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IHOPKC Separates From Mike Bickle Due to ‘Level of Inappropriate Behavior’

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

International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) Spokesman Eric Volz tonight announced that IHOPKC is “formally and permanently” separating from its founder Mike Bickle due to a level of confirmed “inappropriate behavior.”

Volz also announced that IHOPKC Executive Director Stuart Greaves has resigned his position both on staff and on IHOPKC’s board. Temporarily assuming the executive director position will be Kurt Fuller, a military general and a member of IHOPKC’s executive committee, who took over management of the crisis at IHOPKC on Sunday, Volz said.

The crisis at IHOPKC stems from allegations Bickle sexually abused multiple women over several decades.

On Nov. 30, The Roys Report (TRR) published an article with an exclusive interview with an alleged victim of Bickle’s who claimed Bickle used prophecy to sexually abuse her. Bickle responded by admitting to “inappropriate behavior 20 years ago,” but denying the “more intense sexual activities some are suggesting.”

Yet tonight, Volz said, “Since taking over management of the crisis, the Executive Committee has received new information to now confirm a level of inappropriate behavior on the part of Mike Bickle that requires IHOPKC to immediately formally and permanently separate from him.”

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stuart greaves
Stuart Greaves (Video screengrab)

Volz did not give details about the inappropriate behavior, stating that IHOPKC does not have permission from individuals who are “being vetted further by an independent investigator.”

Volz also did not give a reason for Greaves’ resignation. Instead, he praised the former executive director.

“Words cannot describe the impact this man has had in the IHOPKC community over the last 23 years,” Volz said. “Thousands of people’s lives have been impacted by his teaching, leadership, and love for Jesus.”

Volz noted that Greaves’ time at IHOPKC included two decades serving as the head of the program’s Nightwatch, the 24/7 prayer ministry’s shift from midnight to 6 a.m.

Announcement and resignation preceded by chaotic two days

Today’s announcements follow two days of panic and chaos at IHOPKC, according to Stephen Magnuson, former chief of staff at Bickle’s personal ministry, Friends of the Bridegroom.

Magnuson tweeted to Volz on Dec. 20, “Mr. @EricVolz, Minister of Truth for @ihopkc, what you are about to be presented is specific testimony, first hand accounts from actual witnesses about what they saw, what they heard, what they experienced, what they did, or was done to them. . . . We are about to embark on a journey through witness accounts of specific abuse and illicit sexual activity know to have taken place at @ihopkc, by the leaders of @ihopkc, including @mikebickle.

“Rest well. Our journey begins tomorrow.”

Magnuson told TRR that the next morning, Bickle called him and the two had a 54-minute conversation. In that conversation, Magnuson said he confronted Bickle for behaving like “a low-level mafia guy,” using his family and friends to intimidate and disparage people.

Stephen R. Magnuson
Stephen Magnuson (Source: Twitter)

Magnuson said he also confronted Bickle for being willing to repent only for those things that victims were willing to make public, rather than taking initiative to repent. And Magnuson said he told Bickle that he knows everything and began listing the names of victims and abuses.

“You know they’re true,” Magnuson said he told Bickle. “And it will come up. And I will begin to tell what happened at IHOP if you don’t.”

Magnuson said that after that call, “All of IHOP blew up.” He said he heard from friends who were getting texts from IHOPKC leaders in a panic. Magnuson said Bickle called him twice later that day and left messages.

Last night, around 6 p.m., IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church sent an urgent email to the IHOPKC community:

“We have been informed that an individual plans to release details of extremely sensitive, private information about members of our community. We don’t know the exact timing, but we understand it will be soon. We felt it was important to make you, as a community, aware of this. This individual has stated online that the ELT must come forward and reveal these details, or he will. However, we do not know which incidents he is referring to. We are actively trying to establish communication to defuse this situation.”

Magnuson told TRR that he wants IHOPKC leaders to publicly admit that “IHOPKC has engaged in inappropriate behavior from the beginning” and be specific about that activity.

“They tried to amputate the leg to save the body,” Magnuson said of IHOPKC’s separation from Bickle. “But we know it’s more than just a leg; it’s the whole body.”

IHOPKC defends third-party investigation

Volz asserted that IHOPKC is committed to a thorough investigation of allegations of clergy abuse by Bickle.

“Our current focus remains a thorough and complete investigation of the reported allegations,” Volz said. “And we pledged to then implement any and all changes necessary to church policies, procedures, and culture to ensure that IHOP KC does not travel down this difficult road again.”

About a week-and-a-half ago, IHOPKC announced that it had hired the Lathrop Group to conduct a third-party investigation of the allegations against Bickle.

But the law firm has a history of defending church groups against sex abuse allegations and was quickly rejected by the alleged main victim of Bickle and the so-called “advocate group,” which doubted Lathrop’s independence.

Allen Hood, a member of the advocate team and a former longtime IHOPKC leader, told TRR that IHOPKC did not consult with any victims or advocates before selecting Lathrop.

Volz said in tonight’s announcement that IHOPKC had met with the advocate group.

Hood responded to today’s developments.

“I am just hearing the latest update from IHOPKC, and my heart continues to break for and with my many friends at IHOPKC,” Hood told TRR.

“There is only one way forward—a renewed commitment to holiness in the fear of the Lord that demands honesty and accountability at every level. Today’s announcement makes it more clear than ever that the ELT (Executive Leadership Team) at IHOPKC and the Advocate Group should join in pursuing an agreed-upon, independent, third-party investigation that honors what the larger body of Christ has learned in the last 30 years of navigating these unfortunate matters of clergy abuse.”

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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20 Responses

  1. The lack of self-awareness is massive in this statement: “ This individual has stated online that the ELT must come forward and reveal these details, or he will. However, we do not know which incidents he is referring to”
    Obviously there are many incidents! Do not delay trying to figure out which one the person means. Reveal all of the incidents now!

    1. Because this is a particular type of sin that needs to be specifically named. If you simply say that a pastor engaged in sinful behavior, that could mean all sorts of things, some major, and some minor. When it comes to matters of sexual abuse, the temptation (one could even say, ‘the sinful temptation) is to minimize and obfuscate the harm done to victims. In fact, even calling Bickle’s behavior “inappropriate” could well be inadequate. The harm done to victims must be specifically named (unless, of course, the victim is uncomfortable with that being done). The offender’s best way to show real repentance is for them to publicly avow the full extent of the harm they have done.
      It is also important that as much as possible be named publicly, because using generalizations makes it easier for the pastor to return back to ministry, whether too soon or at all.

      1. Stephen Magneson has participation from other local leaders. They are promising the specifics, as vetted by each victim. A guy I know talked to 3, but he would not say if Jane Doe was one of them. So I only know specifics will come out, and could be vetted Betty Doe and Wilma Doe, or some different last name used.

    2. I agree with you 100%!! Nowadays these leaders say “I made a mistake” or “I used poor judgement.” I’d have more respect for them if they’d just owe up to what they’d said by saying “I messed up badly. I sinned against God and everyone.”

  2. The fact that ihopkc has undertaken such obfuscation & ‘brand protection’ tells me there are many other secrets they’re protecting. Brace yourselves folks, we may have only begun to uncover the wickedness.

    God is not going to pour out His Spirit upon this corruption. First the house cleaning must come.

  3. Extremely devastating and absolutely disgusting in the ways leaders and believers try to cover up sinfulness for one another. Shame on you. This isn’t a complex situation! Stop making it into a mystery. You will all be judged before the Lord. May the fear of the Lord increase in your heart and soul, for He knows everything and He will judge rightly and justly. You will be required to give an account of what you did and said on earth on judgement day.

    On the other hand, I am so grateful for all of the “Noahs” walking rightly with God! In Genesis 6, when wickedness increased and God was grieved, but there was Noah, who found favor with God, who God then preserved… Don’t give up, my fellow Noahs… walk in righteousness and be strengthened. The Lord is making things right!!

  4. “They tried to amputate the leg to save the body,” Magnuson said of IHOPKC’s separation from Bickle. “But we know it’s more than just a leg; it’s the whole body.”
    Yes, indeed.

    This statement gets at the problem with all of Christianity–you can create your own “church”, surround yourself with power, cover yourself in “I heard from God” revelations, pray for the death of your enemies, morph your beliefs to cover all of your personal obsessions–and take up offerings. You can even get people to send their young people to you–pay you to do so–with very little vetting. And, most people will not say anything about how odd things look. Cover it all, then, with “touch not my anointed”. There. Now it can go on for decades.

    I have come to the conclusion that, if the religious system many of us were brought up in from birth is anything, it is an excellent way to get away with abusing people–and most often get away with it.

  5. Have these so-called “leaders” never read 1 Peter 4:17? Do they not realize that the hide-and-protect approach has failed time and time again, thanks to honest reporters focused on integrity, as opposed to protecting the brand? And don’t they realize that Matthew 12:36 will also come truth for each them individually, as a group of leaders? Along with Hebrews 4:12-13 coming true for them, in the judgment, where God will expose their deepest motives at a time when it is past time to receive the gift of Godly repentance, (Romans 2:4), because they rejected invitation after invitation after invitation from the Holy Spirit?

  6. Leaders who do such things as that do not know Jesus according to Jesus’ own words. To know Him is to fear the King. There is love, respect and a desire to do what pleases the King instead of people. Where such orgs exist it is because the leaders want to please themselves and the people just enough to be successful. Jesus had a small band of people, not thousands upon thousands. Being popular is never the same as doing the right things. Pleasing God will mean you get in trouble with people for doing what is right. Always been that way. Always will until Jesus comes back for good.

  7. “In that conversation, Magnuson said he confronted Bickle for behaving like “a low-level mafia guy,” using his family and friends to intimidate and disparage people.”

    This reminds me of how Andy Wood responded when we didn’t sign the NDAs.

    It felt like we were dealing with the mafia, and I remember using that exact phrase because Andy was calling our mutual friends to get them to coerce us to what Andy wanted us to do to silence us. Andy disparaged us to our friends and colleagues.

    Even this behavior is abusive.

  8. All of you talking about “God will judge”…isn’t it blatantly obvious by now that none of these people fear any “god”, either now or after they die? If god knows all things, it’s obvious they don’t fear that god or his judgement, they fear only public damage to their reputation and bank accounts, and arrest and incarceration for their earthly crimes.

  9. A fish rots from the head down. As this thing grows, other people will more than likely have to take a hit for the team. Bickle didn’t do these things in complete isolation. It seems that celebrity preachers always feel they can do these things with impunity, but common sense should tell them they will be exposed sooner or later. Just as Brian Houston or his father were. Or Mark Driscoll. Or Todd Bentley. It’s a big list and the next two that are going to have their own Carl Lentz-style moment in an unwanted spotlight are T.D. Jakes and David Platt.

  10. When countless leaders like Ted Haggard, Ravi Zacharias, and now Mike Bickle fall, people not only leave the church but also leave Christianity because they have been exercised that they are sheep to be fed by a pastor. The pastor is the main person in their spiritual lives. They have not learned to cling to Jesus alone.

    More dangerously, it gets ordinary believers to question

    a) Why hasn’t God punished this leader for so many years for this serious sin? Is it because Christianity is not real, or

    b) Am I also allowed to have an affair if I can get away with it?

    This is especially for charismatic churches which elevate the gift of prophecy. Are the gifts real? In 1998-99, when we lived in Colorado Springs and regularly visited New Life church, I greatly admired Ted Haggard. When he was exposed several years later, I wondered why with so many great leaders and prophets in attendance, no one had a clue that he was in homosexual sin for decades?! I remember some of the big names – C Peter Wagner (apostle), Andrew Wommack (famous teacher), John Bevere (prophet), YWAM CEO (forgot his name), Will Stafford (CEO of Compassion Intl.).

    Instead of a single “long pole in the tent” (senior pastor), if there were 4-5 elders, then when one falls, he is replaced by another elder, with much less trauma.

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