Forerunner Christian Fellowship

Forerunner Christian Fellowship

Statement Regarding Tyler Deaton

November 16, 2012

The International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) leadership continues to be saddened over the tragic death of Bethany Leidlein Deaton. We remain committed to transparency as we discover more information related to Tyler Deaton.

Forerunner Christian Fellowship (FCF) is the local church expression of the IHOPKC Missions Base. FCF is considered by about 4,000 people to be their church home. This includes about 1,000 self-funded missionaries, whom we refer to as the IHOPKC staff. FCF also includes approximately 1,000 full-time IHOPU students and interns, who are under the supervision of the IHOPU leadership. IHOPU students are not a part of the FCF small group structure.

Over the last week we have been asking many questions, along with piecing together the circumstances that resulted in Tyler Deaton’s name erroneously being added to FCF’s small group listings.

After Deaton graduated from IHOPU in May 2012 he began to show interest in our FCF small groups. That summer our FCF small groups came under a new director, who formed a temporary, think-tank-type discussion group made up of volunteers, who met to discuss ideas on how to improve small groups. Deaton attended this group, though he made it very clear to our small groups director that his independent Bible study group would not be connected in any way. On one occasion, in October 2012, Deaton facilitated a breakout discussion of seven or eight people. We now believe his interest in our small groups was to try to promote his own agenda within our organization.

A volunteer mistakenly labeled Deaton as a divisional coordinator when preparing a preliminary small groups info packet. Because the small groups director was not consulted and did not catch the error, the volunteer continued to reprint the mistake. The incorrect information has since been removed.

In mid-June 2012, an individual spoke to the new small groups director raising concerns about Deaton’s manipulative behavior in his independent Bible study group. The director met with Deaton and mistakenly concluded that these concerns had been resolved. This we deeply regret. This individual again voiced concerns in mid-October, and we began to investigate the situation.

These concerns did not include any reference to the sexual perversion, sexual assault, or malicious practices that were exposed only after Bethany’s death.

Here is what we know about this situation:

  • Deaton was never a small group divisional coordinator at FCF.
  • Deaton never had any leadership role at FCF, IHOPKC, or IHOPU.
  • Deaton never had any authority over any small groups or individuals in any sphere of our ministry.
  • Deaton was unknown by sight or name to the vast majority of our missions base leadership.
  • Deaton was the “spiritual leader” of an independent, close-knit, religious group that began in Texas over five years ago.
  • Deaton’s group relocated to Kansas City over the last few years and operated under a veil of secrecy.
  • Deaton’s group was never part of our small group structure.
  • On October 26, four days before his wife’s death, Deaton’s application to raise financial support through our organization as a self-funded missionary was finalized. He had not been entered into our payroll system, never received money through our organization, and was immediately terminated.

Knowing what we know now, we deeply regret our failure to discern the nature of Deaton’s alleged secretive, perverse, cultic practices. We further regret his admission to IHOPU four years ago and all connection he had with our organization.

Our entire ministry continues to be saddened by these recent tragic events.

To our knowledge Deaton has not been charged with any crime, and due to the ongoing police investigation we have no further comment at this time.

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