders finally reflecting on what so many people have been trying to bring to light for years. (The Elders are seeking to wisely discern both the causation and affects related to past challenging seasons, spread across our church’s 29 years of unified ministry.)

    I know this is sarcastic, but I am not sure you even need the spiritual gift of discernment to really discern what has happened and what the “patterns” are.

    In every “season,” very good men (elders at Harvest), after much thought and prayer, confronted James. After being berated/bullied/intimidated by James, these men either resigned, were catapulted, or fired from Harvest. After a period of time, James and new elders (mostly outside of XLT, XLT is for the people that would never question James) would come to the realization that “although they were right,” they were “wrong in the way they were right.” (Although I have used this phrase myself, I gotta be honest, I am sick of hearing it…) They would then find a way to “update” the congregation, but only in a way to preserve Harvest.

    In one of James more recent sermon series, he stated from scripture, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

    What everyone should learn from this, is that the foundations need to exist in the first place. When a church starts, certain safeguards (foundations) need to be put in place so that one person is not provided too much power or control. (This is why our country also has division of power)

    The first “clue” for me that the Harvest foundation was being destroyed, is when James blogged that congregationalism is from satan. Even if you disagree with congregational government, James began to believe more highly of himself than he ought. He believed that since he controlled the pulpit, that he controlled the church exclusively. And in a way, he is right. As he goes, so does Harvest. James also began to believe that “the average person” could not adequately discern what was best for Harvest, discounting opinions of “lesser men” that did not have the knowledge that he had. This is evident in his blog postings and sermons, where he equates that those that are in charge of much (mainly money) are not only blessed by God ($), but also more able discern and understand what is best for their church or organization.

    Jesus was pretty clear in Matthew 20:26 “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,” Over time, the idea of servant leadership was lost at Harvest.

    I am not sure what the future holds for Harvest. I do hope the best for many friends that remain. I know that no church is perfect, but I feel a heavy burden has been lifted since I left, and things have become clearer in my mind the longer I have been away.

  26. Current attendee since 2000, a lot of murmuring I see!
    Don’t care for harvest? Leave!! Get on with your church experience somewhere else!
    Paster James is a good man, agree to disagree, move on for gosh sake instead of leathering up on this so called site.

    I’m staying and loving it!!!!

    I pray for all of you!



    1. So sad how so many have blindly put a man on a pedestal…so far up high that they can no longer see the truth when it has so clearly been exposed. If they remain and continue to be misled, so be it. They have free will. I know the Lord is shedding many tears over His child, pastor james, who has gone astray. Please, please, please repent james before it’s too late.

    2. ‘Murmuring’? Are you serious?!?

      Have you read any of this detail or are you so engrossed in ‘celebrity preaching’ w/o accountability that you willfully / consciously choose to ignore it?

      Then dominos are falling and you are oblivious to it. There were many at Mars Hill (led by JMD’s buddy, Marc Driscoll) who were equally arrogant and dismissive of the powder keg that was ready to blow…and when it did, everyone sipping the kool-aid were left destitute as that massive church’s exitence (and it’s people…many of which had their livlihoods tethered to its operation) folded entirely. Mars Hill – although it tried – could no longer stand with its “celebrity pastor” and brand ousted (hence the reason HBC’s XLT can’t let go of JMD’s brans — although he’s been ostensibly categorized as a leader who can’t be trusted to lead anymore!).

      Brother…quit playing these games of protecting your precious ear tickling asset…this site is a WARNING for the misinformed…it not naive!

      Click this link and start listening at 11:45-in. Undeniable arrogance and a foreshadow of the destruction that came and continues to come…


  27. This blog post asked the questions:

    “Who at HBC can account for the $573,000? Who knows the person or persons that signed those checks? Who knows to whom those checks were written?”

    The unaccounted $573,000 seems like a very serious issue. Did Fred Adams have financial oversight of the HBF account? Seems like a significant amount of money to go missing. Does anyone have further info on this?

    1. Prior to leaving HBC Rolling Meadows after 18 yrs I met with Dave Corning, then elder board chairman, asking about what safeguards were in place to protect the church the attendees/tithers and the pastors (James) from the burgeoning power influence and cash flow (stream of income as James has explained he needed). I was told James works hard and is entitled to a mansion and lifestyle as he felt that is what he needed to bare the burden of weighty ministry. I was told if I needed to have answers then I should find another church. I also met with elders asking where the money went that caused the Elephants Debt. I was told those questions would not be answered. We left the church but continue to watch the unfolding story. Sadly, many people do not WANT the truth. It is easy to find this info if you have the slightest desire. People like the consumerism of HBC (as did I) they like belonging to something BIG….even if they suspect it is rotten underneath. Obviously, if James’ character prevents him from being in leadership he should not be teaching. It doesn’t take a bible scholar to know that. I pray for those that are willing to read this that it may stir them to seek more truth.

      1. HBC Rolling Meadows isn’t the only Harvest that doesn’t like being questioned.

        1. Yes, you are right. I only identify myself as a former attendee of “the mother ship” because I think it it’s important to realize that the problems all of Harvest faces, stem from the original church and its “founder”. Some people fled to other harvest campuses but The Sickness is throughout “the organization”

  28. the job of an elder board is to keep the pastor accountable, not cover things up and write nice PR letters. if they won’t do their job, maybe it’s time for the congregation to protest and remove the elder board. with their current behavior, they seem to be unfit to be elders.
    if the elders won’t stand up, then the people of HBC should. petition anyone?

  29. I believe the real reason James is still preaching is because I think the elders realize that HBC will not exist for long without him. When you cater to a “celebrity” pastor and then lose/remove the pastor, you may not have a true church body left that will stay. Because James has ALWAYS made HBC a reflection of James and Christ is only taught/demonstrated through James’ interpretation.

    1. hbc will not survive. Since revelations of 2013 wrong doings, it has been systematically being taken down (brick by brick), just like the temple in Jerusalem. The responsibility to know, love & honor Jesus has and continues, to rest with, the Child of God.
      It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in each one of us that is leading each one of God’s real children in TRUTH. It is time to shun this place (hbc).
      If we allow it to continue to exist under the present so-called pastor, pastors etc we will become part of the broadening problem and not the solution. i.e. 1st is was james, now it’s the other so-called pastors and now it’s the so-called elders. Born again believers who have left are becoming ashamed to say they ever went there. Remember God dwells in each one of us not the buildings hbc is trying to preserve. Now were reading questions of whether Mr. james is saved. God says by their works you shall know them.

      1. just told by a current ‘usher’ that all ushers have been instructed to make sure all the seats in the front rows that are in camera shots of the’ Dear’ teacher/preacher are full so as not to show empty seats. hbc is being run like a worldly propaganda organization more worried about money & perception than following the word of God as to how God’s house is to be run.

        1. Former member of hbc rolling meadows October 1, 2017 — 6:52 pm

          I was also told years ago when serving on security how they wanted people in certain seats to show more in the camera…rose a huge red flag in my head.

        2. I am not going to defend Satan James but this whole having the front row filled thing is typical of any event that is broadcast. Not everyone wants to sit on the front row whatever the event so an invitation from an usher helps people be more comfortable sitting there.

        3. Former member of hbc rolling meadows October 1, 2017 — 6:54 pm

          I cant verify that to be 100 percent what happened but this was told to me years ago is my point from a third party as well.

      2. Back in 2000 I came to know the LORD as my Savior at HBC. I shall ever be grateful for that. My husband also came to the LORD at HBC. We joined in to build the Elgin campus. The Holy Spirit was faithful and we listened and left HBC in 2011 after many Elders and Teaching Pastors who we respected left. Not because they left, but because even though they never uttered a word against HBC we saw many things that the Spirit conflicted us about. We have since found a humble, Bible teaching church, and I thank God for it. I pray for it’s leadership. I still pray for HBC, that the LORD will do His work there.

  30. Perhaps one or many have stated this before me, but if the Elders have found MacDonald unqualified/unfit to run the church (including, but not limited to, administering or having access to church monies) then why on earth is he still “qualified” to teach the Bible?

    Apparently, fidelity in finances is more important that fidelity to Scripture at HBC. So sad.

    1. A Small Harvest Church Member September 29, 2017 — 10:04 am

      As worldly as this may sound. There may be a few reasons that the elder board took this particular course of action.
      1 – They have been willing accomplices to James throughout his steady decline and rambunctious behavior, so if they oust him, hey potentially could ‘go public’ and drag the board down with him.
      2 – James could have some other sort of financial / administrative / legal ‘Poison Pill’ in place that if he’s ousted completely, HBC will be severely or fatally damaged.
      3 – Even without a ‘Poison Pill’, the ouster of such a well known pastor essentially dooms the church and does severe damage to all other churches. HBC is where it is today because of the charismatic personality of James, and things like his books, and Walk In The Word. If he goes, I assume the radio program goes and suddenly the rest of the listeners around the country say ‘hmm, what happened to Walk In The Word’ and they find sites like this which will steer them away from any HBC. – ex we’ve already had visitors pick up the rumblings around Harvest world and have not returned due to ‘controversies about James MacDonald’.

      1. You are right about one thing for sure, your statement was worldly.

        1. Not worldly, but realistic. And utterly true given the thoroughly corporate structure set-up established by HBC.

  31. Many from Harvest are coming to The Orchard Barrington where I attend. The Orchard is completely Christ-oriented teaching. Please come to the Orchard if you want to be fed ONLY the Word of God

  32. This is hard. I love the James I know. I recognize the behavior as coming from one whose gift consumed him. I choose not to be distracted by the glitter or the descent into darkness or the hardness or the messiness.
    Our lives have chapters and it’s time for Jam s to find his way into his next one. I love you, champ. It’s time to wake up. You’ve been sleeping for a long time.

  33. Small HBC Church Member September 28, 2017 — 7:45 pm

    This is probably off-topic, so feel free to delete if it is inappropriate. But is anyone else skeptical of the renamed Harvest Bible Fellowship -> The Great Commission Collective? I think, being the previous propaganda arm of HBC to all the plant churches, including disseminating that the previous posts on this site were just hate against James and HBC by folk that had ‘gone sideways’, I would be dead set against my church sidling up to them again.

    1. Is it renamed or a totally different fellowship? It’s my understanding that several churches stopped sending money to the fellowship when James “resigned”.

      1. Small HBC Church Member September 29, 2017 — 4:10 pm

        My pastor went to the presentation in Dallas. They are essentially offering churches the option to join, unlike HBF which was mandatory, but essentially many, if not most of the lower level employees have moved. Looking at Facebook, I see a number of HBF individuals that I am connected to simply kept the same job title, but now at Great Commission Collective. They inducted a new leadership board in Dallas, but, reading through the presentations they gave, its HBF under a different name. I also understand that the grand plan is it will be offered to other churches, not just HBF/former HBF churches. It almost seems they want to be like the Southern Baptist Convention and have independent churches carry the tagline – Church – A Great Commission Collective Church.

        1. Is HBF still in existence?

        2. Small HBC Church Member September 29, 2017 — 10:24 pm

          The senior leadership (and assistants) at HBF as of 2016:
          Brian White -> GCC
          Kirk VanMaanen -> GCC
          Rick Donald – Unknown
          Earl Marshall – HBF Canada
          Andrea Young – Unknown
          Brittane Dodwell – Left HBF in June, Works directly for James MacDonald
          Carol Lewis – Works at HBC
          Venet Jean – Pastors his own church in Haiti, no mention of HBF on Facebook.
          Laura Zimmerman -> GCC

          So 3 of the top leadership now are part of GCC. Only Earl Marshall still reports to still work for HBF and that is HBF Canada, which may be a separate entity. Take this data for what you will as to whether HBF is still a viable entity.

        3. Small HBC Church Member September 30, 2017 — 10:02 am

          As an update – Earl Marshall’s personal webpage had a post in August saying he would be leading HBF Canada out of the Harvest Oakville campus. Looking at Harvest Oakville, there is no mention of Earl Marshall on any of the leadership teams and the senior pastor Robbie Symons and Earl Marshall were presenters at the GCC Dallas get together. Also, a link at the bottom of the Harvest Oakville site that leads to harvestbiblefellowship.ca redirects to a fake domain with malware.

  34. James MacDonald and the seemingly spineless campus pastors and puppet elder board are continuing to engage in little more than damage control.

    Is anyone else out there wondering if we are even dealing with a believer here??

    Don’t believe that just because a pastor in the past has preached the gospel with fidelity to thousands is “automatically” saved. Stranger things than this will emerge as we draw nearer and nearer to the return of Jesus Christ, when everything will be laid bare and made clear.

    Time will make all things plain.

  35. In the Elder September Update there was a very interesting paragraph.

    “The Elders are seeking to wisely discern both the causation and affects related to past challenging seasons, spread across our church’s 29 years of unified ministry. While these seasons have varied in severity, they appear to have some repeating patterns we are endeavoring to learn from. Please be in prayer for our Elder retreat at Camp Harvest later in October, where we hope to dig more deeply into these areas.”

    Repeating patterns – hmm…

  36. I cannot confirm this because I was not there, but I heard from someone who attended that ALL the men from the church were called for a meeting where the HBF breakup was referenced. James apparently opened the night by talking about the sins the lord hates – one of them being “haughty eyes”.

    He then defended his position in resigning from HBF – referencing how the church plants in the fellowship became draining and opressing on himself & HBC staff. He said the pastors and staff are tired and burdened by people in the church asking them about the HBF situation and to please stop.

    The men in attendance were then directed to go around their round tables and discuss / confess how they have been “judgemental or critical” of the church and their pastors (“haughty eyes”). Then they were instructed to pray specifically for their pastor – that he would have strength and not be burdened by all of this. My friend said that this felt VERY uncomfortable and obviously manipulative. There’s definitely something they are trying to hide and strategically control and I hope the people of HBC begin to ask the difficult questions of their leadership.

    1. Why don’t men stand up or speak out in cases such as this? Stand up and make a big deal out of the manipulation they’re sensing? Stand up and simply stand against? I don’t get it. I’m a woman, a former member of HBC, and I’m beyond weary of all the chest-thumping “Act Like Men” call to action that doesn’t seem to trickle down to actually acting like a man in mass when it comes to speaking up to James. I’d left before the “these men/former Elders are of Satan” pronouncements via video, but I honestly believe I would have stood and cried out, “This is so wrong!” or, at the very least walked out. I’ve long wondered (I can’t ask acquaintances who still attend as they’ve made it clear they will not discuss anything) if even one man stood–led his family out–or otherwise renounced publicly what was being shoved down the captive audiences throat that day.

      If anyone can shed light of this, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

      1. People did walk out. I knew someone who was visiting that day. Needless to say they didn’t go back.

        1. Bravo! Even better if they’d called out the farcical madness if it all too.

      2. shameonyouJamesMacDonald September 28, 2017 — 8:55 pm

        My thoughts exactly! I do not want to cast blame on anyone; I find that I struggle to understand the multitude of men who have allowed James MacDonald to continue abusing those around him. I understand that contractual bindings may have silenced some, but to think that it took James MacDonald to berate several child before action was finally taken by the men around him is astounding & concerning to me.

        I look forward to learning about who else had their hand in the cookie jar as I’m anticipating this will explain their silence.

        1. There is a huge spirit of intimidation at Harvest. Having volunteered there, been under the tyrany of Garrett Higbee and Soul Care and eventually placed in church discipline for objecting to being slandered by a Harvest congregant who’s giving was higher than mine make it hard to speak out. Dont even ask me about the threats of violence made by elders and staff. Try to have a conversation with someone on staff at Harvest about your concerns and know that they are taking what you say and using it against you. But someone has to have the courage to stand up and say “Enough!” no matter the cost. Someone has to have character. Is there just one?

      3. I think part of the issue is that majority of people attending HBC aren’t aware of any of this – no one is telling them about it, and all they hear from the pulpit is a different story. Maybe we need to put some flyers on cars in the parking lot or try to get the word out about what’s REALLY going on, since the elders won’t do anything except write dishonest letters to cover James’ behavior. Harvest likes to bash other churches, but I’ve never seen a church that has as much drama and fear culture as harvest.

  37. You state that the elders were choosing a new XLT. I did not see that in the elder updates so I am wondering if indeed that will happen.

  38. Maybe they should be contacting Law enforcement.

    1. Along with the ECFA – Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

  39. Have you ever talked to a campus pastor? Jeff Donaldson doesnt return calls. He sides with McDonald on everything. Dont ever take a flaw about Harvest to him. Your days there will be numbered. To get back in you will be summoned to the 4th floor where “soul care” is dispensed in the form of guilt and threats.

    1. Sooooooo stinking true! I was told to enter counseling and then to report to James on what I have learned. REALY? So I resigned. I felt I was talking to a total puppet! Oh the puppet was Rick.

      1. Mike, I know who you are but I will keep your identity to myself. Coward Donald sent me a letter that he signed that was full of lies. I detailed for him the errors and his response was “I really don’t want to get involved with this”. I remember reading that response and thinking that he was involved since he signed the letter and believed the lies of a soul care “pastor”.

        I have spent an intensive amount of time trying to find you because I valued the friendship we were building before you disappeared from Harvest.

        1. Thanks Tim!
          I have known JM from the first day of Harvest. Decorated four of his houses three which we’re at no cost. His last home in Inverness I painted his family values on the wall wile I was on Harvest payroll. Totally wrong! This flys in the face of his last message of Oct. 1st. So I have personally witnessed such sad and bad behavior on and off staff. He is an angry Bully when things don’t go his way. Does not qualify as an Elder! What could have been.

      2. Replying to your 10/30 7:30pm post…

        I listened to the portion of the 10/1 sermon you are referring to, where James said he would never have an HBC member do work for him, because they may think they can influence him and the decisions that are made about the church…

        I just thought this to be interesting, because of how many people have given James and/or Harvest large sums of money and how that has influenced his decision making. For example, start looking into what happened in Harvest Orlando / Winter Garden with the primary financing coming from Scott Pierre.

        In short, if you don’t have money, but do something nice for James MacDonald, then you might use that to influence him, so he won’t allow it. However, if you have money, and want to buy your way into Harvest, he is more than happy to receive and allow influence. Can’t have it both ways James.

    2. As soon as we wanted to meet with our campus elder back in 2012, we were labeled as “disloyal.” After 8 years of dedication and service, we were out the door in a matter of days.

  40. FormerNaiveMemberNoLonger September 28, 2017 — 11:56 am

    I am so concerned about is so many of these “campus pastors” and “elders” that are charged with preaching, teaching, and protecting the church do so little to protect the church. Aren’t these men of God, men of valor? Are they reading the same Bible that I am reading? Do they take the instructions of Titus and 1/2 Timothy seriously? Sounds like they are James’ yes men instead of Jesus’ yes men. It’s like they are more concerned about a paycheck or standing with James rather than doing what’s right. Elders, pastors, lay-leaders, James needs church discipline, not a different title, role, or responsibilities. He should be removed from his office and lovingly corrected. If lack of character and integrity aren’t enough for termination, in the real world, in most businesses, any leader missing $500k without proper auditing (receipts, justification, and authorization) would be fired immediately. Please act like real men and do the right thing.

    Do what’s right. Protect the church. Remove James. Restore integrity to the HBC.

    To those of you that have left HBC and still hurting, there is life after Harvest. There are good churches out there that seek to honor God where members aren’t treated like a meal tickets or a means to elevate the pastor’s ministry. I know it’s might not mean anything to you now, but God does love you. He does love his church. He does care what happens in his church. I know I wanted to walk away from the church after what happened to our family at HBC, but God is so much bigger than this situation. You aren’t alone. Don’t give up on God because of this messy situation. Grieve, forgive, and embrace the Gospel.

    1. Well said. I’m several years out from attendance and have yet to engage in church life again. I’m not bitter against God; nor do I believe all church is bad–I just lost the heart to do it all again.

      1. @’A Former Member: I know the pain of losing trust in and being angered with a church / ministry / leadership that I fully entrusted to not only myself but my family for the balance of 11 years. The transition out of HBC and looking for new churches was an incredibly stressful and straining season (especially fueled by the disappointment of close friends who were blind to the corruption / deception going on); BUT *in the Lord’s time*, He was faithful in pruning, reshaping and revealing the abundant blessing that comes with joining a church that truly and unapologetically upholds what the bride of Christ should represent.

        Similar to the “costs” that come with an authentic Christian life / walk, a healthy church is not the norm, likely not “popular” / attended by thousands, and typically doesn’t have all the beautiful tapestry and modern amenities that more often than not turn its flocks into ‘consumerists’ (I was one of them) in lieu of a true and unhindered disciple of Christ. That said, you will be incredibly grateful for the trust you can regain AND believe in, a [likely] smaller gathering that makes it easier to engage and know the lives of not only attendees / members, but MOST IMPORTANTLY the pastor / elders / deacons molded after the tenets of 1 Timothy 3.

        Please use the encouragement from these verses in God’s word to no longer delay in returning to church / fellowship life…especially now that you will have the blessing (through previous suffering) of a more discerning eye / mind:

        ‘You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised’ ~Hebrews 10:36~

        ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
        not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ ~Hebrews 10:24-25~

        If you need suggestions on healthy churches in your area, please reach out earnestly….and *don’t lose heart!*

        1. Dear MLA, Our family has had this struggle. I would appreciate a few suggestions of healthy churches in the DesPlaines area…give or take a few miles. Thank you

        2. @jecalla: sorry for the delayed response. I have pinged my pastor asking for recommendations near you. That said, their is an Orchard campus in Arlington Heights that may be good to check out. Once I get a list from my pastor. I’ll come back.

          Blessings to you on your pursuit and discernment of a healthy / trustworthy / transparent church home!

  41. More shameful manipulations and another PR stunt for naive and gullible by the corporate boys occupying elders board. In the meantime, the ravenous, avaricious wolf and a pulpit bully grows fatter laughing all the way to the bank.

  42. At the end of the “Act Like Men” meeting this past Sunday night, I whispered to a man at my table that this meeting wasn’t about sinful pride, as advertised. Not at all! This meeting was about damage control and we were being manipulated!

    1. Speaking of manipulated silence is a form of manipulation. Who ever heard from Joe Stowell and sons who used to work for James and quietly snuck away. Didn’t they have a biblical responsibility to the body of Christ to confront James. Instead they rationalized silence and moved on. What about the rest of Moody bible Institute?

      1. That is a very good question….why has Moody been silent? Aren’t they giving tacit approval?

        1. James and Harvest and Moody all have their hands in each other’s pockets

      2. How does anyone know James wasn’t confronted by the Stowell’s or Moody. Seems like anyone who confronts or questions the church is chastised and made to feel guilty. I’m pretty sure a son in-law of Stowell who was also on staff confronted James at one time.

      3. I asked this question long ago… Where was Pastor Lutzer when MacDonald was publicly embracing heretical modalist and a serial fleecer TD Jakes?

      4. What about all of the executive staff members that have jumped ship this year? According to my notes, Kent Shaw, Garrett Higbee, Dean Butters and Bill Molinari were all HBC executives coming into 2017 and are all gone now? Where and why did they go? Landon MacDonald was the person added to executive leadership to replace them? Before long, the HOLY FAMILY and a few drones may be the only “leadership” left.

        1. Scroll down to Sean’s post and read. I believe several of the staff you mentioned were with HBF and were fired, locked out of their offices and escorted out of the building.

        2. All of those executives were gone well before James’ HBF meltdown. Kent and Bill were the execs over HBF, Kent resigned publicly in a video during the serveice(same video as Garrett Higby resignation,)Bill was gone before that.

    2. His message during Sunday’s service calling men of the church to attend that’s Act Like Men event seemed off. What was the “important” message that was shared? What on earth was that all about?

  43. “removed from leadership.” I highly doubt that he can do that! What will they do, put the Luke in charge? HBC members stop drinking the kool-aid!

  44. Appears that the most recent Elder Updates that question the handling of the HBF have been removed from the Elder landing page. http://dev52.harvestbiblechapel.org/our-elders/ You can still view the September update from the link in your post. More games. $56 million question-why would they leave Macdonald in the he pulpit?

    1. As someone who’s calls HBC home, I am extremely disappointed to see that the elders went back and removed links to multiple updates on the elder page. That information should be easily viewed and if they have concern regarding non-church members viewing church info, then they need to find an alternative besides pulling that info down. Not good…

      1. Or maybe you are slowly waking up…

      2. Their actions are exactly like those of the many swamp rats we have been exposed to by the election of our President. Mr.James cannot be left to preach and teach anything about God.These decisions by ‘so-called elders’ only heighten the necessity to remove them all from any position of authority over the body of Christ. Until this HBC ruling class swamp is drained of all these people HBC will continue to collapse until God completely removes his Spirit. Mr. James should have been removed from preaching and teaching. Even if they gave him a pay check (to keep him happy) while the investigation audit goes on. Better yet he could fire the woman he pays $160,000 yr. to shuffle tapes in his walk in the word business that last time I heard grosses 6 million yr. and shuffle the tapes himself. He could also move into the house he owns solely on church property @ the retreat he controls. You remember the house he was forced to take title to by some wealthy friend /donor who insisted he get title to it or no deal on donating the adjoining acreage! The one he spent church money on to remodel so the missionaries would be comfortable when he let them visit it. Now I read Mr. James kept secret his joining HBC to the SBC Calvinistias. Oh the tangled web he has begun to weave when ist he practiced to deceive.
        Born again Children of God flee this wolf in sheep’s clothing and all his loyal minions.
        By the way where is his trusty man servant Rick Donald???? Wonder what kind of filthy lugar Mr. Donald has a penchant for?

      3. Julie and Jeremy, It appears that Jeremy had a bad link, and I am not sure how that happened. But, the three most recent Elder Updates are still present on their site at the Elder homepage. Here is a link to it. Just wanting to be fair with the facts; there is plenty of true facts that should concern everyone – no need to make up more. https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/our-elders/

        1. @theelephantsdebt – Thank you for that heads up on the bad link! I didn’t catch it was different than the main one. Glad to see the elders kept the updates up.

      4. Julie,
        You would be better off not attending church in any form than be part of the Harvest lie. James is a mean bully who cares only for himself. Watch your back very carefully.

  45. I left HBC after seeing the disturbing video at a service where 3 elder disparaged those who resigned as sinners who needed to repent. Subsequent disclosures about James behavior and financial irresponsibility only confirmed my decision. It seems rather strange to me for a church to remove a man like James from all aspects of church leadership and then allow him to carry on as the teaching pastor. As such, he will remain the face of HBC and it is pitiful to see a man of such hollow and questionable character out front as the proxy leader of what could be a great church. They need to do the right thing a part ways entirely with James McDonald.

    On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 10:36 PM The Elephant’s Debt wrote:

    > theelephantsdebt posted: “On September 22, 2017, the HBC Elders released > an Update stating that James MacDonald was relieved of leadership duty, and > he is to remain on staff solely for purposes of teaching/preaching. James > MacDonald has been released from the Executive Leadership ” >

  46. In addition to the September 22nd Elder Update, Harvest Bible Chapel also released a separate Elder Update, dated September 1st. That update is available at https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/2017/09/01/elder-update-summer-2017/.

    Contained within this Update is the following –

    The Elders met for a special Elder meeting on Sunday, August 6, 2017…to review the details of and navigate through some unforeseen outcomes of Pastor James’ resignation as president of Harvest Bible Fellowship on June 14, 2017.

    The Executive Committee presented their conclusions on the following:

    • While Pastor James had approval to resign as President, he did not have the authority to dissolve our governance of and participation in HBF.

    In its reporting on James MacDonald’s “resignation” as president of HBF, The Wartburg Watch presents the following at http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/06/19/did-james-macdonald-really-resign-or-did-he-just-grab-his-toys-and-stomp-on-home/

    • [James MacDonald] allegedly fired the entire staff of HBF who were allegedly completely innocent, locked them out of their offices, changed the locks, and shut down their email accounts…then the HBC (MacDonald’s church) staff escorted them out of the building.

    How many former HBF employees who were allegedly dismissed summarily, and unilaterally, by James MacDonald are now considering legal action against HBF, and Harvest Bible Chapel, claiming wrongful termination of employment?

  47. So I went a read the information on the website. Satan James is still on the throne. They aren’t stifling his hatred for those like myself because we have fundamental disagreements on basic biblical tenets. He is a Satan. I am sure that his security slave will ask me to coffee so that he can threaten me. It’s cool. I am used to being threatened by the Harvest staff. Not one staff person has the character to have an open honest conversation. Cowards, one and all. If they really wanted to get Satan James attention they would release him from employment. There are no elders at Harvest just spineless, lying cowards that swear allegience to James, and James only.

    1. Finally, a voice that’s informed. It is not only wolf MacDonald that is a rotten disease here. It is also rotten elders board, full of corporate boys who got used to duplicity and manipulation and perpetrate it in the name of Jesus too…

    2. AMEN and AMEN

      1. You write: “If they really wanted to get Satan James attention they would release him from employment.”

        James is the Brand.
        James is the church.

        If James goes…*poof* there goes HBC James-led congregants and tithes.

        Rick doesn’t have the charisma to carry the church.
        Jeff doesn’t have the swagger to bellow, “Act Like Men!”
        And who can even name any of the other teaching pastors?

        They can’t fire him for upon this rock of Branding and Platform and All-Things Social Media is the HBC House of James built.

        1. So? James has no place in ministry and Rick is nothing but a pawn in his game.

        2. My point being “you live by the Branding/Social Media sword, you die by the Branding/Social Media sword,” hence the utter aversion of the Elder Board to the thought of firing the First of Equals. A church built on Personality is bound to and by said Personality–to the church’s benefit and/or detriment. What we’re seeing in the natural outworking of (what I believe to be a God ordained) charismatic personality gone sideways; the natural outworking of an ego and dare I say not-necessarily-a-bad-thing confidence unchecked by the very men appointed to walk alongside James.

          It isn’t for me to say there’s no–zero–nada–place in ministry for him; nor can I speak with any discerning understanding as to Rick’s motives and/or culpability. I simply believe this to be true: there are tens of millions of dollars at stake here and should James be removed, well, that most likely terrifies those who remain as Elders.

          I’ll tell you one of the things that has bugged me the most: the cloying and nigh brainwashed verbiage which the Elders choose when communicating Updates. Seriously, read this review of The Debt and what happened regarding HBF and pay attention to what is stated; then, go read the updates. Read the Update summing up the HBF implosion. Read all the Updates starting back in 2012 as things began to be made known.

          So many caveats.
          So many parsed phrases diminishing the import of what has been revealed.
          So much Christianese double-talk.

          It’s mind-numbing.
          And nauseating.

    3. Security Slave?

      You have it all wrong Brother. I follow Jesus and no one else. Im just more of a face to face guy. Please hold your judgement until after we meet.

      The offer stands.

      1. Tim,

        Where are u at now?

        I need to buy you a coffee and pick your brain.

        In Christ,
        Harvest Security

        I can’t tell if you’re an a+ internet troll or a steaming pile of garbage…

        1. Jeremy

          For what reason would you insult me? Im only trying to ingage in dialouge with someone in order to gain understanding.

      2. Jim,
        Resign from Harvest tomorrow and I will meet with you. But know this there is a cost to meeting with me. I don’t cast my pearls before swine for free. $250,000 payable in advance and I will give you 30 minutes plus you need to cover the cost of security so that I am physically safe. You have had the opportunity for a face to face and refused it. I think that makes you a liar.

        Security slave = Blindly doing Satan James bidding without getting the truth.

        1. I “served” on the security team for a few months Brother.

          Not a Member of The Staff.

          Again…Im regards to my intentions..You are mistaken..

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