As I think back about what has happened through out Church history, as soon as accountability is breached with the head pastor or ministry leader, destruction comes and the name of Christ is smeared across the news headlines. The one that is fresh as of right now is that of the Harvest ministry and James MacDonald. Because of a breach in accountability, MacDonald was able to gain more power and money through diminishing accountability. No one could tell MacDonald what was wrong or right. Gambling, gaining more power, causing millions of dollars of debt, 60 million to be exact, getting paid $500,000 a year, a 40% pay raise, and recently buying a $1.9 million mansion. What was the starting point of this? I think that it was because accountability was not there. If it was there, MacDonald pushed it away with a movement of raising senior pastors. The elder board, that was very prominent in the beginning, is slowly fading away, and they power of the elder board is not there anymore. Most of the power transferred to MacDonald. People tried to talk him about this, but they were met with the anger and bitterness of MacDonald. The Harvest ministry became a one man show, James MacDonald. I am concerned about this very much, because my wife and I attend a Harvest church when we are in Michigan. For now, we are living in Chicago. We tried the campus church, but I could not understand the need of it, and why is James MacDonald preaching at all of them. This view is the same for any campus churches. Why do we need them? Why does the senior pastor need to preach to all of them? There are many faithful men of Jesus Christ, that are more then capable of leading one of these campus churches.
I would really encourage you to read the very website that made me alert to all of this (www.theelephantsdebt.com). Anyone that goes to a Harvest church should read this, and understand what is really going on. Everything is not as it seems. I would then encourage you to watch James MacDonald’s sermon from November 17-18. He confessed most of what you will read on the website, but not all of it. He does not say anything about the $60 million debt. This link will bring you right to that sermon http://tinyurl.com/cl6ocbn. But I encourage you to read all that you can on the first website provided (www.theelephantsdebt.com).
I would also you to consider reading a book, that I personally have not read, but I have personally saw this happen through out my Church life, Pastoring with Elders by Kevin Mahon. Kevin Mahon has been my family’s pastor for as long as I can remember. He just released his book this past year. This is the description on the back of the book:
Kevin is a preaching elder in an Associated Gospel Church in Canada (AGC). Their elders have had a growing influence on other congregations and have frequently been asked to share their effective shepherding-elder model.
So, how do you grow elders? Many pastors are looking for another program or quick fix to accomplish this end. However, the answer is rooted in the theology of ministry and the need to focus on the biblical mandate given to pastors rather than the tyranny of expectations inherent in pastor-led churches.This book is designed to help senior pastors walk through a process of deconstructing their understanding of pastoring and redirect them to a focused ministry within a plurality of shepherd-elders.
About the Author:Kevin Mahon has been the preaching elder at Peoples Church, Sarnia-Lambton, since 1999. At the age of thirteen, he made a bargain with God and promised to become a priest. He and his wife were born again during their university days and joined the priesthood of all believers. God was faithful in shepherding that youthful promise made by Kevin, who now makes his living from the Gospel as a preaching pastor.Kevin’s heart is for the local church, for preaching God’s Word, and for growing men as disciples of the Lord. He has been married to Charlene for twenty-six years and has five children and a daughter-in-law.
I hope you are more informed, and understand the importance of accountability. Even in our own personal lives we need accountability, and especially when you are in command or leading a ministry or a church. I would encourage to look at your own life and church. Do you have accountability? Does your pastor have accountability or is he a one man show? Does your pastor blow up and flaunt his personal freedom in Christ? Check the Bible for yourself about the qualifications for even being a pastor. Does he even meet these requirements?
Being a pastor, is a life lived in public. You do not have a private life. As a pastor, you are held to a higher accountability, like it or not.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseermust be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3