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IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church Officially Closes: ‘Sorry for the Pain’

By Rebecca Hopkins
forerunner church isaac bennett
On May 19, 2024, Isaac Bennett preaches at Forerunner Church in Grandview, Missouri. (Video screengrab)

Forerunner Church, the local church linked to the embattled International House of Prayer-Kansas City, is officially closed, after holding its last service yesterday to a full house. IHOPKC’s 24/7 prayer room, however, plans to continue.

“I just recognize this has been a very painful season,” said Forerunner Church Pastor Isaac Bennett in yesterday’s service. “And I just want to acknowledge that for our spiritual family, I’m so sorry for the pain and the difficulty that you’ve been through.”

Since last fall, IHOPKC’s founder Mike Bickle has faced multiple allegations of clergy sexual abuse and IHOPKC has permanently separated from Bickle.

Last month, Bennett said at an internal meeting that IHOPKC will close and open under a new name to avoid liability and will reorder under a healthier governance structure. But the next day, IHOPKC publicly walked back the announcement, saying it wouldn’t close but would begin a “transition and reorganization process.”

Bennett told the congregation yesterday that Forerunner’s closing was unexpected.

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“It needs to happen so that we can move forward with a new start,” he added.  

Bennett praised Forerunner Church’s many ministry leaders, saying they’ve “born the burden of others” in these past months and years, Bennett said. He called many to the stage to give tearful tributes.

“One of the things that you experience as a leader . . . in difficult times you hear a lot of pain and difficulty and you’re sitting with people while you’re experiencing your own pain and your own challenges,” he said. “Many that have born the burden of others and listened to hours of pain and grief and breakthrough and joy in the midst of all that has transpired in the last few months, we thank you and we honor you.”

forerunner church
Forerunner Church in Grandview, Missouri (Photo: Facebook)

But advocate and former IHOPKC staffer Susan Tuma called the church’s closing a “betrayal of the community.”

“IHOPKC has always acted to preserve itself by sacrificing the people who built it,” she told The Roys Report (TRR). “Everything burns at the altar of night and day prayer. That’s how Mike ensured its success.”

Jono Hall, a former IHOPKC leader and member of an Advocate Group, expressed sadness at the closing and added, “it really didn’t have to be this way.”

jonathan hall
Jonathan Hall (Photo via Facebook)

“It is always hard when a body of believers has to deal with egregious sin, but the past seven months have been particularly hard,” Hall told TRR.

“At every step the organization’s choice for self-preservation and accusation versus choosing a path of openness, honesty and repentance toward those who have been injured has been so heart breaking. It is especially hard amongst those of us who have invested so much of our lives in this community.”

Others expressed criticism online in light of IHOPKC’s treatment of victims and refusal to conduct a joint, independent investigation approved by victims and an advocate group representing them.

“Didn’t have the stomach to watch much of the final #IHOPKC service,” wrote JSBoegl on X. “Could only think of the thousands who weren’t there; stymied; used; marginalized; devalued . . . I have no honor to give leaders who’ve spent 7 + months sacrificing the lives of these family members, simply for the sake of keeping the sins of the organization in darkness and pretense.” 

Other people online criticized IHOPKC’s plan to continue the prayer ministry without tethering the ministry to a local church.

“I am grieved at the path chosen by #ihopkc leadership,” posted David Fish, whose wife attended IHOPU. “Despite numerous calls to bring prayer back underneath the health and accountability of a local church model, they have instead chosen to close Forerunner and focus everything on 24/7 parachurch prayer.”

forerunner church
On May 19, 2024, congregants pray for leaders during the worship service at Forerunner Church in Grandview, Missouri. (Photo: Facebook / Heaven Bent Podcast)

Fish also pointed out that closing Forerunner mirrors Bickle’s decision in 2000 to remove the prayer ministry from the former Metro Christian Fellowship (MCF), where the prayer ministry began in the 1980s. In 2005, Bickle sent an email to MCF, explaining that God had told him in a dream to remove the prayer ministry from the church because the church was “not focused on the original mandate” of prayer.

As TRR previously reported, former MCF Pastor Michael Sullivant believed Bickle had ulterior motives for separating from MCF.

“I think that he separated from the church because he didn’t enjoy the kind of scrutiny and accountability that was built into the church,” said Michael Sullivant, former MCF pastor, previously told TRR.

However, according to Bennett, IHOPKC has a “new anointing.”

“We know that the Lord is releasing a new wineskin, and that he’s going to give strategic insight in how to construct that wineskin because there is a new wine,” Bennett said. “There is a new anointing that the Lord wants to release upon this people, not because we deserve but because he’s that faithful and that kind to us.”

forerunner church isaac bennett
On May 19, 2024, Isaac Bennett preaches at Forerunner Church in Grandview, Missouri. (Video screengrab)

Bennett added that IHOPKC will hold “community nights” on Wednesdays through the summer to worship and “seek the Lord together” about what’s next. Then in the fall, IHOPKC will reopen children’s, youth, and discipleship ministries in a different “ministry expression.”

“Out of death comes resurrection,” Bennett said. “The Lord’s going to clarify this vision more and more to us.”

Fish, however, called on IHOPKC to repent and renounce its so-called “prophetic history.”  Bickle claims that in 1982, God told Bickle that He would change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation. Bickle has made other prophetic claims that have supported IHOPKC’s mission, one that was recently debunked.

“No more bodies under the 24/7 bus,” Fish wrote. “I am calling on all IHOPKC leadership to repent and change course. Bring in a 3rd party investigation, reject the PH (prophetic history) and its wicked human authors, and prioritize the healing of your people through reparations & local church ministry.”

Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.

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19 Responses

  1. It is just me or does it seem that IHOPKC is completely adrift and leaderless now, and neither the Board nor the lead pastor have a plan for going forward?

    You wonder if one day people will drive up to the 24/7/365 prayer ministry and without warning there’ll be a sign on the door saying “Permanently closed.”

    1. That would be great! It will happen one day! Time for everyone to get back to Jesus as Lord and stop all of the fake b.s. Jesus instructed us all how to pray. It is a private and personal thing. It requires no big worship bands. No smoke machines. No flashing light. No crowds. And worst of all was the cameras broadcasting all of the world. You all managed to take Jesus Words, turn them upside down, stomp all over them, and trump them with false prophecy. Jesus Words have not changed. Go off by yourself, pray in secret, and God will reward you out in the open. Pray out in the open with all the hoopla and noise and there is no biblical reward promised to you. The whole concept was created by a child molester. That is just the reality.

      FYI: for a year I went to a weekly IHOP inspired prayer meeting. Then I repented. I invite everyone else to follow me as I follow the real Jesus Christ.

    2. As someone who did fall into a 5 fold ministry model in the 90’s, and saw men’s allure to be the Prophet or Apostle it wouldn’t be long when I felt God releasing me from all things associated with the NAR type ministry. 25 years later and having heard of ihopkc before I left it all in 2001 I was shocked at first to hear Mike Bickle had some sexual allegations against him. As we all know now what a dark dark history this man has fostered. I trust many have come to the conclusions that a man centered ministry leads to everything that is not Christ. The roots of Paul Cain and Branham’s ministry is even darker if that’s even possible. I just pray that every ministry based in Control, Manipulation, Power and money be revealed and even better that people trust in Christ and the simplicity of devotion to Him. Leave these wolves to their own destruction before you are considered a victim of theirs.

  2. When will Christians wake up to the understanding that the human ego is too strong for this kind of celebrity status. If a person has even 5 people looking up to them like pastors experience, it is a matter of time that the man’s ego and lust for power, money, and/or sex will get out of control. The foundation of churches is flawed at best, abusive at worst.

  3. Growing up with small churches and hymns vs rock and roll in the church and nobody on TV with the growth in scamvangelicals Christianity was more of learning and taking home to use during the week. With so many evangelicals claiming to have saved millions ( notice they mention themselves and not God in their bragging) by now the world should be saved and the Copelands and other evangelical ilk can sell their planes and mansions and actually give to the needy.

  4. It looks to me like Isaac Bennett isn’t ready to go out and get a real job. Just wants to find a new venue to peddle his grift. Most of the evangelical/ charismatic pastors caught up in these messes don’t have the skills to actually make it in the workaday-world the rest of us have to live in, so they will do absolutely anything to keep their grifts going.

  5. Questions: Why close if you’re going to reopen in some other form? And from a standpoint of ecclesiology, what do human decisions have to do with the “closing down” of the Body of Christ?

  6. “We know that the Lord is releasing a new wineskin, and that he’s going to give strategic insight in how to construct that wineskin because there is a new wine,” Bennett said.

    There is a new wineskin in the pipeline. HOWEVER, it is that the LORD that’s doing the “constructing”. You won’t be getting any new insights from the LORD on how to ‘construct’ this wineskin lest it be defiled by man’s machinations.

    Meaning, the new skins are OUTSIDE man made church systems, structures & operations like IHOPKC, Bethel and the like conglomerates. It is so that “there is no strange god/doctrines found in these new skins”. RATHER, they are to be totally and utterly abandoned to the cause of Yeshua.

    The coming new wine skins are hidden, tucked away in caves, holes and wandering in wilderness; being fed and trained solely by the LORD, for the LORD and in the LORD. You won’t find them in current church systems.

    The days of IHOP, Bethel and all these mega (and micro) training ministries, grooming, & producing man made counterfeits are soon to be OVER.

    In short: the new wine skins are being trained by the LORD in secret. They are incognito at the moment until their unveiling. Much like Yochanan the Baptist. And they are coming out in full force in the spirit and power of Eliyahu.

    The mouth of the LORD has spoken thusly.

    1. I have been leading that life myself. Been getting dreams of really bad times coming since 2008. Judgment on all that is false and abusive claiming to be Christian which is pretty much everything that is being marketed and sold for mammon to itching ears. Very bad economic times are coming very soon. So is an American Civil War II with “Christians” acting as basically terrorists. The fruit of replacing the real Jesus Christ with one we make up in our own image. A sanitized fake Jesus whom is not to be feared, and certainly not ever even respected. Just leveraged in order to make certain narcissists richer and more famous peddling a fake Jesus along with a whole lot of other hogwash like 24/7 prayer rooms. But pride always comes before a fall.

  7. Men of God need to be held to a higher standard…especially by themselves. You don’t give anyone an opportunity to speak against the Lord’s work, because of your desire for independence. Lack of accountability is evil, and it always leads to evil. The word of God and Holy Ghost don’t give men the message that their deeds don’t require examination. Just the opposite is true. God help us.

  8. Just like Family Radio in the final years of Harold Camping’s leadership before he died in 2013, IHOPKC has become a cult. And like FR before it, IHOPKC is closing down and spinning off its assets in a desperate attempt to stay alive.

    It took Family Radio several years to come out of Camping’s shadow and it’s never fully recovered from his damage. The ministry doesn’t even mention him anymore as all his material has been deleted from its media. I do not believe IHOPKC will be as fortunate. Instead, I believe IHOPKC will go the way of RZIM, and the sooner the better.

  9. The only way forward is repentance. This is what the Bible says, and without that nothing is restored. It is clear that Adam never repented. We don’t see this in the Torah anywhere. We don’t read any repentance from Aaron shafting the golden cast either. But what was Moses responsible for? He was responsible for throwing down the tablets of stone/Yeshua, written by the hand of our father. In so doing, he went low and went high and humbled himself before oh mighty Adonai. here, on Mt Sinai was birthTeshivah. May we all go to our knees as we go high into the understanding, and the revelation of The expression of True and contrite repentance in this hour, in Yeshua’s name, amen!

  10. Prophesy will come, but in GOD our FATHER’S OutPour of Joel once more, where the SPIRIT Of The LORDShip Of The LORD Will Drive the Ship..self strength always is a defiled stone before it ever gains grounds of acceptance.

  11. The CALL To Prayer is always Good, since all are Called to prayer, and all need to answer that Call on an individual basis before a Corporate Basis. 24/7 Prayer is OK too, since David’s Tabernacle placed this into the Realm of the Spirit as Kosher Before GOD. The dilemma then, is believing that much prayer by the amount is greater than HeartPrayer by humble purpose led seeking. We are to never Beleive our strength can do the job, only Leaning on The Everlasting Arms, looking to our Author and our Finisher. When we believe inside of us, we are accomplishing something Of SPIRIT while leaning on self strength effort, we are off from the beginning. Faith does have a work of Faith but it is a humble Trust Covanentally, not by a stone we wield a tool to..Praying in Secret occasionally leads to corporate joining of prayer, where the heart still prays to the Audience of ONE, not the sound of prayer or the hype of prayer. Prayer is a TrustCONTRACT with GOD, where HE DOES because we look like, sound like, act like JESUS When we Communicate with HIM, other than this, we could be learning, but it’s important that Prayer brings the Result of Prayer, which is Answered Prayer out of the Faithfulness of GOD, HeavenDOWN Backing..There IS a Reality of SPIRIT WHEN we are LED By The SPIRIT To Do GOD’S Exploits, not our own..

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