There is such a shocking lack of knowledge as to how IHOP’s vision was birthed, it’s driving me crazy! So, I want to give a little more insight into the going’s on behind Kansas City Fellowship (early IHOP) becoming a Vineyard.
My husband and I had been away from the church (Kansas City Fellowship) for approximately 3 or 4 months praying earnestly for the leadership at KCF to repent. Actually, by this time, the name had changed to Metro Christian Fellowship, having first been known as South Kansas City Fellowship, then Kansas City Fellowship, then Metro Christian. We expected their repentance to be forthcoming at any day. I mean, with the damning report that Ernie Gruen had just written, there was no defending the current prophetic, and “let’s take over the city”, teaching that had become common place by then. This was the spring of 1990. I remember it well because I was well along in my pregnancy with my fourth child.
We were told that “Mike’s going to repent” so be sure to be there. “Major anouncement at the church, don’t miss it.” These were the encouragements we received from our friends, the friends we had been warning regarding the error that had crept in.
So, we went to this meeting with high expectations. We were expecting the mood to be somber, sober, serious, repentant, etc. Nothing could have prepared us for what we witnessed that night.
First of all, the place was PACKED. Not a seat in the house remained empty. People standing in the back as well. I think there were between 1500 and 2000 people in attendance.
After a very celebratory worship service, Mike began to repeat some of the prophetic history which brought the church into existence in the first place. Augustine’s prophecies (although, by this time, I think his name had ceased to be mentioned), Bob Jones’s prophecies, etc. How God had brought the prophetic into our midst – but it was still in it’s infancy. Still young and messy and some messes have occurred. Soooo, it was time to set the prophetic down, come under the umbrella of the Vineyard. The prophets would still minister to the leadership behind closed doors, but it was necessary for them to mature in their anointings.
This was the gist of the meeting. That the leadership was just delighted to be joining hands with John Wimber and Co. It was going to be a great future in God. Blah blah blah.
Even stating that the rift between Mike and Ernie was hurting the body and that it needed to be resolved as soon as possible. That Ernie Gruen had misrepresented the prophetic movement, but some of the things he said were true: there was a spiritual elitistism that needed to be eradicated. Ernie was on board with this current move by the church leadership to become a Vineyard, and so the proposed meeting (hearing?) before the agreed upon leaders from around the country was no longer necessary. The error of the prophetic was in check with the setting down of the prophets.
The mood reminded me of a high school pep rally. Everyone seemed relieved and elated. No longer was the church going to be considered “cultish.” John Wimber had ridden in on a white horse, and they had dodged a bullet. They were becoming a respectable Vineyard; the loony prophetic was going to become less visual and less loony; and so on, and so forth.
At the end of Mike’s lengthy announcement, he opened up the microphone for questions. When my husband looked at me and said “I’m going up,” my heart rose to my throat and stayed there until we left. I knew that the happy atmosphere was going to be dampered a little once my husband took the mic.
Person after person got up and asked numerous, non-threatening questions, of the legistical variety. Will the other locations join, too? Would Mike’s position change? How will this affect the church type questions.
My husband was one of the last in line that night. Perhaps he was the last. He first asked Mike if the men who had originally been agreed upon to “hear” the accusations that were brought against Mike, if they were honorable and capable of judging these teachings, etc. Mike agreed that they, in fact, were honorable men. (All of the men chosen for this task were from the charismatic side of the isle, btw). He then asked Mike why he wouldn’t just submit to their “hearing” instead of, essentially, hiding behind John Wimber. That is when the mood in the room suddenly changed. It felt hostile, and I swear, you could hear a pin drop. But, my heart was in my throat and I just wanted to get out of there, so, who knows what other people felt. At this point, my husband challenged Mike regarding these doctrines NOT coming into line with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He handed the mic back and began walking back to me.
Many, many of our friends were there. Some of our best friends were also in attendance, and they were not really sure how to take all of this stuff. We had given them our take, yet they were still quite loyal to the church/Mike. Heck, we were still loyal. We were just waiting for everyone to repent and BELIEVE the truth and get free of all this garbage. This was our church, for crying out loud. These were our leaders and the devil had pulled the wool over their eyes!
As my husband was leaving the stage, Mike turned to the sound man, and told him to get rid of what my husband had just said. “Erase that part.” This is what our friends heard. They were so appalled, it became the beginning of the end of their stay at KCF. So began my first knowledge of historical revisionism at the hands of KCF.
One person came up and thanked my husband. Everyone else treated us like the plague. Indeed, for many years, my husband was kept at arms length by those still loyal to Mike. Now, one can dispute whether or not Mike had the tape erased. But, there are people, to this day, who remember my husband standing up and standing against Mike Bickle. No one ever did that! I think it went down the same memory hole with the prophecies regarding Pat Bickle getting healed. We knew, then, that they weren’t going to be repenting anytime soon.