US church gave pastor too little cash to kill a ‘high value’ animal

US church gave pastor too little cash to kill a ‘high value’ animal March 15, 2019
Image via YouTube

BACK IN 2015 Chicago’s Harvest Bible Chapel gave its pastor James MacDonald, above, $5,000 dollars for a safari vacation – but the preacher wasn’t satisfied and wanted more to enable him kill a ‘high value’ animal, a sable to be precise.

This fact emerged as attention continues to be focused on the mega-church, which recently sacked MacDonald and is now enmeshed in a leadership struggle and rows about “ungodly” spending.

According to this report, details of MacDonald’s safari “on the church’s dime” were revealed by his former bodyguard Jacob Ross.

In a post on her blog, journalist and former Moody Radio host Julie Roys noted that in a January letter leaked to Roys Ross alleged  that MacDonald was not satisfied with the $5,000 the church had allotted for him for a safari in South Africa

MacDonald  thought the amount was too small as he wanted to shoot a high-value animal, “a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000,” Ross wrote.

MacDonald, who was fired last month after profane comments he made on a hot mic were played on the air by local radio personality Mancow Muller, reportedly called the former chief financial officer of the church to wire him extra funds.

The letter claims that the church also footed the bill for MacDonald, Ross and HBC Executive Pastor Jeff Donaldson — who is still on staff — for a three- to four-day stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic, in addition to flying each of their wives out to join them. It was to reward him for a “stressful” mission trip he’d undertaken.

The pricey excursion was just one example of misappropriation of ministry resources, other similar letters from previous and present church staff say, which were submitted to the elders several weeks ago.

Roys, who posted a photo on her blog that indicates MacDonald revels in killing animals, also noted that another church employee penned a letter alleging that MacDonald green-lighted a $40,000 expense for a fence for a deer herd at Camp Harvest in Michigan, as “austerity measures” such as removing the coffee and water dispensers, were being implemented at the church. She wrote:

These expenditures were in addition to MacDonald’s salary, which the church continues to keep private. However, Dave Corning, a founding elder who chaired the elder board for 21 years, told me that in 2009, MacDonald was making a combined $550,000 from both the church and Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry.

Other letters by both current and former staff that were submitted to the elders five weeks ago also outlined various kinds of financial malfeasance and referenced numerous instances where MacDonald’s temper exploded and how he mistreated church employees, contractors and other Christian leaders.

Former Executive Director of Business Operations at HBC, Dean Butters. explained in his letter that the church had paid $50,000 to help MacDonald move and store his personal belongings; that MacDonald used church funds to purchase over $500 worth of cigars, and gave a waitress a $400 tip with church funds.

Butters also explained in his letter to the elders that MacDonald demanded his office be renovated in 2013, which cost $150,000, while all senior and middle management, and their direct reports, had their pay reduced by 10 percent.

Harvest Bible Chapel is currently accredited by ministry watchdog group the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

ECFA President Dan Busby told CP that they will be reviewing the allegations.

The new information alleging financial impropriety at Harvest Bible Chapel is obviously a cause for significant concern. We will be addressing the implications of these allegations immediately and expect to have more information about ECFA’s response in the coming days.

Ross told Roys he left his bodyguard position because MacDonald kept verbally abusing him; he was called “stupid”, “incompetent”,“worthless”,  and “of no use to him” and he could not take it any longer. Until now, Ross said he had kept quiet about everything that has been transpiring out of both fear and a desire to not harm his church.

Ross said of his decision to blow the whistle:

Those who are seeking to make the correct decision regarding the future of Harvest Bible Chapel simply can’t without the correct information.

Ross also indicated that he thinks most of the elders, staff and parishioners are not aware of the multiple situations he documented in his letter.

Likewise, Butters explained that he left the church because he could no longer trust the leadership, adding that:

The things I was seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, and feeling in my soul became more convincing than the narrative that was continually being spun.

Roys spent eight months investigating Harvest and published her findings in World magazine in December. Prior to publication, the church sued her as well as two bloggers, along with their wives, who were former members and had been writing critically of MacDonald and HBC for several years, alleging illegal activity. When a judge denied the church two motions in January, HBC ultimately dropped the lawsuit.

MacDonald founded the church over 30 years ago, starting with 18 people.

"So the religion will perish if not given the legal right to discriminate against Irish ..."

Franklin Graham leads paranoid charge against ..."
"It's funny how, for those used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. Thinking that providing ..."

Franklin Graham leads paranoid charge against ..."
"Funny thing is, the only time the sky DOES fall is when they are in ..."

Franklin Graham leads paranoid charge against ..."
"It's hilarious when they extend the argument to claim that a worker having to serve ..."

Franklin Graham leads paranoid charge against ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lisa Cybergirl

    This is the kind of situation that the phrase “what the fuck?” was invented for.

  • Die Anyway

    Malfeasance in cultish Christian church. Not surprised. Not surprised one bit.

  • Jim Jones

    How may times must I use the ‘shocked’ meme?

  • Chris Hogue

    The so-called sport of hunting. Pick a sport, any sport, both sides have to play by the same rules. It’s only a sport if half these jerks aren’t coming back from their vacations.

  • Broga

    Macho means gunning down magnificent animals, already heading for extinction, by fat gutted twats with powerful rifles and telescopic sites. They can then waddle home and get the animal’s head on their wall.

  • Lurker111

    So … if you want to steal and not go to prison, start a church.

  • Janis Vitolins

    Don’t worry, the president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), Dan Busby, is on the case. Oh, wait!

  • BeanToes

    MacDonald has gone silent since the middle of January. I’m sure he’s holed up somewhere with his attorneys. And accountants.

    The entire MacDonald family – the ‘good’ Pastor, his wife, their two sons and their wives – were on the payroll at HBC, each earning upper six figures.

    I’ve watched him on stage. He looks like he fiddles himself, with hands in pockets.