I have been a part of the prayer and worship movement since I was 13 years old. I am 35 now. I wanted to share some of my experiences with IHOPKC that were troubling. I have known for years now that the experiences I had there were not okay but with everything coming to the light in recent days, I feel it's important to give some more glances into the dysfunction. I moved to KC to attend IHOPU and was there between 2007-2008. 18-year-old me arrived in KC with great anticipation and excitement. I remember thinking it was a dream come true. I met some amazing friends and not all memories are bad but many things were questionable, to say the least. Even my 18-year-old self had inklings that the way the community was handled was very odd but I was trusting and all in. Unless you were on staff, an intern, a student, or led worship/prayer, you had no real connections to others. I remember feeling grieved by this dynamic. So rewind to my first week at IHOPU, it's orientation week. I just finished taking my photo for my student ID, and they bring us to a room to be encouraged and prophesied over. I was encouraged but then we were told the men and women would be separated for a "talk." I was cattled into a small room with way too many people. Instinctually, I was like: "Oh, they're giving us the purity talk." Needless to say, the female leader proceeded to tell us that we need to strongly refrain from wearing t-shirts or clothing with letters across the chest to avoid bringing attention to our breasts, to instead be modest and avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing, and we were strongly encouraged to not dance, jump, bounce, or jiggle in the prayer room because we would cause the men to stumble into sin. I remember being so uncomfortable in that talk. Inappropriately, the leader even modeled to us with gestures and movements what we were and were not supposed to do with our bodies with particular emphasis again on NOT making the men in our community stumble. As one who grew up in the purity culture, this wasn’t wildly foreign. In addition to the expectations around clothing and other restraints, we were instructed to not date in the first 1-2 years of internship/university. Many interns and students did anyway. It was presented as a blessing to focus on the Lord and not be distracted but it was overboard, controlling, and I believe was a ploy to control. We were also required to download a monitoring accountability program on our computers and laptops and identify accountability partners to whom we were instructed to confess if we watched pornography or engaged in sexual sin. If any of us visited a site that was pornographic or in the slightest bit inappropriate, our identified accountability partner would get an alert in text or email with that disclosure and we were encouraged to have an honest conversation to confess the sin we committed. I am not against accountability, honesty, and confession but for years, I have been detangling from the mess of these experiences. I now know it was a saving grace that I had to return home to Florida to care for my family. I was saved from years of heartache if I had remained there in that unhealthy environment.
I was introduced to IHOPKC as a college student (2007), by a girl on my freshman dorm floor. I regularly attended weekly prayer meetings and worship nights that were significantly influenced by both the music and teachings of IHOPKC. Prayer meetings, worship nights, local evangelism and church involvement were my entire life during my college years and early 20s. I followed the teachings and even more so the worship music of IHOPKC for many years. I regularly tuned into the prayer room stream and/or recordings from the stream. I always wanted to attend OneThing but it never worked out (as I lived very far away, out of state). I became very interested in Exodus Cry and even raised money for the ministry and raised awareness about EC within my community. I was beyond a Jesus freak in those days. And looking back I can acknowledge now that I was very afraid to question things and think for myself - which makes me ‘vibes’ at IHOPKC even more interesting. In the fall of 2013, I got a job on the west coast. I had a friend who sang at IHoPKC and offered to drive part of the trip with me cross country. I stopped at IHOPKC for a Saturday service that was specific to Exodus Cry (she was even singing on stage that night). The plan was to stay with her and her housemates and leave the next morning. From the moment I stepped into the building (which I believe is now FCF?) something felt very off to me. The entire service felt very off to me. My gut kept saying ‘this is weird, something is off, leave.’ I could sense a genuine spirit in many of the people there but it felt off - insular, even cultish. (And this is coming from someone heavily involved in a Vineyard church and other charismatic groups at that time.) After driving cross country and taking up a new life in Santa Barbara, I never tuned into the prayer room stream again. I didn’t listen to any of the IHOPKC teachings again. Like I said, I had met very genuine and kind people connected to IHOP many times over the years, but the campus felt cultish. It has been heartbreaking to see things unfold the way that they have these past few months. It’s reminded me that these insular communities detach you from your gut and intuitive instincts and do everything to adopt you into the ‘collective consciousness.’ For those who are leaving and have no sense of self, community, identity or meaning beyond IHoPKc please know that there is hope.m and life beyond it. Please know that you can feel joy again, that you can connect to your intuition again, that you can think for yourself again. Please know that the world is not full of evil and darkness but many loving, kind, warm and genuine people.
I was told by a leader that I should be thankful he did not abuse the power he had over me. He said I trusted him too much and that he could have abused his power if he wanted to…
I visited IHOPKC with a group of missionaries from a Canadian prayer ministry. I realize this story may not fit here but wanted to share my experience and offer support to those coming forward. When I entered the prayer room for the first time, I had an expectation that I would feel the power of God as I had in other places of prayer. But actually, much to my disappointment, I didn't sense much of anything. I asked those in the group I travelled with what they felt , but all I offered to them was that it wasn't as I had expected. Upon returning home, I mentioned the absence of feeling God's presence to a few trusted people. I wondered how a place could have 24/7 prayer for 15 years and feel like that. However, in the end, I was content to process the experience through the lens that my discernment was off - I was the problem. When the news began to emerge a couple months ago, my memory from 10 years ago made tragic sense. It was heartbreaking to hear the podcast of an assault that was improperly handled in the Spring of 2014 - around the time I was there. Praying for all that have been mistreated and wronged - that despite the depravity of people, God would reveal His kindness to you in very tangible ways. Even if this isn't posted, I pray it's an encouragement to those reading the message - your stories are believed.
In late 2004, not long after I had turned 18 and started working at IHOP, an event occurred that continues to affect me to this day. I had only been at IHOP for a few months when I was invited to a home group. During this time, I thought I had a spiritual experience and was eager to discuss it with the group leader. This individual was not the son of a boxer. One evening, while I was in the Prayer Room, the leader came to me. I expressed my desire to share the developments in my spiritual life. He seemed interested and suggested we talk more about it. However, he noted that the Prayer Room wasn't the right place for such a conversation and invited me to his house instead. Agreeing to his proposal, we left for his residence, located in the adjacent apartments known at the time as Hernhut. Upon entering the apartment, I immediately noticed a strong fish odor. The leader explained he had cooked fish earlier. The atmosphere quickly became unusual and uncomfortable. He mentioned his roommate was in the bathroom, pointing towards a door. Then, he asked about my weight. When I responded that I weighed 150 pounds, he expressed disbelief. To my surprise, he lifted me over his shoulders and then set me down again. This action felt awkward and inappropriate, especially since I had come there to discuss spiritual matters, and I hardly knew him. Next, he asked if I liked wrestling, specifically referring to WWF/WWE. I didn’t, but he knew I had watched it with a friend who was a fan. He offered to show me a wrestling move, and I hesitantly agreed. He then came up behind me, put his arm around my throat in a choker hold, and brought me to the ground. He wasn't choking me to the point of asphyxiation, but it was still alarming and forceful. I realized with dread that there was no roommate – I suspected he had lied about this to prevent me from calling for help. During this moment, I experienced a sense of disconnection and shock. Despite no removal of clothing or penetration, the man, significantly larger than me, proceeded to assault me, humping me through his clothes until climax. I was in a state of frozen terror, mentally and physically immobilized, feeling as though I was wrapped in heavy chains. My primary focus was on how to survive the ordeal without showing my fear. After the incident, he left for the bathroom, and I managed to sit up on the floor, contemplating if I could escape before he could stop me. However, he returned and instructed me to follow him. As we left the apartment, I felt an urge to run away, but the situation seemed too controlled and planned, making me doubt my ability to safely escape. We then got into his car, and he mentioned needing to make a quick stop. We drove a short distance, merely across the parking lot, to another apartment in the Hernhut complex. He expressed his desire for me to meet someone, and we ascended to the second floor of the building. He knocked on a door while standing behind me, an ominous positioning. The door was answered by a man wearing mascara, holding a knife, who then invited us inside. A wave of fear washed over me, as I thought I might be subjected to further harm or even killed in this new setting. In the living room, I noticed magazines on the table featuring stylish men. Somehow I knew I was not the first person to be brought here under such circumstances. I felt death was in the room to my left and I felt they were deciding what to do with me. The man with the knife placed it on the table, heightening the threatening atmosphere. The leader then asked me to close my eyes and deliver a prophecy. Despite my efforts, I could not close my eyes, too consumed by fear. I tried to conceal my terror, but the leader made it evident that he was aware of how frightened I was. I noticed a sliding glass door across the room and contemplated trying to jump through the glass door. As a religious DVD played in the background, I fabricated a prophecy about a caterpillar and a butterfly, my mind solely focused on survival. I remained in the second apartment for approximately 45 minutes. During this time, the details of the conversation are largely a blur to me, but I distinctly remember the conversation and subsequent prayer was sexual in nature and manipulative. My state of mind was overwhelmed and disoriented, making it hard to recall the specifics of what transpired. My sole concentration was on survival and finding a way to escape, clinging to the hope of making it out of there alive. In an effort to extricate myself from the situation, I fabricated a story, telling them that I had informed my family I would be speaking with the group leader and needed to return to my aunt who had recently arrived for a visit. To my astonishment, he believed this story and mentioned he needed to go home to rest. He escorted me to his car and drove me a short distance back to IHOP. The moment I entered the doors of IHOP, I felt a profound sense of relief, as if an immense burden and the chains binding me had been lifted. I realized I was finally safe and free. Upon reaching safety, I immediately told my sister we had to leave. Once home, I broke down and shared the entire ordeal with her. She then contacted an IHOP leader she knew, who was out of town on preaching duties. He advised me to find solace in the Prayer Room and partake in communion, promising to address the issue upon his return in a few days. Following his advice, my sister drove me to the Prayer Room, where I went to the communion table, took the bread and juice, and sat down. To my dismay, the group leader was also there, seated right behind me. Although his presence was unsettling, being in the Prayer Room gave me a sense of safety. While working at IHOP, I approached my boss to request a few days off due to the distressing events. My boss, a man I respected for his kindness and firmness, and whom I saw as a devout man of God, insisted on a meeting to understand the reasons for my leave request. In this meeting, I disclosed everything that had happened to me. Following our conversation, he reached out to the IHOP leadership to discuss the situation. They assured him that the matter was being handled, which led to my return to work soon after. In the months that followed, I daily encountered the group leader at IHOP, as he worked in an adjacent department. This continued for months, during which time it seemed as though nothing was being done about the incident. He behaved as if nothing had occurred, appearing completely unaffected, while I was deeply troubled by his presence and the lack of resolution. Unable to bear the situation any longer, one evening, I drank some beer to gather the courage to confront him at IHOP. I drove there, found him on the coffee shop patio, and, in a state of emotional turmoil, I shouted and expressed my ongoing distress, accusing him of causing me nightly nightmares. I then quickly left the scene in my truck. However, still unsettled, I drank more beer and decided to return to confront him directly. When I arrived, he was no longer on the patio. As I searched the parking lot, I suddenly heard screeching tires and narrowly avoided being hit by a speeding car. In a heightened state of alert, I grabbed a metal chair from the patio, intending to use it defensively against the vehicle. A voice from another distant vehicle made a threatening remark, and then they too sped away. Neither car contained the group leader. During this confrontation, everyone nearby had fled indoors, but I knew there were security cameras that might have captured the incident. I attempted to access the footage to corroborate my account, but IHOP was uncooperative. Frustrated with IHOP's inaction, my mother urged me to press charges against the group leader instead of waiting for IHOP to address the situation. The police arrived at his residence that evening. Remarkably, they found him hurriedly packing his belongings, ready to depart to the northeast, his origin. Had they been an hour later, he would have vanished. In court, a renowned, high-priced attorney represented him, declaring her unfamiliarity with such minor cases and the court's basic procedures, resulting in an extended delay of nearly a year. During this time, I, with the naivety and maturity akin to a typical 15-year-old, had to face him daily. He had penned a confessional letter, but it first reached an IHOP leader. His lawyer argued the letter's confidentiality under clergy privilege, ensuring it was not presented in court, even though I had a copy. Throughout the trial, I stood alone as the sole witness, while he remained silent, seated, offering no defense. The court result was I was mandated to attend a six-month program at Living Waters, a support group for individuals facing sexual issues. This period was emotionally challenging for me, and I felt a deep sense of injustice and was forced to weekly meet and talk with other individuals who were gay (I am not, but was very damaged from such individuals). The support from my organization, IHOP, was inadequate and inconsistent, leaving me feeling alienated and penalized. The representative from my side seemed relieved at the resolution, but failed to understand my emotional state. In contrast, the opposing party had ample support. Post-trial, I never encountered him again, and heard rumors that IHOP had employed his lawyer to manage the situation discreetly, though I couldn't confirm this. At that time, I still believed in the leadership's integrity, despite their mishandling of the situation, and I chose to continue my association with IHOP. Before the court proceedings, two unusual incidents occurred. It seemed like I was inadvertently attracting unwanted attention, likely due to my apparent naivety. On one occasion, a man from Canada approached me on the patio for a conversation. He suggested we take a walk while discussing Jesus. We strolled towards Hernhut, following the adjacent road. As night fell and we neared a wooded area, the conversation took an unsettling turn. He began discussing "raging homosexuality" and suggested we venture into the dark, secluded woods. I immediately declined and returned to IHOP, where I reported the incident to my supervisor. My boss, a genuinely good person, began to realize that I was becoming a target for troubling behavior. In the following months, I encountered another man who was married with a daughter. He invited me to his home for prayer. During the prayer, when I opened my eyes, I was shocked to find he had undressed. I left immediately and reported this incident to a top leader, who was aware of my previous experience with the leader. Surprisingly, the leader walked away laughing. About a year later, I joined an internship program, albeit two days late. On my arrival, I was questioned about my reasons for being there. I earnestly replied, "I want to know the truth." The response I received was disheartening: "You can't handle the truth." Three months into the internship, I was unjustly accused and expelled for allegedly speaking to a female colleague alone and exchanging notes, which was strictly against the rules. However, these accusations were baseless, as I had adhered to the guidelines and had not engaged in such activities. Following this, I returned to my apartment to pack my belongings. Fortunately, my boss, who had heard about the incident, spoke to the leader on my behalf, asserting his belief in my honesty. This series of events summarizes my journey with IHOP. While I cherish the prayer room and the genuine followers of Jesus, these experiences have left me deeply wounded and unsettled, untrusting of the justice system and the IHOP leadership. The truth is, I am not okay. I am mostly over it, but what remains is a dead version of myself, calloused, confused, scared, locked up and broken. More details: The leader who did it was not an official leader. However he was the leader of the IHOP fire parties which was a meeting of young people who met in various home-group like settings for worship in 2004-2005. He also worked at IHOP as the main kitchen assistant for years (I believe). He continued to work at IHOP afterwards, for i think a year, (its been so long ago)... and that entire time I worked as a maintenance leader for years. The back wall of the coffeeshop is adjacent to the kitchen. I saw him every day for months, at the coffeeshop, kitchen, patio, entries, hallways and prayerroom. No action was taken and all leaders were aware of the incident, supposedly believing it was being "handled". They even received his written confession. Even after I went to the police (after 2 months of no action), he still remained working there for months and continued meeting with young adults in the fire-parties, maybe for about a whole year. Leadership was aware of this. I would see him almost every day, he would always smile and pretend nothing happened. This was late 2004, there was no one who was assigned to deal with these issues. They acted like they didn't know what to do, so they did nothing, even with a confession. The two months before the confession, I literally didn't even believe it had happened. Can you imagine not being able to believe in yourself? I can't really explain unless you personally know how that is. When he wrote the confession, only then did I realize it really happened. I know the event seems small, its not like there was penetration, but the pain and confusion did penetrate deep within my soul, and the lack of protection, month after month was devastating. And to top it off the court details left me very alone and facing the very type of person I was injured from weekly.
I graduated from the IHOPU FSM program. [Leader] was the president of IHOPU. He had a brilliant mind but would belittle me and my classmates. Several times people would leave in the middle of class to cry over his snarky, rude remarks or being treated as stupid when they asked questions. Some people avoided taking his class after the first year because his ego was out of control. [Leader] was the center of his universe. Every conversation revolves around him or he makes it about him. Having a discussion with him is impossible because he always has to be right. He teaches sermon on the mount but doesn't live it. My time at IHOPU was deeply affected by the terrible ways he treated me and others. I regret going to IHOPU and the pain it caused me. If you are considering IHOPU, I would not attend the school while he is in charge.
I attended IHOPKC starting at the age of twelve. I immediately joined Student Ministries as it served as a great catalyst to obtain new friends around my age. For a while, all was normal, and I enjoyed my time and experience at Student Ministries. Then, a male leader joined. This leader took a particular interest in me and a small group of other teen boys. This was not out of the ordinary as Student Ministries facilitated "small groups" of same-sex individuals that had a leader of the same sex over them. These "small groups" would meet both within and outside Student Ministries to get further into the Bible together and to encourage comradery among the teens. This leader became a counselor over me and my life both within IHOPKC and outside of it. I told him my entire life story and put all my trust in him. Eventually, on top of meeting with him with the rest of the "small group", we began meeting one-on-one. During these times, he began grooming me - and I will not go into detail on the grooming tactics that were involved. Generally, the grooming happened when we were alone, but there were a few times when it involved the rest of the "small group". Then, at the age of seventeen, it was put as a requirement on me by my parents to meet with the leader every week, this time as a therapist and official counselor for my struggles with same-sex attraction. It was at these required meetings that the grooming switched to sexual abuse. The abuse occurred over several meetings, and still to this day I am scarred and heartbroken. I feel like Student Ministries and IHOPKC let me down in a few different ways. As it stands the leader, who also played on worship teams, left IHOPKC a short time after the abuse and resides in the greater Kansas City area to this day.
In 2017 I came to IHOP to do the one thing internship. I stayed afterwards and joined the staff of the higher grounds coffee shop after my internship. After spending a year doing that I decided to “trust God” and do FPD (the support raising program at IHOP). A friend of mine got me in contact with The head of FPD, and I started my journey. Little did I know that I would come to get physically sick with fear every time I would have my weekly meeting with him. He would belittle all my ideas and when I would be instructed by him to make a FPD letter or post cards he would call them garbage and crap. He would tell me that I look like I am on drugs in all my pictures and that my letter was trash because I don’t have a good enough “calling”. As a very emotionally fragile 19-20 year old this was very tough to hear a “respected leader” in ,the Church movement that I had given my life to, say. Week after week he would give me assignments to come up with a new letter or message everyone on Facebook that I know. If I didn’t do good enough according to him , he would insult me and I began to loath when it would be getting close to [meeting time] every week when I would have my meeting with him. Eventually he was going to send me on my “campaign” for three months. He was sending me back to Texas to beg people I kinda knew for money. and to “make sure it goes through the IHOP website and don’t let them cash app you or send you cash” (maybe because IHOP takes out “processing fees?”). He then got some random person to be my “coach” and call me every week to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to. I was sent to Texas, by the way, with no car and just planning on Ubering around, having these meetings and asking for money. The FPD head gave me these salesman tactics to tell to people. I could go on and on about the scummy things they have you do in FPD but I won’t here. Anyways I didn’t raise enough money. I was ridiculed by family members for asking for money (which looking back on it now, it’s something I regret doing) and came back to KC and got a job with the maintenance department at IHOP. One day I was in the back of the prayer room throwing scrap drywall into the dumpster and the FPD head, came up to me. He said “look at you. You are a failure , you failed because you didn’t listen to me and now you have to work this instead of having support. “ I was in utter shock and said some choice words (won’t write them here) to him and he walked away all pissed off. Afterwards I had to call my boss and tell him I was going home sick because I was literally crying because of the encounter I had with him. He called me a failure for having a job and not doing his multi level marketing scheme for money. I thankfully , left ihop in 2021 and realized the poverty mentality so many people have at ihop because of FPD. Everyone there is basically living on Penny’s. I look back at that “FPD season” and I’m so embarrassed. I see the 200 Facebook messages I sent to random Facebook friends asking to “send them a letter about what God is doing in my life” and I just feel like such a scum bag. This is the system they have at IHOP. Instead for paying their worship leaders, and intercessors and workers a livable wage, they make us sell ourselves to people we are kinda acquainted with. And these are the types of leaders at ihop. People who have got away with saying hurtful things and breaking hearts of people who see them as great examples of what a Christian leader should be because “If they are an ihop leader they have to be good because ihops words are law”. Overall I am very happy I got out when I did and my heart breaks for the people that are still there.
My whole family attended FC and ihop functions for many years. During this time, while going through a challenging family/parenting season, my mom was encouraged to receive inner healing/counseling by an IHOP staff member that knew our family. This person had no education or credentials but conducted several “sessions” with my mom in a side room at the prayer room. There was enough trust at the time to share some highly sensitive and vulnerable things about her and my family. A few years later, my parents were asked to give a financial donation to this persons individual ministry, and they declined. In response, this person sent very long inflammatory texts berating my mom and dads character, calling out and shaming the sensitive information that was shared in the “safe” context of the counseling sessions from years before. It was very hurtful and unprofessional
I lived in a home with IHOP staff members and saw how the owner of the home was brainwashed. I was manipulated, used and spiritually abused by this individual. But I now understand the pressure that she was under with being a staff member. She was also a family friend. Eventually, the individual would contact my family back home and she would twist the truth to condemn me for the purpose of covering up her own brokenness. I had connections to her home church in another state and her IHOP-affiliated home group in Kansas City. Yet, when things between us broke down, I did not go to family or friends and put her down or say anything to hurt their relationships. She, on the other hand, contacted my family and friends with intention to harm. My family members were aspiring to rise in ministry as well and wanted to keep the connections with this individual so they also came against me. I have never fully recovered nor has my relationships with family been fully restored. This staff member tried to tell me that I had everything right except that I needed to spend more time in the prayer room. She tried to get me to pay for extra home expenses because I had a full-time job and the residents who were staff members didn't work and they were fulfilling a special call. I felt they should be grateful to have a renter who paid the rent on time for a year and was low maintenance. But things came up and she asked me to be the one to foot the bill for the extra home expenses incurred by other staff members also renting in the home. I often took care of the guests because she was too busy meeting her obligations in the prayer room to help people who needed it. Yet she was doing IHOP a favor and housing their guests and new staff members. I also shared my food with her because she never brought home groceries except for a small amount of food from an IHOP food pantry. The fresh food always went bad in a couple of days it seemed like. She had told me that she had suffered from bulimia in the past. After a year of this, I was exhausted because I had my own health issues to deal with and a full-time job, in addition to helping guests and new staff members who didn't have cars or were seeking jobs. I realize now that I felt obligated because she told me her woes and struggles, I saw that she was broken, she was a special family friend and it was hard finding people who would pay the high price of her rental room for long. Eventually, she would call a meeting and tell us all we could move upstairs or move out because she was taking over the basement for her living space. All she wanted to do was be alone at home praying after she came home from a day of praying in the prayer room. She didn't care about the renters or guests. We were just resources because she was in survival mode. I was very hurt that she treated me this way after a year. She coldly said I could just move upstairs or move out. I was told that my hurt and reactions were because I was co-dependent. I had lived alone for many years before IHOP so I didn't see myself that way. Seeing the stories shared here has helped me to understand this individual and family friend much better. It was strange because she always wanted to be alone, had told me that this would be a quiet house to allow for an atmosphere of prayer and yet for me it was like living in a hotel and I was the one to take care of the details because I didn't shut myself away like she did. I was very hurt that she treated me this way at the end of a one year relationship. I was disappointed that the relationships that had developed were being interrupted in this way and things were ending this way. When she realized I was upset, she turned everyone against me, kicked me out of the house while I was out of town while my stuff was still in her house. It was because she had found a new renter, who was also an assistant in a ministry there, who would rent half her home and that individual had changed her mind and said no one else could temporarily stay in the home. She found another place for me to stay. It was with a staff member with a very important position. When I came back into town, they put me on their floor to sleep with no mattress or cushions. I wasn't allowed to sleep on the couch like other special visitors that I saw had the privilege of doing. Another strange thing that happened was that someone at the prayer room had a visit from the angel Gabriel who said they must come out and be separate. So my friend considered selling her house and she told me another IHOP worship leader considered getting rid of the few pieces of furniture that they had. I was able to assure her that wasn't what the scripture was talking about. Material things are not evil. That is gnostic.