I have found that churches built through a single persons vision are dangerous. Ive been where youre at, believing that its godly to keep trying to work it out, like family does. Lina I couldnt agree more with everything you said and your comment here. How are you so sure she didnt pray about this? Amen. He is doing a new thing, and I will stand with my brothers and sisters in Christ and praise his Holy name through it all. It seems to have so many cracks in the structure. Im grateful that the sin of James and the elders/staff who allowed his tyranny to prosper is finally coming to light, so that the abuse can come to an end. So now, I tell the truth about what happened, and it isnt only a Pastor James problem. One person (not from Harvest) asked if I needed to call the church to cancel my membership. Sign up to get our top five trending stories delivered every weekday! All that leads to ia where we are, I led worship in a church for 5 years. Laurie Newman, a Harvest member, told Christianity Today that she believes the church's current leaders, like Bradshaw, are "good people who want to lead the church the way God wants it to. Free of James fear. Prevent these types of money exchange corporations, P.S. We have seen this very truth of Jesus teaching publicly demonstrated by Mancow and many other witnesses. superstar pastors are always ,inevitably, trouble. No matter what everyone else says, it does take courage to say something. Its ironic that you should post this today. The Lord knows and he keeps the books. Thats what happens to us as individuals and us as a collection of people. Go figure..Disappointed, Searching for a new study close by. You are open to correction, feeling hurt when it comes. So long that lawyers all wonder why I waited so long- but trauma takes time to recover from. Mike Winger Discusses When God Hardened Pharaohs Heart, Tennessee Church Showcases Tyre Nichols Photography, Louisiana Pastor Sentenced to 5 Years in Money Laundering Case Involving Nearly $900K in Stolen Funds, Steven Curtis Chapman First Contemporary Christian Artist To Earn 50th No. And you will not lose true friends and sisters in Christ. Thank you for sharing your story, Lina. James has all the characteristics of a false teacher. Its hard to step out alone but God always protects and brings darkness into the light to be seen. I am sorry I am so late to discover this article but I had to respond to this comment. We attended Elgin from 2005 through 2008. Why do you say you have a lack of music?. I did not fear God as much as I feared James and longed for his approval. I am grateful for your courage. I was asked what I would do if I were still on staff through the last 2 years. Sometimes being good will also mean being nice, but sometimes it will not. Nellie, be very, very careful! What blessings are flowing at Harvest for those who stand firm! I didnt know you personally, but was a part of and benefited from the many programs that you offered through womens ministry. I see Jesus in youfrom one member of the Body to another. This is the right time as the judgment of God has come to his people. I work every day to be rid of my anger and thank you for proving that church is an unsafe place filled with predictors such as yourself seeking to tear down. Even before the Garden of Eden seduction, he foresaw the need for The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Your leaving (however late you feel it was) was His provision for others, much like Joseph sent ahead to Egypt years ahead of his brothers and father. FEAR is a liar, pray for them and never let offense take you out, that was the enemys plan! DONT defend these people in any way!! My heart breaks for the ones who will walk away from church and walk away from God. Ted Haggard bemoans his "exile" in a new HBO documentary. Some women were still in the middle of the trauma and were still currently attending Harvest. I believe Lina did do the best she could at the time. I have a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving Day. For years, I kept believing the deception fed to the congregation by the elders. Then, on February 8th, Roys revealed material obtained under subpoena that backed up critics claims that Harvest Bible Chapel inappropriately took money from HBF. wounded by wolves in sheeps clothing. Youve blessed me when I heard you speak at a Harvest Womens event about 10 yrs ago, through your radio ministry and at an event you spoke at last year. They have gone the deep end of the pool. Will this tattoo be their mark of shame? Harvest launched a radio show; founded a Christian school with over 700 students; built its own retreat center; produced feature-length films; wrote its own worship songs; and created its own church-planting ministry, Harvest Bible Fellowship, with 170 member churches. Doing ministry you love. The environment is as ahw stated, fear James, make James happy It is a shame to Christianity what is happening here. The controversial founder and former pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel is barred from serving as pastor or elder of the popular evangelical Christian church ever again after an investigation. My daughter was also at that service when they showed the video. I am now going to read the rest of your post. Thank you, Lord, for Ephesians 6:13: It takes a long time. Conversions credited to women evangelists sharing the good news one-on-one in conversations. Such lack of accountability is often a problem at megachurches, which tend to be founded by charismatic individuals who quickly amass a large following. The culture of fear, intimidation, and secrecy has poisoned not just Rolling Meadows and its campuses, but also trickled down through the fellowship. Another church on The Lord's Way is on its way out. Within days of their statement, MacDonald offered a public apology, admitting to careless and hurtful words and a regression into sinful patterns of fleshly anger and self-pity that wounded co-workers and others.. It doesnt mean anything.. He kept going back to you disobeyed the pastor so youre wrong (me in this case for talking to the youth and his mom about it after it happened). I wondered if you had become a full time missionary and if that was why you quit writing. Please pray for all of the member/attendees who are struggling, as we are grieving a loss of our church base and have felt the wrath, unfortunately. Although I do not want to be a part of this church any more, I strongly feel that God is directing me to continue to obey his direction in this scripture and take their disobedience to another level. I regret staying at Harvest after that meeting with the elders. I believe my continued presence wouldve required me to openly protest in every Sunday service because to remain silent through the service wouldve done injustice to the victims and passively shown support for the authoritarian leaders who refused to repent. I am ashamed to say that after being a member at Harvest for 8 years, that was the first real conversation I had had with an elder about the state of affairs of the church at that time. She has admitted that she didnt speak up enough at the time. It is those who live in fear. Pastor James MacDonald preaches at Harvest Bible Chapel. Be blessed Lina! He did the same. Whatever is wrong in Gods eyes He will bring someone to reveal it. This is why Jesus did not come to this present church environment. I have seen this in many independent churches.THIs was done to me at a similar setting.The pastor One of things his way or the highway and there was no disagreement because he said it was leading to anarchy. Wake up this tragedy has been in the works a long time. Church leadership is urging members to wait for the results of this reviewand the changes that will be implementedbefore making the decision to leave the church. Many might wonder why it all still matters to me so much. The link was in my post above. Christ followers are saying enough. I should have walked out but, I too, was afraid. Until recently, I was 8 year member of HBC and I feel so sad, confused, betrayed. The New Testament model that churches should follow, says Every Believer is a Priest. Nellie, you know what Lina went through in prep for this how? But I lived this in the late 70s and early 80s the scandals of the then big preachers they fell down hard as well. While tens of thousands flocked to campus, school officials met in a storage closet to make decisions that would honor what is happening.. God IS in control and knows what he is doing. Your daily news briefing from the editors of CT. I dont know you personally but appreciate all you continue to teach me and countless others. James biggest issue was his condemnation of other preachers, he never mentioned them by name he knew better, but I knew who he was talking about. Oh my how that resonated with me and the experiences my beloved and I have had with churches in the UK. He stomped his questioners. MacDonald was manifestly not okay with the criticism. Thank you. Ive been asked, what would I do if I were still on staff. They made excuses for him. He grew the church from 18 members to more. is it the pastors doing? In the early 2000s, Harvest embarked on an ambitious expansion plan, aiming to form "10 churches in 10 years." Since then the church has opened locations in Elgin, Highland Park, Niles, Crystal. An eight-month investigation into pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, his Chicago-area megachurch, culminated last week with the publication of a World Magazine article by Julie Roys. If you have something to recommend I read that would help me in this area, Lina, I would appreciate it. you felt through James harvest mentality, you would be rebellious against authority if you stood up Others had old wounds that had resurfaced and were hurting, having never felt closure to their stories. Again I dont blame James MacDonald. Until then, you are still a wolf in sheeps clothing. James MacDonald was forced out Tuesday night as senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, a church he founded in Rolling Meadows some 30 years ago. How dare you question her about why? Why? Constantly made to feel stupid, the youth had had enough so the mom called a meeting with the pastor. Doesnt matter how long ago it happened either. We are stunned at the response of our pastor and a ministry leader who have declined to meet us as God directs us in Matthew 18. But wait who is that lurking around the edges, his deeds the center of everyones interest in our church right now, salivating and gleeful that divisiveness and sin is healthy within the body of Christ? I still would like to read the blog on tattoos. I havent seen the video but abuse of power at any level is sickening!! Todays Christians are weak and show Satan how powerful he is when their own Church is faced with trouble. And the truth of many at Harvest. , Lost me at the private jet shared with Bill Hibel. She is free to speak of her experience, nothing mean about that. All of it. When God led me to leave HBC, I remember being so sad and afraid and wondering if I was hearing Him correctly. There were several close family deaths, lost our home, business and more. than submission to leaders Did you know that Satan and his minions come to Harvest? I will be praying for you , too, Lina. I was recovering from the deep wounds and hurts from when we left when this all came rushing back in and opening old wounds. Politics and religion have a great affect on society, and both must be monitored to protect the people. Its messy. You are completely right on! Elder boards are supposed to create this accountability in these situations, but in many cases these boards are no more than rubber stamps. 2023 ChurchLeaders.com, All rights reserved. I was so surprised to read that you were afraid because you seem like such a strong and confident person. I praise your decision to own your ministry outside of James. OnFebruary 13, the elders announcedJames MacDonald had been fired. Harvest, an off-shoot of an eponymous megachurch in Illinois, was sued for. Yet Jesus was not the mission even though the pastor spoke of Jesus. We sincerely thank you for your prayers, your support, and your patience as we work together to restore a trust in leadership, a humility to surrender to biblical authority, and a firm resolve to move forward as a church family., Subscribe to CT The Rolling Meadows Campus is our founding campus and for more than three decades has testified to God's faithfulness. Your daily news briefing from the editors of CT. Can Bubble Tea Bring Gen Z into the Chinese Church. My first two books were scheduled to be released smack in the middle of that summer, and I didnt want to impact their potential not to mention that James had agreed to write the forward on my first book. I believe you spoke up now to show how far reaching the powerful words and actions of those in authority goes. When I started Bible studies Harvest I was given a booklet and videos on everything bad about the Catholic Church. Wake up and take some serious deep reflection you follow a man not Jesus that is extremely dangerous my suggestion to you.., workout your salvation with fear and trembling my sister in Christ. Dont stand in the middle, dont seek to mediate. I can think of hundreds of small things, and some rather large ones, that Ive compromised myself for. Hidden things have come to light. To heal enough to communicate and receiving shaming comments like yours. You can read about the continued corruption and fraud here: Dan George's Resignation. In the arbitration, MacDonald retained the rights to Walk in the Word, a part of the church that had put on his teaching ministry and popular radio broadcast. So I called one of the elders in the video and got his side of the story. You are courageous and your words bring healing. I didnt want to upset James. Gordon Zwirkoski, a former Harvest elder and the original director of HBF, told Roys that James MacDonald essentially wields ultimate authority at the church and cultivates a spirit of fear in the staff. Former Harvest employee Dave Jones says his church has welcomed dozens of Harvest refugees who show signs of spiritual abuse and are disillusioned.. I totally agree with you Patti. Fear can lead to many sins. I didnt want to upset James. Based on just the first few paragraphs, I hear you! Others, too, could see the attitude. I pray your steps continue to be guided by our Lord! Love my bible sisters. But thats how it happens at Harvest, right? I think he forgot Whose ministry it was. Yes, I was there for ex-communication video. it seems to me that people give more grace to the offender than the victim. (It wouldve done no good to tell them how they erred when previous months didnt get it done.) Its very important that people share their stories. It was both true in a sense and funny. This is the mercy and grace of God. For you to step back and taken ownership of your piece in the large (very large) puzzle, is a humility and grace only Jesus can provide. Harvest used that phrase to manipulate the congregation. Praying for a healing and refocus of all Gods churches, Mary, I also was silent about why my family left (also the week following the video). thanks, Amen Sister! Harvest elders announced this morning that they were forced to take immediate action on Tuesday to end his 30-year tenure. We can be humans and love. The church is to be a living organism for the cause of Christ and no other. James MacDonald (born October 4, 1960) is a Canadian-born evangelical Christian pastor, television evangelist, and author. Im praying for you. You also restrained and could have said much more and didnt. hi liz, not really looking for a vote here. Thoughts from a person looking in. By the time I left, I had discovered something dark about myself: I was a woman/person ruled by fear. Your two posts make no sense I hope you get some sense and realize people in Church are not infallible only Jesus! I then called an elder who was a friend and someone I trusted. Do elder boards mean anything, or are they just there to look pretty? Were they unaware of what was happening behind the scenes? These churches do not usually belong to any denominational body; this means that these pastors have no body above them that they are accountable to. Why? Sheri and her husband Gary attended Cornerstone in the 1980s while attending Azusa Pacific and in their first few years of marriage. None of the perpetrators of hate and satanism have fully repented, including James, his despicable henchmen and the elders. The flock are the casualties in all of this. I didnt want to risk any negative impacts on my own growing ministry. On January 7, 2019, Harvest elders announced they decided to drop the lawsuit against Julie Roys and four other individuals. They all need to be excised ( fired ), along with number one enabler extraordinaire of James, Rick Donald, along with the MacDonald boys, along with every single campus pastor and the other pastors, and throw in the worship leaders ( they are all complicit ), then the cancer would have been completely removed and the body ( the good people of Harvest that are being fleeced ) would have a chance to heal and become part of a true biblical church. The assistant pastor just tried to deflect and justify the pastors actions. 7. Thank you. Thank you for all you do. Leaving without speaking up was still an act of cowardice and self-preservation. I never worked at Harvest under Pastor James, I never wrote a book, I never had any altercation with Pastor James, and never had a complaint about him. You did the right thing and I believe more will step up not to dishonor James, but noticing how much the church has changed. I pray for the leaders. The timing of this article makes you less credible. I am so inspired to see you today. As a former elder for three years at the Elgin campus ( it wasnt a true elder board then and it still isnt now ), I couldnt agree with you more, that all the infected parts have to excised! Will those men now be known for their mark as sinful followers of James? Conversions credited to women evangelists sharing the good news one-on-one in conversations. Each weekend, services include live, vertical-focused worship. So the Harvest Bible Chapel elders fired him, fired him from pastoring his own church, which of course was no longer his church to make decisions for, but theirs, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Lastly, we need to comfort hurting today, she wrote. Its been over a year and a lot has changed at Harvest and a lot sill needs to change. She put words to my feelings and I am truly blessed by them. However, James is not the same person he was when he began that church and if he was to continue leading it, he would hurt countless others. With my life and schedule, my friends are few and far between, and have always been aware that my saying anything publicly about Harvest or James would jeopardize those friendships that I still love and value so much. I think that this message has relevance to many situations today, including the present political situation. I really think you hit the nail on the head when you said you realized something dark about yourself, that you had been a woman ruled by fearand I could identify with what you said since I had been that woman too. ,  While only a handful showed up, the range of their pain was wide. In the wake of his departure, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability acknowledged serious concerns around spending and financial stewardship under MacDonald that resulted in the church losing its membership status. this isnt meant to hurt you but to support those who need it. Roys also lamented the fallout of todays news. It also had a church-planting network, Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF), which MacDonald dissolved last year. (images of wife beating and mental control come to mind) Im replying after reading just your first few paragraphs. I hope that you are recovering well, for you have added a vital piece of information. 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He kept telling me that I didnt understand authority and I was in rebellion. Thank you for your courage. The edited . They never acknowledged that they had done anything wrong. (Proverbs 16:18). So Ill never forget the day I got up from my seat in a service, walked out, and never looked back. Why would we be any different? Subscribers receive full access to the archives. I believe Yahweh has me where He wants me. It didnt. In the clips, the person who sounds like MacDonald talks about a plot to plant child pornography on Christianity Today CEO Harold Smiths computer. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt! You do not know if she fasted or not, nor do you know if the Lord Himself brought her to this revelation. Precept Inductive Bible Study for Women. Lina, A former Harvest staffer was also reported to police last fall after being accused of embezzling $270,000 from the church. Delivered every weekday my beloved and I feel so sad, confused, betrayed booklet and videos on bad... 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