My husband and I came to IHOPKC with our family in 2006 to be part of the launch of FMA (Forerunner Music Academy). We had visited several months before to see family, and while there, we were taken to the Prayer Room where we received “prophetic ministry.” What was spoken during that time was highly specific and emotionally charged. In hindsight, I can see it for the spiritual manipulation that it was, but at the time, it made us feel like we had found our calling. It highly impacted our decision to move to Kansas City. We gave up our careers, I cashed out my retirement plan, and I quit the master’s degree program that I was almost finished with because we were sure this was our “calling.” When we arrived I remember feeling unsure of where I fit in. My husband was immediately teaching guitar and playing on a team. I had been a teacher, had led worship with my husband, and had preached in our church. I could see a clear hierarchy within the leadership and staff at IHOP, and I just didn’t see where I fit in. Eventually, after completing an internship, I stepped in to the children’s ministry (CEC) to write curriculum, teach, and help supervise teachers. The leader over me was often harsh and demanding. I always felt like it was my job to make him look good while he took credit. I watched him preach to children as if they were grown adults, putting all kinds of pressure on them that should never have been theirs to carry. They weren’t allowed to just be kids, they were thrust into ministry and burdened with processing very mature themes in the Bible. My own adult children are still unraveling their own experiences as children at IHOPKC. The mission of CEC states (in part): “Our desire is to see children all over the earth involved in the prayer movement and moving in signs and wonders. To this end, we have set in place priorities and programs that will pass on the biblical values of prayer and the Word of God, which are foundational to night-and-day prayer.” After adopting 3 children (between 2007-09) I began to work in the field of adoption and gradually phased out of my position at CEC. In 2009, a close relative died. During that time we received virtually no pastoral care. It was clear at that time that IHOPKC had one mission “night and day prayer,” and there was no attention given to pastoral care. Key leaders would walk right by us and never check in or ask how we were doing. My husband continued playing on worship teams for a few months, and we were at IHOPKC during “The Awakening.” We were very uncomfortable with what was taking place during that time. We began to realize that we no longer aligned with IHOPKC’s core beliefs. Additionally, we could no longer walk through grief in a place that didn’t even acknowledge that grief exists. As all of the recent events are coming to light, and as other stories of injustice and evil come forth, much of my own trauma has resurfaced. I am realizing how much of what IHOPKC teaches is based purely on the “prophetic history” and is used to manipulate and control in order to keep people in place. The mission is very elitist and instills in people the idea that IHOPKC is special and superior to other ministries or churches. I always hesitated to call IHOPKC a cult after we left, but I no longer hesitate. It is a cult. One of the things I am still unraveling is how my time at IHOPKC impacted my sense of agency. I have struggled to own my worth and value in the world. I am also realizing that IHOPKC left in me an inability to trust my own ideas and intelligence. When you’re in an environment where only the top tier hear from god and can interpret the bible, it is very easy to doubt you own moral compass or develop your own ideas and beliefs, especially when there is no room to question those above you. Since leaving, I have returned to teaching and restarted my master’s degree. I find that even in graduate-school I second guess the quality of my writing, and have even questioned whether I am smart enough to finish my degree. I am 24 credits in, carrying a 4.0 GPA, and I am still faced with irrational insecurity! I have almost given up, and then I remember that coming to IHOPKC is why I didn’t finish my masters in 2006, so I dig in my heels and carry on. I am in therapy working on it all. I need to start letting go of the feeling that “other people can do it better & bigger”, and release the lie that my voice, my ideas, my intelligence, and my strengths aren’t needed in this world.

- Full Time Staff2006-2010