My husband and I were a part of Kansas City Fellowship from it’s inception, until 1990. Here’s our story.
We were part of the original church that Mike Bickle started in the early 80’s called Kansas City Fellowship. In fact, when Mike first arrived in Kansas City, he spoke at a women’s bible study that I was attending at the time. It was the first time I had heard contemplative prayer taught. I was so intrigued by his teaching, I made it a point to attend his soon to be new church.
From the church’s early beginnings, we were wowed by the fact that this church seemed to be commissioned by God. We were encouraged to read about the modern revivals, such as Azuza Street, and modern revivalists, such as Mary Woodworth Edder, and Charles Finney. We were also encouraged to read about the life of David Brainerd, especially his devotion to prayer. Also on the list of required reading were all of Kenneth Hagin’s books. All of this was to prepare us for the coming revival in knowing what to expect.
A point I wish to make, in regards to KCF’s beginnings, is the original prophet who spoke to Mike back in St. Louis. This man prophesied that Mike needed to move to Kansas City to begin this new move of God. His name was Augustine Acolla. He was later dismissed as somewhat false when a certain prophecy never came to pass. He was also later discovered to have a hidden homosexual lifestyle what was exposed before he passed away, but he needs to be included in the Kansas City Prophets head count, as he was highly esteemed and credited from the beginning as a true prophet.
Mike’s main focus, in the early days, was to pray for God to pour out His holy spirit as he did in the days of Acts. During the first year when Bob Jones came on the scene, this focus remained the same with the added oooing and awwwwing associated with having our own resident prophet. We were so flattered regarding our calling to be THE group that would usher in the revival to beat all revivals. He told us that we had been invited to pray this thing in. He had all kinds of remarkable tales of God having promised him, through the years, that a generation would arise in his (Bob’s) future that would someday receive him. And we were that people.
During the first year of the fellowship, a solumn assembly was called, the first of several, where we were called to fast and pray for twenty-one days, at the end of which, the Lord was going to fill us with his holy spirit as he did on the day of pentecost. So, fast and pray we did. This commission purportedly came about when both Mike, and Bob Jones, received a personal visitation from the angel, Gabriel, who gave both of them the same scripture, which was Daniel Chapter 9. The angel told both of them of the need for this solemn assembly to take place. We began the fast which was to conclude at the end of May. We spent many days and nights binding and loosing territorial spirits in order to open up the heavenlies so God could pour his spirit down.
At the end of the fast, absolutely nothing happened. That’s when the focus began to somewhat change. It was discovered, by the leadership, that we didn’t have the proper wineskin in place to recieve the new wine promised by the angel Gabriel. So, continuing our routine to pray every night and day for the Lord to send his spirit, we began to receive teaching entitled “commitment classes” which lasted for about two years. Absolutely anyone who wanted to participate in any kind of ministry at the church, be it on the worship team, or volunteering with the children, had to undergo these classes. The gist of the teaching was church government and how the city needed an apostolic leader over all the churches in order for the believers to contain this level of annointing. I kid you not. These were the most boring classes to attend, but attend them we did, because everyone, and I mean everyone didn’t want to miss this “move of God”, and everyone wanted a leadership type position.
It was during this time that the prophets were on the move, prophesying to churches to submit to Mike, or else they’d be left out. It was also at this time that my hustand and I began to become seriously confused. Our lives began to grow too busy to attend the nightly prayer meetings any longer. We were a young growing family with toddlers to raise. The prophesies were confusing and very “cosmic” in nature. The ones that were clear enough to follow, weren’t coming to pass.
Also, those of us attending the nightly prayers meetings were seeing the original “vision” change. We were on board for the “pray night and day until” vision, but the rules kept changing, and Mike was becoming a sensation. It seemed that MANY ministries throughout the Unitied States, and even England, were embracing his “city church” vision, and were equally wowed by the prophets. When the Vinyard began showing interest, they appeared more influenced by Mike and the prophets, than the other way around.
One other important fact that never gets mentioned, and has since been removed from the history. Mike had a paraplegic brother named Pat whom we were close to. Pat always attended the evening prayer meetings which we also attended. Keep in mind, the early prayer movement was very sparce, a far cry from what it looks like today. Just a dozen or so faithful regularly attended. As a result, we got to know one another pretty well. Well, amongst all the prophecies and promises of the spirit being poured out on us, there was ALWAYS the promise that Pat would be healed. So often was that promise repeated that we spoke of it as a “given.” All of the prophets mentioned it numerous times. In fact, it was going to be THE EVENT that started the whole ball rolling.
Sadly, Pat passed away a few years ago. More sadly, however, is how this often stated prophecy, at least how pivotal it was, was erased from the history. Now, when new IHOPers listen to the 18 plus hours of how IHOP came to be, they won’t know about Pat and that profound promise that we hoped for in his healing.
It was at this time that my husband and I set aside all the nonsense we had been taught, and turned to the scriptures, alone, for guidance. The Lord graciously revealed the Gospel to us and our confusion ceased. We knew, clearly enough, that this message of the Cross was not being preached, nor was it ever preached. My husband tried to talk to Mike about it a number of times, but was not received well. When Ernie Gruen preached his memorable sermon “Do we keep smiling and say nothing,” we left. His sermon helped us see the error of the whole prophetic thing.
Back then, I assumed that this whole thing would just fizzle out. How wrong I was. We now have grown children who rub elbows with other grown children influenced by IHOP. While our children have been taught the error of this movement, I find it necessary to reteach the “why’s” of whats wrong with all of this, especially since so many churches here in Kansas City have people in their congregations who also attend IHOP. And now with the “student awakening” under way, it’s all the buzz in local christian circles.
I need to clarify a few points regarding Pat Bickle. He was actually a quadraplegic, not a paraplegic. Also, it was through Pat’s wife that we learned of the histories regarding Pat, and the prophecies of his healing, being removed from the newer additions of Mike’s books and history tapes. I haven’t listened, personally to these new histories, nor have I read any of Mike’s new additions to his books. This point might need further clarification.
I hope this testimony is somehow helpful to persons who are doubting this movement.