Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC) in Kansas City, Missouri, has been accused of sexual and spiritual abuse and has been asked to step away from ministry and his social media. Three former leaders, two with IHOPKC and one with International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), issued a statement Saturday, Oct. 28, revealing “serious allegations spanning several decades.”
“A few days ago, we made the leadership team of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) aware of serious allegations spanning several decades concerning its founder, Mike Bickle,” said the statement from Dwayne Roberts, Brian Kim, and Wes Martin.
The statement lists Roberts as Former Executive Leadership Team and Board Member, IHOPKC; Kim as Former Executive Leadership Team and Board Member, IHOPKC; and Martin as Former Pastor, Forerunner Christian Fellowship and Former Vice President of Student Affairs, IHOPU.
“Without going into details to protect the privacy of the victims’ identities, we have found these allegations of clergy sexual abuse by Mike Bickle to be credible and long-standing,” the former leaders said. “The credibility of these allegations is not based on any one experience or any one victim, but on the collective and corroborating testimony of the experiences of several victims.”
Mike Bickle Steps Away From IHOPKC
Mike Bickle, 68, was formerly a pastor in the Vineyard Fellowship movement and founded IHOPKC and IHOPU in 1999. According to its website, IHOPKC “is an evangelical missions organization that is committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose.” This process will happen “as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact every sphere of society—family, education, government, economy, arts, media, religion, etc.”
IHOPU was founded with the purpose of “equipping people to intercede and lead a lifestyle of prayer.” Moreover, Forerunner Church in Kansas City describes itself as “a local church expression” of IHOPKC. Mike Bickle’s sister, Tracey, whose personal website says she serves on the IHOPKC leadership team, is listed on the church’s website as pastor of restoration and recovery.
IHOPKC has faced controversy in the past in part because of sexual abuse allegations some followers have faced. Some have also seen Bickle and his ministry as suspect because of its ties to the New Apostlic Reformation (NAR), an ideology characterized in part by a particular view of spiritual warfare, ecumenism, and the end times, as well as the idea that Christians should have positions of influence in the major spheres of society. NAR is not a formal organization, but a term that refers to certain beliefs and practices.
Roberts, Kim, and Martin said in their statement that before speaking to the leadership team of IHOPKC, they tried to confront Bickle directly “in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17,” but Bickle “rebuffed” them and “refused any sort of meeting. Instead, Mike used manipulating and intimidating tactics towards the victims to isolate them and discredit them.” So the former leaders took their allegations to “several members of IHOPKC’s Executive Leadership Team.”
The former leaders said that when they learned of the allegations against Bickle, they were “shocked.”
“We could never have imagined that inappropriate conduct with women [was] something we would ever need to be concerned about,” they added. “The allegations seemed out of character to the man we thought we knew, but they were so serious we could not ignore them.”
Roberts, Kim, and Martin stated that the Bible holds church leaders and teachers to a higher standard than other believers and that Bickle has failed to meet that standard. “To be clear, the allegations made about Mike Bickle’s misconduct were sexual in nature where the marriage covenant was not honored,” they wrote. “Furthermore, the allegations made also reveal that Mike Bickle used his position of spiritual authority over the victims to manipulate them.”