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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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.
— Eric Volz (@EricVolz) December 23, 2023
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.
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.