Home Christian News Harvest, MacDonald Speak Out About Settled Legal Dispute

Harvest, MacDonald Speak Out About Settled Legal Dispute

The pastor says he’s praying that HBC leaders will be “entirely forthcoming” and “transparent” and that the church will “abandon the false narrative in financial matters—HBC’s most grievous sin against us.” He accuses HBC of a “hostile takeover” that included “forcing out 10…significant staff leaders and shunning our family,” as well as the “destruction” of Walk in the Word “and other efforts to end our ministry permanently.”

MacDonald adds, “Soon we must bring those truths to light, but for now we continue under the weight of so much falsehood in hope that the church will themselves initiate the needed steps of public confession.”

In his newsletter, the pastor says he had confessed “relational failings” multiple times, and he admits to burnout stemming from early 2017. He writes, “I struggled increasingly under the weight” of HBC’s success and “had to ‘pull over’ for extended time away from ministry.” MacDonald adds, “I had carried too much for too long, and I am grieved by the impact that had on several good leaders working most closely with me.”

The Future of Pastor James MacDonald’s Ministry

MacDonald, 60, takes issue with HBC declaring him to be “disqualified” from ministry, writing that his calling remains unchanged. “Through it all, the Lord has confirmed that no group of critics, most we’ve never met, can declare my calling completed or ‘disqualified,’” he writes. “The shamings from our former church…have surely given me pause and a ton of reflection. But we are not deterred.”

MacDonald and his wife, Kathy, “are not bitter toward anyone,” he writes. They’re “still quite broken and remain in counseling, seeking to own, process, understand, and heal,” he shares. “There are still times of unhealthy rumination, shock, disbelief, and grief over the church family we lost,” MacDonald says. “Yet there are also increasing days of hope and expectation in the Lord’s call to continue in ministry to his people.”

As for the future, MacDonald says he’s determined “to rebuild Walk in the Word in the Lord’s timing.” While remaining in the Chicago area, he also plans to continue building his new Home Church Network ministry, mentoring pastors through Better Biblical Preaching, and reaching out to men, partly through the upcoming book, “Act Like Brothers.”

Supporters who hadn’t believed the “online slander” against MacDonald have wanted to contribute financially to his ministry efforts, says the pastor. Now that his public “vindication” is forthcoming, he says, Change Partners pledges and one-time gifts are again welcome. “We remain committed to our path of ‘all digital, all free, all the time,’” the pastor writes, “meaning all of my teaching, writing, and curriculum are in process of becoming available digitally at no cost to the user.”

MacDonald adds that he and his wife are living on retirement income and “receive no salary from Walk in the Word/James MacDonald Ministries.” They have also “covered the cost of employing a small ministry staff, renting warehouse/office space, reestablishing social media” and more.

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 28 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.