HBC Chairman of the Executive Elder Committee Resigns in Protest

Update (5 December 2017)As you may recall, on October 24th, The Elephant’s Debt published a letter by David Wisen.  In that piece, we explained to our readers that David Wisen is the Teaching Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Springlake in Michigan; and more importantly, that he was the President of the Van Kampen Asset Management Company.  In other words, David Wisen is a wealthy man, who has donated tens of millions of dollars to Harvest Bible Chapel over the many years.  Perhaps most significant of all, during the Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) / Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF, now GCC) turmoil dating to the summer of 2016, Mr. Wisen was hand-picked by James MacDonald as the Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF) representative who James wanted to oversee the audit of the HBF funds.  In other words, Mr. Wisen was no stranger to James MacDonald.  Rather, he was a close ally for many years and James trusted him to fairly review the the financial records in question.  In the aftermath of the audit, Mr. Wisen penned a scathing letter that culminated by calling the very character of James MacDonald into question.

In response to the now-publicized Wisen letter, Harvest Bible Chapel issued an elder update on 9 November 2017.  Unlike previous updates, which often had a clinical/institutional tone, this update read as a rambling, disjointed, emotional response to the Wisen disclosure.  In addition to characterizing the GCC leaders as being “fundamentally flawed” in their thinking, the letter goes on to suggest that these leaders are obstinate (“unwilling to yield to better information”), unreasonable, and looking to “discredit [HBC] before the HBF pastors.” A number of sources have now come forward to acknowledge that the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel did not write this elder update, but rather James MacDonald himself is responsible for the content of this message.

Ironically, in the section of the elder update regarding “Lessons About Governance,” James wrote the following:

More specifically, those outside our governance with no view of its mutuality can assume, based upon their observation of our capable staff, that accountability to our Board must be weak. Yet when accountability is properly understood, not as protection against error or a plan to assure that mistakes are never made, but as a system through which staff regularly answer to Elder authority for their decisions, it begins to make sense.

As one might expect, the publication of this Elder Update was not met with indifference.  Indeed, sources now confirm that in the aftermath of James’ decision to publish  the update without elder input, Randy Williams, the Chairman of the Executive Elder Committee, resigned his position in protest.

Two things need to be noted at this point.  First, the resignation of Mr. Williams is not an isolated affair.  In the previous six months, several major leaders have all left HBC under varying circumstances including:

Dallas Jenkins (Executive Director Vertical Church Media),
Bill Molinari (Director of Operations HBF),
Jim Rowan (Elder and Head of Security),
Earl Seals (Elder and “Mighty Man”),
Dan Plantz (Director of Camp Harvest)

Fred Adams (Chief Financial Officer),
Kevn Dekker (Campus Pastor and Pastor of Adult Ministry) and
Dean Butters (Executive Director of Business Operations)

The second, and perhaps more pressing issue is this.  It is important to understand that there are two components to the Harvest Elder Board.  The larger component is referred to as the governing elders.  This is a group of men who wield little power and possess little information.  The second, smaller and more vital component of the board is called the Executive Elder Committee.  This more intimate group of men are the ones who allegedly are empowered to oversee the staff Executive Leadership Team.  Randy Williams was the Chairman of this smaller and more trusted group of men; and, according to our sources, he resigned, in part, because he did not know that this update was being written, let alone published.

184 thoughts on “HBC Chairman of the Executive Elder Committee Resigns in Protest

  1. Jacob Van Halteren February 14, 2019 — 6:20 am

    Who all knew that MacDonald contrary to scripture was suing all of these people for defamation?
    If they knew and did nothing, they need to resign immediately. Bastards

  2. SoonAndVerySoon May 25, 2018 — 12:47 pm

    And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.
    1 Kings 22 22

  3. Soon and Very Soon May 6, 2018 — 8:18 am

    Lets get back on track.

    The reason TED exists, is to give a voice to those who have witnessed the unbiblical nature of the macdonald led harvest.

    In doing so, TED also gives voice to those who defend James and his ways…This in itself shows TEDs willingness to hear all sides of the arguements.

    It also opens the platform up to people within harvest that intend to interfere or attempt to discredit the accounts of hundreds that have disassociated ourselves by painting us as hateful and even satanic.

    Remember the satanic elders…? No..? Then you havent read enough TED yet.

    If you are stumbling on this for the 1st time.

    If you have yet to dig deep into the previous TED topics.

    If you are not sure what this TED thing is all about.

    I implore you. Make some coffee. Grab a seat. Circle back to 2012. Learn what many before you have dealt with. Read accounts of how those that called for transparency were treated.

    Money, Control, Power, Deception, Slander. Its all there Harvest.

    Sure you’ll encouter your occasional “Bruce”. They usually come out when TED is on to something..

    Don’t be fooled…

    From someone who has been directly lied to by Luke, Jeff, Rick, and James, please keep reading.

    If you’ve been there for years or just one service, you need to understand what you’re dealing with…

    Better stated…Who is “dealing” with you.

    “Pawn” is not a part of The Body of Christ..

    I once was but God revealed the truth.

    My heart is against false prophets and for the brothers and sisters currently being used by this place… ALWAYS WILL BE.

    Bruce won’t be the last guy to try to put words in my mouth… God knows he’s not the first..

    Off to my Church home to worship with 10 other families that have left James schemes in thier past.

    Happy Lord’s Day

  4. Why doesn’t someone let the Chicago tribune know that their next story to break out in the open would be this one. This story of many should certainly be told and the truth revealed.
    Maybe James realizes his name and allegations could be all over the media like Bill Hybels. How are they missing this one with a website dedicated for the abused and oppressed? Is this what happens to mega church pastors? They abuse their power once they taste the big business aspect of it. How sad and damaging this abuse is to God’s people and the church of Jesus Christ. Just add their names to the list of fallen pastors and scandals in this country. When I looked it up, there have been more than I realized. It seems intentions are good to start with, but once that cash rolls in, that love of money takes root. This gives the unbelieving world much reason to stay away. It grieves me to think its just a sign of the times.

    1. Exactly!

  5. I’m just curious, will this site or its members be as fervent to pray for James as he endures cancer and the treatments as they are to find fault with him? In honoring God, I’d like to see an “Update Post” encouraging it, for this will speak volumes about the heart condition and intent of the people here.

    1. Soon and Very Soon May 3, 2018 — 11:49 am

      Grace and Truth go hand in hand.

    2. I pray for him all the time. i pray that he will be come a follow of Christ. I pary that the harm he has caused will be shown to him in such a dramatic way that he will not only repent but will be so humbled that he cannot even write the word pride without feeling a shame and horror equal to none. In all honesty I am glad he has cancer. I wish I had more compassion but even the signage at his cult is a lie and extremely offensive!

      1. Totally agree!

        1. SoonandVerySoon May 15, 2018 — 4:03 pm

          Trib has been informed as has The Herald.

          More requests and accounts can’t hurt.


    3. SoonAndVerySoon May 3, 2018 — 3:18 pm

      Does calling out sinful, deceptive, controlling, unaccountable leadership equate to not caring about someones Cancer? Does requesting transparency somehow suggest we are cheering James Cancer on?

      I stay up on these posts. I have yet to see someone wish illness or death upon James.

      I take issue with your post. It is off message and suggestive in nature.

      Your judgement on our heart conditions should focus on the calls this site makes for transparency and accountability from those who claim Christ as Lord. These men “Harvest Leaders” have been entrusted with important roles in Christ’s Church. All of us should be paying close attention and speaking up when we see behavior that does not square with scripture. Especially when it appears planned, intentional, and misleading.

      Here’s a quote for you

      “Biblical love, as modeled by Christ is 2 equal parts; truth and grace. This can be translated to always delivering the truth as gently as possible. It should be noted that “as gently as possible” sometimes doesn’t seem gentle at all”.

      James Macdonald

      Forgiveness has already taken place. Many are ready to extend it. So we wait for our brother to repent, confess, and ask.

      I will continue to Love James by his own definition of the Biblical Love as modeled by Christ.

      Truth is required and Grace awaits…

      Christ’s Church Universal will have it’s say soon and very soon. Of course, James could always go 1st.

      1. Well Tim above just wrote “I am glad he has cancer” Do you also take issue with his post? Will you use the same standards of behavior on him as you do with James?

        1. SoonAndVerySoon May 4, 2018 — 11:50 am

          Let me try a different approach. One that may be more familiar to you..

          Here goes…

          Look up here Bruce.

          Now repeat after me.

          Tim does not speak for the majority of Christians on TED. Tim is the exception not the rule.

          Louder Bruce! I can’t hear you…


        2. While I may not speak for the majority of TED readers, I just cannot muster up much compassion for Satan McDonald. He hates me, has allowed his staff to threaten me and has completely contradicted everything he has spoken about with his actions. You can damn me if you want for my honesty. I was speaking to the sin at Harvest before there was TED. No one would listen. Many well intentioned people told me that my comments were not appropriate. That I should speak less harshly. We are called to bring our pastors to task if they steer us in the wrong direction.

          The situation at Willow is so much different than Harvest. While the elders have admitted they could have been more thorough, they still took the charges seriously. They were never cowards like the elders at Harvest. If so, Hybels would still be senior pastor. By the way, he can sit next to me anytime he wants. He has continually denied the accusations against him and until facts are presented in such a way that prove his guilt he is innocent in my eyes. If he is found to be guilty of the accusations, I will still welcome him to sit next to me because he is a brother in Christ.

        3. Soon and Very Soon May 5, 2018 — 9:17 am

          So there u have it Bruce…

          Brother Tim, betrayed, abused, threatened by Harvest struggles with feelings of anger toward the Gospel peddling supreme leader James.

          Thank you Bruce…For allowing all a 1st hand view of how much damage this place has done…

          Thank you further Bruce…For providing a perfect example of how harvest leaders and supporters have been trained to deflect and ignore the real issue by placing blame on, and then polarizing the very people your cult has abused..


          Lets talk about Tim everbody…

          Nice try Bruce….Nice try…

          Do you know what you’re doing Bruce? Or are u under his spell…?

          TED will pray for u Brother..

          All of us have been in your shoes

        4. Hey Very Soon, why don’t you look up here, where you said, “I stay up on these posts. I have yet to see someone wish illness or death upon James.”

          You were wrong, can you admit you were wrong?

          No, I don’t think so. Too proud.

          I respect Tim more because he admits his bitterness and hatred. mostly everyone else rationalizes and attempts to justify theirs.

          Even the administrators of TED stated years ago that they would discontinue this, yet the bitterness drew them back. Can’t respect people who do not stay true to their word.

          Yet I feel sad for those who are here, your hatred has complete dominion over you. You cannot stop it or escape it. It controls you.

          What a sad existence, to hate someone, yet to dedicate so much time and energy in constantly lurking and prowling over every thing the person you hate does.

          Oh, and here is the kicker.

          You probably think I support this person and am trying to defend him.

          You are wrong there too, he has also hurt me, but I have moved on, refusing to let the hurt cause inescapable bitterness.

          My reason for posting was to check the hearts of the people here, and not to defend James. I have found what I was looking for, thank you.

          Now also from here, I will move on, for continuing in this forum where hatred is so apparent is not honoring to God.

          But in your heart condition, I don’t expect you to sense that. Yes, please continue to hate your enemies. You are doing fine.

        5. Soon and Very Soon May 5, 2018 — 1:50 pm

          Thanks for checking in on my heart.

          At the time of my post Tim had yet to make that statement but who really cares right buddy…?

          This is about you showing us our “sinful hatred”. got it.

          Thanks again.. Great job!

        6. chuck pearson May 6, 2018 — 7:45 am

          This chilling account of the sudden deaths of Ananias (Hebrew, “the Lord is gracious”) and Sapphira (Aramaic, “beautiful”) makes us face the fact that God deals with sin, especially church members’ deceit and lack of integrity. this seems to explain the predicament that harvest is in and we are seeing God work it out.

        7. ajosephfield@comcast.net May 5, 2018 — 3:49 pm

          if only JUDAS had lived! he would be your teacher and patron saint. he would also still be in charge of the Lord’s purse. My how we have sinned by not blindly submitting to false teachers!

    4. "Queen Esther" May 3, 2018 — 3:47 pm

      I pray that the Great Physician heals his soul first and foremost. Cancer can humble a person. Perhaps this is God’s mercy to help lead him to the Lord or back if he ever knew Christ. So certainly I will and have prayed for his healing in order of importance- soul first and body second. Christians want all persons well regardless of what they have done. I believe we are loving the soul as the most important thing because that’s where eternity happens. If God wills for James to get well, then I hope it happens quickly…but not so quickly that James doesn’t come back to the Lord. The ball is in his court in my book. I believe in redemption. I believe in forgiveness…even when the other person isn’t sorry. For me to forgive him, he doesn’t have to do anything. It’s already done. Jesus made that possible for him and for me to be able to have the power to forgive him. For me to welcome with open arms as a brother, he needs to clean up his act and stop living so selfishly and unbiblically. To embrace him as a pastor, he will have to fulfill what Jesus requires of elders and pastors. Get your bible out and read Timothy if you need some help. It’s a huge calling and that requires a huge care and concern to your character and how you treat people. I’m not going to embrace a pastor who preaches loving like Jesus but is so clearly not…and I’m going to speak up for others who have been abused by his leadership. He needs a retreat or a wake up call or something. He needs to repent. I will welcome him back if he does, but otherwise I’ve been told to biblically not associate with that kind. Read your bible that’s what it says. Spider-Man probably would have just put it “with great power comes great responsibility” the man can preach and generate income but it’s like he built a fancy western town. Looks good from the outside but it doesn’t have sturdy bones founded on Christ when you look at it up close/a side angle. What we are saying has merit. I’ve been a sheeple before….I repented. It’s unbiblical to follow a clearly unbiblical leader.. Jesus says be wise like serpents but innocent as doves. Believe the best in people but don’t allow yourself to be taken for a fool. I’m sad to say that it just looks like whoever is asking this question is an enabler of James addiction to unhealthy, unbiblical tyrannical greedy leadership. The best way to tear down an argument is to tear down the ones making it. Make us look crazy or immoral is the standard route to go. You couldn’t pick crazy bc what we are saying has merit. You went with immoral by calling it a heart issue. Some preacher needs to stand up for us. Us Chistians know it is so difficult to be a good Christian especially in this world…and so we know it is even harder to be a pastor. We pray for you. We know it’s tough and what we are asking you to do will be tough for all parties involved. The requirements are higher for pastors…that’s why when what he’s doing isn’t even being a good Christian…we need a preacher to mentor him or do something but the thing is he’s not very teachable in his current state so God will have to disciple him himself or humble him so he can be teachable or a pastor will have to tell him to cut it out with his schemes and get back to basics. Get back to Jesus. Get to the book. Read the book. Do the book. Be the book. Live by the book. I think I’ve said it all except I just wanted to reiterate to SBC and Acts 29 and all the Christian voices of today- you’re probably doing a great job. We know this is hard. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Enough is enough. Before the world disciplines him and he shames the name of Christ to the world with a Christian pastor scandal…somebody please talk to him. Things are moving so quickly probably. Just sit down and have a conversation with him. Find out what is salvageable. Save and embrace the what’s salvageable within his ministry. Ask him to toss/quit/surrender to what is unbiblical aka mainly what’s in this blog. I will embrace him if he’s a godly pastor as I will be embrace and submit to any godly pastor. This could be one of the best things to happen to him and modern Christianity. Who knows? God can use a little bit and do a whole lot. Thank you to anybody who’s reading it.

    5. LisaLikesThisSiteAsIs May 3, 2018 — 3:56 pm

      Bruce, I’m not sure this site was created as a “turn a blind eye to the bullying, corruption, manipulation, and stealing of your tithes because James has cancer” site. Aren’t there enough of those in existence already. But hey, feel free to create one of your own if you need to monitor others heart condition.

    6. The desire of most everyone here is for repentance, justice, and healing–not unlike the desire of those speaking up in the Willow Creek/Bill Hybels situation, or in the #metoo/#churchtoo movement at large. Also, even though some people posting here are aware of James’ health status, many are not. (They no longer attend and haven’t heard that news.) No one wishes physical illness or worse on James. But his cancer and prognosis are not relevant to the issues raised by this blog.

  6. Soon and Very Soon April 30, 2018 — 5:41 pm



    This has taken place since the opening of our current discussion on TED.

    People of Harvest

    You belong to Christ’s Church Universal above and beyond Harvest. The Universal Church knows the level of deception and departure from biblical leadership that has taken place under MacDonalds leadership.

    Good News..

    When you leave…You will be welcomed without judgement by brothers and sisters preparing for and awaiting your arrival.

    SBC is aware
    Acts 29 is aware
    The former HBF is aware
    Pastors all over Chicagoland are aware

    You truely are loved…Not by a MacDonald but by a perfect and just God who’s Will does not include lies, deception, gaming, and fear. These can only be vessels for His perfect wrath. Praying many will see things clearly and step away in faith.

    God will not be mocked

    1. Gracey and Donald on (new?) Senior Pastor’s Office page: http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/staff/team/senior-pastors-office/

    2. Interesting that Jeff Sharda, current CFO, was previously a partner at Capin Crouse who does the “independent audit” of Harvest’s financial statements. Doesn’t this seem to be a conflict of interest?

      1. To the rest of the world, yep! In Harvest’s world it is who they are. It is dishonest minions like Sharda that like and cheat so that Harvest can be recognized for good fiscal management. If I found a penny in the parking lot walking in to a service, I don’t attend there, I would find a better use for the penny like a wishing well.

      2. Soon and Very Soon May 2, 2018 — 8:14 pm

        Sam…Its par for the course brother…

        The real questions are less about Harvest and more about when Christ’s Church Universal will say enough is enough and publically distance itself from the toxicity of MacDonalds Unbiblical Leadership.

        Harvest continues bring in young future leaders and expose them to this twisted cult like culture of leadership. It is damaging the Church on a scale much greater than just the local members faith. Its sending these young Brothers out with a blueprint rooted in self gain and self promotion.

        160 Churchs were tied into this place… All have been assualted by James unbiblical leadership. Christ calls for a much higher view of His Church and God’s Word.

        Members on all levels of Christ’s Church Universal are informed.

        Thanking The Lord for moving God fearing men and women of Christian influence to finally stand against the schemes of Harvest and publically distance themselves.

        If you are on the fence, ask yourself, Why is it OK?

        SBC – WHY IS IT OK?
        ACTS 29 – WHY IS IT OK?

        Its time to get off our Donkeys and help defend Christ’s Church from Gospel peddling false prophets that seek self gain by using our Lord’s Name in Vain.

    3. Great words, thank you!

  7. Via search, including TED, it appears that Paul Gracey was an HBC Elder: https://theelephantsdebt.com/2012/10/19/recent-developments-19-october-2012/

    Not sure for how long, but the TED article says he stepped down and moved West in 2012.

    1. He is on the website currently as part of the senior staff. From his picture, and it isn’t fair to judge a book by it’s cover, but he looks like a guy the Satan MacDonald chews up and spits out.

  8. Soon and Very Soon April 29, 2018 — 11:31 am

    We need to thank this new puppet for using linked in to so clearly state Pastor James’ vision for this new role.

    What’s the “over / under” on days til this linked in page is adjusted?

    Elders ! Does is it not alarm you that James is isolating himself from you and spending God’s money to protect himself from the very people a real pastor should feel called to come beside..?

    Look through the catelog of your own pastors messages… Find what he preaches on self-isolation..

    The Lord is allowing James to show himself for what he is, a frightened gospel peddling imposter.

    Enjoy your false sense of security James. The Lord’s people will not be silent, nor will we fear the schemes of man. Our rest is found in Christ alone. Sola Christo

  9. Huh, what? This isn’t a joke?? Where can someone find more information on this?

    1. On Paul Gracey’s LinkedIn profile. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were amended or taken down soon, in response to the comments being posted here.

      Somebody take a screen shot.

      1. Soon and Very Soon April 30, 2018 — 4:10 pm

        “Job out West ” = ” General Counsel for IGT a Global Gaming Company ”

        In a season of vanishing funds and mounting debt “2012” an Elder resigns to take a job representing a worldwide gaming outfit only to return as James top advisor.

        A stated qualification, in the bylaws, for EC Elders is “relational chemistry” with James…. #yesman

        EC Elder or not, I’d imagine James would only hire an agreeable brother to be his number 2.

        I wonder what they talk about….

        Using the addictive nature of gambling to swindle the weak minded out of their money with technology?

        If we could only get people addicted to church….to a lifestyle…to a program….we could swindle them too..

        Whats the real story James? People of influence are becoming more and more interested..

  10. Oh wow. Thought this was satire until I looked it up.

    James MacDonald has hired himself a consigliere. For real.

    This is so scary and out of line in a church that I don’t even know where to begin.

    Run, Harvest. Run away fast.

  11. Soon and Very Soon April 27, 2018 — 10:36 pm


    Senior Pastor “Vision Advocate” hired.

    From protecting a worldwide gaming outfit to Pastor James Communication and Authority Proxy in less than 3 years.

    Special Counsel to the Senior Pastor and Chief Administrative Officer
    Harvest Bible Chapel
    January 2018 – Present (4 months)
    Paul is the Special Counsel to the Senior Pastor and the Chief Administrative Officer at Harvest Bible Chapel-Chicago, a diverse mega-church of nearly 15,000 with seven campuses throughout the Chicagoland area. Paul helps facilitate, advocate for and represent the Senior Pastor’s vision among the Executive Staff and Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel-Chicago, Harvest’s congregation and the broader constituency of the Senior Pastor’s ministry. Paul works directly with the Senior Pastor and his office to oversee all activities (including conflict resolution) related to experiences with every channel and constituency of the Senior Pastor’s influence. And serves as the Senior Pastor’s conduit and communication proxy when the Senior Pastor is not available but his authority is needed.

    Where did this guy come from you ask?

    September 2012 – April 2015 (2 years 8 months)
    Since September 2012, Paul has served as General Counsel and Secretary for International Game Technology (IGT), a global gaming company specializing in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of casino games, gaming equipment, and systems technology for land-based and online social gaming, and wagering markets worldwide. As one of the company’s top executives, Paul is responsible for all legal, domestic and international intellectual property, licensing, and adherence to gaming regulations in over 450 jurisdictions and compliance.

    “You gotta Know When to hold em. Know when to fold em. Know when to walk away. KNOW WHEN TO RUN!”

    Kenny Rodgers
    The Gambler

    1. one would think a ‘smart guy’ like jmac would have learned that the cover up is usually worse than the crime!

    2. pasquale presto April 28, 2018 — 7:52 am

      how about making this new henchman feel welcome by throwing in some gambling memorabilia
      into the collection ‘pot’ on Sunday……like say an old poker chip or some dice!

    3. P.S. Where did the old “new” (since October) CAO, Jeff Sharda, go? He’s not listed as on staff anymore and I don’t see him on the Staff Transitions page.

      1. "Queen Esther" May 2, 2018 — 12:42 pm

        Does James have a gambling addiction? Is that how he met the new guy? Maybe the new guy wrote off online gambling debt for James. It makes sense with how in debt the church is. Plus the personality reminds me of a mean drunk. Normally he is nice and respectable but it’s that temper that he lets escape him. I really should stop following these posts. I’m disappointed in HBC’s integrity. They should study the life of Jesus. Somehow they got lost and have too much pop culture Christianity. Maybe James can watch a little more Paul Washer. I think it would help him.

    4. I thought this was a joke. But it’s not.

  12. An Imperfect Disciple in Need of Grace April 13, 2018 — 10:46 pm

    Our hearts are grieved all the day long 2 Cor 7. We are burdened, and filled with tears for the body of Jesus Christ and sheep of Harvest Matthew 9:36-38. God will not be mocked Gal 6:7. We are united and praying in love for God to move mountains and bring James and leadership to the end of themselves and surrender to JESUS CHRIST as LORD and Savior 2 Timothy 3, and for the Elders to obey their calling and qualification Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:1-14, James 3:13-18, Titus 2. Jesus we trust you. Jesus we love you. Come LORD Jesus. Holy Spirit move in power. God manifest your presence and may your will be done for your glory. In Jesus name alone, by faith alone we trust you Jesus. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

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