IHOPKC Admits ‘Likely’ Past Mishandling of Misconduct Reports, Asks for Community Buy-In

The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

January 15, 2024

By Rebecca Hopkins

Embattled International House of Prayer-Kansas City (IHOPKC) admitted it likely mishandled some past reports of misconduct and promised to make structural changes during an announcement Sunday at IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church.

IHOPKC Spokesman Eric Volz told the Forerunner congregation that IHOPKC’s initial “historic review of reported misconduct” revealed that “a few” reported incidents “likely were not handled properly.”

But Volz said that “most of those incidents happened under the watch of leaders who are no longer here.” He also claimed that the “number of known incidents” is “low,” given the size of IHOPKC, its 25 years in operation, and more than 20,000 staff who have served at IHOPKC.

Two recent high-level IHOPKC leaders—Executive Director Stuart Greaves and David Sliker—resigned last month, following allegations they had mishandled past allegations of misconduct.

TRR reached out to IHOPKC’s press office, asking for clarity about who mishandled the prior reports of misconduct. IHOPKC’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) replied that the “reference to past leaders was not in relation to Stuart Greaves or David Sliker,” but did not provide any other details.

Last October, an advocacy group alleged that IHOPKC Founder Mike Bickle sexually abused multiple women, spanning decades, while also leading the 24/7 international prayer movement. Since then, Bickle’s main alleged victim has told her story of alleged abuse exclusively to The Roys Report (TRR).

Alleged victims of abuse by other IHOPKC employees have also come forward, claiming that IHOPKC leaders mishandled their reports of abuse.

IHOPKC executive leader Lenny LaGuardia called one of those allegations “baseless” and asked TRR to retract its story and “cease and desist” from reporting the allegations further.

TRR has not retracted its story, finding that a witness provided by IHOPKC had multiple conflicts of interest. TRR also learned that the alleged rapist in this case had been fired by IHOPKC for sexual harassment and rehired shortly before the alleged assault.

Also on Sunday, Volz defended IHOPKC’s third-party investigation, which has been criticized by alleged victims and advocates as lacking independence.

Volz stated for the first time that the investigator, the Lathrop Group, would release its findings to the public without IHOPKC seeing or editing the report ahead of time.

“It will be independently and directly released from the investigator,” Volz said. “IHOPKC pledges to implement any and all policy changes, procedures and cultural changes to ensure that IHOPKC does not travel down this difficult road again.”

Volz also urged alleged victims and their advocates to participate in the investigation, so the truth would be discovered and reported.

“We’re going to get to the truth no matter what it is,” Volz said. “But the reality is, in order for this to work, there are really two requirements that we need to see met. The first, the investigation must have the ability to be truly independent and we have that. But number two, the investigation must legitimately appear to . . . be truly independent to the parties involved.”

Newly appointed IHOPKC Executive Director General Kurt Fuller has met several times with the advocacy group to establish trust, and Volz’s David House Agency has met with the victims’ consultant to try to come to a “mutually agreement-upon investigation,” Volz said.

“We cannot verify the allegations against Mike Bickle without their cooperation and this community cannot find rest until it has the truth about those allegations,” Volz said.

Victims’ attorney Boz Tchividjian, confirmed a “preliminary” conversation to make their requests, one of which is that IHOPKC’s response to abuse allegations be reviewed.

“We have had a very preliminary conversation with them about what we have been requesting all along . . . a genuine independent investigation into abuse allegations involving Mike Bickle and others associated with IHOPKC,” Tchividjian wrote in a statement to TRR. “We have also communicated to them the importance that any such investigation include how IHOPKC leadership has responded to abuse allegations made known to them. Time will tell whether the current leadership will earnestly agree to embrace such a pivotal process. We remain hopeful.”

IHOPKC will also need the community to cooperate in order to proceed, Volz said.

“We need community buy-in,” Volz said. “Moving forward, no report will be ignored and no form of abuse will be tolerated.”

Also speaking to the congregation Sunday was Kurt Fuller, IHOP-KC’s temporary executive director. Fuller commissioned the ongoing historic review and said he has spent the past three weeks listening to peoples’ concerns.

“There are some issues here that need to be addressed, some of them urgently,” Fuller said. “I meet daily with all the division heads, with the CFO and the COO and we’re mapping out some significant adjustments to the organizational structure . . . The first (commitment) is to get to the bottom of all these allegations, not just those about Mike Bickle, but also those that are now directed to the organization as a whole.”

Mike Bickle’s sister urges congregation to ‘manage ourselves in godliness’

After the announcement Sunday, Bickle’s sister, Tracey Bickle, who runs an IHOPKC-related ministry, preached a sermon, urging people to “manage ourselves in godliness.” They shouldn’t let social media evaluate people, or misbehave, but rather be grateful for how God will use the situation, she said.

“Hungry, angry, lonely, tired cold—that’s not OK, those are not reasons to misbehave,” she said. “We get to manage ourselves in godliness. . . . He’s telling us to be thankful for what those situations will produce if we walk it out reasonably well.”

Some former IHOPKC staff have said Tracey Bickle’s ministry caused harm for victims of sexual abuse. And her comments on Sunday sparked backlash on social media.

Todd Wilhelm wrote on X: “’Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.’ James 3:1 NLT Case in point is Tracey Bickle, sister of Mike Bickle. This clip was taken from Tracey’s ‘teaching’ at IHOPKC’s Forerunner church on Jan 14, 2024. Nepotism is widespread in many independent churches and generally it’s not healthy.”

Alyssa DeGraff also wrote on X: “The closest thing IHOPKC had to a ‘reporting system’ was sending both victims & perps to Mike’s sister Tracey Bickle for inner healing ministry. Perhaps she should be thoroughly interviewed regarding reports of abuse.”

Bickle said Sunday that she trusts Volz, Fuller, and Forerunner Church’s Pastor Isaac Bennett. But she also said this situation has been painful for her and she’s struggled with disappointment. At times, she hasn’t wanted to engage with her friends, family, leaders, and the situation. And some days, she, in her frustration, wants to hurt people.

“I have found myself many times in these last number of months not wanting to get out of bed,” she said. “I’ve thought, ‘Oh I don’t want to do this.’” Bickle confessed that she’s “wanted to hurt a few people a couple of times—okay, multiple times, for real. Those are the days I just stay home.”

She added that people’s nervous systems may be on high alert during this time. She urged people to work through their sadness and pain by talking to counselors, having conversations, and bringing their thoughts to God.

Correction: a quote was corrected due to an earlier editing issue.