The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Church finance watchdog suspends Harvest

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 3/18/19, 11:19 am

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) suspended the membership of Chicago-area megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel after blogger Julie Roys reported lavish spending by fired Pastor James MacDonald. “Given the emergence of new information, we have concerns the church may be in serious violation of ECFA Standards,” the organization said in a statement Friday. The ECFA said the suspension will remain in place while it investigates the possible violations.

Amid turmoil over MacDonald’s strong-arm leadership style, reported by Roys in WORLD Magazine, the church fired him in February for making obscene remarks that Chicago radio host Mancow Muller played on the air. On March 9, Roys reported the church paid upwards of $15,000 for a South African safari for MacDonald, spent $150,000 renovating his office, and bought more than $500 in cigars for the pastor, among numerous other extravagant expenditures. Harvest’s leadership team said it has commissioned an independent review of the church’s finances and is working to reduce its weekly operating expenses from $409,000 to $308,000.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Mon, 03/18/2019 01:49 pm

    Third-party auditors are a great idea in principle, but the human factor still makes them messy in practice.  I do wonder how the ECFA missed the expenditures.