ELDER STATEMENT | Read in services January 19-20, 2019
I stand before you as an Elder of Harvest Bible Chapel to deliver this statement on behalf of the entire Elder Board. While God has done amazing things in and through Harvest Bible Chapel over the past 30 years and we have much to celebrate, it is clear that this season will be one of honest reﬂection as we seek to build a ﬁrm foundation on which to move forward.
As we communicated via email, Pastor James is taking an indeﬁnite sabbatical so he can reﬂect on his own life and areas of failing, as it relates to matters of relational conﬂict. As the church enters this time of restoration, we believe and Pastor James agrees it is wise for him to remain out of all leadership involvement of Harvest Bible Chapel, including preaching on any campus.
The Bible is clear in Psalm 32:1-5 — when we have failed, we are called to own our failures and work toward making it right. The Elder Board and leadership team are getting low before the Lord, seeking to understand fully and address the areas that we as a leadership team have failed.
The Elders have discerned two areas that we are committed to reviewing in the coming months.
- First, the Elder board acknowledges that through years of ministry there have been relational hurts that have not been fully addressed. We desire strongly for reconciliation wherever there are broken relationships in or around the church, and are committed to a process that brings healing.
- Second, we are reviewing the structure and decision-making process of the Elder Board, Executive Committee, and church Leadership. Circumstances surrounding the fallout of Harvest Bible Fellowship, the recent defamation lawsuit, and the termination of the Lead Pastor of the Naples Campus have each revealed shortcomings in the decision-making process of the Elder Board and Church Leadership. As we strongly desire to make wise, God-honoring decisions, we will be building a team of people to review our current structure. It is our hope that this team of Elders, staff, church members and experienced outside counsel will help us move forward in a healthy way.
We are calling our church to pray every week for the next month at meetings on all of our campuses. We as an Elder Board are committed to communicating with our church family as we go through this review process.
As we go through this season of reﬂection, we are conﬁdent that the church will come out stronger. We remain committed to and passionate about the Five Pillars that Harvest Bible Chapel was built upon:
- Unapologetic Preaching
- Unashamed Adoration
- Unceasing Prayer
- Unafraid Witness
- Unconditional Love
May God be gloriﬁed as we lift high the name of Jesus Christ today. Please pray for our church, our staff, our Elder Board, and the MacDonald family as we navigate these difﬁcult times.