Our Story

Harvest Bible Chapel

In 1988, eighteen people from around Chicagoland started a new church with the desire to build it on the Bible and help people come to know Jesus Christ, these four pillars became their foundation:

Proclaiming the authority of the Word of God without apology. 2 Timothy 4:2
Lifting high the name of Jesus through worship. John 4:24
Believing firmly in the power of prayer. Ephesians 6:18
Sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness. Ephesians 6:19-20

Their commitment launched this new church, Harvest Bible Chapelon September 18 of the same year. And twenty-seven-year-old James MacDonald began serving as the Senior Pastor.

As the gospel has been faithfully preached and God’s Word upheld in the decades since, the Lord has done more in and through this ministry than anyone imagined. Countless thousands have come into a saving relationship with God through Christ, addictions and strongholds have been broken, families healed, and ministries extended nationally and globally.

By God’s grace, Harvest Bible Chapel is now an increasingly diverse multi-site church in and around Chicago. It is home to the daily international television and radio broadcast ministry, Walk in the Word, and the thriving Christian-accredited school, Harvest Christian Academy. This Pre-K through Grade 12 school opened its doors in 2004 with a vision to raise up graduates who will impact their world for Christ.

Harvest Bible Chapel is also home to a biblical counseling center, a year-round camp in Michigan, and blessed with a multiplying worship ministry—Vertical WorshipJames MacDonald’s vision for producing professional films through Harvest led to Vertical Church Films, whose recent feature film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, debuted in theaters in 2017. The vertical mission of all that we do is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission. To Him be the glory now and forever.

“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

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Walk in the Word

Pastor James MacDonald preaches without apology straight from the pages of Scripture, provoking Christians to think and act on their faith. His Bible-teaching ministry, Walk in the Word, launched on as a radio broadcast in 1997, with the mission of “igniting passion in the people of God through the proclamation of truth.” The radio program is now a daily and online broadcast, with stories from those who’s lives have been forever altered by the gospel coming in from around the country.

God has shown great favor and expanded his teaching ministry to a daily television program in 2014, with an audience extending around the world. Walk in the Word’s reach and impact continue to increase globally through online programming, digital and print resources, and impactful teaching events.

Whether it’s catching the daily radio program, attending a live event, watching the Walk in the Word television program, or digging into one of Pastor James’ books or Bible studies, the teaching is biblical, personal, practical, and aimed at leading people to the transforming power of God.

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Vertical Church

Vertical. It’s a word that sums up everything we believe about what God wants His church to be.And Ephesians 3:21 lays out our highest purpose, “TO HIM (emphasis added) be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

The purpose of the church isn’t something we fashion according to our own whims or subjective sense of God’s leading. The purpose of the church is doxological before it is ever soteriological. It isn’t to reach people or feed the poor or any of those important outcomes, but to elevate and honor God’s great Son in the minds and hearts of those who gather in His name. When that truly happens, all the other good things happen too. When that focus is neglected, nothing that happens is lasting or worthwhile.

After more than two decades of ministry leadership, Pastor James MacDonald poured his passion for this vision and purpose of the church of Jesus Christ into the writing of Vertical Church. This foundational work speaks to what every heart longs for and what every church can be. And it has begun a life-giving movement among churches across North America.

Expanding this influence to a new generation of worshipers, Vertical Church Band (VCB) has become instrumental in creating and bringing new songs for the greater church around the world. A gifted collection of God’s people who lead worship every week in Harvest Bible Chapels throughout Chicagoland and in venues across the country, VCB extends the truth that worship isn’t a warm-up for the sermon; it is a warm-up for heaven.

Find resources and learn more about what being a Vertical Church is all about at VerticalChurchMedia.com.

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Act Like Men

The Act Like Men conference is a two-day event designed get to the core issues men face today. After more than two decades of ministering to men, Pastor James recognized that what is desperately needed around the world are men who embrace all that God created them to be. Men who are loud and ruthless about their own sin, but patient and full of grace in leading others. Men who long to follow God without limits and meet the needs of those around them without hesitation.

As a result, the first Act Like Men conference season launched in 2013, with three arena events. With clear teaching drawn from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, these are gatherings designed to take men apart and put them back together in a better way.

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