Women Say Harvest ‘Soul Care’ Protected Abusive Husbands, But Not Abused Wives, Part One

By Julie Roys and Patti Townley-Covert
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(Helping report and write this story was a friend and colleague, Patti Townley-Covert. You’ll find her bio at the end of this article.)

“It felt like rape.” That’s how Bonnie Brztowski described the sexual encounter with her estranged husband on the first night of their intensive counseling session with the Soul Care ministry at the Chicago-area megachurch, Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC). Since she and her husband hadn’t spoken or seen each other in over a month, Brztowski said she had specifically requested separate bedrooms. Yet Brztowski said her request was not honored.

According to Brztowski, that intensive session came after two years of suffering through an emotionally abusive marriage. She said that only two weeks after her wedding in 2010, her husband claimed he had made a mistake. The two immediately started Soul Care counseling. But by May 13, 2012, his lack of commitment, silent treatment, and other punishing behaviors—like cooking a celebratory dinner for his 10th anniversary to his previous wife—resulted in Soul Care’s instructions to separate.

So, the idea of sharing one bedroom with one queen-sized bed at the beginning of the intensive counseling session horrified Brztowski, especially given the teaching on submission she said she’d received at Harvest. “This was very awkward as I knew that Harvest upheld the belief that I am to submit to my husband regardless of how I felt,” Brztowski said. So reluctantly, she said she did what she felt she was expected to do—and felt violated.

“This was very awkward as I knew that Harvest upheld the belief that I am to submit to my husband regardless of how I felt.”

Brztowski’s experience of feeling violated and unprotected at Harvest is not isolated. We’ve spoken with several women who underwent counseling at Harvest, who say they felt pressured to remain with abusive husbands and to submit to them. They also said that Harvest leaders ignored the signs of their abuse and failed to hold their abusers accountable. Two of these women—Brztowski and Anne Frers, the wife of a former Harvest pastor—agreed to tell us their stories on the record.

Though Frers’ and Brztowski’s experience occurred between 2012—2016, the leaders involved in both women’s stories remain in positions of authority at the Great Commission Collective (GCC). This is the church planting organization formed with many of the independent churches that were part of Harvest Bible Fellowship—the church planting group founded and then disbanded by now-disgraced, former Harvest senior pastor, James MacDonald.

Garrett Higbee

Garrett Higbee, who played an important role in both women’s stories, used to be the executive director of Biblical Soul Care at Harvest, but now serves as the director of pastoral care for GCC. (In a story published earlier this year, Higbee admitted that during his time at Harvest, he directed church employees to spy on a relative of James MacDonald.) Higbee also is the president and chairman of Twelve Stones Ministries and Soul Care Consulting.

Frers’ story, which will be told in part two of this series, also involves two GCC churches and another senior GCC leader. Fearing repercussions, both Frers and Brztowski asked us not to name their ex-husbands. (Frers now goes by her maiden name and requested we not use her married name.)

We spoke with Higbee about the women’s allegations and he denied that Soul Care ever instructed women to return to abusive marriages and added that women in his ministry were treated fairly and with respect.

But Brztowski and Frers say otherwise.

“Submit to him . . . and suffer as Jesus did”

Brztowski says her difficult marriage and counseling experience were exacerbated by the fact that she was employed at Harvest and afraid of losing her job. For 12 years, Brztowski worked as an administrative assistant at HBC’s Rolling Meadows, IL, campus. And she said two of her direct supervisors and the human resources director were assigned to oversee her marriage counseling. Brztowski said she felt she would lose her job if she rejected her supervisors’ advice.

Higbee didn’t deny that Harvest asked Brztowski’s supervisors to oversee her counseling, but he said he didn’t believe the arrangement put any pressure on Brztowski. “Oh no, I don’t believe so,” Higbee said. “Maybe implicitly, but not explicitly, no.”

But Brztowski’s friend, Dorie Lorden disagrees. She said Brztowski was “always walking on a tightrope. How can you possibly be yourself, be authentic? If you can’t be authentic in counseling, you can’t get any real help. Harvest has this mentality, let’s make it work at any cost.”

Bonnie Brztowski

Higbee led the intensive counseling during which Brztowski said she and her estranged husband were given one room for sleeping. When asked why Brztowski and her husband had been assigned to one room, Higbee neither confirmed nor denied that it happened. However, he said, “I would be shocked and deeply disturbed if she was forced to be in a situation that she didn’t feel comfortable with.” 

Yet, Brztowski said the sleeping arrangements weren’t the only thing that made her uncomfortable with the intensive counseling. Rather than focusing on her husband’s abusive and manipulative behavior, she said Higbee’s counseling was very one-sided and “focused on my lack of compassion, the anger I had towards my husband, and the ‘obvious break’ in my relationship with God.” Brztowski also said that Higbee asked her husband to share his life story in counseling, but she was never asked to share hers.

According to Brztowski, she felt she had no voice. “Anything I did share in response to my husband, was going to be used against me.”  Well-aware of the accountability she faced as an HBC employee, Brztowski said she ignored her “sense of injustice” and “allowed and participated in” Higbee’s and her husband’s “tearing apart of my character as a Christian woman.”

“I would be shocked and deeply disturbed if she was forced to be in a situation that she didn’t feel comfortable with.”

As the session ended, Brztowski said Higbee instructed the couple to move back in together immediately. Brztowski said she was told to submit, minister to her husband, and work on her “anger issues.” She said Higbee never addressed her husband’s abusive behavior.

Higbee disagreed with Brztowski’s recollection, though he did not address what specifically happened during her counseling session. He said Soul Care counselors would not have been trained to give such instructions either in tone or intent.

Instead, Higbee said he focuses on leading the husband to conviction of sin and regaining trust with his wife through loving and serving her. He said he would require the husband to do this before asking a wife to submit to her husband “in a way that makes her vulnerable physically or otherwise.”

Also present during Brztowski’s intensive counseling was a married couple Harvest designated as “advocates” for Brztowski: Eddie and Diane Birkenstock. Diane was director of human resources at the time and now is financial services manager at Harvest. We emailed Diane repeatedly for comment, but she did not respond. We also contacted Brztowski’s ex-husband for comment, but he did not respond either.

Following the intensive counseling, Brztowski said she and her husband followed Soul Care’s instructions and moved back in together. And Brztowski said she became desperate, angrier, and started having panic attacks.

For reasons she didn’t understand, Brztowski said her husband went days at a time without speaking to her, was rude to her adult children, and refused to attend their small group. Brztowski’s 36-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Jennifer Reed, said that though time has erased some details of her mother’s ordeal, one stands out.

Reed said her former stepfather once abandoned her mother when on a “romantic getaway” that had been prescribed by Higbee. As a result, she said her mom had to travel 10 hours by bus and taxi to get home.

“You have the strength to do this, to suffer. It’s the woman’s responsibility to fix the marriage by her obedience to Christ.”

Brztowski said that getaway took place about a month after the intensive counseling session. She said she did not feel safe or comfortable going on the trip with her husband but did it because she believed she’d be fired if her marriage failed and was “desperate.” She said she called her Soul Care advocates from the hotel where she was abandoned, and they told her to find her way home on her own. She said after she got home, she spent the night at her daughter’s house “completely frazzled by the trip.”

After that experience, Brztowski said Soul Care once again instructed the couple to separate. Several months later, Brztowski discovered that her husband had filed a joint tax return without her knowledge, which she suspected contained false deductions. She said when she informed Soul Care, her counselors told her to trust God and to believe that her “friends at Harvest” would care for her if the IRS ever pursued her. “I was dismayed because there was no concern that my husband could be doing something illegal that would implicate me,” Brztowski said. Independently, Brztowski said she found an accountant who helped her file an “innocent spouse” document to the IRS.

I spoke with Nathan Scroggins, one of Brztowski’s Soul Care counselors at the time. He said he remembers something about a tax return but couldn’t remember details. He said in general, he encourages people to go to authorities if they suspect someone has broken the law. 

About eight months later, “with no apparent progress or accountability for my husband,” Brztowski said Soul Care told her that her separation from her husband was “unbiblical,” and she needed to live with him again. She said she was also told “to submit to him as head of the home, trust God, and suffer just as Jesus did for me.”

According to Brztowski, the general message that Harvest communicated to her was: “You are the strong one. You are the committed Christian. You have the strength to do this, to suffer. It’s the woman’s responsibility to fix the marriage by her obedience to Christ.”

A Macho Culture

Mike Mahoney was a long-time member at Harvest and served on staff as a counselor from 2009—2012. (He has since left the church and his son, Ryan Mahoney, is one of the authors of The Elephant’s Debt, a blog critical of Harvest and MacDonald.) Mahoney said he remembers counseling Brztowski and her husband before the intensive counseling. He also confirmed Brztowski’s story about being stranded on a prescribed weekend getaway and told to find her own way home.

Mahoney said he believed Brztowski’s account of how she was treated. Mahoney said Higbee and some other men on staff displayed an attitude of “superiority” to women. He said this was not usually overt in the presence of women but would come out only in all-male settings.

“Women were easily dismissed,” Mahoney said. “I don’t think they were biblically cherished and honored. They were not given the value and the worth in their contribution to marriage.”

“Women were easily dismissed . . . I don’t think they were biblically cherished and honored.”

However, Terri Streich, another former counselor at Harvest, said she never got that impression from Higbee. She said Higbee always seemed respectful of the women she observed him counsel.

Scroggins said “there was kind of a macho culture at some level” at Harvest. But he added, “I believe there was a good attempt to go after the men in a way that would help them be good leaders . . . not in a macho way, but in a humble way.”

Higbee denied that his ministry sent the message that women needed to submit to abusive men and suffer. “How that came across or what exactly was going on in that moment, I don’t know how,” he said, “other than something either being misunderstood or misinterpreted or someone not being as sensitive as they should have been.”

Brztowski said she eventually found a new job and separated from her husband. “My last day on staff at Harvest was also my last day of Soul Care counsel, my last day of attending services at Harvest, my last day of serving at Harvest, my last day of attending ministry groups/events at Harvest, and my last day of daily devotions in God’s Word for two years,” she said. 

Even so, Brztowski said she sought marriage counseling elsewhere, with and without her husband, because she wanted to follow Scriptures concerning biblical submission. However, in 2015, Brztowski said her husband divorced her.

Trying to Heal and Reconcile the Past

After leaving Harvest, Brztowski said she spent the next three years “recovering and renewing my relationship with God.” She added that she enrolled in Celebrate Recovery “to find out what my issues were in staying for so long at an abusive job/church” and not walking away earlier from an abusive marriage.

On February 28, 2019, Brztowski sent Higbee a four-page letter, confronting him for what had happened to her during her counseling at Harvest, and listing numerous allegations. Higbee replied with a one-paragraph email, stating:

“. . . I am saddened by your experience on many levels. Please forgive me for any part of making this harder and missing some important dynamics that apparently caused you to feel even more abused, misunderstood and traumatized. So thankful you are growing closer to the Lord!  Thanks for praying and for sharing this. I am learning and open to seeing things I did not see before.” 

About three hours later, Higbee sent a second email saying, “. . . I am so sorry for the awkwardness of the intensive situation.  I would’ve never wanted you to feel unheard or unprotected in any way.”

Other than Higbee’s two brief emails, Brztowski said she has not heard anything more from him, which did not surprise her. “When the leaders at Harvest, the counselors, and my ex have said I’m sorry, what has been expressed is: ‘I’m sorry that you have been hurt.’ This is very different than: ‘I am sorry about the wrong I have done and the pain it has caused you. What can I do to rectify the situation and earn back trust in relationship with you?’ I have never received such a statement from anyone regarding the counseling issues at HBC or in my marriage.”

In part two, we tell Anne Frers’ story, the former wife of a Harvest pastor who says she was abused over a period spanning more than a decade. Her story, though unique, includes similarities to Brztowski’s.

Patti Townley-Covert is an award-winning freelancer, who lives in Southern California. She is currently working on her memoir: The Windblown Girl: A Love Story about Self, Sex, and Social Justice. For more information, see ptcovert.com

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22 thoughts on “Women Say Harvest ‘Soul Care’ Protected Abusive Husbands, But Not Abused Wives, Part One”

  1. The hypercomplementarianism was not limited to these two. My husband and I were in Soul Care for a year and had a similar experience. During this year, God saved me and I was convicted to stop taking abortifacients to prevent children. They said they took them so it wasn’t sin and if it was, I needed to submit anyway because Eve’s sin was blamed on Adam so my husband would be the guilty one if it was sin.
    We bounced from topic to topic as the months went by. My husband would bring up things I’m not submitting to and they would lecture me until I broke. If my husband said, “jump on your left foot,” I had to do it. “Now jump on your right.” “Now go back to your left.” His “strong leadership” was encouraged as the head of our household and I was left trying to submit to a whack-a-mole.
    Any of his sins I brought up, such as raping me, were brushed off or used against me because I had a bad attitude or just needed to submit.
    As a new believer I thought what they were telling me to do was right. I didn’t know I could say no if my husband was asking me to sin. I thought the life of a Christian wife was slavery. Now don’t get me wrong, I am as complementarian as it gets, but I deeply regret the time I wasted in Soul Care.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry also for the misguidance that was given to you within a “Christian Ministry”. Praying that you continue your walk with God, in truth and freedom, not slavery!
      Blessings sister :)

  2. HBC counseling should be operating under new name….. SOUL CARELESS.

    Or, SOUL CARE LESS.

    Names, it seems, that they can actually live up to…

  3. It is definitely hard being a woman and being in the Church. This is not a unique situation, I’ve seen this in many Christian places. I’ve seen women who are abused and spoke up but then treated as if they are complainers. I’ve seen women shut down, not heard, and treated lowly. I’ve heard of husbands believing sex is there right and on their demand and when a wife doesn’t submit when he asks for it, she’s in sin. I’ve seen spiritual, emotional, and physical abuse. Most male leaders I’ve known do not feel comfortable confronting other men, so they safely shift the blame on the wives. We, as the Church, have a long way to go on this area. I was in this culture for a long time and I didn’t even see it, I thought it was normal. When my eyes were finally opened, I was shocked. This is not normal, this is not biblical. This is not glorifying to God. It does not please Him. This I do know and I’m safely resting now in this truth in a healthier church now. There are good churches, I hope and pray women in these bad situations make a brave, bold move and find them.

    1. I am totally blown away by these stories. If it was the late 1800s or early 1900s I could almost understand how it would be tolerated. It seems to me that these husbands use the few phrases in the Bible that sort of support their, probably, learned mind set that women are lesser creatures and can be used as they see fit. This, however, reveals their actual lack of knowledge and, especially, understanding of what Scripture truly reveals. Is this how they view Jesus’s (husband) relationship with His Church (bride/wife)? George Orwell called that “double think”, the ability to believe 2 completely contradicting positions. Just as a side note, FYI, it is the Jewish belief that in the sexual relationship of husband and wife it is the wife who has the “right” to engage and the husband duty fulfill her needs.
      I pray healing for you and all others suffering under this unholy scourge and encourage you to seek the true freedom peace offered by the Lord. Get out of these slavish relationships and doubly so if they are physically abusive.
      I am so sorry you got deceived.

  4. I wonder if they backed up the abuser when he or the spouse had a position at Harvest. I personally know someone who was in a verbal, emotional, and physically abusive marriage. She was a member and served but neither she nor her husband worked or had a leadership position at Harvest and she was URGED by all in soul care to leave him and that the abuse was not her fault. I don’t know why these women were not supported and it’s disheartening to hear that but it really makes me wonder if it is because Harvest wanted to hide the fact that they had abusers in leadership

    1. I believe they care about the abused when it is advantageous to them, and disregard the abused when it would be disruptive to their ministry. We see this over and over again in other categories … they call out congregants who have anger problems, are quarrelsome, or misusing finances etc … but then condone it and hide it for those in leadership. Anything that infringes on their appearance and ministry is seen as something to get rid of. Whereas doing deeds like helping an abused women, giving to the poor etc is done to bolster people’s confidence in themselves. They help when it helps their mission. So so sad! (Although on a side note I have heard from many women who were told to go back to their abuser who were not in leadership or employed by them).

  5. Seems that so many who insist on submission in a wife conveniently forget the other half of the equation. The husband is to sacrificially love his wife as Christ loved the church.

  6. Jennifer Fredericksen

    What actually qualifies these men to believe they are “counselors”? This is dangerous in every church. Therapy/counseling is can be devastating if done by lay people without proper education and experience. Some of the greatest spiritual abuse is from men and women who believe they have superior Godly knowledge. This usually leads to people turning seeking out professional counseling, working through years of trauma therapy, and many times walking away from faith.

    Harvest is a cult. I wouldn’t trust any one of the pastors on that GCC. They are a group of men who didn’t denounce JM until he got caught in the worst of sins. This group of men were best buddies for decades with JM.

    Bless these two courageous women for speaking truth. Their stories matter. All of our stories matter.

  7. ForSuchATimeAsThis

    I’m a senior citizen who never married nor was involved with any men. After reading these posts, my heart breaks for all of you! There are no words for what you endured! I will be praying for all of you – and those who were too ashamed or scared to post here. Thank you Julie and Patti for sharing your stories and exposing the light of God’s Word on the darkness and lies of satan’s defeated kingdom.

  8. That’s right Jennifer, Harvest is a cult, most of the leadership that I dealt with in my 10 years at Harvest proved to be Gutless cowards who loved their Jobs more than the truth….and those same so called “men” are training a new batch of men to be just like em, at their Act like men events….very sad and scary.

  9. Everything Harvest related has had JMac’s DNA tainting it. When you have a verifiable psychopath in charge what kind of ministry do you think actually gets done? Just the kind that is now so clear to everyone. Bad trees produce bad fruit. Having a guy in charge who is looking to hire hitmen, well what do you really expect would come from that? Is it a church or a mafia?

  10. So grieved to read these stories but thankful that they are being shared. Although what started out as wanting to be more intentional in creating a stronger church by reversing the divorce trends in the church, this counseling ministry came with some of the theological baggage found in conservative Christian counseling (I’m sure that J Mac’s influence didn’t help either). The theological baggage is an unbiblical view on human emotion – which puts a Christian wife at a disadvantage from the start. Instead of viewing emotions as a valid response of the heart to a relationship, they are viewed as a spiritual problem to be fixed – unequal to reason. I think Higbee and others genuinely think their ministry is respectful but they are blind to the bias caused by this defect in theology. Can a wife let her emotions get the best of her- leading her to sin? Sure. But that doesn’t invalidate what caused the emotion. And men can let their reason justify their sin just the same. If conservative Christian counseling really believes in male headship, then it must first start with the husband and helping him understand how he is effecting his wife (1 Peter 3:7).

  11. @Dan Keller can you share why you chose to say at Harvest for 10 years knowing what you knew throughout those years about the leadership? I’m not saying you knew all there was to know about all that was going on at Harvest. But based on what you stated above and what you did know why did you stay? At what point did you realize Harvest was a cult? Sharing your thought processes about why you stayed may be useful to others who maybe in a cult and hesitant to leave. It may also help those of us with friends and family in cults understand how to reach them.

    I only know of James MacDonald because of his former Moody radio ministry. I’m in the car a fair amount and listen to a lot of radio. The first time I heard MacDonald on Moody I found his spirit and method of delivery (very harsh and yelling for emphasis) very off putting. There was something very inauthentic about him to me. After that any time he came on air I’d change the dial. The Bible teaches we are to test the spirits of teachers to see if they are of God because there are many false prophets loose in the world. Ironically I was in the car with my sister one day and MacDonald came on air. Before I could say anything she immediately said “There’s something off about that man.” and changed the station before I could. So, I knew it wasn’t just me who sensed something was off with him. Not to pick on MacDonald because he isn’t the only one but I’ve learned when in doubt to walk away from ministers, teachers, and people who don’t exude the spirit of Christ. They usually give off many (sometimes subtle) indications that something is amiss. We’re not to fellowship with false teachers in any way for our own good and for the good of others. If we continue to stay and support false leaders and teachers we’re complicit in keeping their false ministry alive by giving others the appearance that everything is okay when we know it isn’t.

    Lots of people have posted here that they never knew anything was amiss at Harvest. However, it seems like more people have shared they did know things were wrong (deeply wrong) there but stayed and I personally am having a difficult time understanding why so many people knew things were not right at that church and stayed anyway. So many people, including Ms. Brztowski in this story, speak of abusive leaders and absolute fear when dealing with the Harvest leadership but continued at the church for various reasons (fellowship with friends, jobs, etc.). Now people are telling all but maybe fewer people would have suffered and would be suffering now if those who did know things were wrong spoke up sooner.

    1. Carla, if you want to know more of the psychology and politics behind this, head over to Elephants Debt website. In summary, there are several layers of knowledge with good PR control. Any challenge is met with the ministry having more information and silent shaming which either gets you back into line or out the door without much opportunity to gather an army on your side. Another factor is that there were obvious signs of the Lord’s work. In this light, many people who came to Harvest come from churches that were broken even more. It’s easier to understand if you have lived thru it.

  12. Formerharvestmember

    The article is so clear on the matters Bonnie was dealing with, but is vague on her husband’s issues only stating “abuse” which is vague and subjective. Is there more that can be revealed in that arena to provide more clarity?

  13. A question not addressed in either the article or the comments – why did Harvest (actually JMac) SUDDENLY decide that it’s ties to the Biblical Counseling Center should be severed without warning and be replaced by Soul Care? And how did this get through the Elder Board when the leader of the BCC was an elder at the time? (Someone who would obviously step down as the change occurred.)

    This is a difficult article, not because of content, but because it is the most ‘he said, she said’ of the reports concerning Harvest. There is so little that can be corroborated. I do not doubt in any manner that the events were as written. I know Bonnie. She is not one to fabricate or embellish truth. BUT – compared to other articles thet point to the poison that was spread throughout Harvest, this article has the least corroboration.
    As the wife of a flock leader at the time of the ‘change over,’ I felt that my husband and I had very little warning that the BBC would not be used for our small group member’s counsel, but that the small group and flock leaders would be rapidly trained (by way of watching Soul Care Videos) to handle common problems in our flock. (Flocks were roughly 5 small groups – probably 50-75 people)

    Soul Care was a disaster from the start. There was no ‘transition’ from BBC to SC. It was thrust upon leaders. Many of the “Family Pastors” (who oversaw a group of flock leaders) had no training in Biblical Counseling, and tried to use untrained small group leaders to bear the brunt of counseling. However, a short series of videos cannot possibly provide enough training to make a good counselor out of a Small Group Leader. It can help, but it was obvious by the overworking of Higbee and others, that this was a less than perfect solution. The proof of the overworking was the demise of the weekend spousal counseling and substitution of a ‘day’ or ‘half day’ instead.

    The issues mentioned above are IN ADDITION to the problem that the resulting counselors were woefully and inadequately prepared for their new role. The characteristics of a good Small Group Leader are not always the same as those of a good counselor. But J Mac assumed it could be done, therefore – go do it.

    That anyone can have read any or all of Julie’s reporting and not remove themselves and family from the craziness that is Harvest/JMac is evidence for those who are calling Harvest an outright cult. It is sad. It is beyond horrible. Pray for those still connected to Harvest in any manner.

  14. Carla to answer your question…..I began attending Harvest in Elgin in 2008…the teaching seemed solid and I believe many of the people there truly Love Christ, I appreciated the no nonsense teaching that I found there, I was blissfully ignorant of how the leadership operated for almost 8 years, and I wanted to believe the best in the leadership….but as I studied the Bible I began to question some of the things That I heard and saw and I did some investigating into how Harvest operated…I also began reading the elephants debt blog. I went to pastor Brit Gilman in 2017 with my concerns, he seemed truly concerned,but in the end he just brushed me off and set up a meeting with me and Executive Elder chairman Steve Huston and pastor Brian Bradshaw. Here are just a few of the concerns I shared with Steve and Brian , in the Feb 2014 elder report ,the Elders stated that Jmac voluntarily downsized his life style and moved into a small home ,less than a year later he was living in a bigger mansion than the one he downsized from, thats deception, also Jmacs association with false teachers, his famous sheepbeatings, nepotism, and many other things…I backed each one of my concerns with scripture. I wanted Steve Huston to open his Bible and show me where I was off base , and believe me I wanted to be wrong, unfortunately Steve and Brian never once opened their Bibles. After this meeting I instantly became “The Enemy “…it was shortly after that that I quit attending Harvest, I believe that all of these guys knew the truth but were more concerned about their positions rather than the truth. early in 2019 the leadership at Harvest said in an email that they were repentant and wanted to reconcile with anyone that they had hurt I showed up at the meeting asked a simple question, “how can we trust the leadership at Harvest after almost all the leadership covered up the corruption for years, I was instantly ejected from the building… Carla you are 100% right about how wrong it is to go along with bad leaders, for me most of my dealings were with the average Joe in the pews, when I began to deal with the leaders at Harvest it wasnt long before I left, but all along I really wanted to believe the best….a continual study of the scriptures and learning and standing on the truth is how a person can break away from Bad leadership.

  15. Thank you for your courage in sharing your testimony from this abusive place. After having been there for years, this was one other area I thought was very corrupt. When I sought counseling, it was like trying to go through Fort Knox. We met with many people who kept promising help would come after we went through their rigorous application process in which Harvest wants ALL THE INFORMATION on you to only use it against you. They have no real interest in caring for people, at least many leaders don’t. It is about what benefits them and things that do not are discarded. I am so sad to hear of this abuse and pray all of God’s people will be healed from this false ministry. Only God knows how catastrophic this damage has been to so many. What blows my mind away are those who can still go there and believe its God honoring.

    1. Thank you Dan, Julie and many others for your courage to share and speak the truth. For the record, Pastor Brit should never have the word pastor by his name. This is the same man who when I called him about a relative who was suicidal and needed help, asked only if he was saved. Then told me he could not help him because he was not saved and did not attend Harvest. Hey Brit, did you read the story of the good samaritan? God help you and others who DARE use the word pastor by your name. You are accountable to God for your sin if omission!

  16. I went to Harvest. My husband was already a member there when we married. I sought help for some troubling & concerning issues in our marriage due to my husband’s severe controlling & trust issues, which surfaced after we married. When I went to leadership, I was sat down with my husband and yelled at. It was shockingly inappropriate and hurtful and I felt even more isolated. Things got far worse and it became abusive and came to a traumatic ending. So I’ve had personal experiences at Harvest.

    But something in this story does not sit right…

    “Brztowski said she had specifically requested separate bedrooms. Yet Brztowski said her request was not honored.”

    I’ve worked w/ churches and organized these events. And I have never heard of, or been to, retreats where attendees are provided individual single-occupancy rooms. It’s simply not done, regardless of the request. Occupancy is limited so it is based on double-occupancy. I highly highly doubt she was given confirmation or indication that she would be given her own private room. And that would be disingenuous not to disclose or question. If the policy is double occupancy and she then chooses to still go, then that is very different..

    I want to know the policy on occupancy. Where are the Objective facts? I don’t know a single woman who’s been separated for months who would go and share a room with her husband, not under any circumstance. Her decision to go under questionable or possibly abusive circumstances creates a very different narrative.

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