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IHOPKC cuts ties with Mike Bickle after new information comes to light

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(CP) The International House of Prayer in Kansas City has cut ties with its founder, Mike Bickle, after receiving new information related to allegations of clergy abuse against him.

In a video announcement posted online Friday, IHOPKC spokesperson Eric Volz said the ministry will permanently part ways with Bickle, who founded the 24/7 prayer ministry in 1999.

“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, permanently separate from him,” Volz said.

Additionally, Executive Director Stuart Greaves has resigned from the ministry, including his role on the board of directors. No explanation was given for Greeves’ resignation. Gen. Kurt Fuller, who took over the management of this crisis on Dec. 10, will temporarily assume executive directorship responsibilities.

“Words cannot describe the impact [Greaves] has had on 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. His time at IHOPKC included serving as the head of the program’s NightWatch from midnight to 6 a.m. And for the past three years, he served as the executive director.”

Volz said that IHOPKC doesn’t have permission from individuals involved to share details of the new information it has received regarding the allegations against Bickle while an independent investigator is further vetting the claims.

“The privacy of any person impacted by misconduct is tantamount,” he said. “This only amplifies IHOPKC’s conviction that a complete investigation should be conducted into the allegations of clergy abuse against Mike Bickle. Gen. Fuller will ensure that this gets done. Our current focus remains a thorough and complete investigation of the reported allegations. We pledge to then implement any and all changes necessary to church policies, procedures and culture to ensure that IHOPKC does not travel down this difficult road again.”

In October, allegations of misconduct against Bickle involving several women were brought to the attention of IHOPKC by an advocate group that included founding member Dwayne Roberts, former executive leadership team member Brian Kim and Wes Martin, a former pastor of Forerunner Church.

At the time, Bickle agreed to step away from the ministry while the allegations were investigated. In early November, Greaves released a statement saying that while the advocate group presented allegations involving eight women, only one allegation involving a woman from 26 years ago had credibility.

Later in November, the ministry released a four-page report saying that the evidence presented against Bickle was lacking. The ministry was able to identify five of eight women who were alleged victims, three of whom called the allegations “lies,” and one refused to communicate with IHOPKC attorneys.

The one case deemed credible predated IHOPKC’s founding. That allegation involved a woman who went public with her allegations in early December. The woman said Bickle wooed her with Scripture when she was 19, and he was 42, and paid for her apartment and engaged in a variety of sexual acts with her except intercourse. After The Roys Report published her allegations, IHOPKC released a statement saying that they have yet to be presented with evidence of the sexual abuse allegations against Bickle.

On Dec. 10, Volz, who also serves as managing director of international crisis agency David House, announced that IHOKC hired a new third-party investigator to review the allegations against Bickle. Volz said the firm has “extensive experience conducting independent investigations into high profile cases across the KC metro area, including cases of clergy abuse allegations.”

The firm was later identified as the Lathrop Group. Boz Tchividjian, the attorney for the victim, expressed concern with the hiring of the Lathrop Group because the organization says on its website that it helps defend religious groups dealing with misconduct claims. IHOPKC also launched a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to supplement the investigation.

Two days later, on Dec. 12, Bickle addressed the allegations for the first time publicly, admitting that he engaged in inappropriate and sinful behavior over 20 years ago. While acknowledging that his “moral failures were real,” he didn’t admit to “the more intense sexual activities that some are suggesting.”

In his announcement Friday, Volz said IHOPKC leaders have met and will continue to meet with the advocate group in an effort to “establish trust and common ground.”

“We ask the community to pray for this process,” Volz said. “For some, these words will surely come as a shock and might cause deep pain, confusion, grief or even sadness.

“People’s lives and families are being directly affected, and we understand that. We ask that everyone please be considerate and respectful to all the parties involved, especially on social media,” he added. “There is a way out of these difficulties. But it starts with calming things down rather than ratcheting them up. Please remember, we hold steadfast to Jesus, to His leadership. He is our source and our great reward. The 24/7 prayer movement that God started will continue.”

© The Christian Post





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