HBC Responds to ECFA Termination and Financial Abuses

Below are several screen shots of an email sent by HBC to congregants that attempts to address the ECFA termination. While this communication answers some questions, as usual, it raises others. After reading this email what questions do you have for the HBC leadership team?

31 thoughts on “HBC Responds to ECFA Termination and Financial Abuses

  1. Apply God's word before it's to late April 28, 2019 — 7:34 am

    The truth is harvest has and continues to be run by people who have never been vetted according to the word of God, by the rank and file members (also called children of God, as well as Saints.)

    My bible tells exactly what God wants done on every single issue.

    We keep talking, talking, talking about what God has already told us to do…… and we have not done!
    We are getting what we deserve.

    I remember talk, talk, talk about how jmac needed to be removed from authority when his daughter got pregnant out of wed lock…..Now before you all start to rationalize this issue read on……….

    Titus 1:6-9
    6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[a] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

    So we should all go back to our bibles and find all the many passages that God has granted us the wisdom to understand , through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and apply them.

    No doubt, this blog would better serve God ,and us, if we all just quoted chapter and verse in God’s word as to fixing a problem, when talking to each other about how to deal with harvest.

    I’ve been taught the power of God to change minds/ things is contained in his word, only, and not in the opinions/rationalizations of a man.

  2. I’m growing tired of all the self righteous blathering from the HBC “leadership”. They are all a bunch of liars, who knew exactly what was going on for years, but were too cowardly to stand up to JMac. Now they’ve been caught and are trying to make nice and cover their behinds hoping to stay out of jail. Spare me the fake apologies, they mean nothing. Thankfully my family left Harvest years ago, we were some of the first causalities of the Crystal Lake Harvest fiasco. Why anyone would choose to stay in a church that is as deceitful and corrupt as Harvest, is beyond me. I guess for some it’s easier to stay and put their heads in the sand than to have to admit they were fooled by people they trusted. Thank you to TED for faithfully exposing the truth of the JMac disaster.

  3. Just along for the ride now April 27, 2019 — 9:21 pm

    I bet James Mac and a few of his closest associates are preparing for their next ministry….a prison ministry.

    1. Jessica Hockett April 27, 2019 — 11:21 pm

      What they should be preparing for is prison. Then we can pray that a Prison Ministry reaches out to James MacDonald and shares the pure, unadulterated Gospel with him so that receive salvation by father, through Jesus Christ–and repent of his sins against individuals and the people of Harvest Bible Chapel.

  4. I choose to pray to God and then step aside and let Him fight His battles.
    So many people idolize their own self-righteousness and their hate.
    I choose not to be like that. How can people sleep at night when they become what they hate?
    Beware of making yourself into your own victim.

  5. Wednesday April 24, 2019

    A Little Review
    I and my family have been attending Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows since 1999. It’s interesting how things have transpired there in 20 years. There is a blog about my book, “The Magna Carta Of Tithing,” I thought it would be good to share a little background perspective of what I experienced there concerning my book. I will begin with a relevant Scripture to set the scene. Isaiah 66:2 says, “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (ESV) This Scripture gives us God’s requirements for us to get His attention, and He directly tells us He will not favorably respond to arrogant people.
    I copyrighted and published “The Magna Carta Of Tithing” on October 7, 2015. In November, 2015, I gave James MacDonald a copy of the book for him to review. To my surprise, he read it fairly quickly and got back to me a week or two later. His opinion of the book was not good, his exact words to me were, “It’s the most poorly written book I’ve ever read.” I honestly expected to receive a negative review from him, seeing that everything I wrote contradicted his theology and preaching on money. Apparently, nothing I wrote changed any part of his mind on financing the church. However, everything I wrote in the MCOT was carefully researched and studied and accurately recorded from Scripture. I knew that if James ignored what I wrote, from Scripture, then he would also ignore anything that Jesus would have told him as well, according to Luke 10:16. I also thought about 1 John 4:6, and how a “prophet is not without honor except….” I never attempted to be a prophet, but I felt like a spiritual “Rodney Dangerfield” after that encounter. James did not tremble at all from what I wrote, and the arrogant condescension was palpable.
    So, what did I do next? All I could do was go to the Lord in prayer to see what He thought about the situation. I was at a loss for what to do so I prayed and asked the Lord what His opinion was about the response. As I prayed, somehow I started thinking about the angel Gabriel and his problem with Zechariah the high priest in Matthew chapter two. As I meditated about that, it seemed as though the Lord said I could pray that God would silence James the way Gabriel silenced Zechariah. Ever read Titus 1:11? So I prayed that God would silence James, and his family. The “silence” I was thinking of meant “take away their voice,” metaphorically saying to take away Walk In The Word and their ministry. I prayed that quite earnestly in the privacy of my bedroom. I only prayed that a few times on other nights afterward, I just didn’t feel the need to obsess over it. That’s IT, that’s all I did! Looking back, it seems like my prayer got answered powerfully. Interestingly enough, now all James MacDonald’s books are banned from Christian bookstores across the country, as if they are anathema.
    Now, we all know that Zechariah eventually got his voice back. I am now praying that James and the MacDonald family do not! Currently, James is threatening lawsuits against Harvest if they refuse to give him more money. I am praying that whatever James owes Harvest is returned to Harvest, plus interest and punitive damages. I am also praying that James and his accomplices would be prosecuted and convicted of any crimes they are guilty of against the state or federal government, to RESTORE THE FEAR OF GOD IN CHURCHES across America. I want God to make a public example out of this corruption! If Ananias and Saphira were real people in Acts chapter 5, (I have legitimate doubts about that with the unpunished level of corruption now) then God would truly owe them an apology if James and his accomplices got away with these sins.
    John Smith and Dave Learned are the new Rolling Meadows campus pastors now. In February I gave them both a copy of The Magna Carta Of Tithing to read. No response received from either one yet. I wonder, will either of them tremble at God’s word? I am not very optimistic for that to happen. Remember Titus 1:11? I know I’m not Gabriel, but how quiet do you think God wants to make them as well? Could they be muted like Walk In The Word? I guess I will have to pray about that too……… And then the other ministries…… HEY! Did Martin Luther ever SILENCE THE VATICAN?? I don’t think so! Oh well!

    F. Glen Skidmore

    1. One more Former member April 27, 2019 — 11:48 pm

      Glen, interestingly enough, after all this “silence” from James, he did, in fact, speak today-on his FB page, and in regards to Kathy’s mother passing. While I empathize, what I take issue with is what you alluded to. One would think his silencing would be in the sense of no longer being allowed to use the pulpit in negative ways to hurt others. Instead, his silence has been used to hurt those he has been hurting for years through the misuse of their trust and their money. He has refused to apologize or take accountability for anything. He has refused to show one sign of humility. Rather, today’s FB post was about Kathy’s mother and how he led her to Christ and was there when she was baptized. Granted, there was a bigger picture, but as I read through almost 250 of almost 2 thousand comments, not a single person asked James where he has been or why he has been silent. He opened his statement with “I feel prompted to briefly interrupt this extended silence…” only a death will bring him out of silence. Not the crushed spirits or souls, not the betrayed friends or trusted loved ones, not the deceived parishioners who struggled to tithe week after week to a lying, selfish pastor? Certainly Kathy needs support and prayer, but I think James could have addressed the issue very differently. He showed himself to be a coward and an avoider. It’s saddening to see this continue.

  6. Yet Another Former HBC Member April 27, 2019 — 4:56 pm

    Former 20 year member who also struggled to tithe (preached loudly … don’t be caught with God’s money in your house) … and too went without and ate more “cheap” Ramen – 5 meals for $1.00 dollar, not today’s trendy Ramen, than I care to admit.

    This song keeps going through my mind.

    Death on Two Legs by Queen lyrics:
    You suck my blood like a leech
    You break the law and you preach
    Screw my brain till it hurts
    You’ve taken all my money
    And you want more
    Misguided old mule with your pig headed rules
    With your narrow minded cronies
    Who are fools of the first division
    Death on two legs
    You’re tearing me apart
    Death on two legs
    You’ve never had a heart of your own
    Kill joy bad guy big talking small fry
    You’re just an old barrow boy
    Have you found a new toy to replace me?
    Can you face me?
    But now you can kiss my ass goodbye
    Feel good are you satisfied?
    Do you feel like suicide?
    (I think you should)
    Is your conscience all right
    Does it plague you at night?
    Do you feel good feel good?

    You talk like a big business tycoon
    You’re just a hot air balloon
    So no one gives you a damn
    You’re just an overgrown schoolboy
    Let me tan your hide
    A dog with disease
    You’re the king of the ‘sleaze’
    Put your money where your mouth is
    Mister know-all
    Was the fin on your back
    Part of the deal? (shark) 
    Death on two legs
    You’re tearing me apart
    Death on two legs
    You’ve never had a heart (you never did) of your own (right from the start)
    Insane you should be put inside
    You’re a sewer rat decaying in a cesspool of pride
    Should be made unemployed
    Then make yourself null and void
    Make me feel good I feel good

    1. I am glad you woke up to the ‘Hireling Tithe Lie’. You all should sue the pants off James Macdonald. He also needs to be in prison. Take care of yourself. It is not in the Lord’s economy to give so others have and you go without. James is pig. I say this without apology.

  7. Consider the amount of money involved in Harvest’s history!!!…
    Estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. Hundreds of Millions, a truly awesome amount of money all sacrificially given in good faith by self-disciplined, hard-working Christian folk.

    God only knows the extent of the squandering and malfeasance that has been done with these funds over decades.

    A 20% annual black budget (millions each year)? Exorbitant salaries, luxuries and perks for co-conspirators, relatives, favorites and under-qualified staff? Expensive quid pro quo gifts or bribes? World-wide follies, jaunts, parties, resorts, trips, dead deer, bear and sable? Gambling and magic tricks? A youth pastor arrested for sexual predator crimes against minors and at least one known occurrence of embezzlement? Giant mortgages, confusing collateral and super-secret LLC partnerships?

    The questionable dealings of Harvest appear to be a bottomless pit of mysterious horror. A horror so great that no current HBC leader seems to have the courage or motivation to expose rampant sin and address it properly.

    In light of all that, this communication from Harvest’s CLT is about as misleading and self-serving as it can get. It’s focused exclusively on the last four years of James MacDonald’s discretionary account, and limits the blame to only three departed people. Plus, it appears to me that they are trying to give the (inaccurate) impression that HBC was working with the ECFA all along since December, and updating them with info as it came to light. Just useless damage control and spin.

    There is no appearance of having any integrity or concern toward the (past and present) Christians who have participated in Harvest and have been abominably used. The CLT doesn’t seem to value the truth, nor have any concern for the honor of the Lord Jesus Himself, who said “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life.”

    All in my opinion.

    1. And yet there are people who continue to stay at Harvest. Unabashed sentimentality leads to unconditional support which leads to unsurpassed stupidity. Unreal.

    2. Wow, you nailed it! No, I have not seen a single honest, straightforward, sincere communication from anyone on staff at Harvest. These men are in it up to their necks, and are flailing for their lives. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. It is hard to imagine anyone who was ever an elder, and didn’t make a fuss, being without serious blame. All should be strongly condemned and forbidden from positions of leadership ever again. And all who were in on the financial shenanigans ought to be in jail.

  8. nolongerattending April 27, 2019 — 2:12 pm

    Wait, so HBC actually meets EFCA Standards 1 (Doctrine), 5 (Transparency), and 7 (Stewardship of Charitable Gifts)? Can someone please explain to me how a church with a black budget can possibly be called transparent, good stewards, operating in accordance with biblical truths and principles? What a joke. Shame on you, EFCA.

    And yes, the black budget was perhaps the biggest violation. But what about the Pastor’s compensation? That was another biggie. Where is your statement on that?

    Elders, you make it sound like HBC would have been in compliance with EFCA standards if the black budget didn’t exist. Are you saying that the senior pastor’s compensation was shared with EFCA and they didn’t bat an eye?

    What is the name of the law firm and why are they responsible for hiring auditors? Why do you need lawyers involved at all? Please explain. And what is the name of each firm? Are they truly independent from HBC and will the congregation see the reports? Or will you pass down a sanitized version to the congregants?

    This mess is disgusting. I hope justice is served and James, Rick, Fred, and the others end up in prison.

  9. The bad news: All the horses have left the barn.

    The good news: We are now trying to close the barn doors.

  10. cbates614yahoocom April 27, 2019 — 1:39 pm

    As a God honoring Christian, I am still attending Harvest and plan to until God directs me otherwise. We as a church are learning valuable lessons from all of this, for sure. We need pray for healing of the church. Not continually criticize and knock it down. Let God work this out and judge it. It is not our place to judge but to just keep praying for discernment and wise decisions to be made. God bless Harvest Bible Chapel. May God bless the MacDonald family and bring Pastor James to his knees in repentance.

    1. I think you have it half right. We need to pray for the healing of the church—but that certainly includes all that have been hurt by it. Until then, there is no healing or moving forward or 2020 Vision…All of us need healing cbates…you, me, the thousands who are still there and the thousands who have left.

      Until healing occurs for all, Harvest isn’t going to be able to truly move on. It’s trying to act like a true church who acts as Good Samaritan, but who walks by 6,000 to 10,000 people (in the roadside) who were hurt and/or left the faith and who typically loved (and loves) Harvest just as much as you do…

      That’s what the current members don’t see. We are all part of Harvest and until Harvest realizes that…there is no such thing as moving forward. Harvest can certainly try…but lots of children walked away from their faith because of what happened. My child walked away. Does Harvest have no responsibility to turn backwards before it moves forward? Shouldn’t harvest reach out to her and ALL who were hurt?

      The answer to that question is important and I think separates the true church from the false one. And it’s the crossroads that Harvest stands at right this moment.

    2. Wonderful prayers indeed. Are you still tithing to Harvest? Don’t you think that is YOUR responsibility to try to at least make sure your offering is used wisely? How can one trust Harvest leadership with the millions and millions that they have wasted? The truth is you cannot.

    3. Thanks to TED in keeping us updated on the continue spin by HBC leadership. To Cbates, I trust that you do grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as you continue to worship Him at HBC amidst the turmoil and carnality there. Please do not give him the title and respect as Pastor. He did not shepherd God’s flock but fleeced both the wool and skin to down to the bone. I am confident that the entire family including Kathy and the two sons were aware of this scheme. Repentance is acknowledging your sin; a recurrence today of Ananias and Sapphira would be a tremendous warning to the Church. Why did HBC not give the full names of the COO and Sr. Administrator in this email? It seems that their email is assigning full blame to these three by title yet protecting them personally by name. Since the ECFA has terminated HBC membership due to financial mismanagement, it should be stated that tithes to HBC until then. Why is the Closer 2020 campaign allocating 50% of funds received to expand campus ministries when both membership and tithes are already down? Shouldn’t staff be cut or downsize to reflect this loss? Isnt weekly offering suppose to cover ministry expenses anyway? At then to give the Campus Pastor authority to use these 2020 funds as they see fit will be an evolution of JMac reincarnated.

    4. Former Attendees_ April 27, 2019 — 9:53 pm

      My goal is Not to continually criticize and knock it down. I agree with you: that is not my goal. But the actions of the current HBC Leadership leave me speechless. Also, you mention “it is not our place to judge, but to just keep praying for discernment and wise decisions to be made.” Well, I am not sure exactly what your definition of “Judge” is. But 1 Corinthians 5 and 6 states pretty clearly that we are called to judge Christians, not non-Christians. The actions of the current ( and past Leadership ) have caused much sorrow and harm among the body of Christ. It is our Biblical prerogative to judge Christians ( “judge” in the sense of calling for mutual accountability for all ( me included ) and not from a pompous attitude of Pride.

    5. Pray for the church, yes, we all can agree on that. But please stop addressing James MacDonald as pastor. He forfeited that title when he was fired as a disqualified and disgraceful leader. He no longer holds that title nor deserves to be held in esteem of a faithful church shepherd.

  11. Glad I never gave a dime to this church since joining

  12. Former member and auditor April 27, 2019 — 12:07 pm

    Question number 2 would be for the elders and CapnCrouse. How can they continue as an “independent” auditor? Were they kept in the dark about this account? was is reported in the financial statements? if so, why did they not perform any simple audit tests on the transactions of that account? how can they provide a clean audit report when this account was in existence and being used inappropriately to augment the Senior Pastors income and lavish spending? Why isn’t Fred Adams also being held to account for any of this mess?

  13. Former Attendees_ April 27, 2019 — 12:07 pm

    Several years ago, I remember HBC put on a holiday-themed dinner/fellowship where tickets cost $120 per person. I asked my HBC friends, “who in the world has that type of $$$.” I then relayed my concerns to others and shared that the only type of people who can afford this type of “church fellowship” is the Rich people of NW Chicago-land !! While I applaud HBC for talking about the need for racial diversity ( though there was still much much more work to be done in this important topic at HBC when I was there ) , it also appeared that economic/income diversity was badly needed !! I mean: who can attend HBC sponsored events like these unless both spouses are earning serious $$$ !!! In God’s church, shouldn’t we also celebrate the poor and the lower middle class as well as with the upper middle class and the rich? Shouldn’t all economic/income tiers be represented in a truly authentic Christ-honoring church?

  14. Former member and auditor April 27, 2019 — 12:01 pm

    My first question for the new leadership team would be “Why are you only going back 4 years on the discretionary account?” While i understand the IRS may prevent a longer look back for the sake of corrective reporting concerning income. The church needs to go back to the opening of the account to have James pay back all the misappropriated personal spending.

    1. My question is….why was James given the huge salary to begin with?

  15. Former Attendees_ April 27, 2019 — 11:55 am

    Q1: While the HBC Elders are continuing to meet with Pastor James to discuss the ongoing Walk in the World compensation details, ownership rights, etc..etc…..are the same group of Elders mentioning the negative impact this has had in the personal lives of believers? Are they asking hard questions to James about: “how would James feel if he and his family had struggled and struggled to tithe and make ends meet, ….only to find out later that your tithe was NOT going to God and His Kingdom, but rather into the pockets of James MacDonald?” Have the Elders communicated the devastating shock that we feel when for years and years we have sacrificed and done without…….only to later find out that our Pastor is earning $80,000 per MONTH ?
    Q2: Have the Elders communicated to James that there are many believers who have stopped attending church and no longer care because they find that deception and greed and wrong-doing is pervasive among the HBC culture?

    1. nolongerattending April 27, 2019 — 2:18 pm

      I can answer Q1. The elders would be wasting their breath. James is a narcissist and lacks empathy. Otherwise he could not have made the choices he did. He even threatened to sue the elders and their wives at the meeting. You really think he cares about the flock he fleeced?

      There is a time and place for those stories. I hope he has to hear them read in court at his sentencing.

      1. James is a pig!

    2. This is not only happening at HBC. But all over Christianity. It is disgusting. Church, stop believing the Tithe Lie!!!

      1. Former Attendees_ April 27, 2019 — 10:07 pm

        Jackie: I think you are right that it is definitely becoming more and more common among the larger churches. But I think it is important to stress that most churches have not bought into the “James MacDonald Tithing Lie.” For example, my conservative SBC church practices Biblical expository preaching….verse by verse….chapter by chapter….. I have Not heard a single sermon on Tithing ever since I left HBC. The body of elders are faithful men who believe in transparency and open records. The women ( deaconesses ) fully participate in most councils, and are very active with the finances and the preparation of the yearly budget. In the church foyer at the welcome desk are several copies of a 1 page detailed ( kinda small print ) print-out that lists all the budgeted and financial details. I know the yearly salary and expense account of all of the leadership team……..just from looking at this print-out. Coming from HBC to this much smaller church in southern Indiana is so different and refreshing. Yes, we have financial “problems” and financial “issues” because our church attendance is small. Yet, our Elders are committed to doing the right thing and Transparency and Accountability and Open Books are modeled in real life. And lives are being changed.

  16. Let’s see if any criminal charges are filed and if the IRS opens their own investigation.
    I’ll believe what those people say if either or both events occur.
    Both should occur.

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