I’ve been following IHOP-KC since I was a teenager but I mostly wanted to share my experience attending IHOPU in 2012. My second semester as an FMA student was the most damaging. The schedule and expectations were out of this world insane. On top of our music classes and the practice hours required for that, we also had theology classes, and we’re still expected to keep our 24 hours/week of Sacred Trust prayer room hours. I wasn’t able to raise enough support so I had to get a job. Because of the school/prayer room hours, I could only work in the evening and often got home after 11pm. This rigor started to take a terrible toll on my mental and physical well-being. After about a month, my weight dropped down to 90 pounds, my hair was falling out, my cycle stopped, I couldn’t sleep, and I was riddled with anxiety from the theological teachings about the end times and wanting to be a “forerunner.”. Throw the Bethany Deaton mess being announced during this semester in there and the vicarious trauma amplified everything. While all this was happening, we were constantly told from the stage that this school is meant to test us. During chapel someone literally told us one day, “We know this schedule is intense, it’s supposed to be, that’s how you grow.” All of this was spoken in the language of “refiner’s fire,” “let the winds blow,” “Joseph’s prison years,” etc. This messaging became so insistent that I began to interpret my health issues as God “sending them to me” so that I could grow in spiritual maturity like Job, another common story taught by an IHOP leader (his book literally mentioned physical illness as something God could send to refine us.) I could say so much more about how this ministry took advantage of my young adult years. This place is in no way safe for any young person who is at such a vulnerable and impressionable age. Now in my 30s I’m still unraveling all the effects of this and only wish I could have seen all this sooner.

- FITN intern, IHOPU Student (FMA)2009, 2011-2012