Gordon Zwirkoski, Former Harvest Elder Speaks Out

update button 26 jan 2019As many of you know, this past month has been an incredibly busy season with stories coming at such a rapid clip that none of us can keep up.  By last weekend, we were so far behind, we posted five stories in one day, which is never great in terms of allowing any one story the time it needs to breathe and find its audience.  But here we are, once again, looking at a Saturday morning with five stories that we haven’t posted in the past week.  Some are newer.  Some are a little older.  Some have greater power than others.  Just please know that we are doing our best to stay on top of it.

About a week a half ago, on the 16th of January 2019, Gordon Zwirkoski, a former Elder at Harvest Bible Chapel (dating from the mid-to-late-2000s) posted the first of two statements he would make on the Facebook page of FiveStone Churches.  FiveStone Churches is the ministry that Zwirkoski founded after leaving Harvest Bible Chapel.

In the first statement, he makes a few opening remarks and than begins to cite a letter he wrote to MacDonald in 2014.  As you can, the letter is filled with observations about the culture that MacDonald and “core leaders” have created at Harvest, a culture for which he holds MacDonald “fully responsible.”

The never-ending drama of James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel is deeply relevant to the ministry of 5Stone Churches. How so? Because Character is core to our ministry’s commitment to Edify, Protect, Encourage and Support churches and shepherds. A sickening sense of feigned repentance, deja vu all over again, comes with today’s Elder Update from Harvest Bible Chapel.

Many former Harvest elders repeatedly have admonished James MacDonald (and several current and former elders) to genuinely repent of sinful, disqualifying behaviors.

From a letter Gordon Zwirkoski wrote to James MacDonald in February 2014:

You obviously are core to the creation and feeding of the Harvest leadership culture and are fully responsible for it. You have created and fed a culture that rewards leaders who do what you tell them to do or do what they understand you would approve in order to achieve a purpose, even if you do not directly detail a specific tactic . . .

” . . . I specifically remember Hebrews 12 and your clear and right teaching from the text regarding Esau and repentance: There are some sins that have consequences that cannot be fixed as if they never happened. What you have done and continue to do cannot be undone. That Esau-principle cleanly and absolutely applies to you and to several of your core leaders . . .

” . . . And, concerning restoration, no restoration between us quickly will be forthcoming because, in order for restoration, you and several of your core leaders would need to demonstrate authentic, biblical repentance that yields right fruit over time — of the type described in 2 Corinthians 7:9-16. And that’s just not going to happen, at least not now, maybe never . . .

” . . . During the past 10 years, the Harvest leadership culture has morphed, twisting into something that I do not recognize . . .

” . . . I am sad about this, James, but I do not know you. I do not trust you.”

The revelations of recent weeks and today lead a multitude to continue waiting for genuine biblical repentance.

Later, on the 18th of January, shortly after the Naples debacle began to unfold and Julie Roys published her story on the unfolding situation, Gordon took to his Facebook page again and related the story of two other churches in the history of Harvest that were “targeted and almost seduced … become campuses.”

This brutal Naples development is just another chapter in HBChapel take-over schemes.

Two churches were targeted and almost seduced in 2010 and 2011 to become campuses under James MacDonald. During discussions in one of these churches, a core leader representing Harvest said that Harvest wanted a “controlling interest” in the church. (The targeted church had a lot of assets, and that’s the exact term he used: “controlling interest.”)

After early talks with Harvest, the two pastors separately reached out to Gordon Zwirkoski for discussion and counsel. Gordon heard and then reviewed with the two pastors the Harvest proposal and the prospects.

Distilling the discussions into a brief review, here are several of Gordon’s questions, as well as the pastors’ answers:
Q: “Has Jesus released you from preaching here? Has He released you from leading this flock?”

A: “No.”

Q: “Would Jesus be pleased if you stepped away from preaching, from leading this flock?”

A: “No.”

Q: “Imagine standing before Jesus to explain why you stepped away. How would that go for you?”

A (Paraphrased): “Terrible.”

Q: “Are you weary?”

A: “Yes.”

Q: Are you afraid?”

A: “Yes.”

Gordon: “You’re on the verge of losing your church, man. You’d better gird up your loins and fight for the church. If you give it up, you’ll never get it back.”

These two men refused to step away from their work. So glad they did. Grieved for this pastor and the church in Naples.



9 thoughts on “Gordon Zwirkoski, Former Harvest Elder Speaks Out

  1. Burned in Deerfield January 28, 2019 — 6:45 am

    But when will fake elders like Mike Collett (Deerfield “campus”) repent and resign??

    What a sick joke that by writing huge bromance checks to MacDonald, Inc. that certain select Yes Men are then called “elders.” What an abomination of the title and the office!!

    Guarding and protecting a thief, liar, fraud, grifter, misanthrope, devourer of widows and orphans and the poor — instead of “their flock.” (Air quotes for sad irony.)

    How do these spineless fake “shepherds” live with themselves?? Sleep at night?? Look their wives and children and friends in the eye and still think of themselves as a man of God??

    Could you imagine if the men like Mike Collett winked and nodded and stood watch while such theft and fraud and lying and gross immorality was going on in their own venture capital investment businesses?? I highly doubt it.

    But yet there a double standard with these fake elders? “I’ll protect my investors, and my business associates, but my own Christian brothers and sisters are allowed to be destroyed and consumed by MacDonald & Co. while I shamelessly stand by and support the Grifter King & His Evil Minions – the other fake elders, fake leaders, and ridiculously pompous and wickedly unbiblical “XLT””.


    Mike Collett, how do you live with yourself?? Repent, resign, publicly call MacDonald out for the fraud and grifter that he is, and make restitution to the widows and orphans and poor and everyone that the fake elders shamelessly encouraged to give to the Grifter King, your buddy, James MacDonald.

    And finally, maybe this time around you can *instead* fund the class action lawsuit for all the donors and tithers and givers that have been conned and lied to and defrauded by Harvest, Inc. over the years of hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes?

  2. The Least Of These January 27, 2019 — 4:59 pm

    Interestingly, the message from my church this week was Acts 20. Check it out. It’s specifically calling out Elders and giving, caring for the needs of the church to glorify God. We’ve been in the series for quite some time. Only God could have known that this message needed to come exactly at this perfect time. I know He’s moving here.

    I pray, Jesus, the Janes and the leadership and all who are not able to see or speak up would have their eyes opened, they ears able to hear. I pray that you would work this all to Your good, just as you promise. I pray that my heart would be softened and hold forgiveness inside. Please make this situation have closure, sooner rather than later, and cause healing miraculously. I trust You will have a better outcome than anything any of us can imagine. I pray You would protect the buildings, grounds, those serving with a heart for You, and the congregation whose eyes and ears are in You. Lord. I pray for all those who are serving themselves or a different master or idol would have their eyes and ears opened quickly, and that they would see and feel the error if their ways BOLDLY so that they would repent and restore (or begin!!) their relationship with You. I beg for you to cause this to happen in the blink of an eye. Or rapture us! Come, Lord Jesus! Come! In Your precious, healing, glorious name! AMEN!

  3. “Not sure how much is in their cash reserve, but they’re gonna be in trouble real soon.”

    As I have said before the only thing that will probably get Harvest Leadership’s attention is the money drying up. Harvest’s locations may become like the old PTL location became after that group imploded. It is a shame that appeals so far haven’t gotten the attention of leadership for them to make the necessary changes.

  4. Gordon,

    Thank you for standing up for those churches who are weary and needing counsel. We need more men of courage and conviction to stand up for these churches!

    1/13/2019 Bulletin
    Need for January $1,920,000
    Received in January $366,613

    Need for December $4,260,000
    Received in December $4,037,252

    Final Pledge Total $29,467,757
    (2018 – 2021)
    Received to Date $2,976,774

    Source: https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/190113-Harvest-Sermon-Notes.pdf

    1. As of 1/25, they’ve collected about $1M. They’ll probably fall about $600-$700K short, just for the month of Jan. Harvest pays around $300K per MONTH for mortgages. This doesn’t include rent paid to LLCs at the Deerfield & Aurora campus. Not sure how much is in their cash reserve, but they’re gonna be in trouble real soon.

      1. That monthly mortgage payment is mind boggling.

        1. That’s the combined total. They’ve taken out mortgages on all of their buildings / campuses, including Camp Harvest. That doesn’t include rent paid by the Deerfield Rd & Aurora campus. An LLC owns those properties. Who are the partners of the LLCs? James? Other members/elders? No one knows.

    2. Jesus told us you can’t serve God and money. We know what choice these false pastors have made.
      It is so obvious they do not fear God or live what they preach about. Judgement is here, you did not heed the warnings.

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