Over the past few months, Ryan Mahoney and I have spent a great deal of time researching and writing on the subject of James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel. During that season, many of you have asked us why we write on this subject. Tonight, we are prepared to offer you part of our story. For some of you, this may be painful to read; and it may bring up feelings of anger, resentment, or even doubt. For others, our story may offer you a sense of release – a sense of finally being able to put a finger on the unease many of you have expressed. For us, we offer this with mixed emotions, many of which are too personal and complicated to fully explain. But it should not go without mentioning that in the lectionary reading of October 6th, we find two passages (Psalm 92:1-5 and 2 Samuel 1:1a, 17-19; 23-27) that bring us comfort even as they bring us a measure of sadness and lament. So without further comment, we offer you The Elephants Debt.
Tag Archives: pastor
“I wish I could find a small but faithful church to attend. I’d leave the HBF [Harvest Bible Fellowship] in a flash. So tired of being marketed to as if I were a consumer and the church was Madison Ave.”
This comment, which was recently posted on BSI, taps into a core problem faced by many Evangelicals today. And lest the reader wonder, this is not an isolated situation. Over the past several months, Scott and I have been asked on numerous occasions where we attend church and why. Clearly, many within the body are struggling to find a faithful church home; and thus, we post this today in the hopes of helping anyone who is currently searching. While we cannot tell you where to go, we can tell you where we have planted our roots. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this week, the Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas issued a new report that highlights the explosive growth of Protestant churches committed to the practice of multi-site gatherings. As recently as 1990, there were only 10 documented examples of North American churches utilizing video technology to “beam” the teachings of a charismatic pastor to a variety of locations around a particular geographic region. But by 2005, the influence of these early methodological pioneers had fundamentally changed the spiritual architecture of the Protestant Church. As more than 1500 churches were now engaged in the practice of multi-site ministry, smaller ecclessial bodies began to take notice of the practice and its impact upon the numerical “success” of the larger churches in their area. Consequently, many of these smaller bodies began to adopt a similar strategy, which, in turn, has only served to accelerate the widespread adoption of this multi-site ministry model. Now today, in 2012, there are more than 5000 churches employing a multi-site church growth strategy in North America alone. And the question that begs to be asked is this: how is this development shaping our understanding of the church and the role of the senior pastor? Read the rest of this entry »
In the most recent discussion spurred on by the post entitled Harvest Bible Chapel: Establishing the Authority of King James, several questions were raised regarding the validity of anonymous sources. At different times, the discussion even turned to the question of gossip and whether we, as Christians, have the right to ask questions about significant leaders and/or elders who are no longer present at HBC. Today, in the interest of continuing the discussion about James MacDonald and the internal workings of Harvest Bible Chapel, I would like to draw your attention to comments made by former pastor Rod Van Solkema, on the 25th of July.
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Three weeks ago, on June 27th, I published an article under the title: Harvest Bible Chapel: Is Dissent the Same as Rebellion? Since that time, the article has amassed nearly 3000 “page views” with over 100 comments continuing to address all manner of differing concerns [Editor: Page views now over 5000. Comment count now over 170.]. Amongst these concerns, however, appears to be a growing interest in the general whereabouts and circumstances related to the departure of several long-term and/or founding elders. Now, today, Twitter brings us this news from one-time elder, Gordon Zwirkoski, and Grace Community Bible Church, formerly known as Harvest Bible Chapel – Grayslake.
Over the past few months, as I have written about various issues arising in evangelicalism at large, and at Harvest Bible Chapel in particular, I have repeatedly come across comments that are disturbing on a number of levels. Take, for instance, this recent comment by a man identifying himself as “Bob”: Read the rest of this entry »
Last Sunday, on the 24th of June, Jeff Donaldson, Campus Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel – Elgin, preached a sermon entitled “Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.” In it, he utilized the Old Testament account of Korah’s uprising against Moses to argue that issues such as envy, self-deception, anger and distrust could lead a congregation into open rebellion against the pastor or elders of their church.
Interestingly, as his argument built to a climax, his attention shifted to the blogosphere, where he made comments both “on camera” and “off.” Let’s start by looking at the “on camera” remarks. Read the rest of this entry »
The scene is almost as classic as the film in which it is found. Having just discovered the brutally burned remains of his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker has agreed to travel off-planet with Obi-wan Kenobi on a desperate mission to deliver two droids that contain vital information to finally putting an end to Vader’s Empire. But upon arriving at the Mos Eisley Spaceport, they are confronted by imperial stormtroopers hunting for the droids. Just at this moment, when all seems lost, the mysterious Kenobi, in his first real display of power, simply waves his hand and says the iconic words: “These are not the droids you are looking for.” And just like that, the befuddled stormtroopers parrot his words and numbly allow the heroes to continue forward on their fateful journey.
Several weeks ago, Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) attempted his own “Jedi mind trick” of sorts, as he sought to convince his congregation that they need not listen to the external critics of his ministry, in spite of the evidence that was right before their eyes. Listen closely to what he says in this sermon based loosely upon John 2:13-22. Read the rest of this entry »
In the absence of a public statement being issued either by Harvest Bible Fellowship or by Harvest Bible Church (formerly Harvest Bible Chapel) of Grayslake, IL, those that are attempting to document the fallout from the Elephant Room 2 are left with the unenviable task of sifting through the available data in an attempt to piece together the developing story.
Yesterday morning, that task became somewhat lighter as Senior Pastor Mike Bryant [no relation to this author] lent credibility to emerging reports, when he addressed the matter in his weekly sermon. Read the rest of this entry »