The latest report by Religion News Service details exactly how James MacDonald was spending all that sweet, sweet tithe money while his church was tens of millions of dollars in debt. The list is pretty stunning.
Okay, so we all knew that James MacDonald is the stereotypical megachurch pastor who broke-bad. Like his compatriot, Mark Driscoll, MacDonald had an abusive and heavy-handed leadership style, misappropriated authority, questionably spent resources on their own enrichment, and did it all the while constantly taking pot-shots at John MacArthur.
Emily McFarlan Miller explains that of 3.1 million spent in two accounts (which had no oversight by the church itself) between 2014 and when MacDonald was fired by the church in 2019, 1.9 million was spent “at MacDonald’s discretion.” The 2.2 million not spent at MacDonald’s discretion was spent on MacDonald nonetheless, but to his retirement fund.
Of this 1.9 million spent at MacDonald’s discretion, about $286,000 was given to MacDonald and his family. These were reimbursements or disbursements for things like an Internet tower at their home, repairs for automobiles, tuition, and motorcycles.
There was also $94,000 spent on clothing and eyewear, vehicles for friends and ministry donors, $171,000 on hunting and fishing trips; $71,000 on a deer farm owned by Harvest in Newaygo, Michigan; and $36,000 on a private investigator (for an unknown purpose).
The outdoorsman in me is a tad caught up on “$171,000 on hunting and fishing trips.” What?
According to RNS, the church plans to approach MacDonald and ask for reimbursement for some of these expenses by the end of the year.