Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) announced that after several months of arbitration, starting in August 2020, that they came to an agreement with their former pastor and leader James MacDonald, to settle all open issues between them and bring this messy, shameful blight on the church to an end.
James MacDonald’s employment was officially terminated by the elder board in November of 2019, declaring the money-grubbing guzzler to be so not above reproach, that they raked him over the coals sixty ways to Sunday and called him out for the abusive, greedy, two-fold son of hell that he is.
As a result of the arbitration, Macdonald walks away with the following, among other things:
-Walk in the Word (WITW) will no longer be a ministry under the umbrella of HBC. As part of the merging of WITW to HBC, there was an agreement that MacDonald could remove WITW and its assets to an external organization. This includes:
-Cash and real estate. Our insurance company paid MacDonald $1.2 million. HBC also agreed to transfer a vacant parcel of property adjacent to our Crystal Lake Campus which we had listed for sale on the market since mid-2019. These funds and this land are for the assets that Walk in the Word brought to HBC when it came under the church in 2010.
The Parties shall cooperate to accomplish HBC’s transfer of the deferred compensation funds that had been established for MacDonald’s benefit. This plan was in place prior to his departure from HBC and relates to a retirement plan of which MacDonald is the beneficiary.
In addition, HBC will pay MacDonald $250,000 cash for reimbursement promised to him prior to 2019 in connection with selling his prior home.
More about his luxury $2,000,000 home can be found here., but it was a beaut.
You’ll recall that MacDonald was living the high life prior to being ousted, likely rolling around naked each night in his Scrooge McDuckian Money Bin, reveling in the filthy lucre he was amassing and spending as if it were candy.
Harvest Bible Church, who is far from innocent in this whole mess, gave MacDonald a multi-million dollar checking account, and over a period of just three years he spent:
$286,096 In personal expenses for he and his family unrelated to the following expenses below. These included $100,000 in counseling, a pair of motorcycles, tuition, car repairs, etc.
$416,139 was spent on travel (including those expenses related to James
MacDonald’s “refreshment”), of which $94,046 was added to his W-2s as
$170,851 was spent on hunting and fishing trips and related expenses. Expenses within this category include hunt cost, airfare, lodging, gas, food, gratuities, apparel, guns, and taxidermy (and related shipments).
$139,502 was spent on meals and entertainment. Entertainment expenses within this category include golf, club dues, boat tours, and event tickets.
$94,017 was spent on apparel and eyewear, of which $17,277 was added to James MacDonald’s W-2s as additional compensation
$114,159 for “refreshment” expenses for other members of the Senior Executive Leadership Team.
As a result of being post-arbitration, MacDonald sent out a newsletter to his fans, of which sadly some still exist. In the letter, he calls on his former church to:
Abandon the false narrative in financial matters – HBC’s most grievous sin against us.
Hold accountable the particular leaders who led the hostile takeover and what followed.
Be transparent about HBC’s wrongful seizure of millions in Walk in the Word (WITW) assets.
Be transparent about HBC’s destruction of WITW and other efforts to end our ministry permanently.
As one might imagine from swindlers who go gaga for greedy gain, MacDonald is completely unrepentant, writing that the church needs to publicly confess for the falsehoods about him.
In a section where he addresses where and how exactly he failed in all this, assuming HBC is making everything up, MacDonald responds in a way that is reminiscent of a job interview where the employer asks the hopeful candidate what his biggest weaknesses are, and he replies, “I work too hard. I care too much, and I become too invested in my job.”
I struggled increasingly under the weight of it all. I stepped away from the ministry multiple times with Elder support to regain my health and capacity to lead. In the end, I just burnt out, and had to “pull over” for extended time away from ministry. I had carried too much for too long, and I am grieved by the impact that had on several good leaders working most closely with me. Three times in 2019, I confessed my role in those relational failings to the board in writing, and multiple times publicly…
MacDonald worked too hard, carried too much, and as a result had some “relational failings.” That’s all folks. Just a couple of relational failings. Nothing more. The rest is conspiracy. Just a bit of burnout from doing too much.
As far as what’s in the future for MacDonald? Now that he has another cool million, he intends to rebuild Walk in the Word, continue to build his Home Church Network, and preach and teach and be a pastor again, while accruing more financial “Change Partners” to donate to his ministries to help them grow and turn into the multi-million juggernauts of their former glory.
And we think we know who will benefit most from that.