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CHICAGO (RNS) — The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Christian financial watchdog group, has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel, a Chicago-area megachurch, after church leaders admitted “a lack of financial control and oversight” under the church’s former pastor.
Harvest recently fired its founding pastor, James MacDonald, for conduct its elders called “contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.”
ECFA - Week - Suspension - Harvest - Membership
ECFA announced last week an “indefinite suspension” of Harvest’s membership in the group. It pointed to “new information” that led the council to question whether the church was in violation of several of its financial standards.
“The investigation has been and will remain ongoing during the suspension as we work to determine whether Harvest Bible Chapel should be terminated, advised of the steps necessary to come into full compliance or whether they are in fact in compliance with our standards and should, therefore, be restored to full membership,” ECFA President Dan Busby said in a written statement.
ECFA - Member - Organizations - Compliance - Seven
ECFA requires member organizations to demonstrate compliance with its Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship.
The council is concerned that Harvest may have violated its standards regarding governance; financial oversight, which requires member organizations to “prepare complete and accurate financial statements;” use of resources and compliance with laws, which requires members to ensure “resources are used in a responsible manner;” and compensation-setting and related-party transactions, which requires members to set the compensation of their leaders “in a manner that demonstrates integrity.”
ECFA - Announcement - Days - Update - Church
ECFA’s announcement comes days after an update from the church’s “Harvest 2020” team. That group was formed in the wake of MacDonald’s firing.
In its update, the team of Harvest congregants, staff, elders and outside professionals said there was a “lack of financial control and oversight as well as questionable spending practices” under MacDonald. There had also been a separate budget for the senior pastor’s office, “over which there...
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