Harvest report pins ‘massive corporate governance failure’ on MacDonald

Religion News Service

Nov. 22, 2019

By Emily McFarlan Miller

A “massive corporate governance failure apparently developed over several years” at Harvest Bible Chapel primarily because of its former senior pastor, James MacDonald, according to a report released Thursday evening (Nov. 21) by the Chicago-area megachurch.

The report by Chicago-based law firm Wagenmaker & Oberly pinned that failure on MacDonald’s “powerful and subversive leadership style,” his development of an inner circle of leaders through which he could control the church, his marginalization of the church’s elders and other leaders and other “aggressive tactics” by the former pastor.

And it’s “most glaring” when it comes to the church’s finances, according to the report.

The report comes at the request of the Harvest 2020 team of congregants, staff, elders and outside professionals formed this spring to review the church’s oversight, accountability and transparency.

That team asked Wagenmaker & Oberly to review the church’s finances and management practices to “determine what might’ve gone wrong and to put forth corrective policies and procedures to get us on the right course for the future,” according to Harvest treasurer Tim Stoner.

“It is our sincere desire to do the right thing even when it is hard, and in the process, to see the Lord repair what has been broken and to move us to a deeper and sweeter walk with Jesus. We want to follow the admonition in Micah chapter 6, verse 8, to do justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God,” Stoner said.

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