Excommunicating elders at a megachurch is messy business

Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago is a huge church.

And earlier this month, they played a video in all of their services, at all of their campuses, telling of how they are ex-communicating two elders from their fellowship.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

READ THE CHURCH DISCIPLINE LETTER HERE

In fact, according to some reports, a dozen or more elders or high level staff have left HBC over the past few years.  The controversy all seems to center around the senior pastor James MacDonald.

Many of the former elders have gone on record with problems they felt were being unaddressed by the elder board and MacDonald.  But this video (and corresponding letter) say that they 30-member elder board is unanimous in their decision not only to support their pastor, but to excommunicate the former elders.

It is very sad (regardless of the details).

The video is sharp and pointed.  You are not to have any contact with these men until they repent and confess their sins.

I’m wondering how this played out among the thousands of attenders at this huge church.  I’ve been in small churches where discipline has taken place, but nothing ever this large.

I’m the first to admit that I have no idea what the truth is at Harvest.  It seems disconcerting to have so many of your elder team leave so quickly around the same supposed issues.  But I also know that the complexities of a large church like HBC can only increase what is at stake, and the different approaches to tackle those issues and opportunities.

Thoughts?  If the elders are, indeed, correct in their opinion… was this a good way to execute church discipline?

And what if the elders that left are right?  What does it say about the future of the church?

And when, as men who lead the church, are we to dig in our heels more?  And when are we to relinquish, take off our boots, and find another church altogether?

Todd

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