The change that I see is an eagerness to lean in to others, a preferring of one another, a celebrating of someone’s success, and a weeping with those who are in pain.

One Year Later: How Has IHOPKC Changed since Convergence?

by Adam Wittenberg
11/21/19 20th Anniversary

After the Lord sent 1,000 Chinese church leaders to IHOPKC in September of 2018, a shift began that continues to this day. The three-day Convergence gathering launched IHOPKC into a reset of priorities, including a renewed focus on family, fellowship, and the second commandment (loving our neighbor)—without losing our commitment to the first (loving God). A Cultural Renewal Team (CRT) was then formed to help integrate the values the Chinese brought into our community.

Members of the CRT now share how the Chinese gathering impacted them and the changes they’ve witnessed since then.

(This is Part 2 of a series looking at one year after the Convergence. Read Part 1 here.)

Q: How has the IHOPKC community changed since the Convergence? 

Diane Bickle, CRT Co-chair
The Lord is waking us up as a spiritual family so that we’ll operate as a family, and not just as an org chart. Just the way that we approach one another has shifted, and is still shifting. We may still do the same jobs and function in the same roles, but the way that we are together is shifting. And it’s going to continue to shift because the Lord’s after a family. He’s going to help us to be one.

I feel that He’s answering the prayer I’ve prayed for years and years to see each person through His eyes. I see the Lord waking us up in that family connection, showing us how to relate in that manner. I just want to sit down with people and know who they are, how many kids they have, when they got married, what makes them happy, and what makes them sad. I think we’re supposed to know each other more and share life with each other.

Isaac and Morgan Bennett, Pastor, Forerunner Church (Isaac), and CRT Member (Morgan)
Isaac: It’s challenging to measure or quantify the change that has occurred among our community. When the heart is addressed, the results often can’t be charted out in numbers or results. I can say that interactions, relationships, and the atmosphere feel different—dramatically different, in fact. We still have a long way to go.

The Lord made it clear to our leadership team that the process of heart renewal wasn’t a weekend or a month-long period, but would be a process that would take a few years. The Lord’s timing is so different than ours. Yet, when I look back just one year and consider what the Lord has done in the heart of this people, I am very encouraged. There is lightness in the atmosphere and an ease of relational connection that is different. More is coming by the grace of God.

Morgan: I believe hearts are healing. Sometimes the healing takes time and is a process over weeks, even years. The change that I see is an eagerness to lean in to others, a preferring of one another, a celebrating of someone’s success, and a weeping with those who are in pain.

Chi and Lillian Ukpai, CRT Members
Lillian: My observation is that people are now more open to love and to be loved. It’s as simple as a smile. Previously, you would see people that you had met before and would be thinking, “I’m familiar with them”; you would smile but they wouldn’t respond. Since after the Convergence, people are smiling; and people are waving, exchanging greetings, and more and more asking, “How are you?” It’s something that is now regular.

Chi: I’m seeing that more and more people, whether in the prayer room or at Forerunner Church, are trying to know your name, how long you’ve been here, and where do you come from. If you’re a family, you need to know names. After the Convergence, people are taking time to do that.

Shady and Ruth Abadir, CRT Members
Ruth: I’ve been listening to a lot of people’s pain points as well as gratitude points about what’s kept them here over the years in spite of the challenges they’ve faced. I think the Convergence and reset sparked a desire to strengthen the hearts of individuals regarding what brought them here: praying on the wall (for Israel, the nations, etc.) and reaching for more in terms of strength, renewal, or a revival of the vision of why the Lord brought us here as individuals.

I’ve also sensed a shift in the prayer room in corporate intercession, a better corporate connection, more unity in the room over the last year and in some of the solemn assemblies that we’ve had.

Shady: I’ve loved seeing Diane (and many others) take her place as a mother in this community. Before the Convergence Diane was not involved at all, but now she’s involved in everything, and she’s committed to walk out that IHOPKC becomes a family. I feel like there is a sense of safety that she brings, seeing her and Mike together. There’s a heart for family, and it has created a safer environment for people. I think this is a huge gift for our community.

Q: Why do you think the Lord is highlighting these things in this season?
Morgan: I think the Lord is highlighting these things in our midst because of Malachi 4: 5–6.

“Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord . . . he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

This isn’t something unique to us. I believe it is a sign of what He’s doing and will do in the days ahead for the whole Body.

Shady: We are being called as a house of prayer to shift things in the nation, and our level of authority is the same as our level of unity. Through the gift of the Homecoming we realized we needed to walk in a deeper level of unity with one another to fulfill our destiny.

As a forerunner ministry we’re called to prepare the Body of Christ for the return of Christ. In the end times we’re going to need one another even more. The Lord is preparing us to really be one family ahead of the coming pressure. This is even a way we are called to prepare ourselves. It’s going to be necessary that we walk in Zechariah 4 (no accusation) unto Ephesians 4 (the Body working in unity).

Up next we’ll look at the changes CRT members still hope to see in our community.

What changes are you praying for in your life, family, church, and community?

Relive and re-experience what God did at the Convergence with IHOPKC’s YouTube playlist of the event. Watch here >>

Adam Wittenberg


    A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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