Yesterday afternoon, Trey Morris, the former Executive Producer of Walk in the Word ministries released a statement on his Facebook account. He published it as an open letter to the body of Harvest Bible Chapel.
My Open Letter to Harvest Bible Chapel
January 19, 2019
I spent 14 years at Harvest Bible Chapel. 12 years as a member, small group leader, and production ministry volunteer at the Rolling Meadows Campus. For the last 2 years, I was the Executive Producer for James MacDonald’s media ministry Walk in the Word. I oversaw weekend worship production, the radio ministry, and developed Walk in the Word Television.
To say that I was “all in” for Harvest and James is an understatement.
I will be forever indebted to James. His preaching shaped the man, husband, and father that I am today. During the most difficult season of my life, he was there for me.
So for me to make this statement is difficult. I know that a lot of people who will be surprised and even hurt by my words, but after the last 3 months, I feel led by the Lord to speak out. I do this because I love Harvest Bible Chapel. The people are like family to me who still work and attend the church. I do not want to destroy anyone or anything, but I do call for repentance, change, and transparency so that Harvest Bible Chapel can continue to reach people and change lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I will not be commenting on any specific events or incidents that I personally witnessed or experienced while on staff at HBC. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. I was aware of what the culture of Harvest was and I was willing to accept it, so that I could play a small part in Kingdom building on a level that I had never experienced and most likely will never again.
I can say that I saw very little in Julie Roys’ articles or blog posts that surprised me. I saw similar actions by James, staff, and Elders throughout my 14 years at Harvest. During my time at Harvest, I knew that there were serious issues with James’ temperament, finances, and Elder oversight, but I justified it by saying,
“But, God is doing amazing things with James at Harvest Bible Chapel. People are being saved, lives are being changed, God is being Glorified.”
I was wrong. None of us should have ever tolerated it. We should have spoken truth more often, stood up for what is right, and demanded that we should have been better!
I have contemplated speaking out, but I didn’t want to hurt my friends or admit my failures for not saying something when I was on staff. But, after reading about the severity of some of the issues, I decided that I must speak up, even if others are unwilling.
What James, XLT, and the Elders have done in the last couple of years is unconscionable. How they have treated people who have sought truth and wanted change is just wrong.
• The dissolving of the Harvest Fellowship and subsequent firing of the staff.
• The misuse of funds from faithful donors to the Fellowship and Walk in the Word.
• The expelling of children from Harvest Christian Academy because their parents had spoken out against James and Harvest.
• The lawsuit against Julie Roys, Ryan, and Melinda Mahoney, and Scott and Sarah Bryant. This was not only unbiblical but also vengeful and hateful meant to punish people for seeking the truth.
But the final straw has been how they have handled the church in Naples.
• The firing of Harvest Naples pastor, John Secrest, for speaking out because he no longer wanted the Naples Church to be a campus.
How can Harvest Bible Chapel two-days into the season of “peacemaking” justify such an action?
It is time for Godly, strong men to stand up and to graciously, humbly lead Harvest Bible Chapel. We need men who are willing to be servant leaders that finally put others before themselves. To care for the sheep, defend the weak, and love always.
I do not believe that can be achieved without a full confession of sins, full submission to the full Elder board, and to disclose all of the facts surrounding these decisions. The truth must be revealed, and the church must become fully transparent to the Elders and members.
Members, Elders, and Staff must stand up and demand the truth or this vicious cycle will continue endlessly.
It’s time for the men of Harvest Bible Chapel to finally “Act Like Men”.