Former Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) mega-church pastor James MacDonald‘s son and former HBC Executive Pastor Luke MacDonald held his new church plant’s first worship service this past Sunday at the Chez Hotel in Arlington Heights, Illinois. James MacDonald was fired in 2019 from HBC for “engaging in conduct that the elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church,” which was announced after a lengthy review.
James MacDonald posted on Instagram a few days before Good News in the Neighborhood’s first service saying, “My son Luke MacDonald, his wife and four children are starting a new church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago – Good News in the Neighborhood. They are working hard to do what good ministry is in every generation: Holding fast to the Word of God and pioneering fresh ways of reaching people. If you have been out of church or are looking for a new church, Kathy and I highly recommend you to check it out in-person or online THIS SUNDAY, March 7, 2021 – info at goodnewsintheneighborbood.org #thisisgoodnews.”
Luke MacDonald announced through social media last December that he, his wife Kristen, and four children were moving back to Chicago after serving on the pastoral team at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California, for the past two years to start a new church in the suburbs of Chicago.
Luke said, “I grew up in the NW suburbs of Chicago, it’s our home and we love it. We want to reach our community in new and fresh ways. To bring our timeless faith to Generation Z and beyond.”
Kristen said in a video they posted, “I don’t know about you but during this COVID season, I have realized how necessary my weekly attendance at church is….and so if you are needing something fresh, if you need to join some community…come join us. We would be so, so happy to welcome you.” Luke MacDonald then plugged the new church saying, “Bible teaching. Multi-ethnic diverse worship. Fantastic kids program. I think it is going to be a great time. We hope to see you there!”
An email that was sent out to those who registered online for the Good News in the Neighborhood’s worship service asked people to “prayerfully bring an offering” with them and that “giving is part of our worship and we want to bring all of ourselves to this new venture.”
MacDonald’s Bizarre Behavior
Luke MacDonald left a not-so-good legacy during his time at HBC. According to the Roy’s Report, he threw chairs in meetings, failed to report the abuse of a minor in Harvest’s youth ministry, and even has been said to have urinated in a cup while conducting a job interview for a potential junior high ministry position.
A former HBC elder’s son told Julie Roys that Luke and his brother Landon (who was HBC’s youth pastor) abused his father, Jim Rowan, who received counseling for what was likened to PTSD.
Luke’s Father May Return to Ministry Soon
After a long fought battle, Luke’s father James MacDonald settled a dispute between himself and HBC in October 2020 that resulted in the megachurch issuing an apology to the fired James MacDonald. He also received $1.45 million, all of the “Walk in the Word” broadcast ministry assets, property, and “deferred compensation” from the church he had pastored for thirty years.