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Embattled IHOPKC Still Asking for Donations and Denies Plans to Close

por Rebecca Hopkins
ihopkc international house of prayer close donations
International House of Prayer Kansas City in Grandview, Missouri. (Video screengrab)

A day after the International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) sent un correo electrónico to leaders, announcing “IHOPKC will be closing for good,” the embattled ministry sent another email to donors. In it, the ministry urged donors to become part of the “IHOPKC Legacy Society,” by giving stocks, IRAs, real estate, or endowment funds to IHOPKC. The email did not mention the planned closure.

That same day, Tuesday, El Informe Roys (TRR) published a story revealing IHOPKC’s plan to close and published the email announcement to IHOPKC prophecy and healing leaders and leaked audio from an IHOP University staff meeting. The audio confirmed the ministry’s plan to close and the reason why—to try and limit liability.

But today, the Christian Post (CP) reported that IHOPKC released a statement to CP, stating that the organization is not closing but instead will begin a “transition and reorganization process.”  

“In a word, IHOPKC is NOT closing,” IHOPKC wrote in the statement. “. . . Over the course of these last months, our leadership team has tirelessly endeavored to review and analyze the entire IHOPKC organizational structure and the many missions we have undertaken over our 24 years of existence. That review and reflection has led to internal decisions to begin a transition and reorganization process, which will allow us to focus on our main mission yet deal with the realities of finance.”

Also today, IHOPKC posted a press release by IHOPKC Executive Director Joseph Taylor on its website, saying the organization will maintain its commitment to prayer and to Israel but will “wind down many of the ministry and training expressions of IHOPKC.” A “transition and reorganization process” will allow the ministry to bring “reform.”

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

TRR reached out to IHOPKC to explain the conflicting narratives, but the ministry did not respond.

However, Rusty Leonard, founder of the ministry watchdog site MinistryWatch, raised concerns about IHOPKC raising money while intending to close.

He said misleading donors about plans to close could open the organization up to lawsuits from donors.

“Somebody who’s donated could come back at them and say, ‘Hey, you were telling X. Y was actually the truth. I gave money based on X and now you have basically stolen my money from me and I want it back,’” said Leonard.

Or the state of Missouri or the Internal Revenue Service could fine IHOPKC, he said.

rusty leonard
Rusty Leonard (Video screengrab)

“It’s probably that things are moving really, really fast for this organization right now,” he told TRR. “But it’s something where they need to address very quickly and start shooting straight with everybody. Otherwise, they are going to have some additional problems, which only compound the problems they already have.”

Ya que last October, IHOPKC has been plagued with clergy sexual abuse allegations against its founder Mike Bickle.

In the leaked recording, IHOPKC leaders said IHOPKC was running a monthly deficit of $500,000 due to the scandal. They added that they feared victims would try to hold IHOPKC liable for alleged abuse. So, leaders had decided to close IHOPKC to limit liability and then to launch a new, much smaller organization.

But in his statement released today, Taylor sounded more tentative.

“We are in a volatile environment, but we’re working day by day with the Board to finalize details and timelines,” Taylor wrote. “We care deeply about the IHOPKC staff, our local community, partners, friends abroad, and our relationships with the international community and Israel. We plan to continue to share what we do know and communicate in the days ahead as details become clear.”

Taylor did not give details about IHOPKC’s reorganization in his statement.

‘Part of a machine’

In the email appeal to donors, IHOPKC Legacy and Cyrus Director Beshoy Metry did not mention anything about IHOPKC reorganizing or closing.

Instead, the email began with an optimistic Scripture verse from Isaiah. “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth . . . I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Metry encouraged donors to “trust in God’s promise to pave the way and bring forth streams of refreshment. Embrace the fresh beginnings God offers, for in them lies the beauty of His divine plans and purposes.”

Nonprofit fundraising consultant Elizabeth Herder told TRR the donor appeal email “sickened” her in light of the announced closing. Herder is one of several former IHOPKC leaders advocating for IHOPKC to commission an independent investigation into allegations of abuse against Bickle.

“It’s pretty disappointing because the basic tenant of responsible fundraising is to build trust,” said Herder. “So, the message here is, ‘We have you on auto pilot. We don’t actually know you. We aren’t asking for you to actually know us. We are all part of a machine.’”

elizabeth herder
Elizabeth Herder (Courtesy Photo)

Herder said the donor email was likely created from a template.

“It probably was just overwhelm and negligence unintentionally,” she said. “I’m pretty disappointed that the team wouldn’t have covered this space.”

However, Leonard said IHOPKC needs to be transparent with supporters.

“You’ve got to be straightforward with your donors, particularly those who have hung in there this long,” Leonard told TRR.

los ministry’s Facebook page hasn’t stated anything about closing, but posted this prayer yesterday: “Lord, You know the plans You have in store for this prayer room, and we trust You.”

IHOPKC’s email states that it has a “gold seal of transparency” with GuideStar, an online database of financial information about nonprofits.

However, GuideStar, which lists ratings next to a nonprofit’s name, did not rate either IHOPKC-Forerunner Christian Fellowship or the Casa Internacional de Oración because the organizations do not file IRS 990s.

IHOPKC also lists that it has a gold star rating from GuideStar on its website’s donor page.

“You’re not taking the care to make sure all of the information on this is accurate,” Herder said. “You have people who are running a machine in order to produce a result.”

Rebecca Hopkins es una periodista radicada en Colorado.

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5 Respuestas

  1. “After much prayer and deliberation with the Board, we have come to the conclusion that we will wind down many of the ministry and training expressions of IHOPKC, including IHOPU, Forerunner Church, CEC, and Internships. Our ongoing focus as a ministry will remain on the 24/7 prayer room and intercession for Israel.” Joseph Taylor

    From a business context, this looks more like a special purpose entity (SPE), a bankruptcy-remote entity play — where a parent company creates a subsidiary to isolate financial risk. A recent case has a parent company facing lawsuits create a subsidiary as a bankruptcy strategy — where the SPE would take on the claims and seek bankruptcy protection. A US court of appeals ruled against the company’s attempt to avoid or minimize lawsuit exposure.

    1. Ji Chung, excellent comment. Ignore mentions of prayer or ministry; it’s a business decision to minimize legal risk. Johnson & Johnson performed the same entity gymnastics with its lawsuits related to cancers caused by baby powder.

  2. Setting up churches as businesses is the problem. It’s more of a temple structure than a ‘church’. Jesus tore down the temple. WE are the temple now. We don’t need a building with employees to be the church.

  3. The pride and stouthearted say, our house is in ruins, the bricks are fallen, but we will rebuild with hewn stones and cedars.

    Tell them, says the LORD:

    You may indeed rebuild or reorganise, but I will throw it down yet again. And unless the LORD rebuilds this house, the reorganisation is in vain. For I have made you a sign, for a proverb and a hissing, and of the indignation of the LORD.

  4. Does anybody remember the IHOP 20th anniversary conference? There was that one guy who prayed over Mike and he said something like ‘imagine what the world would be like if it hadn’t been for IHOP. ” I was visibly shaken by this comment because I couldn’t help but note that factually over the prior 20 years, the United States had gone from bad to worse: morally, ethically, religiously, financially, socially… pretty much in every area you could imagine. So how could a nation that is supposed to have this unbelievable, around-the-clock devoted prayer ministry wind up in such a terrible place?

    Perhaps now it makes sense. If Mike was living a double life, and at the very minimum, so was Misty…who knows about the rest? Perhaps everyone else was okay, but of course it leaves the world having to ask these hard questions.

    Of course God is not going to answer the prayers of a ministry like this. Just like God doesn’t answer the prayers of Benny Hinn for healing, for example.

    I’m not saying you have to be perfect. But if you pretend to be perfect and lie about being perfect (as Misty lied about her celibacy), then that kind of hypocrisy is harshly dealt with in the Old Testament. Maybe the US Church will finally react with some real discipline.

    I suspect that the show is over.

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