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Forerunner Church celebrates its many volunteers and staff at the final service. Image: video.

IHOPKC-affiliated Forerunner Church closes

Kansas City’s Forerunner Church, the local church “founded to be a local church expression of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC),” held its final worship service on Sunday, May 19. Video below.

The closure comes as IHOPKC continues to reckon with the scandal and investigation surrounding its founder Mike Bickle, who has been accused by several women of sexual abuse and impropriety.

IHOPKC cut ties with Bickle in December after confirming “a level of inappropriate behavior” on Bickle’s part.

“This morning, our heart is really just to express gratitude to the Lord and gratitude toward those that have served and been a part of this community over the years,” Pastor Isaac Bennett said during the church’s last service.

Bennett acknowledged it has been a “very painful season” that has been “marked by very painful events.”

He also apologized to those impacted by the events.

“We believe that [the closure] needs to happen. It needs to happen so that we can move forward with a new start,” Bennett said.

What the “new start” will look like was unclear, although Bennett did say the transition would last a few months. The church will not hold services over the summer, but will have Wednesday “community nights” in the church auditorium.

According to Bennett, “the ministry expression in the fall” will “be robust, including discipleship and children’s ministry and youth ministry.”

In April, leaked audio of a leadership team meeting revealed that “IHOPKC as an organization is beginning to wind down.” And a follow-up email pointed out that IHOPKC was “no longer financially viable.”

Bennett indicated during the April leadership meeting that dissolving IHOPKC in favor of a new organization is the best way to deal with liability issues.

“We’re the people to sue at the end of the day,” Bennett reportedly said. “That produces significant liabilities there.”

“The leadership feels the best way to resolve the issues is to close IHOPKC as an organization and shift to a more missional church structure in the future,” the email stated.

“This would still include night and day prayer with worship in the context of a church. It would also mean far fewer compensated staff members and a much bigger pool of volunteers.”

–Kim Roberts | MinistryWatch.org | Used with permission

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