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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

International House of Prayer Founder Mike Bickle Accused of Clergy Sexual Abuse ‘Spanning Several Decades’

By Julie Roys
mike bickle
International House of Prayer Founder Mike Bickle. (Courtesy Photo)

Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. (IHOPKC), is facing allegations of clergy sexual abuse “spanning several decades,” according to a statement released today by former IHOPKC leaders.

Bickle has led IHOPKC since 1999—a 24/7 charismatic, prayer ministry with about 2,500 full-time staff, students, and interns, which attracts people from around the world.

“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 statement 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.”

The statement added, “These are women who have always been viewed as credible, trustworthy, and courageous.”

The statement was posted on the website of the Florianópolis House of Prayer (FHOP), a Brazilian church founded in 2013 by Dwayne Roberts, founding member of the IHOPKC. The letter was signed by Roberts, Brian Kim, a former IHOPKC executive leadership team member, and Wes Martin, former pastor of Forerunner Church, the church associated with IHOPKC.

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The statement comes after a tense staff meeting Friday night at Forerunner Church in which IHOPKC leaders announced there were allegations against Bickle but declined to comment on the nature of the allegations.

Mike Bickle IHOP
Mike Bickle

Stuart Greaves, executive director of IHOPKC, said at the meeting, “Our leaders have taken this situation very seriously.”

Greaves referred to an Oct. 20, 2023, sermon by Bickle where Bickle used the metaphor of a “black horse” to describe an attack that would come against him. (Video of the sermon has been removed from the IHOPKC website, but The Roys Report (TRR) has obtained notes of the sermon.) Greaves urged staff not to “refer to the ‘black horse’ in this situation as a way to minimize the pain of those affected” and expressed concern for those “experiencing pain and trauma.”

David Sliker, president of the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), added, “The need for clarity in the moment like this is very different than secrecy, but it can feel the same.” Then, appealing for those present to have patience, Sliker said, “The problem is, the nature of this kind of moment, the allegations can run faster than clarity.”

About four minutes later, an audience member whose identity TRR confirmed as Dean Briggs, a former IHOPKC senior leader who resigned in September, stood and addressed the leaders. The exchange was captured on video of the meeting posted online.

“I do not consider this an acceptable level of transparency,” Briggs said. “In a room full of faithful witnesses, I am being a faithful witness to my brothers. There is more to be said, and what they just shared is well-intended, righteous bullshit.”

“I second that!” said a woman.

“And I think that you need to address this in a different way with a right degree of transparency or this is not going to be a trustworthy process,” Briggs added.

Clip of Dean Briggs’ statement at Forerunner Church meeting:

TRR reached out to IHOPKC and Isaac Bennett, Forerunner Church pastor, for comment, but no one responded.

We also emailed Mike Bickle, but he did not reply.

According to the statement by the former IHOPKC leaders, they informed the leadership team of IHOPKC of the allegations against Bickle “a few days ago.”

Prior to that, the former leaders said they attempted to bring the allegations to Bickle directly, but “were repeatedly rebuffed.”

“Instead, Mike used manipulating and intimidating tactics towards the victims to isolate them and discredit them,” the statement said. “To avoid further wounding of victims, we met with several members of IHOPKC’s Executive Leadership Team. There, we shared testimonies of these victims of Mike’s inappropriate words and actions.”

The former leaders added, “To be clear, the allegations made about Mike Bickle’s misconduct were sexual in nature where the marriage covenant was not honored. Furthermore, the allegations made also reveal that Mike Bickle used his position of spiritual authority over the victims to manipulate them.”

A history of concerning incidents and allegations

Bickle has been a major figure in charismatic Christian circles for decades. In the 1990s, he pastored Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship, which at its height, had had over 3,000 members.

He also pastored a group in the late 1980s and 1990s known by some as the “Kansas City Prophets.” At least two of these so-called prophets, Bob Jones, and Paul Cain, later admitted to sexual misconduct and Bickle broke formal ties with them.

However, since founding IHOPKC in 1999, Bickle and his ministry have faced numerous controversies.

Mike Bickle IHOP
Mike Bickle speaks at Forerunner Church

IHOP gained national attention in October 2012, when former IHOP-KC intern Bethany Deaton was found dead in the backseat of a van with a plastic bag tied over her head. Detectives initially ruled the death a suicide until IHOPU student Micah Moore came forward 10 days later to admit that he killed Bethany Deaton. 

Moore and Deaton lived together as a part of a communal prayer group led by Deaton’s husband, Tyler Deaton. Moore confessed that the group had performed several sexual assaults on Bethany. He also claimed Tyler had directed him to kill his wife before she disclosed the abuse to her therapist.

Moore was charged with first-degree murder but later recanted his confession, claiming he was delusional at the time due to an exorcism he participated in, hosted by an IHOP-affiliated group, Prisoners of Hope. Prosecutors accepted the argument and dropped the charges against Moore. Deaton’s death remains unsolved. 

Though IHOP tried to distance itself from Tyler, some sources told Talking Points Memo that Tyler worked at IHOPU and was deeply influenced by it.

In 2018, a Washington woman filed a lawsuit against Brad Tebbutt, a missionary at IHOPKC, claiming Tebbut had sexually abused her when she was a teen and Tebbutt was a youth pastor at a California Baptist church.

IHOPKC commissioned an independent investigation into Tebbutt and placed Tebbutt on administrative leave, according to the Kansas City Star.

The church settled with the woman for $267,500, The Star reported, and IHOPKC released a statement saying the investigation found no evidence of further wrongdoing by Tebbutt. IHOPKC added that Tebbutt “demonstrated genuine remorse and repentance” and that his accuser had “forgiven him.”

In 2022, IHOPKC confirmed to The Star that Tebbutt remained one of its missionaries.

Just three years ago, Forerunner Church withdrew its membership from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). The reason for the church’s departure was unknown. But at the time, the church had total assets of more than $20 million.

Forerunner’s parent organization, IHOPKC, hasn’t filed an IRS 990 form since its 2014 form, even though nonprofits are required to file 990s every year. In 2014, the organization had $5.38 million in revenue.

mike bickle
Mike Bickle leads prayer alongside one of several worship teams at the International House of Prayer-Kansas City, in Grandview, Missouri. (Courtesy Photo)

Meeting set for Sunday

Today, Forerunner Church sent an email to congregants stating that its Executive Leadership Team is preparing “an updated formal statement” about the allegations against Mike Bickle. The church said it would present the statement during the 11 a.m. Sunday service.

The email also informed congregants that the church would only have one service, instead of its usual two services at 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. She also previously hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate, and has worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate. Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals. 

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7 Responses

  1. why am I NOT surprised by this?? here are my predictions of whats going to happen, 1) a large group of his followers will say these alligations are an “attack of satan on Gods man”. 2)charismatic leaders will get together and ask for prayer for bickle and will talk of Gods forgiveness and restoration, they will take bickle out of ministry for 2-8 months THEN will announce bickle has been “restored to the ministry”. bickle will then apologise and declaire God gave him a new revelation of Gods forgiveness and how this “scandal” has brought him closer to God” and he will write a book about his restoration….AND 5000000 people will mention davids sin and how he too was restored after sin. Thank you julie for covering this and keep us informed, THANKS.

  2. At first I thought they were talking about the other commercial enterprise called IHOP, lol. What, no 990 form filed after the 2014 year? And they withdrew from ECFA? Too many non-profits, especially so-called churches, have become such a scam.

  3. 2 Peter prophesies sll this will take place of ravenous wolves among the flock

    They will make merchandise of you fleece you and will be full of adultery

    They will bring damnable doctrines of devils

    Jude says the same thing ! They are wells without water clouds without rain they are the filth the ocean delivers up into the shore!

    Paul says I grieve when I die ravenous wolves will come and overtake the flock

    It’s no surprise and we should expect much more to come !

    This guy is a con man and a certain damnable judgment that the scriptures say they were foreordained before the foundations of the world

    They are sent ti test us if we know the Lord and to judge those with itching ears as written in 2 Tim

  4. A sense on reading this JR piece very carefully, that this an important instance for the evolution of what TTR is pressing for. A congregation who may be more informed than congregations in this circumstance in the past. Perspective and terms to hand for more congregants, such that tensions that once might have been suppressed and repressed to silence, are yielding relatively quick public domain articulation and expression.
    What the platformed speakers said on patience and clarity and allegation, was rational; they were not engaging in pre-TTR manager-speak, they appeared to understand a new climate. The statement that, “These are women who have always been viewed as credible, trustworthy, and courageous.”; offered sound basis for proceeding with victim sensitivity. The reference to “well-intended, righteous bullshit.”; brought focus on needed greater transparency into articulated play, in a civil and Christian manner. All suggesting that more and better transparency may yet be had; the pieces being in play for that.
    I recognise that I’m saying this in some ignorance of the darker matters the article speaks to.

  5. bickle and ihop are objectively, biblically heretical. their false teachings, false prophecies, theological errors and heresies are well documented publicly. the recent revelations about alleged sexual abuse is horrible if true, but even if it’s false there are many things wrong with bickle and ihop.

  6. I don’t understand why this IHOP operation stayed intact after this even worse scandal, including a murder, was uncovered in 2012. Then in 2018 a member reported that one of their missionaries had raped her when she was a teenager. He said he was sorry and remained there. And now this horror. Bickle was there during all of this. Certainly this history is known to the staff and students yet they remain connected with this opposite-of-godly organization. God has seen all of it but that is irrelevant to those with little faith.

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