An Open Letter to Harvest Naples Senior Pastor John Secrest (Its Time to go Back to the EFCA)

An open letter to Harvest Bible Chapel Naples Senior Pastor John Secrest. This letter suggests that he leave Harvest Naples before the machine led by James MacDonald chews him up and spits him out. As someone credentialed inside the EFCA, this blog is suggesting he get invovled in an EFCA church in Florida.

“A blind person who sees is better than a seeing person who is blind.”   

“He who flees at the right time can fight again.”

Marcus Trentius Varro

“He that respects himself is safe from others.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

Proverbs 4:6-7 NLT

John Secrest with his family


After what I wrote this morning I decided to sit down and compose this letter to you. You can read what I wrote about Harvest Bible Naples in, “What Role Will Naples, Florida Play in the Harvest Bible Chapel Scandal?” I want to express some concerns and communicate some thoughts to you. The issues in Harvest Bible Chapel in my opinion are driven by James MacDonald, his wife Kathy and Luke MacDonald. Harvest Bible is basically the Mars Hill of Chicago. And like what happened in Seattle, Chicago is going to experience something painfully similar. As a machine Harvest Bible Chapel eats people up and spits them out. Often in painful ways. Those who stay and survive compromise their soul and integrity. In order to serve James MacDonald you have to surrender your integrity there is no other way to say it. The choice comes down to this you can serve God or you can serve James MacDonald but you can’t do both.

My concern and from what I am hearing is that James MacDonald allegedly has plans to force you out. The sources I have at Harvest Bible Chapel are solid. I write about a lot of topics from Acts 29, to the EFCA, and more. The sources I have developed are very good. You know very well that James MacDonald has an anger problem. Its one of the many reasons why he should not be a pastor. What I have heard is that MacDonald is allegedly ranting and raving about replacing you. Sources inside Harvest Bible are concerned and wanted to convey this information to you. While I raised the issue in the post I assembled I want to address it to you in this open letter. There are a lot of people who are concerned for you. Harvest is a machine that is known for its spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse does not just happen to people in the pews but also pastors as well. Look at what Mark Driscoll did to a number of elders and pastors at Mars Hill Seattle.  Read this letter from Ron Wheeler to Mark Driscoll. Read some of these stories at the blog We Love Mars Hill. I, nor do many others want to see you be put in a similar position. People don’t want the Harvest machine to steam roll you and have you added to the list of people who have been hurt by Harvest Bible Chapel. You have a family and more to consider. Many people do care for you, even if James MacDonald does not. James only cares about James.  

You have not been at Harvest Bible Naples very long. Just a couple of years . As I was researching you I noticed that you spent a lot of time in the EFCA. Plus you are also credentialed inside the EFCA. My blog takes a focus on the EFCA. To date I have not gotten to the Great Lakes District which used to be where you were invovled in. I have analyzed and processed Forest Lakes of Wisconsin and North Central of Minnesota. But I was taken back by the long experience and time you have in the EFCA. Here’s a thought I have for you, especially before the Harvest Bible Chapel machine goes after you. Why not go back to the EFCA? There is a strong EFCA presence in Florida, again which I have also studied. The EFCA under Greg Strand is stepping up pastoral credentialing and you would fit right in. You have something that a number of EFCA pastors don’t have yet, or are in the process of obtaining. You are ahead of the game. So before the Harvest Bible macine chews you up and spits you out why not leave Harvest Bible Naples and go to the EFCA? The district office for the EFCA is in Jacksonville, Florida. Why not reach out to EFCA SE District Superintedent Glen Schrieber for help? That is a course of action you can take. It will remove you from a cult like organization which many former members are comparing Harvest Bible Chapel to. Your family will be spared from watching the Harvest machine abuse you. Harvest Bible is an organization that people need to stay away from. Today academics and anthropologists are studying Mars Hill Seattle and why people got involved in such an organization. Harvest Bible Chapel will also be studied at one point. Spare yourself and your family from any pain that will come about from Harvest Bible Chapel.

There is no shame in walking away from Harvest Naples. You will preserve your charachter, integrity and more. There are many people who used to be invovled in Harvest Bible Chapel who walked away and preserved their integrity. You can’t get invovled in an organizaton like Harvest and not be burned. But also honeslty I am telling you that down the road I don’t want to write a post about how you were forced out and how James MacDonald took over. There are people inside and former members of Harvest Bible Chapel who are concerned for you. They want you to understand that they are worried about what is developing. This blog is very much religious intelligence and I am trying to communucate that information to you so you can be spared something painful. That is all I have to say John.

Please take care of yourself,

Very Respectfully,

David Bonner


11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Harvest Naples Senior Pastor John Secrest (Its Time to go Back to the EFCA)

  1. This letter suggests that he leave Harvest Naples before the machine led by James MacDonald chews him up and spits him out.

    As in before he Outlives His Usefulness to the HBC machine?

    My concern and from what I am hearing is that James MacDonald allegedly has plans to force you out.

    And it’s looking like he already has but he doesn’t know it yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your open letter method of blogging is a joke. It’s based on a sense of a superior self, that you operate from a position of writing letters to people who don’t know you from Adam, and that your opinion matters to them.


    • Thanks for the comment. Responses like these tell me quite a bit about an organization and the people involved. I don’t have a superior view of self. I am not a victim’s advocate as I lack the training in that area. What I am doing is analysis of these situations. I have successfully covered and analyzed the theological flip of a mega church in the D.C. area that led to David Platt coming. According to some former members of Acts 29 my analysis is correct and I write about the EFCA quite a bit here since I have some background with them. I don’t think in a superior way instead I just call it like I see it. And sometimes people don’t like that. But you are always free to comment.


  3. You should consider writing a follow up letter to Douglas Bartholomew and Joyce Im Bartholomew. They are the wealthy donors largely backing HBC Naples. The Bartholomews own the church building that HBC Naples just moved into last month. They are leasing it to HBC for $10 yr for the next three years.

    It was only announced in September 2018 that HBC Naples had been acquired by HBC Illinois as a satellite campus. They were an HBF church plant prior to the acquisition. It is likely that the Bartholomews had no idea about James’ anger management issues or his financial malfeasance. They might be able to have the contract set aside if HBC concealed material facts from the Bartholomews that resulted in fraudulent inducement to sign this rather one-sided contract.

    As of Friday December 21, 2018, Naples was the only campus that had NO HBC Elders thus far signing the letters of “unconditional support” (endorsement) of James. So it may not be too late for Naples.

    However, James MacDonald is wintering in Naples (starting right after Christmas) and many believe he will use those 8-10 weeks to charm the Bartholomews and the HBC Elders into surrendering their unconditional support to him. Please pray that all involved use wisdom and seek God during this crucial time.


  4. Agreed…jm is listed on HBC naples’ Website as senior pastor…funny he isn’t listed as Senior Pastor at any other satellites…even when you click on Naples from main HBC website, worship leader gets top billing over senior pastor secreast… all other satellites list campus or lead pastor first …..technical Problem? He seems to have definitely positioned himself there with a sense of permanency or at least is making a statement.. I am sure HBC will simply explain it away with one of their all-nighter wordsmith Elder updates that it was to help draw people to services with the familiarity of the j-mac logo/ BARTHOLOMEW’S BEWARE…SEEK WISE OUTSIDE GODLY COUNSEL

    Liked by 1 person

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