Harvest Bible taking down 'Walk In the Word' website after pastor's firing
Harvest Bible Chapel elders say they're taking down the "Walk In the Word" website with teachings of former Senior Pastor James S. MacDonald, who was fired in February.
On Friday, links to MacDonald's videos and audio recordings on the website, jamesmacdonald.com, led to notices that the site is undergoing scheduled maintenance.
"'Walk in the Word' is a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel, and as such, it is under the direction of Harvest's leadership. The Harvest elders have decided to take down the 'Walk in the Word' website," the church announced, adding a launch of digital content is canceled and contributions to 'Walk in the Word' are no longer accepted.
"Walk In the Word" and "Walk In the Word Ministries" are registered as corporations with the Illinois secretary of state's office listing the church's attorney as agent and giving a Harvest Bible address. The corporations have existed since 1998, the year after "Walk In the Word With James MacDonald" started as a radio ministry.
On March 13, "Walk In the Word With Dr. James MacDonald" was registered as a corporation with the secretary of state. The initial registration listed Harvest Bible's attorney and a church address. But on Thursday, the corporation changed its agent to Incorp Services Inc. with a Springfield address.
"Walk in the Word" began broadcasting on Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2014. As recently as January, the church said the shows were reaching millions of people on more than 2,000 outlets worldwide.
While the TBN website still says it has several hundred of the episodes, they could not be played Friday afternoon. However, episodes could still be found on YouTube, on a channel called "James MacDonald."
MacDonald was fired in February after questions arose last year about his spiritual and financial leadership of the church he founded in 1998. The mega church based in Rolling Meadows with seven Chicago-area locations held services where about 12,000 people worshipped weekly, according to documents the court filed in a lawsuit last fall.
But within weeks of MacDonald's firing, attendance had dropped and donations had declined by as much as 40 percent, the church said.
Last week, church elders said a severance agreement with MacDonald "is null and void" after Harvest's mortgage lender objected to release of any assets.
"None of Harvest Bible Chapel's or 'Walk in the Word's' donations or assets have gone to James, and we will not be giving him anything in the future," the elders wrote on the church's website.
MacDonald did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon. The spokesman for the church could not be reached.