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Luke MacDonald Says High-Profile Christians Paul Baloche & Dave Stone Endorse His Ministry

By Julie Roys
Paul Baloche Luke MacDonald Dave Stone
Luke MacDonald (center) says Paul Baloche (left) and Dave Stone (right) endorse his ministry.

Luke MacDonald has a track record of alleged abusive and bizarre behavior, and reportedly authored deceptive communications while working as an executive pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel. But that hasn’t stopped a number of high-profile Christian leaders from reportedly endorsing MacDonald, including popular singer-songwriter, Paul Baloche, and retired megachurch pastor, Dave Stone.

The men and several other Christian leaders were listed on the website for MacDonald’s new Chicago-area church plant when the church launched a few weeks ago.

The website read: “The names listed here are friends who have graciously supported us by contributing w. wisdom, prayer, and finances to help us launch . . .”

Others listed on MacDonald’s church website included Junior Ziegler, lead teaching pastor at The Bridge in suburban Chicago; Nate and Carol Adrade, pastors of Free City LA, a church in Los Angeles, California; Bishop Ulmer, senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church where MacDonald has been employed as an associate pastor of preaching and outreach; and Pastor John Peacock of Mission Church in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Junior Ziegler Luke MacDonald Paul Baloche Dave Stone

Soon after I published an article last month critical of MacDonald, the endorsement webpage vanished.

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I reached out to Luke MacDonald, asking him why he removed the webpage and whether all the people listed were aware that he was listing them as endorsers on his website, but MacDonald did not respond.

I also reached out to all the alleged endorsers more than a week ago, asking them about their support of MacDonald. Only Baloche responded.

In a statement to The Roys Report, Baloche wrote: “I support (MacDonald) having a chance to start over.”

But Baloche said he’s spoken to MacDonald only “once in the past two years,” and added that he told MacDonald that “starting something new in the Chicago area would not be wise until there is humble reconciliation with many from his former church.”

A History with MacDonald

Baloche, like several of the endorsers listed, has a long history with Harvest Bible Chapel and the MacDonald family.

Baloche led worship at Harvest numerous times and has written and recorded songs with Vertical Worship, Harvest’s songwriting and worship ministry. Baloche also continues to serve as an instructor for Vertical Worship’s Leadership Cohort, a training program for worship leaders that costs $2,000/worship leader.

In his online biography, Luke MacDonald states that he helped start Vertical Worship. MacDonald also served as creative director for Vertical Worship Band and produced albums for them.

I reached out to Vertical Worship to ask if MacDonald is still involved in the ministry, but no one responded. Last year, a senior leadership member at Harvest indicated that Luke’s father—disgraced celebrity pastor, James MacDonald—and other MacDonald family members received royalties from Vertical Worship.

Baloche also was a staunch defender of the MacDonald’s and Harvest when I first began reporting on MacDonald’s and Harvest’s wrongdoing two years ago.

In a January 2019 tweet, Baloche criticized my exposé of MacDonald in WORLD Magazine, stating: “Saddened by your pettiness and self-righteous pursuit to tear down good, but imperfect ministries. Happy with yourself? You will be judged as you have judged others.”

In a subsequent tweet, Baloche argued that MacDonald is “not abusive,” adding: “I have known the MacDonalds for more than 30 years . . . and experienced their most generous, loving ministry first-hand.”

Baloche’s tweets sparked significant backlash and he eventually deleted them.

Dave Stone, retired pastor of the multi-site megachurch, Southeast Christian Church, also has history with the MacDonalds and Harvest.

In his endorsement of James MacDonald’s book, Vertical Church, Stone calls James MacDonald his “friend” who has “a passion for the church to change the world.”

After Harvest fired James MacDonald and his sons resigned, Harvest brought in Stone to preach at Harvest on an interim basis. Stone also recently participated in a meeting between James MacDonald and the current elders of Harvest Bible, which reportedly failed to achieve any reconciliation between the two parties.

Some of the other pastors listed on Luke MacDonald’s website are located in Los Angeles near the church where Luke has served since leaving Harvest.

However, Junior Ziegler’s church, The Bridge, is a large multi-site church in the Chicago area where James MacDonald’s daughter, Abby, and her husband reportedly attend. The Bridge sparked controversy last year when it suspended a staff member for posting an article critical of James MacDonald on social media.

Luke MacDonald’s Church

Though Luke MacDonald is still listed as a pastor on the website of Faithful Central Baptist Church, MacDonald recently shared a post on his Facebook page from a parishioner saying she would miss MacDonald and wishes him success in his new ministry.

According to an email from Luke MacDonald, his new church, “Good News in the Neighborhood,” is gathering this Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on the second floor of Schaumburg Banquet in west suburban Chicago.

UPDATE: Jon Peacock of Mission Church contacted me after this piece published and apologized for not responding to the email I sent on November 23, saying it went to the church’s general email inbox. “To answer your question directly,” he wrote, “I did not endorse and will not be endorsing Luke MacDonald’s new church.”



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33 Responses

  1. High-profile Christian Cynthia W. will offer Mr. MacDonald “wisdom and prayer,” too:

    Go get a job at Walmart, young man. I will pray that he gets the mental-health assistance he needs.

  2. Wondering if any are interested in rolling out the red carpet for Luke? Would be interesting to see him have to walk through a gauntlet of people who care enough to sound the alarm so untold others aren’t fleeced by him and the name of our Lord isn’t blasphemed and dragged further through the mud. Will be curious to know more, but I suspect Luke will be accompanied by his henchmen. After all, don’t wolves usually roam and devour their prey in packs?

  3. “Celebrity,” Mega” ad nauseum. So tired of the MacDonald’s and anyone who continues to defend or promote them. Good riddance.

    1. I propose no man gets called “celebrity” or “mega” whatever… anymore. They are men just like us and this feeds into the ‘celebrity’ culture. Are they doing their jobs right? Are they good shepherds?

  4. It’s unnerving, it really is. How can this delusional man still believe he has a place in the ministry of the Lord’s church, after all of what was uncovered about him, and the reckless, bullying, and abusive behavior that was encountered and witnessed by so many at HBC? I will quote myself from a previous post; I hope Luke’s church launch is a dismal failure, for no other reason than to protect the people that may be taken in by him. I have reviewed every report, the full audit, the full investigation, and the letters from many and various individuals who were victims of the MacDonald mob. Seems like it was hundreds and hundreds of people who came forward as witnesses and victims. Such an ocean of evidence simply cannot be ignored. Luke, Landon, and their father, James MacDonald do not belong ministering in the Lord’s church anymore than a pack of baboons. And believe me, it hurts to say these things about the church and pastor I once loved.

  5. Not surprised that his friend, Pastor Nate Andrade, is another wolf in sheep’s clothing. He fled to California from Texas after having ripped off multiple real estate investors just before the bubble burst leaving many high and dry. He is also alleged to have defaulted on the vehicle he used to make his move, thereby ripping off a trusting family member. Great start for a pastor. Birds of a feather…

  6. I just received an email from James & Kathy telling of their home based “church” with the Walk in The Word logo….He told of how he& his family had been lied about & they did nothing wrong….in other words he was probably looking for money…I promptly deleted it….they never give up!

      1. More than anything, the MacDonald’s need repentance, repentance unto salvation that is. Yet I fear that people like them have so hardened their hearts toward God—thousands upon thousands of times—that they have seared their consciences, trampled on the grace of God, and have profaned and blasphemed His name. God will not be mocked; all that awaits charlatans like them is judgment and the wrath of God.

  7. Julie, did you check with each of the people on Luke’s list to see if Luke used their name and picture with permission? I know of at least one name on that list who told Luke, “No.” Wouldn’t that be “investigative reporting 101”?

    1. I thought exactly the same BS! Like you, I know at least one of the list well and I don’t think he supports nor endorces his ministry.

    1. “Reaching out” is not a confirmation of their endorsement. Their names should not have been included in this blog post if they did not respond to her. It’s just as bad as Luke using their names and pictures without permission!

      1. BS, the fact that these pastors are on the list says something about their relationship with the MacDonald family. While Julie can’t force them to respond to her communication about just how they are involved, one would think that if someone did not want to be associated with this type of delusion, they would make it WELL known publicly. Instead, what we see is these pastors skirting a needed call to reconciliation and playing around with the wolves.

      2. BS – You obviously don’t understand reporting. The article stating what happened vs Luke adding endorsements without permission are not the same thing. You can report about someone being associated with a subject without needing permission.

        1. I understand integrity. I do not know the Macdonald family, never care to know them. Is it possible that Luke name-dropped a bunch of names here to appear to be well-connected in the community? I know a man on the list who was asked for endorsement after the fact and he told Luke “No”. Is it also possible that this man did not respond to Julie’s “reaching out” because he doesn’t wish to be associated with this blog?
          The big picture: God doesn’t need this blog to save Christ’s church. It actually keeps these narcissists relevant. Stop writing about them and keeping their names in the forefront. Maybe they’ll go away.

  8. So when I go to the Good News in the Neighborhood website all that came up was a single tab with the word “Give”. Enough said.

    1. I had to see this with my own eyes, and yes it it true! At least it makes it known how one’s gift will be used since there is only one budget category:

      “General: This discretionary money can be used where it’s needed most.“

    2. I also went to the website just to satisfy my own burning curiosity and lo and behold, there it was! Nothing but a logo and a tab that says give. The MacDonald mob is alive and kicking!

      1. “General: This discretionary money can be used where it’s needed most.“

        Well we all know what that means. More vacations for Luke & Family, Luke golf excursions, a nice Mercedes or Porsche, what else?

  9. This family is demonstrating they are not interested in walking out biblical repentance or showing the fruit thereof. Those that support Luke show their lack of biblical maturity to truly assess the damage he and his family have done to so many sheep by their narcissistic lifestyle. This is not a man that walks with integrity and demonstrates the marks of biblical maturity noted in 1 Timothy and Titus. Seriously unqualified.

  10. How to know your church is full of sh-t:

    You need other people, (who don’t even live in the same state), to endorse you. Makes total sense.

    This isn’t a start up company or a book review. It’s a church. When have you even seen a list of “endorsements” from a church. This is just another way the McDonald family is trying to manipulate people into believing their BS.

  11. It strikes me that the endorsement that really matters is not that of Luke Macdonald’s peers. It is the question of whether his former subordinates, and those otherwise under his authority, would endorse his leadership.

  12. When i was a teenager i was forced to be apart of the harvest high school ministry at harvest….the only reason i ever went is because the Macdonald sons threatened to punch me in the face if i didnt go. I hope people see what that family is actually about and stop blindly following them

  13. I wonder where Jesus is in all of this? This is all about MacDonalds: Jesus and salvation forgotten.
    I still get the creeps remembering how james would always say:”Harvest, your such a giving church!”
    ” You don’t want GODs money in “YOUR HOUSE”. I guess GOD wants your money in MacDonald’s house.
    I knew we lost James when he started hanging with movie stars and dumps like Mancow.

  14. It isn’t ministry that these guys are called to it is making money that they are called to. If the money isn’t there they will be “called” to another occupation. Also please never ask them to do menial tasks such as visiting the sick. That is what their staff is hired to do. That being said the real blame for these guys are the weak deacons and board members who don’t have the guts to call them out when they discover wrong doing.

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