What you missed: Four holiday stories you might not have read

By Bethany Peterson

Pastor James MacDonald is stepping down from leadership at the Chicago-area megachurch, Harvest Bible Chapel which he founded over 30 years ago. According to Christianity Today’s report, Harvest has been accused of financial mismanagement and deception at the highest levels of church leadership. MacDonald, along with Harvest, sued “Elephant Debt,” a blog that has repeatedly criticized Harvest leadership, and Julie Roys, who reported on the mismanagement, for defamation. Harvest dropped the lawsuit earlier this month and MacDonald took “an indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership” soon after, according to the statement released by Harvest. The church currently has 13,000 attendees across seven locations.

Now at a record 33 days, the government shutdown is the longest ever, according to the New York Times. The current shutdown beat the previous record of 21 days under President Bill Clinton in 1995.

The 2018 Urbana Missions Conference experienced new benefits and challenges through engagement with young college students coming from Generation Z for the first time. The conference, hosted triennially by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in St. Louis, had its lowest attendance of the last 20 years. According to Christianity Today, 10,000 attended this December, while 16,000 attended the last conference in 2015. However, Urbana 2018 was also one of the most diverse groups ever as 64 percent of attendees were non-white.

Pastor Matt Chandler recently enrolled in the Wheaton College Graduate School of Ministry, Mission and Leadership. The 45-year-old is head pastor of the Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. He is also a speaker, author and president of Acts 29, a network of churches planting churches.

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