The Inside Story of The Church Leadership Team and Luke MacDonald’s More Generous Severance Package from Harvest Bible Chapel

This post answers the questions about Luke MacDonald’s severance package. Luke’s severance package was more generous than HBC policy stipulated. And some of those who supported it are still on the CLT today. Can Harvest’s culture be changed? 

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. “  

Erich Fromm

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 NIV 

The other night I did a post asking some questions about Luke MacDonald and his severance package. You can read that in, “Did Luke MacDonald Violate his Non-Disclosure Agreement? Let’s Flush this Issue Out.” This post will answer some of those questions. This information comes from a well placed  source who had access to the information in a primary context. These are some of the answers to the questions in the original post.

How much was Luke MacDonald’s severance package? 

Luke’s severance package was for 4 months pay. This was one month longer than Harvest’s 3-month maximum severance per HBC policy) In earlier negotiations, Luke MacDonald may have requested ownership of Vertical Worship, either in whole or in some shared way with Harvest Bible Chapel. Those proposals were shot down by both
Harvest leadership and Vertical Worship.

Which people at Harvest negotiated the severance package for Luke MacDonald?

Through much of late February and March, Luke MacDonald’s severance and Landon MacDonald’s severance were negotiated by a representative from the elder board. At times, those negotiations were likely part of the negotiation with their father, James
MacDonald, the former senior pastor fired for cause in mid-February. At other times, these negotiations were handled separately. Ultimately the Church Leadership Team (CLT) decided on the severance package for Luke MacDonald and Landon MacDonald.
The elders gave the CLT the authority to make the decision, including going beyond the 3-month cap per policy. Greg Bradshaw represented the CLT and its viewpoint to the elders. There was discussion amongst the elders, Bradshaw and other church leaders
about the idea of giving severance to ex-employees who had voluntarily resigned, perhaps before they may have had their employment terminated. It appears the entire CLT – the same 6 people leading Harvest Bible Chapel today – agreed to not only give
these ex-employees who had resigned voluntarily severance but to go beyond the maximum severance as stated in Harvest’s personnel policies.

These answers raise a few questions.

  • Why did the CLT feel compelled to treat Luke and Landon MacDonald
    differently than other pastors who resigned in the wake of James
    MacDonald’s termination (e.g., Jeff Donaldson, Rick Donald)?
  • Why did the elders give this decision to the CLT?
  • Why did the CLT go beyond what was stipulated in Harvest’s personnel
    policies? (So much for policy governance by the elders!)
  • These answers also again show how much Harvest Bible Chapel continues to struggle to separate itself – or even distance itself – from the shadow of
    James MacDonald and the trail of his sinful actions. All that is James
    MacDonald hung over the negotiations and the ultimate decision to give
    severances to his sons. What will it take to change this culture? Can it be
    changed?

These answers continue to show once again how much Harvest Bible Chapel continues to struggle to separate itself  – or even distance itself – from the shadow of James MacDonald and the trail of his destructive sinful behavior. All that is James MacDonald hung over the negotiations and the ultimate decision to give severance to his sons. What will it take to change this culture or can it be changed? After much of what I have written about Harvest Bible Chapel this year this blogger is deeply doubtful that it can be changed.  

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