About a year after being fired from Harvest Bible Chapel for conduct “harmful to the best interests of the church,” disgraced former pastor, James MacDonald, has launched a new online ministry and Home Church Network.
MacDonald had been in arbitration with Harvest Bible Chapel for rights to his sermons. I reached out to Harvest, inquiring about whether the church and MacDonald had reached a settlement, but the church did not respond. I also reached out to MacDonald, but he did not respond either.
According to MacDonald’s website, MacDonald’s new Home Church Network (HcN) will provide people who “struggle to get to church or to stay in church,” a non-traditional way to do so.
For leaders who qualify, HcN says it will provide a video Bible teaching recorded specially for home groups. HcN also promises to include worship from “some of the most loved and widely appreciated worship leaders in the world.”
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According to the website, there are four “HcN beta-groups” that will complete the ministry’s training in February.
Last November, the elders at Harvest Bible Chapel formally disqualified MacDonald from public ministry, saying his behavior did not meet the standards for leadership outlined in Scripture.
The church also released the results of financial review, which found that under MacDonald, the church had suffered a “massive corporate governance failure.” The review also found that MacDonald had used secret accounts to funnel millions in church funds to himself for personal use.
However, in the “controversy” section of his new website, MacDonald asserts that the “financial accusations are simply false” and denies having had any secret account. He also asserts that the use of church funds for apparel and gifts were not “outside the norms” for a ministry of Harvest’s size.
MacDonald also addresses what he calls “sensationalized trips,” presumably a reference to church-funded excursions I reported last March. These included an African safari, a month-long Naples vacation, and a trip to a Dominican Republic resort.
MacDonald says the trips were “publicized gifts” that “were approved and given to worthy recipients” for their “faithful service.”
MaDonald also addresses use of church funds for the cultivation of a trophy white-tail deer herd at Camp Harvest, saying the deer herd was “a more cost-effective way” of fundraising with high-capacity donors.
James MacDonald Ministries also announced on the website a planned tour of the Holy Land in November 2020. There’s also a form on the site for pastors who want to be trained in “better biblical preaching.” And there’s a form to fill out to invite MacDonald to speak at your church or ministry event.
The website also is selling five of MacDonald’s books. Both Moody Publishers and Lifeway said last year that they will no longer sell and/or carry books by MacDonald.
It’s not clear whether James MacDonald Ministries is a registered nonprofit with the IRS. When you click on the “Give” button, it says that James MacDonald Ministries is not accepting online donations at this time.”