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Reporting the Truth.
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Embattled IHOPKC to Close, Start New Organization to Limit Liability

By Rebecca Hopkins
ihopkc international house of prayer
The International House of Prayer Kansas City in Grandview, Missouri. (Photo: Facebook)

The International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) will be closing its doors and starting a new organization, following months of clergy sexual abuse allegations against its founder Mike Bickle, leaders announced at an internal IHOP University staff meeting yesterday.

A leaked recording of the meeting that The Roys Report (TRR) obtained reveals the organization is bleeding $500,000 a month due to donors being too connected to the now-permanently removed Bickle.

Leaders hope this move will limit IHOPKC’s liability regarding victims’ lawsuits, said Isaac Bennett, pastor of IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church, in the meeting. “We’re the people to sue at the end of the day,” said Bennett. “That produces significant liabilities there.”

However, Boz Tchividjian, an attorney who represents multiple Jane Does who’ve accused Bickle of clergy sexual abuse, told TRR that IHOPKC is in “fantasyland” if it thinks closing down and starting a new organization protects its assets from lawsuit. To try to do so would be “fraudulent,” Tchividjian said.

Matt Candler, president of IHOP University, made the announcement about IHOPKC’s gradual closing to staff yesterday. TRR also obtained an email of the same announcement.

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mike bickle
Mike Bickle preaches in an undated photo. (Photo: social media)

“IHOPKC as an organization is beginning to wind down . . . ” Candler said. “We’re going to be maintaining our prayer room and eventually beginning a new organization.”

IHOPKC hasn’t made the announcement public and didn’t immediately return an emailed request by TRR for comment.

“We are seeing this present era . . . coming to an end, and the Lord beginning a new era,” said Bennett in the meeting.

IHOPKC has been consulting with various experts on how to handle the crisis, said Bennett on the recording. It could rebrand, but that doesn’t address its underlying governance issue that has led to many allegations of mishandling of abuse allegations, Bennett said. It also doesn’t protect the organization from the people who may decide to sue IHOPKC.

“In cases where there’s clergy abuse, where there’s allegations that are outstanding—when there’s now interest in having an investigation that goes back through all of our 24-year history to find cases where there’s been mishandling of abuse, or where there’s been cover-up, or whatever else it is people believe has been gone on—those things will produce inevitably a contingent of individuals who are wanting to get restitution,” said Bennett. “And they’re not going to go knock on Mike’s door because, well, he probably won’t answer. But they’re not going to knock on Mike’s door because he doesn’t have any money. But IHOPKC has facilities.”

boz tchividjian
Attorney Boz Tchividjian (Courtesy image)

Tchividjian, however, told TRR this thinking is misguided.

“The notion that they can just shut it down and start a new organization and all of that prior potential liability is wiped away is fantasyland,” Tchividjian said. “To suddenly take all the property, put it in name of new organization to limit liability that would what I believe be called a fraudulent transfer. A court would not allow that.”

Tchividjian said he’s put IHOPKC “on notice” about one claim but isn’t aware of any pending lawsuits. Typically, people can still sue organizations for a set period of time after they’ve shut down, he said.

“If somebody files a claim against the old organization, they will be able to attach the claim to the new organization and new assets,” he said.

Financial problems at IHOPKC

Bennett said IHOPKC’s financial woes have been part of the crisis IHOPKC has been navigating for the past six months.

“We began to accrue some pretty significant financial challenges of moving along at a pace of our expenses outpacing our revenues at about $500,000 a month. . . with no end in sight,” Bennett said.

Many of IHOPKC’s donors previously gave because of Bickle, his message, and his anointing, Bennett said.

“A lot of our donors have been attached to the IHOPKC brand and to Mike specifically,” Bennett said. “Now we get a look at the pulling apart of Mike Bickle from IHOPKC. Those two had become largely inseparable.”

Bennett also blamed the drop in donations on “a lot of distrust that was beginning to be sown.”

isaac bennett
Isaac Bennett preaches at IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church in Grandview, Missouri. (Video screengrab)

To keep IHOPKC at its current operational level, IHOPKC would have to let go 90% of its paid staff, Bennett said. So, instead of 500 staff, IHOPKC would have to run the organization with just 50, Bennett said.

“We are at an impasse,” Bennett said. “There’s no other way forward. So, the Lord is kindly inviting us into a new era.”

However, lack of donations isn’t the only reason why IHOPKC is in a financial crisis, Tchividjian said. Rather than prioritizing care for alleged victims, IHOPKC has been spending money on lawyers and crisis managers, said Tchividjian.

“They’ve been slowly draining funds by navigating this absolute disaster in about a bad a way as you can by spending more money than any of us probably can begin to (imagine) on lawyers and PR people, all who, in my opinion, have done a great disservice to not only victims, but also, quite frankly, in my opinion, IHOPKC,” Tchividjian said.

IHOPKC’s closing will include IHOPKC’s ministries, camps, church, and IHOP University, which is in its final semester, said Candler. IHOPKC will phase out other ministries in the weeks to come, he said.

IHOP University in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo: Facebook)

The new organization will have a much smaller staff and won’t depend on one single leader, Bennett said. Bennett blamed “governance”—namely Bickle’s large role—for leading to IHOPKC’s current challenges.

“We are set up, governance-wise, to go through exactly what we’re going through today,” Bennett said. “The chairman of the board, the operations director, and the senior pastor of this ministry have all been held by one person, Mike Bickle, for nearly 20 years of this ministry. For a short stint that was Stuart Greaves.”

The new organization will split these roles and not have a parachurch missions structure, but rather a “missional church” structure, Bennett said. Leaders will focus on keeping 24/7 prayer going as it works with a larger community to plant a new organization. The organization will focus on the next generation and on outreach, which could include helping human trafficking victims, he said. Bennett said the ministry must steward a people, its values, and its mandate from God as intercessors.

“That’s still who we are,” he said. “Regardless of what the last six months has done has not changed us as a people. It has in some ways, but it hasn’t changed our values and what we love and what we celebrate and enjoy. . . . IHOPKC and all ministries involved is about a people, at the end of the day, in the eyes of the Lord.”

jonathan hall
Jonathan Hall (Photo via Facebook)

TRR reached out to Jono Hall, a member of an advocate group that had brought allegations internally to IHOPKC’s leaders, about IHOPKC’s closing. He wrote in a text that he hopes this will be a “turning point.”

“While the response of the various IHOPKC leaders over the past 6 months has been disappointing related to dealing with sin in a biblical manner, we are ever prayerful that this may mark a turning point of righteous concern to respond biblically to those who have been victimized and those who have transgressed related to sexual misconduct,” he wrote.

But he also expressed sadness.

“We are saddened at the impact that this crisis has had on so many lives and continues to have through this recent unconfirmed news,” he wrote in a text. “It didn’t have to be this way.”

Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.

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17 Responses

  1. And, THIS is a sign of what the LORD intends to do on a larger scale within the Church. Something YHVH has been showing me since 2020.

    The Rupture of “church” as we now it.

    It has only just begun.

    1. Ya, when this all began, the Lord said, “Remember the prostitute. Sex and Adultery is about money. This is all about money. A few people want to take the money of MANY!” I was witnessed to there, received healing from there. I believe in the Lord’s purpose, regardless what he must do bring about his purpose.
      Whether it fails or succeeds, he is the one behind it. He always reminds me, “Only the weak cannot forgive, just wallow in bitterness. The strong live, pay for their mistake, move-on and forgive.” The Lord reminded me several times about the scripture of looking upon a woman lustfully. The Lord said, “I wrote this more about the sins women cause than men. A woman wants what another woman has, then puts her family in debt to get it. I never said in that scripture if a male lusts, but if people lust. Why does a woman break up a marriage? She wants the money and blessings the other woman is getting from that man. Sex, misused, is all about money. I said in Malachi 2:15 that marriage and sex is about the children, raising Godly Offspring, but pastors and people have made it about themselves. It’s sinner versus sinner, no one seeking perfection as the Heavenly Father is Perfect.”

    2. Amen. I’ve been getting dreams of coming judgment upon the church since Dec 20th, 2021 (I record them). Since then it’s been a continual drumbeat of warnings. I truly believe what we’re seeing with Ihopkc is only the beginning of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple once again.

      To put it plainly, Jesus is simply not going to allow people to do wickedness in his holy name forever. His patience is long, but we should not confuse patience with apathy.

  2. A nice sleazy (but legal way) to avoid liabilities, lawsuits, etc. The hallmark signs of true repentance and caring about the victims and doing the right and Christ-honoring thing – NOT. This is no different that TFG filing bankruptcy several times and stiffing his contractors to not pay them. Of course, the new organization will have much of the leadership of the old (meet the new boss, same as the old boss).

    Hopefully the lawyers for the victims can still use legal means to go after the new organization as well as pierce the corporate veils of both organizations to go after these abusers and enablers personally.

  3. The scarcity of shame in churches and “Christian” ministries today is breathtaking. Some have become so self absorbed as to think they are some how relevant or necessary. They are not.

    1. Spot on. Now following several sites reporting on “ministries”–and with eyes wide open–it is indeed breathtaking to see the scope of bad behavior and the enabling taking place. Hiding behind exceptions for ministry rather than using the legal standards applied to average and ordinary folks is the default. Being ‘called’ covers a multitude of sins in that world, even for those who are supposed to be mandated reporters. Accountability is hard–and rare.

  4. This reminds me of when Countrywide Mortgage emploees arrived at work one morning at the beginning of the financial crisis and discovered the company had been shutdown by the three men that ran it. Then not so long after this, I heard on the news that the three men had started a new company to help people with financial problems. Those men went from majority contributing to and profiting from the mortgage fiasco to another way of taking money from people.

    These pancake people should never, ever have anyone’s confidence again. Those that continue to give them money should be exposed for helping these grifters to make a living this way.

    If people want entertainment, they should go to movie theaters. it’s a lot cheaper.

  5. Cue the language. “We are seeing this present era . . . coming to an end, and the Lord beginning a new era,” said Bennett in the meeting.
    Stop. Just stop.
    Take responsibility, shut the things down, make yourselves accountable under the law. Recognize the abuse that took place and fairly compensate victims.
    Work on basic human decency.
    The exceptions people take for their consummate behaviors related to believing and following charlatans are stunning. For most of us there would be accountability under the law.
    Back away from the nonsense and imagine living in the real world.
    No more asking other people to pay for your mistakes.

  6. IHOPKC should be more concerned about helping the victims than “holding on to their assets”. Christ Jesus wouldn’t THIS first!! Liquidate your assets and care for the victims if you really are about”people” as you claim. Unfortunately, you are showing what you really are about. Shame on you IHOPKC! You are ruled by money!

  7. matthew 7:15 ” beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”. IHOPKC built on a foundation of FALSE PROPHETS (Cain, Jones and Bickle).

    IHOPKC needs to shut its doors permanently, for the foundation is corrupt. Any “church” that has little oversight in the pastoral leadership, or has a “yes” board, needs to be shuttered.

  8. To me, it seems apparent that current IHOPKC leadership have still not reckoned deeply enough or honestly enough with the enormity of Mike’s apocalypse. I understand; it will probably take years. It is my hope and prayer that during those years the fewest number of people possible will follow Isaac Bennett and the rest of the leadership as they attempt a rebrand. Based on Bennett and the rest’s track record over the last six months, I highly doubt any of them are capable, competent, or mentally healthy enough to build a healthy church from IHOPKC’s ashes. I hope and pray they will lay this down and find health and rest somewhere else.

  9. Changing business entities will not shield the assets of the reorganized entity unless bankruptcy is declared. Debtors will have to be satisfied depending upon the timing of claims, statues of limitation, and so on. It’s a mess that will take a generation to navigate.

  10. None of this would have happened without the principled courage and brilliant skill of Julie Roys. She is The Boss.

  11. If leaders in the body of Christ cannot come clean regarding utter failure why would anyone listen to “the Lord is kindly inviting us into a new era” and believe it? The Lord isn’t inviting these people anywhere. He is giving them a just and deserved back hand and IHOPKC is trying to sell it as revival.

    Its heads give judgment for a bribe;
    its priests teach for a price;
    its prophets practice divination for money;
    yet they lean on the LORD and say,
    “Is not the LORD in the midst of us?
    No disaster shall come upon us.”

    Micah 3:11

  12. Scriptures records none of Daniel’s sins. He was treasured by heaven. God’s eyes were on him. And yet, when we hear his intercession in Daniel ch 9, we find him including himself in the sin of his people… “God we have sinned”. I would caution us from a lot of pointing of fingers at the church in the West. We’re all part of the western church and her short-comings. We have sinned. We deserve judgment. May God have mercy on us all. Bob Sorge’s response to the whole IHOP crisis is truly a humble, godly invitation to go low.

  13. Did I read this right, they had/have 500 employees?? For a church and “school” of ministry? What did all these people do?

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Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani.