The shakeup at Harvest Bible Chapel continued tonight as the sons of founder James MacDonald, who was fired last week, offered their resignations.
In his resignation letter, Lead Pastor Luke MacDonald said his “professional dream” had been “to one day grow to be the Senior Pastor of the church.” But he added that “conversations with elders and staff” had made it clear that he “should move forward to whatever God has next.”
Noting that his birth year and Harvest’s were the same, Landon MacDonald, executive pastor of student ministries, said he “always thought that something like that would be said at my funeral having served at Harvest my whole life.” Landon said his years at Harvest have been wonderful and that teaching the students at Harvest has been “a dream come true.” But he expressed that the the past few months have been “painful and heavy in ways I didn’t think possible.”
The resignations come after Harvest member Mark Banaszak wrote a letter on behalf of about 30 members, which was emailed to the elders. The letter specifically called for the resignations of Luke and Landon MacDonald. The letter also called for Rick Donald, assistant senior pastor, to resign.
The letter also asked for every elder who participated in the creation of the executive committee to resign immediately, as well as every elder who participated in the 2013 excommunication of three former elders. It then asked for the removal of the remaining elders over the next six months.
The letter also called for the elimination of the executive committee, a group of four to five elders who make all the financial and legal decisions for the church. Additionally, it asked for a forensic accounting review of all the church’s financial transactions for the past 20 years.
The resignation letters and letter to the elders are below:
Luke MacDonald’s resignation letter:
I am resigning from my pastoral position at Harvest as of Tuesday, February 19th, effective immediately.
Pastoring at Harvest has been a delight. From my years in Niles as the youth pastor, through pastoring students in Rolling Meadows, and then to Vertical Worship and preaching on the weekends, there have been many great years. The conferences and Good Fridays and altar calls have been great, but the true joy has been the blessing of walking alongside so many wonderful individual people. We have been blessed to work alongside many talented and tireless servants. My professional dream has always been to one day grow to be the Senior Pastor of the church. Even after my parent’s ministry at Harvest ended, I was hopeful that with enough humility and time that could still happen. However, conversations with elders and staff over the past week have made it clear that we should move forward to whatever God has next for us.
I sincerely love the people of Harvest and will continue to pray that the church will find unity and fruit in a new season ahead. While we have no current future employment plans, we hope to serve the Lord again and would never choose an assignment that would hurt the church we have loved these many years. Thank you.
Pastor Luke + Kristen MacDonald
Landon MacDonald’s Resignation Letter:
To the Elders and people of Harvest Bible Chapel,
I have been at Harvest since I can remember. When I was a kid I treasured that my birth year and Harvest’s were the same. I always thought that something like that would be said at my funeral having served at Harvest my whole life. I started on the maintenance and security staff and served in plays and acting for Harvest Kids, the Worship team and then my favorite places – Harvest Students and Camp Harvest.
My time here has been wonderful and I have seen God work and move from small Senior trips with just a handful of students to arenas and the conference we just did for our students last weekend, which might be my favorite of any of them.
These past few months have been painful and heavy in ways I didn’t think possible, but through it all, my loving wife and the AWESOME people of Harvest have supported me. If it wasn’t for the Colossians 1:11 strength of God – I wouldn’t have made it this far. That said, my time at Harvest has come to a close. Its painful to say it and I never thought I would, but Bri and I have been in prayer for what seems like forever and God is leading us elsewhere. We don’t know where yet, but that is half the adventure.
This isn’t a spontaneous or emotional decision – it has become clear to us that we are not the best people to lead in this church moving forward. If desired, I am available by phone to answer any questions related to transition of responsibilities.
To the people of Harvest – your support and prayers kept us through until today -the sincerest thank you from my heart. Both to those who told me they were praying and those who just did it.
To the students of Harvest – leading and teaching you has been a dream come true. It never once felt like work, I always was stunned that I got paid to teach and lead you guys. To all students past and present, you and this ministry is the thing that I will miss the most.
I love Harvest and its people and I always will. Prayers are appreciated as Bri, Ezra, Violet, Julian and I move towards what’s next.
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SOURCE: JulieRoys.com – Julie Roys