Turmoil at Harvest Bible Chapel clouds future, role of popular pastor James MacDonald


Since Harvest Bible Chapel introduced a month ago that senior pastor James MacDonald was taking an “indefinite sabbatical” from his duties, uncertainty has swirled around the church and MacDonald’s future. It has additionally engulfed other Harvest campuses as distant as Florida.

Harvest introduced Jan. sixteen that MacDonald, a founding member of the network of Chicago-space evangelical churches that pulls hundreds each weekend, was taking time away for what the pastor himself described as actions that “can only be referred to as sin.” While MacDonald was not supposed to evangelise in Chicago in the course of the sabbatical, the announcement indicated he may go at Harvest’s newest location in Naples, Fla., the place he had preached in the course of the first two Sundays in January.

Blindsided by the announcement, the campus pastor in Naples spoke out towards the arrangement. Two days later, he stated, he was fired.

John Secrest, whose church joined the MacDonald network of Harvest churches in the summer of 2018, stated he was surprised by the flip of events and the announcement that MacDonald can be stepping apart however perhaps nonetheless preaching on the Naples location. During a current interview with the Tribune, Secrest stated he didn’t assume MacDonald should be capable of work in Naples till the interior issues have been cleared up. He even indicated that maybe the most effective path ahead was to sever the formal partnership between the Florida campus and the Illinois churches. Secrest, who described a state of affairs by which church leaders and unusual members in Naples have been stored at midnight relating to developments, stated his requests and recommendations have been rebuffed.

After Secrest outlined his considerations concerning the MacDonald state of affairs in an emailed letter to his flock in Florida, he was fired for insubordination.

“We didn’t sign up for all of this drama that has nothing to do with us,” Secrest stated. “I advised them this is just unconscionable, please don’t do this. … We obtained sucked into one thing that on the surface seemed engaging, but beneath the surface was very poisonous.”

After Secrest was dismissed, Harvest posted a press release on its website updating church members. The letter said that MacDonald “agrees it’s sensible for him to remain out of all leadership involvement of Harvest Bible Chapel, including preaching on any campus” throughout his sabbatical. The elders’ letter also said that current occasions, together with “the termination of the Lead Pastor of the Naples Campus” had church leadership reviewing its structure and determination-making course of.

“As we strongly want to make clever, God-honoring selections, we might be constructing a workforce of individuals to evaluation our present construction,”” said the letter posted on the Harvest website. “It is our hope that this staff of Elders, employees, church members and experienced outdoors counsel will assist us move ahead in a healthy approach.”

MacDonald and a church spokeswoman did not reply to requests for remark.

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