The Lawsuit, The Sermon, The Selection of Elders: An Update On The Disappointing Developments at Harvest

By Julie Roys
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When Harvest Bible Chapel fired James MacDonald nearly two months ago, I was cautiously optimistic. “God can rebuild something beautiful from these ashes,” I wrote. “That is His will. And He will do it if we remain focused and submitted to Him.”

Unfortunately, whatever beauty exists at Harvest continues to be obscured by ungodliness. As former Elder Dan George said when he resigned two weeks ago, the elder board continues to be controlled by former executive committee members—the same people responsible for Harvest’s “ungodly” and potentially fraudulent spending. George also warned that if the board did not “radically change,” Harvest would not “be able to rid itself of the old sinful, secretive, siloed, and controlling culture.”

“Sadly, the old adage that ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ seems to aptly describe Harvest. Yes, there has been change. But none of the change seems to have transformed Harvest’s diseased culture.”

Yet the board did not change. Instead, it dug in, denied the problem. And as the church characteristically did under MacDonald’s leadership, it strongly censured the whistleblower, accusing George of sowing “mistrust and division in the body.”

Sadly, the old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” seems to aptly describe Harvest. Yes, there has been change. But none of the change seems to have transformed Harvest’s diseased culture.

Church leaders refuse to own much of their sin, and repent of it publicly. Leaders continue to try and hide the truth.The pulpit remains a means of manipulation. And stunningly, old, disqualified elders are being used to pick a supposedly new and improved elder board.

The Lawsuit

In January, Harvest and MacDonald dropped their frivolous and unbiblical lawsuit against me, the authors of The Elephants Debt—Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant—and their wives. That was a welcome development, but two major issues remained.

One, the lawsuit cost the Mahoneys, Bryants, and me tens of thousands of dollars. And two, the lawsuit itself (and accompanying elder updates and comments to the media) included outlandish lies about me and the other four defendants.

Recently, Harvest reached an agreement with me that included the church paying for all my legal fees, including an additional $15,000 to compensate me for the defamatory comments MacDonald had made about me on the recording aired on Mancow’s radio show. Scott Bryant told me that the church also has settled with him and covered all his legal fees. For these developments, I am grateful.

Also, shortly after reaching an agreement with Harvest, I received an email from Harvest counsel, Chris Nudo, informing me that the elders would like to meet with me to offer a “heartfelt apology for the pain caused by the litigation.”

“As part of the Mahoneys’ litigation, their attorney sent me a subpoena for audio of a recorded conversation . . . Yet as Harvest has done before, the church predictably did again, filing a motion to quash the subpoena so this information never becomes public.”

I appreciated the elders’ sentiment. However, I told Nudo that for the elders’ apology to be meaningful, the elders would need to publicly renounce the lies they’ve published about me. Nudo responded that the elders would be in touch with me after considering the issue.

That was two weeks ago. I have heard nothing from the elders since.

Meanwhile, the Mahoneys remain in litigation with the church. They have filed a motion for sanctions against Harvest under the Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137. This rule allows a party to recover attorney fees spent defending frivolous litigation.

As part of the Mahoneys’ litigation, their attorney sent me a subpoena for audio of a recorded conversation involving James MacDonald, as well as a transcript of that recording. This is something I have never published for legal reasons. But it is something that is of significant public interest and is relevant to the Mahoneys’ case.

Yet as Harvest has done before, the church predictably did again, filing a motion to quash the subpoena so this information never becomes public. So much for Harvest’s alleged new era of transparency.

The Sermon

Much already has been said on social media concerning the sermon Harvest Theologian in Residence Michael Vanlaningham gave on Sunday. For those who missed it, Vanlanigham asserted that forgiveness involves promising never to bring up an incident that’s been forgiven, nor to talk about the incident with others. Then he asserted:

Now I just want to suggest, “I promise I will not bring up this incident” and “I promise I will not talk to others about this incident”—that rules out social media. Listen up! Social media has become social mania. Blogging has become flogging. Tweeting is now beating. And Christians are doing that against Christians! If somebody does you wrong, you don’t go home and post about it on Facebook for your 1,000 friends so it’s out there forever guys. It’s just wrong. That’s sin. It’s called slander. It’s called gossip. It’s called something we ought never to do to one another in the body of Christ. And, oh my goodness, how we’ve gotten out of control with that stuff! We have to learn to forgive.

Given normal circumstances, what Vanlaningham said might not have triggered backlash. However, these are not normal circumstances. For years, Harvest leaders have shamed the congregation from engaging in social media—or reading blogs exposing corruption at Harvest, like The Elephant’s Debt—saying to do so was gossiping and sowing discord.

Granted, the specific issue Vanlaningham addressed was publicly posting about a personal offense, rather than a public offense like corruption at Harvest. Yet given the context of past shaming, what he said, which lacked any clarification or nuance, felt like the familiar urging to turn a blind eye to the online exposure of ongoing corruption at Harvest.

What’s worse, at the 11:00 a.m. service at the Rolling Meadows campus, Vanlaningham upped the ante, passionately urging congregants to raise their hands if they’re willing to “stop the madness on social media.”

According to Alex Hageli, who attended that service, only about a third of the people in the congregation raised their hands. Vanlaningham then responded, “There’s a lot of you who aren’t (raising your hand). Oh, that’s too bad. Pray for the Holy Spirit to get a hold of you.”

The audio of that sermon is no longer available online, but below is a short clip from the sermon, which includes Vanlaningham’s request.

Also, here’s video of the sermon Harvest posted online. The part about social media can be heard from 27:21 to 28:22.

Again, under normal circumstances, what Vanlaningham said might be acceptable. But given the pattern of control and manipulation at Harvest, it was unwise at best—and at worst, a sign that the old, manipulative patterns remain.

Also, Vanlaningham makes a very disconcerting statement near the end of his sermon. In this statement, he addresses public discussions about Harvest. And then he conflates the public criticism of the church—which almost exclusively has targeted corrupt leaders—with the congregation itself.

At around 35:39 on the video above, he says, “I am grieved with what people are now saying about this church.” Then he points at the audience and says, “—about you. And I care for you guys a lot. I think I’m well on my way to loving you. And it is quite a dismay to see it happen.”

I was dumbfounded when I heard that. With these statements, Vanlaningham essentially created an “us-them” scenario, where the congregation and Vanlaningham—“us”— is being abused by “them”—the outside bloggers and social media users. But the reality is that bloggers and social media users aren’t abusing the congregation; Harvest’s corrupt leaders are. That is the “them” Vanlaningham should be calling out. Instead, he continues to point the fingers at outside critics, as though we’re the problem. That’s false and it’s wrong.

I have reached out to Vanlaningham for comment, but he has declined to say anything on the record. That really saddens me. Less than a year ago, Vanlaningham was a professor at the Moody Bible Institute and a repeat guest on my former Moody Radio program, Up for Debate. I really respected him during my time there, and this is not a message I would have expected from him.

Elder Selection

Lastly, there’s the matter of elder selection. As I’ve already mentioned, the elders currently running Harvest are the same ones responsible for approving the gross financial mismanagement there. However, Harvest says it plans to have a new board in place by the end of May, so does it really matter?

Actually, it matters greatly. These men shirked their fiduciary responsibility and have a strong interest in keeping Harvest’s financials hidden forever. Why the church would continue to allow them to have access to these documents, let alone control the direction of the church, is beyond baffling. It’s no wonder that Harvest still has not opened its books nor revealed the compensation it paid James MacDonald and former Harvest executives. And, though it’s extraordinarily unusual for an auditing firm like Plante Moran to refuse a job like auditing Harvest, given the circumstances, it makes sense that it did.

In addition, the elder selection process appears to be heavily controlled by campus pastors, who were tied to the former corrupt leadership to varying degrees, as well as disqualified elders. According to the church website, the campus pastors nominated all 13 of the current candidates for the new elder board, and former elders vetted them. This, despite the fact that the church posted on its FAQ page on March 2nd that “no one who has ever served as an elder before at Harvest will be part of (elder) nominations.”

There also are seven former elders serving on the elder selection committee. And of those seven, six signed the infamous letter last December pledging “unconditional support” for James MacDonald. That letter has since been removed from Harvest’s website but is posted below.

These disqualified men—Jay Patel, Elvin Valez, Mike Lawson, Ron Frahler, Jeff Kee, and Joe Brightwell—should have zero input into the selection of new elders. And it’s shocking that Harvest would elect a “new elder board” using old, disqualified elders. But once again, the more things change at Harvest, the more they stay the same.

Elder Statement of “Unconditional Support”

Elder Statement of Record _ Harvest Bible Chapel


Harvest Elder Application

Here is the application elders were sent. There’s much that’s worthy of comment in it. But for starters, it asks applicants whether they are tithing to the church. Normally, I would say tithing is a prerequisite for being an elder. But until Harvest opens its books and proves it has solved its mismanagement issues, giving to this church is irresponsible. I wonder if those prudent members who stopped tithing to Harvest were disqualified? I have emailed Harvest’s elders and asked questions about the process, but they have not responded.



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139 thoughts on “The Lawsuit, The Sermon, The Selection of Elders: An Update On The Disappointing Developments at Harvest”

  1. That sure didn’t sound like a sermon. It sounded like a petty, ham-fisted, manipulative corporate message. Hard to imagine why anyone stays at Harvest. Those leaders haven’t learned a thing. They are just trying different versions of damage control.

    1. It is not difficult to understand. This is a sad story about POWER AND CONTROL by “Christians” who have long lost their relationship with the Scriptures and the fact that it is Jesus Christ who is the only POWER that matters. Some of the Harvest Bible Chapel have moved into the thought processes of Richard Nixon in their efforts to commence a cover-up. Remember that cover-ups are worse than the crime.

      1. The outside church world sees congregational voice as imperative. James taught against it and even published comments with the title that congregational voting is of the devil. So he has conditioned the congregation and those of other HBC churches, as they were all trained through the Harvest Fellowship, that the congregations voice is not heard, valued, educated, spiritual enough to count. That culture is prevalent throughout hbc trained churches so dont be surprised about the willful ignorance. And the congregants KNOW this!!!! They have NEVER had a business meeting where they vote, only family meetings where they are told specific information, they are NEVER given financial or staff details, NEVER given means of accountability for elders, pastors or money. So don’t be surprised that ignorance continues.
        Members know it and are ok with it. They turn a blind eye due to the relationships they value, either with other congregants or leaders or both.
        The entire system needs gutted and lovingly restructured with accountability for money and leadership if there is to be healing, but that is not the system in place, as a former church planting member who attended trainings at HU, HBC and several years at hbc, visiting various other hbc churches, I have seen this over and over. The cancer spreads far and wide, not just at Chicago campuses. The sad thing is that should any Harvest Bible Chapel change names, the structure, system and cancer will most likely still remain, to cause more damage far and wide. Remove James, fine, but that does very little to end the cancerous spread of his manipulative, controlling ways. The number of people trained by him is far beyond 5000, in leadership positions around the world.

      2. Thanks, Julie, for mocking and demeaning me. As Holy Week approaches, I understand better what Jesus went through when He was mocked and demeaned. And that makes me feel so much closer to Him.
        I am praying that one day you will repent and be born-again and have a testimony to share with your grandchildren about who you used to be, how you met Jesus, and how He changed your life when He came to live inside your heart.

        1. There is nothing “holy” about a week , it is a Pagan festival of Ishtar and you Mary are deceived and have been listening to the wrong voice for decades.And by the way, Julie DID NOT mock you or “demean” you in any way which means your hearing and comprehension of even simple truth is way way off as well. Can you repent? I do not know, but I do know that God gives those over to strong delusion that are disobedient to His Holy Word………..

          1. David- FYI, I attend Harvest which does not use the term “Holy Week”. But Julie uses that term because she is Anglican. And, David, I’m sad that’s your response. I can’t imagine preferring ignorance over truth.

        2. In all honesty, Mary, I think you’re lying to yourself. You’re full of outright venom, and then to compare yourself to Jesus! My goodness. You have an extremely ugly vibe, real vicious side to you there. Don’t tell us about how much closer you feel to Jesus. I don’t know a Jesus who’d inspire your level of spitefulness. You need to take stock of your life and ask yourself what you’re really following. Because your fruits seem to indicate it sure isn’t Jesus.

      3. Mary, I’m sad, too—and shocked—by your “leave us alone” statement. Does that mean you’re OK with all the deep sin at Harvest and not bothered by it at all?

        1. Wow, Mary…I just saw your “mocking and demeaning” comment from 11:55 today. No one here is doing that to you, and certainly not Julie Roys.

          And to equate your so-called hurt feelings to what the Lord and Savior io the entire world was forced to endure the last week before He was crucified is appalling and extremely offensive.

          Since you seem to do disdain the truths presented on this blog, why don’t you simply stay away?!?

    1. Leave who alone?? The power hungry money grabbers who have long lost the focus of every Christian on this earth?? When one, or a group commence the process of violating the Scriptures at every level, and try to disguise those violations do a disservice to the millions who have fought for the rule of the Scriptures. It is not complicated to put the Lord first in our lives; if we do this then the rest of life will take a powerful course of growth and evangelism.

    2. I’m willing to leave you alone when your church agrees to not accept any new membership of people. When your church agrees to say we are corrupt, and to protect any further person from being taken advantage of we have written a by law that states no new memberships will be made from here on out. No sermons on giving to us sacrificially, no trying to get new people in to pay off our debt. Talk to your elders about writing up that bylaw.

    3. Jessica Hockett

      Mary, your comment represent thousands who continue to stay and feed the beast that is Harvest Bible Chapel. I don’t know what’s sadder: the lack of confession & repentance among HBC Leaders (past and present) OR the willful blindness of much of the Congregation. Even those who claim to be “eyes wide open” are slipping back into Stockholm Syndrome.

      Many discerning believers have worked tirelessly for months–years, really–to show you the truth. Proverbs 24:11-12 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

      You know the church is corrupt. (Not was–IS.) Knowing but staying without calling for confession & repented is wrong. James 4:17: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

    4. Love endures all things. We still love Harvest too much to quit. Even former members like me. See 1 Corinthians 13. Its not over until its over. Christ endured the cross, he didn’t quit. We are “fighting the good fight”(That’s several places in Scripture). Hey, we’ve only just begun.

      Praying for you Mary.

      1. I beg to differ PhyPl , IT WAS OVER BEFORE IT BEGAN , where in God’s Holy Word does it say to build a WORLD SYSTEM MEGA COMPLEX that runs like business, looks like business, smells like business, treats others like business and sounds like business? IT DOES NOT SAY TO DO THAT, it does say to come come out and BE SEPARATE and touch not the unclean thing……..
        YOU CAN NOT FIX SOMETHING THAT IS NOT SUPPOSE TO EXIST…….. or in other words don’t ask God to fix it up when He didn’t ask for it to be in the first place, just so it can hurt thousands more?
        Does anybody realize that over 500 MILLION $$$ (or more) has flowed into this conglomerate over the years? That’s a lot of feeding the poor or something , but where did it ALL go? Buildings?, salaries?
        houses? Trips? Maybe heat and light? Remember $5 0 0 M I L L I O N , don’t tell me that there was $500 million worth of good done………. bad business bad , go stand in the corner, better yet in the lake of fire. BE NOT DECEIVED , RUN RUN RUN FAR AWAY!

  2. Thank you for so faithfully keeping everyone up to date on how events are unfolding. I thought about that us-them mentality too. No, it’s the leaders that the “outsiders” are speaking up about. And some of the members of the congregation are seeing the truth for what it is.

  3. While off the subject a bit, I remember Jmac shamed people for using electronic devices with bible apps to follow along during the service.

  4. the leadership culture was set up and sustained for the benefit of James. The head of the chicken has been cut off, but the organization will still act the same. They know no other way. They still think the system itself was Biblical.

    1. Exactly the point I made in my resignation letter. The culture lingers. The interim elder board and others were infected by the toxic culture. The system needs to be torn down.

  5. Mary- you need to opt out of this blog if you want to be left alone. Or go to another church altogether.

    It is hard to see why other people choose to stay, and why they feel the need to stay.

    Other members and non-members alike have said it is not about the messenger but the “message”. If that’s not a way to control and manipulate people then I don’t know what is.

    This is no different than already being in an abusive relationship whether mental, verbal, emotional, or physical. The abused feels the need to stay out of fear, loyalty, or worse, lost because “this is the only place or way i’ve known or know how all my life”. Even the abused will need some help and major awakening.

    Kudos to those who had the courage to leave and move on choosing a fresh start.

    Harvest is an ongoing fiasco of loose failed ends and flawed leaders running it like a corporation. It’ll be that way for a while- they’ll tweak and see what will work and not work. There’s little to minimal biblical approach nor accountability. Everything is business as usual.

  6. Great, another mega church pastor is coming to HB this weekend…….Pastor Gene Appel, Eastside Christian Church from AC

  7. Julie, thank you for continuing to keep Harvest members informed.

    For now, I am still a member. I was in attendance last Sunday and also thought people who know the truth have an obligation to continue speaking out against ANY injustice. I also understood the biblical side of the speaker’s sermon regarding “unjust” gossip, slander, etc. Your blog is NOT an example of being “unjust”. Your blog is one of truth regarding ill behavior of church leaders who need to be made accountable.

    The monies stolen and abused from the church needs to be accounted for and openly published. Church leaders should be open and honest about the books. Previous leaders who chose to look the other way should NOT have any say in who gets voted on to the new elder board, etc., etc.

    I continue to be baffled by the so called “godly leadership” any where. I even dropped from small group last year due to manipulation and people pleasing being more on the agenda than following truth.

    Again, for now, which may not be much longer, I will remain at Harvest. This is not due to the church I remain. I need to know within myself I am done.

    You are a blessing Julie…THANK YOU!!!!

  8. Susan Vonder Heide

    Social media can be used for good or for ill just as television, radio, or the printed page can be used for good for ill. If this otherwise gifted preacher really thinks that the concerns raised by many about the current situation are about people quietly sitting in the audience at Harvest (some of whom may have recently arrived) rather than about its leadership culture he is, most charitably, missing the point.

  9. Mary, aren’t you doing exactly what your cult leaders told you not to do? Why do you care about people who want to discuss the truth and be free of the lies and deceit you choose to ignore? We have a right to speak about what is going on. This spirit of confusion, control and lies is Not of the Lord. Maybe that should be a clue. I suspect maybe James is still running the show as the master of puppets. This sermon sounds just like his mind control and guilt techniques. Isn’t it interesting the very social media outlets like radio, Facebook, Twitter have been used by Harvest to take in the cash from people and promote themselves for years. Wow! What a hypocrite! That is ok but let’s not talk to anyone? If they are so innocent, there is nothing to hide. People need to leave before God gives them over to this idol of Harvest rather than God and truth!

  10. I’m with Mary, leave them alone.

    Accusations of ignorance – really? Your word is not truth Julie. Gods truth is over yours. Gods truth over behaviors, over words & text. I read the end of the biblical story, truth = God wins. Encourage one another with these words. 1 Thess 5:11

    Biblical News flash – “God uses sinful men. Scripture tells of David-adulterous murderer, became a King. Peter-denier, fear of men, became the “rock” the church stands. Paul-persecutor murdering Christians, became author, teacher & example of truth.”

    Don’t judge the only part that God can. ♥ 1 Sam 16:7

    For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk (text) but in power. 1 Cor. 4:20

    Each person is accountable for their words as acceptable before God. Ps. 19

    Give God time. Wait and trust. Hope in God.

    1. Biblical News Flash!!! Sonflwrs…David, Peter,and Paul…. all of these men truly Repented, they didn’t make ambiguous apologies and hide things that were TOO CONTRIVERTIAL or to embarrassing .They laid bare every sin that they had committed….the Bible DOES NOT read of how David shamed The Prophet Nathan when Nathan called David out about his sin, because David was broken about his sin and gladly took his consequences…If these Harvest Bible chapel leaders would TRULY repent and do what’s right and Biblical ,these blogs would Disappear….The fact that anyone would make excuses for someone else’s sin shows a lack of Real love…For Example I love my children more than peace in my home so when my children sin I call them out so that they might repent…whether or not they like me for it.

    2. @sonflwrs

      “David-adulterous murderer, became a King”
      David committed those sins while he was king. He used his power to sin and cover his sins. Sound familiar?

    3. Yes, in time = true repentance, God knows. We don’t

      Old Testament teaches us the God works through the unrepentant as well to get to His purposes.
      The Nation of Israel.

      Point being – God wins here with hearts who turn to Him and are HIs. I will not determine who or who has not turned or when. Even you use the word “If” “truly”
      Let God be the judge – to many courtrooms in the hearts of those who call themselves Gods children.
      By faith I believe in the biblical process. I have to trust the instructions given by God himself through His Son. I watch, pray and wait for God to work (- yes, through sinful & repentant men and women)

      Yesterday a very wise woman told me SM is full of angry people. She is smart.
      I don’t know that I could tolerate watching the family of God destroy each other. Look at it.
      You all question why that Preacher asked that congregation to get into Gods word for truth….shame on him? Shame on you.

      1. With the logic you use, then why are you posting on this blog???? We’re all sinners, right? According to you, you should not say anything to anyone because God wins in the end….your actions call you out…are you the only one who can call people out when you think they are wrong??? You say say “I watch, I pray and wait for God to work(yes through sinful and repentant men and women)…..yet your still blogging….. shame on us???? Shame on you.

      2. @sonflwrs…Assuming you’re familiar with the backstory…up to and including the many attempts of the Matthew principal and JMac and the failed attempts; i.e. his refusal to listen to godly counsel. I would be interested to know how you (anyone) can defend the filth that came out of his mouth in the recent audio?

    4. At what point is too much? Clearly God cut off leaders, even Moses. If leaders must be qualified, then they can be disqualified. Grace? Of course, but out of love we also have distinct qualifications.

      We ARE to judge, in the right ways, just as Jesus commanded (e.g. Jn 7:24). In fact, so much of our lives are determined by our judgment (Proverbs 2:1ff; 3:1ff; Acts 17:11; Heb 5:12-14). And our love is driven by our judgment/discernment (Phil 1:9-11).

      We have a responsibility to help others who are in error or sin. (Jas 5:19-20; Prov 24:11-12) This is not only a high calling, it is supremely loving. Why? Because nothing is more harmful to us than sin and being deceived (which leads to sin).

      Only a fool, and the enemy, would not want us to do these things. (I am not saying that is what you believe)

    5. God’s truth is over you as well, and Jesus spoke of whispers in inner rooms being shouted from rooftops. You hate that? Take it up with Jesus, there’s your stumbling block, Jesus. Don’t kill the messengers, we’re just telling you His truth. Your call as to whether you go for the truth or continue to twist the Bible like you very sadly did in your post. Sure God uses sinful people. But where oh where does God tell us to not call them out for their sin? Your position is completely and utterly unbiblical.

  11. Former HBC Member

    How is it that the campus pastors, the same men that played the “Name Game” (see wondering eagle blog) are quailed to keep their jobs let alone select new elders? Then their is John Smith who has been molded by James and in fact would do anything to come back to HBC. Members should be running for the doors. The place is toxic.

      1. Re: The Name Game – per Dean Butters’ statement:

        “James’ favorite game when the leadership team is together at camp or off-site is “The Name Game.”He makes everyone to put the names of three former HBC employees in a hat, then to go around and draw a name and describe the crappy things the person did until he/she is guessed. Upon reflection, I now realize that this game serves the dual purpose of:
        ~ Getting everyone to openly mock staff people who leave
        ~ Reinforce the pillar of loyalty in Harvest Staff culture; those who leave are bad, and you don’t ever want to be one of them.”

  12. Since I usually post under the name “John” and someone else has already used that name in the comments, I will go with WrestedWithGod.

    It’s truly devastating to watch the train wreck unfold. Stack upon stack of more and more lies and spin and manipulation and resignations and shunning and control and fraud and on and on it goes….

    The sad thing about this is…the congregation that remains after all of this are making individual decisions to stay. They will ensure (by doing nothing) that the old culture remains in place until the money runs out…

    1. Remember Lot’s Wife! There comes a point when people reject the truth of God and their hearts long for the place of evil, they will do so at their own destruction. This is very serious as God will give them over to what they want over him.

  13. So much sad truth here, however your lumping in of the campus pastors is wrong, they as a group actually had the least interaction with Jmac, except Jeff and Mo. You are not being kind to the rest of them who were busy sheparding and not jet setting. Please clarify that.

    1. A Shepherd who knows that there are wolves in the fold and doesn’t warn and protect the sheep is a Hireling, and Hirelings dont care for the sheep just their pay checks …Jn 10:12-13 12.He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees,and the wolf snatches them and scatters them 13.he flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep………The Hireling cares for himself first, not the sheep….if these campus pastors have been at Harvest for any length of time then they were aware of what was going on….I personally talked to Brit Gilman and Brian Bradshaw about the corrupt culture at Harvest a full year before all of this stuff broke…so no the campus pastors can’t cry ignorance.

    2. I said they were “tied to the former corrupt leadership to varying degrees,” which I believe is accurate. Definitely, some were more complicit than others. I think it’s up to congregants at each campus to discern how much their pastor knew and complied.

    3. Incredibly incorrect! Just like Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks for Trump, campus pastors spoke for MacDonald. Trust me, I know, i was one.

  14. All of the campus pastors,leadership team members, and elders past knew JMac. Who is this scripture describing 2 Timothy 3:1-9. It sounds like it describes JMac to a tee. All the people now in charge condoned JMac’s way of life. So they all need to be gone. That would be a starting point. Harvest lacks this understanding. They are failing to clean up the mess.

  15. Susan Vonder Heide

    I think that it is important to make distinctions between active participants and willing enablers on the one hand and intimidated and therefore passive witnesses on the other hand. They are distinct categories and it is important not to confuse the two. Should some witnesses have been more courageous? Perhaps, but let’s not forget the environment that they were in. Context is important.

  16. Forgiveness DOES NOT EQUAL reconciliation. It does not mean trust is restored, or should be given.

    Forgiveness is something an individual does.

    True reconciliation (and rebuilding trust) is something that BOTH sides do. This includes:

    1. GODLY SORROW (see 2 Cor 7:8-11)

    If these are done well then trust is restored, individuals grow and change, the relationship is greatly improved, and reconciliation has taken place.

    However, if one sides demands forgiveness–and/or equates forgiveness with trust/reconciliation/not addressing and working out the problems–then that is, or will become, an abusive situation.

    Furthermore, if that is the case then the person(s) insisting the problems are dropped and not addressed, that there are no appropriate consequences, etc, then this person/group of people has likely been ENABLED over a long period of time–and has come to expect this, and depend on this, rather than godly sorrow, confession, and repentance.

  17. I liked the bit about forgiveness meaning never mentioning it again. I guess that’s why Scripture names the sins of leaders who were forgiven by God so we can all know about them? Will pray that the process of repentance actually continues at Harvest–sometimes owning up to these things takes time. That noted, I pray that it happens quickly, as financial recovery for the church really requires a degree of openness that I don’t see now.

  18. Re: “Name Game” as cited in Dean Butters’ statement:

    James’ favorite game when the leadership team is together at camp or off-site is “The Name Game.”He makes everyone to put the names of three former HBC employees in a hat, then to go around and draw a name and describe the crappy things the person did until he/she is guessed. Upon reflection, I now realize that this game serves the dual purpose of:
    ■Getting everyone to openly mock staff people who leave
    ■Reinforce the pillar of loyalty in Harvest Staff culture; those who leave are bad, and you don’t ever want to be one of them


  19. I don’t go to church: from a blood bought, born again Christian with over 50 years of going to church
    Dear People, please, I plead you… please listen to my statement and testimony along with me and my Brother in Christ James Van Patten Jr
    These 501c3 brick and mortar buildings (and even those run under private or limited liability corp) run by apostate trained CEOs called pastors are not BIBLICAL. They are literally making Merchandise of you and your children and your children’s heritage. They are cursed by God under both Galatians 1:8,9 and 2 Peter 2:3… In fact 2 Peter 2:3, literally says these false teachers through feigned (study the word feigned: invented. fake. counterfeit. deception. fictitious. ) words make merchandise of you…
    I’ve recently completed an 800 page Ebook with my Brother in Christ containing over a thousand references, several thousand pages of source documentation titled: ” I don’t go to church. A 50 year testimony of attending church to say in agreement with Dr. Larkin, that today’s churches are building the kingdom of the Antichrist. ” see note 1 below… If anyone wants this open public domain book. I will email you a copy for free. Email me your request to [email protected].

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