Today Harvest Bible Chapel of Fort Wayne, Indiana released a statement in which it announced that they would be going through a long and expensive process to change their name to distance themselves from their planting church, HBC in Chicago. They have been an autonomous church since 2013, and they are electing to join the GCC.
Regarding the situation with James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicago:
The elders of Harvest Fort Wayne are greatly saddened by failures that have occurred in our planting church, Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicago. Harvest Bible Fellowship under the direction of HBC Chicago, planted our church in 2012. Their support, as well as Pastor James’, was invaluable to us. As of late there has a risen significant concerns about James MacDonald’s character and leadership. Though we associated with James in the past, what has recently come to light has revealed a self-driven ministry motivation that we can no longer support in any way. We feel the elders at Harvest Chicago have handled the situation poorly showing a lack of wisdom and discernment.
Our church has been an autonomous local church since September of 2013 taking no governance from HBC Chicago or giving any governance to them. Further, we have not been associated with HBC Chicago since June of 2017. The only continued connection is in the fact that we still share the name. In order to further distance ourselves from Harvest Chicago, the elders have decided to pursue a name change. This is a lengthy and costly process, but necessary as we seek to position ourselves to be most effective at making disciples for God’s glory.
Further, we are excited to partner with the Great Commission Collective and we stand behind a statement they released recently about this situation in Chicago:
In light of the Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Update today regarding James MacDonald, we want to make our stance clear both to our member churches and to the larger Christian community. What is needed in the situation at hand is true, heartfelt repentance by James and for the Elders at Harvest to fulfill their biblical responsibility. We hope that a long-term, indefinite sabbatical will help this to occur but believe it is only possible if the plan described is completely void of manipulation and avoidance.
In keeping with our past private statements to Harvest’s leadership and to our pastors – The primary issue is not reconciliation or peacemaking, it is repentance. A peacemaking process, while helpful for personal and relational reconciliation, is not the approach to address failed governance, biblical disqualification, and a toxic leadership environment.
Our hope and prayer is that the HBC Elders will shepherd James toward the proper care of his soul and a genuine repentance evidenced in the months to come. We will continue to pray for all involved.
Please let us know if there are any questions we can answer. Also, please cry out to God for all involved. We want nothing more than repentance and a return to Christ-focused ministry for all churches.