CHICAGO (CBS) — The founding pastor of a Chicago area megachurch has been fired for what church elders call “highly inappropriate comments” and other misconduct.
James MacDonald was forced out Tuesday night as senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, a church he founded in Rolling Meadows some 30 years ago. He grew the church from 18 members to more than 13,000 across nine campuses in the Chicago area.
MacDonald had been on “indefinite sabbatical” since last month, amid allegations of financial mismanagement. In a letter to the congregation, church elders said the decision to fire MacDonald was accelerated by “highly inappropriate recorded comments” he had made.
Those comments included obscenity, and a reference to child pornography, in a recording broadcast on shock jock and Harvest Bible Chapel member Mancow Muller’s morning radio show.
“Pastor MacDonald was removed as Senior Pastor and as an Elder of the church for engaging in conduct that the Elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church,” elders informed church members in a letter Tuesday night. “This decision was made with heavy hearts and much time spent in earnest prayer, followed by input from various trusted outside advisors.”
CBS 2 reached out to Harvest Bible Chapel by phone, but has not heard back.
One of the directors of ministry at the Rolling Meadows church ignored questions and refused to give her name before walking away from a reporter Wednesday morning.
This marks the second time the past year the founder of a Chicago area megachurch has been forced out. In April, Willow Creek Church founder Bill Hybels resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.