The Christian community continues to react to explosive charges of sexual misconduct by Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC). Both Christian (including Metro Voice) and secular media across the nation have reported extensively on the situation.
The allegations remain under investigation, and Bickle has not commented publicly. The IHOPKC leadership team posted the following statement on Facebook in response:
“We are heartbroken to share that we have recently become aware of serious allegations, including sexual immorality, directed against Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOPKC. Our leadership team takes these allegations very seriously, and we are laboring for truth, light, redemption and righteousness. We are engaging with outside parties to assess and arbitrate these allegations.
“Our priority is to love and serve our IHOPKC community during this moment. This news is unsettling for our spiritual family, as well as our entire leadership team. Please pray for all involved, including the ones who have come forward, those who have experienced trauma and for the Bickle family. We are asking for patience as we work through this complex and very difficult situation.
“Secondly, we ask that our spiritual family refrain from using prophetic spiritual language that can be interpreted as dismissive of the pain of the traumatized. On October 26, the IHOPKC executive leadership team asked Mike Bickle, and he agreed, to not preach or teach from the IHOPKC platform, attend our 24-hour prayer room or engage his social media channels while we work with others to assess this situation. As difficult as this is for many, we are trusting in Jesus’ wise and good leadership to help and strengthen us as we anchor our hope in him.”
The IHOP worldwide community has been supportive and patient, waiting for details to emerge.
“Praying from Cali for our IHOP family in KC and those family members around the world,” said Lydia Pro Birks from California. “This was so maturely shared with such wisdom and love by each of the leaders. We care about your grief too.”
Eric Gabay commented on IHOPKC’s Facebook page, “I am with you in prayer IHOP family. God blessed me when I was with you at OneThing and visiting the prayer room. God is using you. One man is not the ministry, you all are the hands and feet of Jesus. Love you, stand strong in your faith with Christ.”
Of the hundreds who have commented publicly, a recurring theme is that truth must prevail, and that if true, accountability must be sought.
“There is a cleansing going on and very much overdue here in this body of Christ and in other church organizations as well. God is only coming back for His pure bride. Sin always will be exposed. What a merciful Heavenly Father we have to be watchful over His children. Thank you Lord for giving courage for men and women to speak out and become vulnerable in order for this cleansing to happen. God is giving them supernatural strength to speak their truth!! God Forgive and redeem us all!!” stated Suzete Smiddy Svensen.
Former executive leadership team and board members Dwayne Roberts and Brian Kim, along with former Forerunner Christian Fellowship pastor Wes Martin, said they first attempted to bring the allegations directly to Bickle, as the Bible instructs in Matthew 18. They said Bickle refused to meet with them and then tried to intimidate and discredit the victims. “Instead, Mike used manipulating and intimidating tactics toward the victims to isolate them and discredit them,” they said in a statement.
The men didn’t say how they learned of the allegations but described “the collective and corroborating testimony of the experiences of several victims. The allegations seemed out of character to the man we thought we knew, but they were so serious we could not ignore them.”
Roberts, who now serves as a leader at the Florianópolis House of Prayer in Brazil, said his church is distancing itself from Bickle for the time being.
Christian leaders are speaking out on the allegations. Dr. Michael Brown, who hosts a popular podcast and is published in dozens of publications, including Metro Voice, says he was shocked.
“Mike was a personal friend and, to my knowledge, a beautiful example of devotion to Jesus. He spent hours daily in prayer and the Word, lived very simply, donating large amounts of money to the gospel, and always embraced a message of repentance and purity,” Brown wrote in a column Wednesday. “How could the charges be true?”
Brown went on to say that Christians must pray that the facts come to light through due process and that “no conclusions” be drawn until then. In the interim, he contends, the focus must be on the alleged victims working for “their full restoration and healing.”
He added “As for everyone else affected, let me speak as a father and elder, knowing how much mercy the Lord has had on me and knowing that none of us can boast in our own righteousness. All of us stand by grace, and none of us are too big to fall.”
Brown says there have been too many scandals in recent decades, “Bringing deep reproach to the name of the Lord and leaving many hurt.” But that doesn’t mean, if true, the work of Bickle was in vain or of no use to God.
“Mike’s example motivated you to live sacrificially and devote thousands of hours to prayer and worship, be glad,” Brown writes. “Your prayers were not in vain.”
The church, in its response, also focused on the importance of prayer, which is at the heart of the ministry of IHOPKC and Mike Bickle’s focus.
“Our cry and prayer is that we will be strong and not allow these events to shake our faith or discourage our hearts in the journey of raising up a church that prays and waits for the return of the bridegroom,” the church wrote. “We are committed to complete transparency and the truth and will share more information as the facts are clarified.”
–Alan Goforth and Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice