ECFA Finally Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation

By Julie Roys
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The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel‘s accreditation following my report last week about gross misappropriation of church funds to support James MacDonald‘s lavish lifestyle. Also last week, I confronted the ECFA for continuing to accredit Harvest despite my repeated appeals over several months to ECFA to investigate financial impropriety at the church. 

On Friday, the ECFA released a statement announcing that Harvest may no longer represent that it is an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal. The ECFA also said that because of new information, it has “concerns” that the church may be “in serious violation” of four of ECFA’s Seven Standards.

It’s stunning to me that it has taken this long for the ECFA to act. For example, in December, I reported that Harvest had used funds donated to Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry, to pay for a deer herd at Camp Harvest in Michigan. This, despite the fact that MacDonald had claimed in a video formerly posted to the Walk in the Word website that “every dollar” donors give to Walk in the Word “goes directly into buying the airtime to get out the good news of Jesus Christ.” This was a blatant violation of ECFA Standard 7.2, which states: “Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored.” 

“The fact that ECFA didn’t discover these violations itself is bad enough. But the fact that the group failed to act even after I reported these glaring violations is inexcusable.”

Similarly, in February, I reported an admission by MacDonald that Harvest had taken $300,000-$350,000 more per year than “was reasonable” from Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF), the church’s former church planting network, to reimburse the church for alleged “shared services.”  I also reported MacDonald’s admission that Harvest had “used HBF money that was designated to cash flow other things.”

The fact that ECFA didn’t discover these violations itself is bad enough. But the fact that the group failed to act even after I reported these glaring violations is inexcusable. What it took to finally force the group’s hand was my report that MacDonald had funded African safaris, Florida vacations, and other luxury purchases with church funds. And even then, it took nearly a week for the group to act! 

Given this stunning example of ECFA’s failure, I can’t imagine how anyone could put any trust in the group’s ability to hold any church or ministry “accountable” as it claims. ECFA President Dan Busby has a lot of explaining to do. I am still waiting for a response from Busby to my request for an interview. 

Below is the ECFA’s complete statement about Harvest Bible Chapel, as well as its Seven Standards.

Statement From ECFA President Dan Busby

Regarding Harvest Bible Chapel Accreditation Status

“Based on information received March 11, ECFA’s board of directors has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel’s membership effective March 14, 2019.

“On November 28, 2018, ECFA opened a formal investigation of Harvest Bible Chapel to review their compliance of ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. During a site visit to the church in December, we thoroughly examined the information made available to us and believed the church was in compliance with our standards.

“Given the emergence of new information, we have concerns the church may be in serious violation of ECFA Standards 2, 3, 4, and 6. During the indefinite suspension, the church may not represent that they are an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal. The investigation has been and will remain ongoing during the suspension as we work to determine whether Harvest Bible Chapel should be terminated, advised of the steps necessary to come into full compliance or whether they are in fact in compliance with our standards and should, therefore, be restored to full membership.”

 

ECFA’s Seven Standards

Standard 1 – Doctrinal Issues – Every organization shall subscribe to a written statement of faith clearly affirming a commitment to the evangelical Christian faith or shall otherwise demonstrate such commitment, and shall operate in accordance with biblical truths and practices.
Standard 2 – Governance – Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.
Standard 3 – Financial Oversight – Every organization shall prepare complete and accurate financial statements. The board or a committee consisting of a majority of independent members shall approve the engagement of an independent certified public accountant, review the annual financial statements, and maintain appropriate communication with the independent certified public accountant. The board shall be apprised of any material weaknesses in internal control or other significant risks.
Standard 4 – Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws – Every organization shall exercise the appropriate management and controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all of the organization’s operations are carried out and resources are used in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations, such conformity taking into account biblical mandates.
Standard 5 – Transparency – Every organization shall provide a copy of its current financial statements upon written request and shall provide other disclosures as the law may require. The financial statements required to comply with Standard 3 must be disclosed under this standard. An organization must provide a report, upon written request, including financial information on any specific project for which it has sought or is seeking gifts.
Standard 6 – Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions – Every organization shall set compensation of its top leader and address related-party transactions in a manner that demonstrates integrity and propriety in conformity with ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions.
Standard 7 – Stewardship of Charitable Gifts –
7.1 Truthfulness in Communications. In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact, descriptions of the financial condition of the organization, or narratives about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, use of misleading photographs, or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.
7.2 Giver Expectations and Intent. Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization. Appeals for charitable gifts must not create unrealistic expectations of what a gift will actually accomplish.
7.3 Charitable Gift Communication. Every organization shall provide givers appropriate and timely gift acknowledgments.
7.4 Acting in the Best Interest of Givers. When dealing with persons regarding commitments on major gifts, an organization’s representatives must seek to guide
and advise givers to adequately consider their broad interests. An organization must make every effort to avoid knowingly accepting a gift from, or entering into a contract with, a giver that would place a hardship on the giver or place the giver’s future well-being in jeopardy.
7.5 Percentage Compensation for Securing Charitable Gifts. An organization may not base compensation of outside stewardship resource consultants or its own staff directly or indirectly on a percentage of charitable contributions raised.

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86 thoughts on “ECFA Finally Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation”

  1. Julie
    Why are u not willing to investigate franklin graham?
    His salary is downright ungodly
    Salary from both Samaritan purse abd BGEA
    Hiw dies that work?
    Biggest conman of tgem all
    As corrupt as tgey come
    He has hoodwinked everyone including u

  2. Franklin graham salary is $1,000,000 a year
    Are all u out there listening??
    Biggest conman in all Christendom
    And none of u see ut

  3. There are some very “sacred cows” in the Evangelical world which Mark Mirikawa seems to be referencing. Could the Evangelical Wave which voted in the current administration hold to theological and philosophical scrutiny? Or are these untouched because that would upset an audience or demographic?

    I am not accusing you, Julie, of pandering. You are doing incredibly tough work on some very unpopular realities to expose. Mark seems to be noting some further items which you can investigate.

    1. Mark, Before you knock Julie, I trust that you see the donate tab on the upper RH corner of her blog page. Please be both kind and generous enough to support her ongoing work. “In a world of “fake news” and wolves parading in sheep’s clothing, Christians need credible, biblically-based information to help them make sense of the chaos. Julie Roys does just that. Julie’s investigative reporting paired with wise, biblical counsel makes her the go-to resource for telling it like it is in both the church and the world. If you want to be equipped to discern the truth, please consider giving a gift to help Julie continue her important work.” She has a family and needs to be compensated for her time and effort. It cost money to do in-depth research and verify its accuracy. There are travel expenses to do in-person interviews. Too many freeloaders like to take advantage of others, tell others what to do, criticize and complain but wont donate one cent or ask for a tax receipt for such. Thus Thank You in advance of being a financial partner. Also you can support her in buying her book. Or you will love and take advantage of the FREE audiobook w/ the Audible trial.

    2. Susan Vonder Heide

      No one person can investigate every person and every organization that somebody somewhere thinks should be investigated and doing a good job on things is not always consistent with doing many things.

      1. But when tge salary is tgat outlandish someone should b investigating
        This is not pick and choose

  4. Thanks fir promoting Julie
    And I will donate
    But I need my questions answered
    So don’t try to poopoo my questions away

  5. Hey Mark. I was not aware of Franklin Graham’s salary. I think it would be good to understand more about that since I have supported Samaritan’s Purse over the years.

    With that said, I’m not sure Julie (or anyone) could go through all these comments and respond to each of them in depth. There are so many churches I would like to see held to account, especially ones planted by Harvest Bible Fellowship, but I can’t expect her to do that.

    I have personally emailed her a few times and most times received a very gracious response. I can’t imagine how incredibly busy and under attack she must be. My guess is if you email her she’ll get it and if it’s something she can look into, has the capacity to, she will.

    So thanks for bringing it to our attention, just cut her a little slack if she is’t able to do an in depth investigation on each item in the comments. I appreciate how what she does investigate it is done right and thoroughly. I’m going to ask Samaritan’s Purse sparked by your contribution. Thanks again.

    1. Frankie’s salary is very exorbitant
      Why hasn’t anyone noticed
      Jiluie
      Ur doing great job
      Where’s donate button?

  6. By the way Julie ur doing a great work fir tge kingdom but where is tgat donate button tgat person was talking about
    I can’t find it

    1. Mark, I just did type an email to Samaritan’s Purse as I am a yearly contributor mentioning that this was an unprecedented age where larger churches and ministries should show they are above reproach in light of Gospel for Asia, Harvest Bible Chapel, Mars Hill, etc.

      I did find this link to their 990 form https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.samaritanspurse.org/pdfs/2017-Samaritans-Purse-Form-990-PUBLIC-DISCLOSURE.pdf which states Franklin made $612,422 in 2017.

      If I get an answer I will post it here.

      1. John
        His 2018 was $660,000 plus $300,000 from billy graham evangelistic
        Which doesn’t include perks and amenities
        Thus is over 1 million a year

  7. If u do ur research franklin gets about $700,000 from Samaritan purse and about $300,000 from bgea
    And tgat Diesnt include perks and amenitues

    1. HEY MARK !! GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU SO MUCH , I WOULD LIKE YOU TO START THE FRANKLIN GRAHAM INVESTIGATION BLOG , CAN YOU DO THAT? BUT PLEASE CORRECT ALL YOUR SPELLING ERRORS FIRST , IT REALLY REALLY LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE LAZY AND THAT IS NOT THE IMAGE YOU WANT TO PORTRAY.
      ALSO ,MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY DID YOUR LAST NAME CHANGE BETWEEN COMMENT #5 and #6 ? From MORIKAWA to MIRIKAWA and back to MORIKAWA again ? Hmmmm I wonder if this is the world famous going to burn Jimmy boy , wife or relative? It couldn’t be one of the elders could it?
      THAT WOULD BE REALLY REALLY SICK…… yuck!

          1. Stein
            If u don’t want accurate info keep burying ur head in the sand
            Moron

      1. mark, what do you suppose FG should get paid I also believe BGEA and Samaitan’s Purse are 2 different orgs for which FG works. Should he get paid by both or should he work for free at one of them? O may be he should quit working for one of the orgs and only work for the other? Just thinking but I would appreciate your input. may be we should look at each org individually.

  8. Julie
    It seems that most people who blog on here judging by their comments are Christians.
    However there r a couple on here based by their behavior and sarcasm seem to come from the pit of hell.
    They really need to examine their hearts to see where they stand.
    Either a part of God’s kingdom or from Satan himself

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