Reading through Julie Roys’ toxic delight in destruction, is vexing and grievous like nothing else. At least the guys at the Elephant’s Debt were once part of Harvest Bible Chapel, and while unfairly biased toward anyone down on me and undiscerning in welcoming all negative opinions, they at least seemed to care about HBC.
Not Julie Roys, not at all. If you want to vent against Harvest, it matters not why you were fired or removed from the board, it matters not why all agreed it was best for you to resign.
If you hate James MacDonald or Harvest or both, call Julie Roys – she will not vet what you say, consider the source, tell the other side, or give any qualifying nuance to your slander. Exactly what you would expect from a #gossipslut, hell bent not on restoring the church but on destroying it.
In this post I want to reduce the narrative and simply supply the false statements, then provide the facts and documents that prove Juliar’s deceptions.
LIE: Claims she spent 10s of 1000’s of dollars on legal fees.
LIE: Claims her attorney solicited her as a client (illegal?) and was working for free.
TRUTH: Juliar got $50k from HBC made out to Julie Roys Sterns 1and her “free” law firm.
TRUTH: Julie directed her “free” attorney to shake down HBC for $50k for herself, and $32k for his “free” attorney fees.
LIE: Claims it is unbiblical to suit another Christian.
TRUTH: On April 5, 2019, Julie reports other defendants filed a Supreme Court Rule 137 motion for sanctions but fails to mention she did the same thing – AND her attorney threatened a lawsuit to get money from HBC.
TRUTH: Over and over, Julie mentions HBC’s mortgage – $59 million, $42 million, or here in Harvest’s latest financial document, the church remains more than $36 million in debt, but she intentionally avoids mentioning that the church has almost $100million in “net” (after debt paid off) assets. No one considers a 3:1 asset to debt ratio as unhealthy. But Julie shocks with numbers that readers can’t rightly interpret apart from the full scope of how large the ministry was – eight locations, 800 acres, 500 employees, $50 million annual budget, world-wide church planting and Radio/TV broadcast, etc.
TRUTH: HBC received clean audits reflecting “best practice” fiscal management from Capin Crouse for many years, through 2018 when I was leading. Are we to believe Julie and her gossips know more about fiscal integrity than Capin Crouse, the leading auditing firm for evangelical ministries?
TRUTH: Julie uses the term audit to describe an investigation that is not an audit, and the term forensic audit to describe what was in no way ‘forensic.’ If Julie knew anything about financial management, she would recognize the $300K hit job (paid for by the Laird Elders) and report on its author, Sally Wagenmaker (Julie Roys with a law license). She would admit that her accusations of imminent IRS problems related to the HBC LLC’s and inferences that I may be involved, etc. were false per the recent HBC audit.
TRUTH: If Julie were actually a reporter she would have noted that someone was bailing HBC out every month financially, in order to keep Capin Crouse from raising the matter of “going concern.” Any such notation in the 2020 audit would indicate that revenue projections point to a liquidation event rather than indefinite continuance. Or to put it simply, decline in revenue indicates that assets will have to be sold to pay the bills, and stave off insolvency. Their covid money and looting of WITW can only go so far… once the 2020 audit came out, the benefactor dropped out, and they had their first monthly deficit this spring.
TRUTH: Julie should walk away from the destruction she made of HBC, but if she just can’t, maybe she could do some actual reporting.
LIE: Claims, again and again, that I “took $millions from Harvest.”
TRUTH: I never took/stole/misappropriated a single dollar from HBC, much less her headline allegations of “millions.”
TRUTH: In reality, after 30 years I left HBC having to fight for my legally-vested pension that HBC was trying to steal. If it were not for arbitration forcing HBC to come under the rule of law, they would have kept every dollar saved for my retirement.
LIE: Claims, “In 2018, Harvest reportedly paid MacDonald $80,000 per month ($50,000/month in regular salary and $30,000/month in deferred compensation) for a total of $960,000 per year. (This number does not include additional money MacDonald may have received from his broadcast ministry, Walk in the Word, Harvest’s church planting network, Vertical Church, its songwriting and worship ministry, Vertical Worship, and books.)”
TRUTH: My salary was fully compliant to IRS, ECFA and Capin Crouse affirmed the integrity of my compensation in writing. Further, after 2013 my salary did not increase (per my request); some benefits were added by the EC Compensation Committee, but I received no compensation from any other HBC ministry nor from Walk in the Word.2
TRUTH: Harvest Elders were preparing to take me off salary while providing for retirement, as with any 30-year executive employee – or even a police officer or tenured college professor. The pension amounts were larger because they were playing catch up after many years of pension neglect. Why am I maligned because they were trying to correct what they had failed to prepare for?
TRUTH: Over the course of 2019, rogue leaders kept expanding the false numbers related to my salary – $1 million, $1.2 million, $1.4 million. Laird “Elder” and current HBC treasurer Tim Stoner actually requested that their lawyer increase the deception of the initial financial report, asking for it to be “significantly beefed up.” So much for independence of report and transparency, both promised to HBC congregation, neither given.
TRUTH: Of course, Julie ate this up like the #gossipwhore3 she is, never contacting me as she claims, just broadcasting the deception exactly as she received it. All of it crafted to cause maximum damage to my reputation and irretrievably severing the hearts of HBC congregants from my wife and me.
LIE: Claims “These letters are devastating, documenting scores of incidents where MacDonald mocked, threatened, and belittled staff, contractors, and other Christian leaders; lied and reneged on promises; raged at those around him; and prospered financially at the church’s expense.”
TRUTH: Dallas Jenkins designed the whole letter campaign, admitting to it when faced with his texts and emails during arbitration. It was not his first letter campaign to discredit someone formerly in authority over him.4 He did the same thing in 2009 to get the President of Northwestern College fired, which Julie neglected to research in her ‘investigative journalism.’
TRUTH: The letters Dallas recruited and edited were crafted to destroy Elder confidence in me, but they were never vetted by the Elders for accuracy nor even shown to me – Elders simply embraced the letters as a basis for requesting my resignation, after meeting without me (contrary to bylaws) on February 5, 2019. The Elders really knew nothing, apparently not even wondering how 6 letters like this fall from the sky all at once? What if they had taken time to investigate? They would have learned that Dallas was behind all this at the time, and they made no effort to find out about him, his multiple six-figure overspend of HBC budget, and how he got away with the pilot for what became The Chosen, paying HBC just $100k for what he now claims is “potentially… a half billion to a billion dollar project” that somehow still needs money. A billion dollar project… huh? Christians are paying for it ($7M in revenue last year), but I wonder who owns it?
Pssst… Julie! There’s a story over here… Stop trolloping with your gossipers and write a real piece of investigative journalism.
TRUTH: I was given no opportunity to face the accusers, correct their false statements, or give the background on why they might write such letters. Elders Dunwoody and George5 took over the Elder meetings and fueled the fire with outrage in after-midnight meeting leaks to the #JRgossipwhore until the rest of the board, many of whom barely knew or had never even met me, fired me on a conference call.
TRUTH: Julie likes the term “breathtaking.” I would say the fact she has never written a syllable about the Elders breaching the church bylaws (which are legally binding in Illinois), Elder Code of Conduct, meeting notification inviting all members (I was not), meeting agenda given in advance, minutes being taken, accused present prior to review or dismissal, etc., is breathtaking.
TRUTH: A recent conversation with a former HBC executive staff reveals the same: “What happened at HBC is 90% the Elders” – men with egos that got wounded, men with personal agendas for advancement, men who betrayed the trust given to them to silence the public outcry. This incensed mob was set on fire by Julie Roys, who sacrificed her credibility on the altar of notoriety. Like so many, she chose infamy over anonymity and just hasn’t figured it out yet.
TRUTH: It is breathtaking that the Elders became such a mob, let alone that Julie also considers that unworthy of notice. Say what you want about Willow Creek, they:
TRUTH: The carnal behavior of HBC Elders, fueled by Juliar (more on that ahead) is breathtaking.
About my firing: By early February 2019, the HBC Elders were a mob, arguing, raising their voices, leaking confidential documents, entirely disregarding the Elder Covenant of Conduct, and when the illegal recording was somehow transferred by Julie to Mancow the board immediately boiled over, and it was all over.
The Elders never responded directly to my efforts to meet, to answer, to repent, to own, to anything. Internal HBC documents (HBC filed a motion to limit what I can make public) show that in Spring 2019, HBC staff examined the letters for accuracy and determined there were many false assertions and exaggerations in the 6 letters Dallas Jenkins recruited and edited toward his vengeful goals, and affectively admits to authoring. (Question: Why has Julie not reported on any of this? Answer: Because it is not gossip, but documented fact.) These false statements and exaggerations should have been in the Elders’ minds as they analyzed what was happening, if only they had heeded the pleas of fellow Elders Rick Donald, Brian Musso, Mike Lankford and others to have a face to face meeting with me – but they never did.
To this day, current Elder chairman Brian Laird continues stalling/refusing to meet, as recently as last month. Pirates who take over the ship will keep the crew separated from their former captain at all cost. Shame on the Pastors of HBC for allowing it.
TRUTH: It is entirely deceptive of Julie Roys to be claiming to “reform the church,” yet never mentioning such egregious breaches of due process and biblical mandates for offense and conflict resolution. If only she had been fair minded. If only she had reformed the Elders’ actions as well as my own failings. If only she had done the work of vetting the letters, had respected that the recording was, yes, regrettable, but private and illegally obtained, distributed, and published.
TRUTH: Juliar’s lawless behavior in reporting on the supposedly lawless pastor is truly breathtaking.
LIE: Claims, “In 2015, James MacDonald went on a worldwide missions trip that was so stressful, he needed a safari in South Africa to help him recover from it. At least, that’s what MacDonald, the recently-fired founder of Harvest Bible Chapel, claimed to justify the church paying for the safari for him and two others, according to his bodyguard at the time, Jacob Ross.”
TRUTH: Taking men hunting for donor development is not uncommon to larger ministries and was exceedingly beneficial for WITW and HBC. In the September 2019 Elder Meeting Minutes, accounting director Kelly Altieri reported: “from 2015-2018 James took 13 men hunting at a cost of $171 thousand dollars [paid by WITW, not HBC’s tithes as the congregation was falsely told]. During that time those men gave $8.4million to various HBC ministries.” A whopping 4800% ROI that Juliar fails to report.
LIE: Repeats without vetting, “The review, which examined spending at Harvest from January 2016—February 2019, revealed that the church maintained two private checking accounts that gave MacDonald $3.1 million during the years studied.”
TRUTH: Financial “review” author Sally Wagenmaker appears to have coined the pejorative and false terms “secret account” and “black box”.6 Yet CFO Jeff Sharda refuted the claim of a ‘black box budget’, which Juliar would have known had she investigated like a real journalist.
TRUTH: The “private” accounts were not private at all, but known by: 1) HBC COO, 2) HBC CFO, 3) Church Treasurer, 4) HR staff member, 5) Senior Pastor, 6) Senior Administrator, 7) WITW Exec Director, 8) Walk in the Word CFO and HBC Volunteers, 9-12) Executive Elders, 13) Assistant Treasurer, 14-18) Finance Committee, 19) External Auditor, 20) ECFA representative, etc.
TRUTH: Though legally required in arbitration, HBC refused to release the actual ledger data which would refute these totals and may never have even shown the data we produced verifying the integrity and ministry purpose of each expenditure that was not reimbursed. Reimbursements were left entirely out of the totals they deceptively presented as net numbers. The Executive Account included all expenses related to anyone in my family (whose salaries were appropriate to their peers in the organization), all executive salaries (15+ people), all fundraising expenses, all pension catch up monies (set by the Compensation Committee and approved by Capin Crouse as part of succession planning in a large multi-site ministry).
Julie Roys is entirely avoiding accountability to these facts and documentation. She buried her initial blog post in reply and now seems to hope it all just goes away. Where is the humility and personal repentance she demands of others?
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1).
Julie Roys accepted the words of gossips, liars, and thieves who were destroying our lives and ministry, while looting Walk in the Word for millions of dollars. She now hides behind ‘feel good’ postings and accusations against good men like Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Bryin Loritts, J.D. Greear, etc., while covering for those in her own destructive tribe, who actually ARE guilty.
Julieeeeee? Juliiiiiiiaaarrrr? Come out, come out wherever you are… Face the music of your destruction and show you are capable of the accountability you demand of others so frequently. Nothing Julie? Not a single confession regarding the countless false statements you published? It must be so disheartening to see that your ‘lovers’ were just using you, feeding your insatiable appetite for gossip.
1 The detail and documentation of HBC’s illegal, unbiblical and unChristian conduct is available here. However, HBC forced the removal of a small portion of my documentation, while publicly claiming increased transparency. 2019 was about stealing my assets and destroying my ministry/reputation. 2020 to date has been about keeping those actions from becoming public. If Julie was really seeking the truth in an effort to reform the church, she would bring ALL the truth to light, not just what she gleans from gossips.
2 Walk in the Word did contribute to the deferred compensation since 2013.
3 Since she finds the term “slut” distasteful, we’ve adopted the KJV, used 72 times in the OT alone.
4 In 2011, Dallas Jenkins publicly confessed his lifelong battle with rebellion against authority. Keep in mind, the ICC arbitration panel labeled Dallas an “obstructionist witness,” which means he refused discovery and deposition, and did not assist the court in bringing truth to light. Dallas lied at the arbitration, claiming he didn’t have a porn problem, claiming he never got in trouble for viewing porn in his office at work, claiming he didn’t run a campaign to get me fired, claiming he didn’t frequently make racially insensitive jokes, etc. All this until he hung his head under the weight of his own texts, emails, and documents produced for all in the arbitration to see, which told the truth about who he is and what he had done.
5 Noble men fighting for a righteous cause would remain and rebuild. Yet Jenkins’ home is sold; he’s moving out of state, George moved out of state, etc. Notably, Bradshaw resigned from all ministry only to find himself unemployable, whereby “God called” him back into ministry with the other architects of Harvest’s destruction – Higbee, Seals, White, Van Gils, Freeman – all at HBC Indy North. Most notably, Booras, Barcow and Vanlaningham are still walking the Harvest hallways… how is that possible?
6 It is Julie Roys’ “attack all dissent, scorched earth” methodology which suppresses all contrary opinion, resulting in “I’m not sticking my head in that furnace, I’m not putting my hand in that wood chipper – I was just a volunteer. I’m not exposing my family to public humiliation by contradicting this women.” More on Juliar’s tactics in an upcoming post, and how her methods actually keeps the truth from coming to light.