I was on staff at IHOPKC from 2003 to 2009. During my time there I lead prayer teams, sang on worship teams, lead Bible studies, managed the bookstore, organized events, and of course prayed for hours every day. In 2008, a member of the current executive leadership team called me into a private meeting to address a theological issue that had raised some concerns amongst the leadership. The issue concerned a rumor that I had said something about being “functionally amillennial”. I explained that the rumor must have misconstrued my meaning, because what I had actually said (in response to an amillennialist friend outside of IHOP on my personal blog) was that I agreed with amillennialists on the subject of inaugurated eschatology, that the kingdom is both “already” and “not yet”—something which IHOP officially affirms. Nevertheless, the leader said that in order for him to “call off the watch dogs” I needed to delete that comment from my blog and submit to a six-month period of probation. He mentioned someone who had recently left IHOP for another ministry as an example and said, “I don’t want what happened to him to happen to you.” He also told me that, contrary to the popular notion of what it means to be a “good Berean,” what the Bereans actually did was accept Paul’s teaching by faith and then look to Scripture to find confirmation for what they already believed (cf. Acts 17:11-12). This puzzled me for two reasons: first, because he seemed to be addressing me as someone who hadn’t been at IHOP for years and who hadn’t already agreed with Mike Bickle’s teachings, and, second, because of the apparent disconnect between what he was saying and Mike’s public encouragement to test everything. So I submitted to the period of probation, which included attending that leader’s IHOPU class on the book of Revelation. In one of those classes, during a discussion period, I said something about how John “alludes” to some OT passage at one point. After class the leader pulled me aside and instructed me to never use the word “alludes” again, because scholars who use that word use it “because they don’t believe in the truth of biblical prophecy”. I disagreed and said that an allusion was simply an indirect quotation. At this point he got somewhat heated, said “Do you know who I am?!”, and began listing his credentials. I then responded heatedly (which I’m not proud of) and said that his credentials didn’t really matter with respect to the meaning of the word in question—although I had a hard time communicating clearly at that point because I felt like I was on trial, which caused me to shut down to some extent. I told this story and expressed my concerns to [leader] via email in 2014 after reading the Rolling Stone exposé Love and Death in the House of Prayer. [leader] said he was sincerely sorry that I “felt penalized” for holding different views, but assured me that IHOP leaders “honor sincere questioning” and “do not penalize” staff members or students for holding different views. My negative experience was a one-off anomaly, something easily amended. The only problem is that it was not my only negative experience. Shortly after that episode, my wife and I were in an end-times Bible study lead by another senior leader. We were discussing Isaiah 7:14 and the way Matthew quotes it in connection with the birth of Jesus (Matt 1:22-23). I mentioned the way Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1, which is not a prophecy, and says that it also was fulfilled in Jesus (Matt 2:15). I suggested that maybe Matthew meant something broader with the word “fulfill” than a simple one-to-one realization of prophetic predictions. It seemed like a minor point to me, but the leader shut the conversation down and later called my wife and I into a private meeting with him and another leader. They told us we needed to watch what we say in public and always present a unified front with the leadership of IHOP. But we remained confused about why we were being reprimanded in the first place. About a year or so after this, after I was no longer on staff at IHOP, I was having a discussion with another member of current the executive leadership team about biblical prophecy on a public forum he moderated at the time, which was unaffiliated with IHOP. Instead of addressing the points I raised in that thread he started addressing me personally, saying that I was “blind to my own deductive reasoning,” that I had “trapped myself in a prison of my own making,” and that I was “content to pay the Holy Spirit lip-service”. I stopped responding at that point, but several other people reacted to these disparaging remarks, so he shut the thread down. I then emailed him a couple months later seeking reconciliation, but he didn’t respond, so I sent him a private message on the forum, and he said (apologetically) that he was too busy to respond at that point. This was in early 2011. He finally responded and asked for my forgiveness in 2014 after I shared my story along side dozens of others in a 75 page document presented to the IHOP executive leadership team. In response to that meeting, [leader] instructed many of the leaders who were implicated in that document to apologize to the people they mistreated, and they finally established a standard grievance policy for staff and students. [leader] adamantly denied, however, that there was a more pervasive issue in the IHOP leadership culture that might call for deeper reform, insisting in several public statements that “some” people had been hurt by “some” statements made and attitudes held by “some” of their leaders in “some” of their messages and conversations. [leader] also insists that IHOP’s vision and values are not based on prophetic words. Both of these statements strike me as being extremely dissociative, if not disingenuous.  I wish that my negative experiences were isolated cases, but I’ve heard too many similar stories over the years to not believe there is a larger, more systemic problem. My story pales in comparison with many others I’ve heard. Many of my friends have spent years in counseling to recover from the trauma of their time at IHOP. I told four of the most disturbing stories of my time at IHOP, but I could tell at least a dozen more about things that were much less overt but just as harmful—the many times I was criticized by leaders for reading N. T. Wright, for instance, or the time I was “counseled” by one of the executive leaders to use more of [leader]’s vocabulary on my personal blog, or the time he told me strongly “I'm not asking you to think about it, I'm telling you!” when I questioned his interpretation of some passage, or the many times I was told by leaders presuming to operate in positions of prophetic authority what my calling was or was not—voices I took with utmost seriousness at the time, and which took me years to realize were just the overconfident projection of those people’s intuitions onto God. None of these things were as overtly abusive as many of the stories I’ve heard from others, but they all reflect a problem that pervades the culture of IHOP’s leadership from top to bottom.

- Staff2003-2009