Harvest Bible Chapel Suffers 40 Percent Drop in Tithes and Offerings, Membership Down 3,500 After Scandal Involving Founding Pastor James MacDonald

Officials at the multicampus Harvest Bible Chapel in greater Chicago urged faithful supporters to give to the ministry after reporting a drop in membership of 3,500 as well as a 40 percent dip in tithes and offering a month after the firing of founding Pastor James MacDonald.

“If you call Harvest your church home, if this is where God is calling you to be, yet you have stopped giving your tithes, we are asking you to seek the Lord about restarting your giving,” the Harvest 2020 team urged in a report to church members earlier this month.

MacDonald’s Feb. 12 ouster from Harvest Bible Chapel  was triggered by “highly inappropriate recorded comments” he made on a radio program as well as “other conduct.”

He was recorded talking about planting child pornography on Christianity Today CEO’s Harold Smith’s computer, and making crude remarks about independent journalist Julie Roys — including joking that she had an affair with CT Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli — and a vulgar reference to Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

He also exited the megachurch under a cloud of allegations of financial abuse.

In their message to members on March 10, church officials reviewing finances at the church admitted that there was a “lack of financial control” over MacDonald’s office.

“As our Harvest 2020 team is charged with reviewing all finances within the church, we have found that there was a lack of financial control and oversight as well as questionable spending practices made by the senior pastor’s office.

“In addition, we have identified there was a separate budget for the senior pastor’s office over which there was not sufficient controls and oversight,” officials said.

Former HBC members like Scott and Marsha Thompson, who gave some $72,000 faithfully to the church over several years,  are so livid about the revelations they have demanded their money back.

“All this is coming out that millions of dollars potentially has been mishandled,” Scott told CBS.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair