In 1988 a group of eighteen people from across the northwest Chicago suburbs formed Harvest Bible Chapel, with twenty-seven-year-old James MacDonald as the senior pastor. As the church grew, it became apparent that it would require a larger building. In 1995, after meeting in Rolling Meadows High School for a number of years, the church obtained property at 800 Rohlwing Road in Rolling Meadows. This property has come to be known as the Rolling Meadows Campus.
The elders felt that God was leading Harvest Bible Chapel to plant churches. Still, the church was afraid to send people away, but God laid Proverbs 11:24 on the hearts of the church leaders, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer.” By faith, Harvest sent out 300 people and two pastors. The first church plant held its first service on March 12, 2000. The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel sought the Lord’s favor to plant ten churches in ten years. By October, 2012 God has blessed that desire exceedingly and abundantly beyond all could have imagined – there are now over 100 Harvests around North America and the world proclaiming the authority of God’s Word.
Harvest Bible Fellowship was formed in 2002 as an independent, non-profit association with a passion for Jesus Christ and a mission to act on His vision to build His church. The Fellowship plants churches and builds relationships among church leaders that edify, protect, encourage and support. Each Harvest Bible Chapel is an elder-governed church that has no central office above and beyond the local congregation. Any influence the Fellowship has over each church is granted by that church's leaders. The Fellowship intentionally seeks to influence by relationship, not by mandate. When a new church is planted, the Fellowship acts as overseers of the new church in its first 12 months after public launch. After that year, the church's senior pastor and the Fellowship choose elders from within the local congregation.