ECFA Points Finger at Two HBC Leaders for Financial Shenanigans

On 17 April, 2019, ECFA issued a damning statement regarding Harvest Bible Chapel. ECFA stated that they changed HBC’s status “from suspension to termination due to significant violations.” This termination of HBC’s membership in ECFA was “based upon new information,” perhaps a reaction to the reporting by Julie Roys.

Remember that ECFA visited HBC for a review – not an audit – based upon new information it had received in the fall of 2018, and the review led ECFA to state on 10 December, 2018, that HBC was in good standing. They suspended HBC’s membership later on 14 March, 2019, and this week, based upon additional new information, they terminated HBC membership. In other words, during the review in December 2018, someone at HBC failed to disclose or hid critical financial information from ECFA. The most recent ECFA press release commented on the December 2018 review and affirmation of good standing as follows:

This statement would not have been made if Harvest Bible Chapel had shared all crucial information with ECFA.

Question – Who was responsible at HBC for gathering the financial information for the review with the ECFA? Who met with the ECFA in December 2018? Well, thanks to the internet we don’t have to wonder. According to an HBC statement made in December 2018, we know Jeff Sharda, CFO, and Jeff Smith, Elder and Treasurer, met with the ECFA, and they provided the information that ECFA said was incomplete. Notice how HBC says in its December 2018 statement – captioned below – that the parties spent hours “closely examining” the financials of HBC. This was no mere cursory glance, according to HBC. So, did Sharda and Smith withhold relevant information, did they provided false information during this review, or, did another party hand false information to these men? Either way, the Treasurer and CFO are responsible for this false reporting of financial information, and surely, HBC must release these men from their positions of trust over HBC finances.

Also, note the ECFA statement wherein they assert there were “significant violations” of ECFA standards, in particular HBC’s “use of resources and compliance with the laws.

Question – What laws did HBC violate in its use and reporting of funds, and did Jeff Sharda, CFO, and Jeff Smith, Elder and Treasurer, participate in these violations, the reporting, or the concealment of violations?

Lastly, ECFA “determined that restoration to full membership was not a viable option.” In other words, the “significant violations,” lack of “compliance with the laws” and deceitful reporting of financial information by HBC – by and through Sharda, CFO, and Smith, Treasurer and Elder, at the behest of James MacDonald, former Senior Pastor – were so significant there was no remedy possible. No new audit or reporting could fix it. No new elder board could re-establish trust. No new CFO hiring could alter the damage done. The financial state of HBC was so full of malfeasance that the ECFA permanently revoked its endorsement and membership. Yet, Sharda and Smith remain.

Through the years HBC touted the ECFA endorsement to assure you, in the face of this blog’s criticisms and questions, that you could trust HBC with your money. Let’s look at what HBC said about ECFA’s endorsement over the years.

Question – If, according to HBC, an ECFA endorsement means you can trust them with your money, does not an ECFA termination mean that you can no longer trust them with your tithes and offerings?

I did reach out to Jeff Sharda, CFO, for comment, but he did not answer. I left a detailed message for him regarding this piece. I did not hear back from him, but I would gladly include any response, defense, or comment he is willing to make. I do not have any contact information for Jeff Smith, Elder, but I would also include any comments he has.

14 thoughts on “ECFA Points Finger at Two HBC Leaders for Financial Shenanigans

  1. How long will it be before the external auditors (CapinCrouse) drop HBC as a client?

  2. Thanks to TED in keeping us updated on the continue deceit, fraud and sin. Also God’s continue blessing to the HBC faithful in withholding your tithes. Until the leadership stops mismanagement of God’s money, it is Biblical to support other God honor ministries. Overjoy to see $1.5M deficit in Q1 and April $1M short to-date. Fool me twice; shame on you. Trust this will be a wake up/ repentance call; if not begin the Closed Campaign. Jeff #1 and #2 should resign or be fired just like the previous pretend pastors.

  3. No more can the Harvest congregation plead innocence. By giving they are supporting this evil. Knowing that their offerings are NOT going to Kingdom building activities. Affirming that Harvest Leaders are NOT GOOD STEWARDS.

    1. It’s more than just a little bit ignorant to state that “offerings are not going to kingdom building activities.” The word of God is still being preached and people are being ministered into.

      1. Wow Scott what about the 4000 people who left Harvest are they being ministered too??? And preaching the word of God while your ripping people off kinda kills the message….who’s being ignorant?

      2. Since being “ministered” to by Harvest apparently means being gifted cars and motorcyles, I would just like to say: I could use a little “ministering” over here.

      3. Scott, you are very insightful. Just like Jussie Smollett is truly innocent of all 16 charges and deserves to get off Scott-free. (pun intended). I know many people who will attend HBC and believe too if you give them a Harley or pearls. When is the giveaway or raffle?

  4. Just along for the ride now April 20, 2019 — 2:29 pm

    It’s best that anyone and everyone related to the management of HBC, WITW,HBF, Camp Harvest and any other entity related to James Mac keep their mouth shut at this point. The lawsuits, State and Federal investigations that are coming down the pipe will set these peoples world on fire. There isn’t any amount of biblical, gospel wordsmithing or declaration from their “grieving hearts” that can justify their actions.

  5. To Friends at Harvest,

    The next time a dq’d HBC elder or leader stands up on stage to “communicate” or “update” the congregation, would you consider doing what’s needed most?!? Be a gentlemen and find a few good men to storm the pulpit, escort them out of the building, and then open God’s word.

    People of HBC, please forgive me for failing to season my every thought with grace and lovingkindness, but your unconditional support of your church and its leadership is demonstrating unsurpassed stupidity.

    Yes, yes. I know. I should be more loving and understanding. I confess I am guilty of being more depraved and a worse sinner than I know…but thanks be to God, that His only Son, Jesus Christ is a far, far more gracious Savior than I could ever imagine.

    Okay. Now for a little more food for thought. So I’ve heard it said that your responsibility in all of this mess is to keep on going and keep on giving to HBC…while God’s responsibility lies in sorting this whole thing out. Hmm. Just thinking here. But might that be akin to driving your family over the edge of a cliff after seeing and ignoring multiple warning signs of impending danger ahead?

    Yeah…I suppose it’s easier to shift the responsibility on to God and forgo any accountability for decidedly trusting HBC to wisely use the resources God has entrusted to you.

    Oh, wait. I’ve heard of folks who ‘feel led’ [by God, I presume] to stay at Harvest. And, since your HBC leaders recently reported, “The Lord has now revealed He has other plans for our church.” Well, well. What more could be said?!? That being the case, according to your leaders, you have God’s authoritative directive and stamp of approval guiding Harvest’s next steps…and the confidence to believe your leaders are hearing from the Lord. What more could you want!?!

    And since apparently the Lord has revealed His plans for your church, who then can argue or go against these plans?!?!? (I’ll save my thoughts for another post why I believe this is an affront to God and just another form of manipulation which borders on blasphemy).

    To the people who remain at Harvest. Understand this. You can choose to continue to stay…and continue to experience the fallout from the mess your leaders got you into in the first place.

    The choice is yours. But if you do decide to stay, not only will you reap the consequences resulting from leaders who have led and misled your church, again and again, in the past, now, and in the future, but you will also reap the consequences stemming from your refusal to listen to others who have lovingly warned you to flee HBC, time and time again.

    A Former Member Who Won’t Stop Warning Folks Night and Day

    1. Thank you Mike for continuing to.speak out the truth of the matter. As a previous staff member and attendee I have been warning others for six years. God is faithfu! – deceit and abuse of God’s treasure, His people, will not prevai!

    2. Bradley Dylhoff April 21, 2019 — 10:09 am

      I agree we need to have some good men storm the pulpit and escort them out!!
      How long will we stand for this cover up and lack of transparency.
      They tell us they will be transparent with us but then don’t tell us they met with James..
      All the secrecy still . When will they come clean and stop hiding.
      Where is the audit. Where is the truth. Sad we may never know..

  6. The fact that the ECFA was unable to sniff out the deception, even after the publication of accusations and evidence of years of financial malfeasance by the tireless efforts of TED and Julie Roys, proves how worthless their certification is, especially in light of the ringing endorsement they gave HBC after the review.

    And given the newly discovered information about James MacDonald’s $2.5 million compensation package, the ECFA has serious questions to answer concerning what they consider to be appropriate for a position that is funded by the donations of a congregation. Also, why doesn’t the ECFA require the publication of the compensation packages for senior pastors/CEOs to earn their accreditation? Non-religious non-profits are required to publish their 990 IRS forms, providing much needed transparency people thinking of making donations. That information is decidedly lacking in the “independent” financial reports published by HBC’s accountants.

    Frankly, I believe the ECFA’s revocation is more about covering their own butt as it is punishing HBC. If a sweeping overhaul of the management and practices of an organization found to be in violation of the standards is not enough, then what is? They got burned and were caught with their pants down. ECFA certification is as valuable as the paper it is printed on — i.e. almost nothing.

    1. Where is the information about his severance package? That’s a lot of money:(

      1. By compensation package, I mean salary plus benefits in kind, though I did mix up the numbers somewhat. According to Julie Roys, MacDonald’s salary from HBC was just under a million dollars a year, including $360,000 in deferred compensation, which as of today, has grown to $2.6 million total. On top of that cool million, MacDonald was paid around another million dollars in discretionary funds (expenses, etc.), meaning he probably topped over $2 million a year total income, especially once you add in any profits from personal appearances, book sales, video sales, etc.

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