James MacDonald Expected to Pay ‘unreimbursed personal expenses’

ChurchLeaders | 4/30/2019 | Staff
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The leaders of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) are seeking to get their financial house in order, so to speak. The church recently lost its seal of approval from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). On Sunday, April 27, 2019, church leaders announced they will be taking a deep dive into former Pastor James MacDonald’s discretionary account, and that they will ask him to pay the church back for “unreimbursed personal expenses.”

“The greatest area of failure to meet ECFA’s standards was in the management and control of the former Senior Pastor’s discretionary account,” a statement posted to Harvest’s website reads.

Statement - Account - Money - HBC - Fund

As the statement goes on to explain, this account was funded by money from HBC’s general fund and a smaller amount from Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s radio program. In 2018, the discretionary account received $315,000 from the general fund and $136,000 from Walk in the Word, for a total of $415,000. The problem, the statement explains, is that the account was managed by three people in 2018 who are “no longer employed” by HBC, and it was managed in a way that was “outside our standard accounting controls” with “no line-item accountability.” Meaning, only three people (one of which was MacDonald) in the church knew how that money was being spent, and those three people were apparently fiercely loyal to MacDonald and his agenda. Scott Milholland, the former COO of Harvest, was one of the three. He resigned in December, before MacDonald left, citing a desire to go serve elsewhere due to his role at Harvest no longer being “the best fit.”

Milholland’s departure would serve as a foreshadowing of the departures to take place within the leadership of HBC in the coming months. Members of the elder board as well as several staff members have left HBC this year.

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