Leader of church headquartered in Kansas City investigated for ‘sexual immorality’

Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 12:06 PM CDT
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GRANDVIEW, Mo. (KCTV) - The founder of a Grandview-based church with an international reach is under investigation and is asked to step away, at least for now.

Members of the leadership team for the International House of Prayer, also known as IHOPKC, told church members they are investigating founder Mike Bickle following allegations of “sexual immorality.”

The church says it is working with outside organizations to conduct an investigation into the allegations, but did not go into details about the alleged misgivings.

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While the church did not provide context about what may have happened, three former members of IHOPKC and IHOPU did shed some light on the accusations involving Bickle.

Dwayne Roberts and Brian Kim, former IHOPKC Executive Leadership Team Members and Board Members and Wes Martin, Former Forerunner Christian Fellowship Pastor and IHOPU employee released a statement concerning claims made against Bickle. The statement was posted on the website of the Florianópolis House of Prayer. It is a Brazilian church Roberts founded in 2013.

In the statement released Saturday, the three former church leaders said they informed current IHOPKC leadership about “serious allegations” involving Bickle. They claim the accusations against Bickle are sexual in nature. They claim Bickle sexually abused church members for decades which are credible based on the “collective and corroborating testimony” of several alleged victims.

In the statement Roberts, Kim, and Martin said they tried to meet with Bickle to address the accusations, but Bickle refused. They said Bickle then tried to intimidate, isolate, and discredit the alleged victims.

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IHOPKC’s current leadership team is now dealing with the accusations, according to a statement from the organization.

“This news is unsettling for our spiritual family as well as our entire leadership team. Please pray for all involved, including the ones who have come forward, those who have experienced trauma, and for the Bickle family. We are asking for patience as we work through this complex and very difficult situation,” IHOP’s leadership team said.

Bickle agreed to step away during the investigation, according to IHOPKC’s leadership team. Bickle will not preach or teach from IHOPKC’s platform. That includes posting on IHOPKC’s social media channels. He will also not attend the church’s 24-hour prayer room.

“As difficult as this is for many, we are trusting in Jesus’ wise and good leadership to help and strengthen us as we anchor our hope in Him,” IHOP’s leadership team said in a statement.

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IHOPKC opened in Grandview in 1999.

It also operates International House of Prayer University. People from around the world have come to the Kansas City-area to attend IHOPU. The organization says it’s mission is to train leaders through prayer and worship to prepare them for the return of Jesus.