Harvest Bible Chapel

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Harvest Bible Chapel
Location Rolling Meadows, Illinois
Country United States
Denomination Non-Denominational, Evangelical Christian
Website www.harvestbiblechapel.org
Founder(s) James MacDonald
Senior pastor(s) James MacDonald

Harvest Bible Chapel is a non-denominational, Evangelical Christian church originating in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with six satellite campuses in the greater Chicago area. It was founded on September 18, 1988.[1] Each weekend, more than 13,000 gather to sit under the preaching of founding and Senior Pastor James MacDonald[2] at Harvest Bible Chapel's seven campuses.

The church's unusual scale led to its inclusion in Outreach Magazine's "Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America"[3] and "Top 100 Largest Churches in America".[4]


The mission of Harvest Bible Chapel is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).[5] The church’s purpose is to be obedient to the mission and make authentic disciples of Christ who follow His ways in their Worship, Walk and Work.[6]


Harvest Bible Chapel started as a group of 18 people from 5 different churches meeting at Rolling Meadows High School.[7] James MacDonald, then 27 years old, was invited to be the Senior Pastor. The group developed a vision for the church, which grew into the Four Pillars – Unapologetic Preaching, Unashamed Adoration, Unceasing Prayer, and Unafraid Witness[8] – continued to be practiced today. On September 18, 1988, Harvest Bible Chapel was launched at Rolling Meadows High School with 207 in attendance.[9]

James MacDonald[edit]

James S. MacDonald (born 1960), an American evangelical pastor, Bible teacher,[10] and author, has served as the church’s Senior Pastor throughout its existence. MacDonald's preaching emphasizes the authority of the Bible practically applied in a compelling and understandable way.

Born in London, Ontario, MacDonald is a graduate of London Baptist Bible College (BA in Theology, 1984), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MA in Religion, 1988) and Phoenix Seminary (D. Min, 1996).[11]

MacDonald was ordained at Riverside Baptist Church in Windsor, Ontario, in 1985. In 1988, recruited by a small group of ministry partners, MacDonald and his wife, Kathy, founded Harvest Bible Chapel.

Since 1997, his daily Bible-teaching ministry[12] has been extended through Walk in the Word, which is available by radio and television. Further extension of his ministry includes: Harvest Christian Academy;[13] the church planting network Harvest Bible Fellowship;[14] Harvest Training Center for church-planting pastors; a recording ministry, Vertical Church Band; and a feature-filmmaking ministry, Vertical Church Films.

MacDonald currently resides in a Chicago suburb with his wife, Kathy. They have three adult children and five grandsons.

Today, MacDonald’s preaching is heard around the world more than 2,000 times each day through Walk in the Word (WITW),[15] a teaching ministry that started as a radio broadcast on one station in 1997. In 2014, the broadcast expanded to television. Today, the program airs daily on the Trinity Broadcast Network,[16] Daystar Television,[17] and many other radio and TV networks. In 2016, WITW received the National Religious Broadcasters[18] award for "Best Television Teaching Program".[19] Through this television program, the Bible teaching from James MacDonald that happens each week in the pulpit of Harvest Bible Chapel can now be seen in 98% of households in America.[20]


Known for its racial and economic diversity, the congregation moved from the local high school into a converted warehouse in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, in 1995. Additional campuses were founded in Elgin and Niles in 2004; Crystal Lake in 2007; the downtown Chicago Cathedral in 2010; Aurora in 2011 (permanent location in 2016); and Deerfield Road in 2012 (permanent location in Highland Park in 2015).[21]

Additional Ministries[edit]

In 2003, the church was given 650 acres of property in Croton, Michigan,[22] where it now runs Camp Harvest,[23] a year-round youth and family camp with facilities for 300, and a pastoral retreat center for training which sleeps 40.

In 2004, Harvest Christian Academy (HCA)[24] was founded. HCA is an ACSI accredited and IBSE certified[25] Christian school for preschoolers through grade 12, located on the Elgin Campus. Today, HCA has more than 700 students and 90 faculty members.

In 2012, after several decades of developing the worship culture at Harvest Bible Chapel, Vertical Church Band[26] was born. The band includes multiple songwriters who produce worship songs for other churches to use around the world. Vertical Church Band has released four albums through Essential Records: Live Worship from Vertical Church in 2012, The Rock Won’t Move in 2013, Church Songs in 2015, and Frontiers in 2016[27]—the last two albums peaked at #1 on the Christian Billboard chart.[28] Their song "Open Up the Heavens" co-authored by MacDonald, was nominated for the Dove Awards Worship Song of the Year in 2014.[29]

In 2012, Vertical Church Films[30] was launched with the vision to produce professional feature-length films that proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first project, The Ride,[31] won festival acclaim across the country and international distribution. Once We Were Slaves,[32] an Easter short film, brought similar success. Vertical Church Film’s debut feature film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,[33] was released in theaters across the United States on January 20, 2017.


  1. ^ "Christian Post News". christianpost.com. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  2. ^ "Authors | James MacDonald". moodypublishers.com. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches - SermonCentral.com". www.sermoncentral.com. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Outreach Magazines Top 100 Largest Churches - SermonCentral.com". www.sermoncentral.com. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  5. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Mission Statement | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  6. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Worship Walk Work | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  7. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Our Story | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  8. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Four Pillars of Harvest | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  9. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Our Story | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  10. ^ ""James MacDonald Interview: Bible's Central Message Is Christian's Love for Each Other".". 
  11. ^ "James MacDonald". Moody Publishers. 
  12. ^ "5 Things That Make a Church Compelling". 
  13. ^ "Harvest Christian Academy - Elgin, Illinois - IL - School overview". 
  14. ^ "Harvest Bible Chapel celebrating 25 years of ministry". 
  15. ^ "James MacDonald Bible Teaching | Walk In The Word". www.jamesmacdonald.com. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  16. ^ "Walk in the Word TV with James MacDonald". TBN. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  17. ^ "James MacDonald and Walk in the Word | Daystar Television". Daystar Television. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  18. ^ "National Religious Broadcasters". Wikipedia. 2017-01-27. 
  19. ^ Broadcasters, National Religious. "Walk in the Word Receives 2016 NRB Award for Best TV Teaching Program". National Religious Broadcasters. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  20. ^ "Trinity Broadcasting Network". Wikipedia. 2017-02-28. 
  21. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Our Story | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  22. ^ Chapel, Harvest Bible. "Our Story | Harvest Bible Chapel". www.harvestbiblechapel.org. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  23. ^ "Camp Harvest – Where faith happens!". campharvest.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  24. ^ "Private Christian School - Harvest Christian Academy". www.harvestchristianacademy.org. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  25. ^ "Accreditations - Harvest Christian Academy". www.harvestchristianacademy.org. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  26. ^ "Videos – Vertical Church Band". verticalchurchband.com. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  27. ^ "Music – Vertical Church Band". verticalchurchband.com. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  28. ^ "PraiseCharts". PraiseCharts. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  29. ^ "The 45th Annual GMA Dove Awards Nominees Announced Today at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena in Nashville | The 48th Annual GMA Dove Awards". doveawards.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  30. ^ "Vertical Church Films". verticalchurchfilms.org. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  31. ^ "The Ride". Attic Window. 2014-11-28. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  32. ^ "Once We Were Slaves". The Attic Film Fest. 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  33. ^ "The Official Site for The Resurrection of Gavin Stone". The Official Site for The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 

External links[edit]