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There was a family feel in the room, a greater sense of unity, and a greater desire to champion those who the Lord sent to us.

One Year Later: IHOPKC Has Changed since the Convergence

by Mike Bickle
2 weeks ago 20th Anniversary

When we started IHOPKC 20 years ago in the trailers on Grandview Road, we have enjoyed many blessings yet have endured some difficulties. We rejoice to see how the prayer movement, church planting, and evangelism have grown so rapidly across the nations over the last decade or so. At the same time darkness is increasing rapidly. The Scripture clarifies that both the light and the darkness will increase in the end times  (Isaiah 60:2). It is at such a time as this that the Lord’s people must be resolved to walk in greater measures of love, power, and wisdom.

At IHOPKC, we are as committed as ever to what started on May 7, 1999 (and went 24/7 on September 19 of that year): exalting Jesus and contending for the fullness of revival in 24/7 prayer with worship, standing for the salvation of Israel, and praying for a historic breakthrough of power on the global missions movements with a focus on YWAM, and preparing ourselves to prepare others for Jesus’ glorious return. Yet, even in all the rigors (and glories) of praying non-stop for 20 years, the Lord saw fit to reset some things in our community.

In this season of the reset, we began to address as a pastoral staff some concerns in our community. The IHOPKC community has always sought to be dedicated to Jesus and to putting the first commandment (to love God) in the first place, with the assurance that the second commandment (to love people) will always flow out of it. A few years ago we made a deliberate effort to strengthen our community in the second commandment, including raising up new friendship groups (small groups) and a zone pastor team to oversee different groups and areas of our ministry. We spoke about community from the pulpit, and a push was made to integrate people into healthier “smaller communities” within our larger spiritual family. As you may know, any change like this takes time, particularly the larger the organization and strength of the established culture and way of doing things are. IHOPKC is no different. Yet the Lord was gracious to us, as He always is. These efforts produced some fruit, and the proverbial “Titanic” began to turn a sometimes lengthy and arduous process.

But then the Lord sent us a special gift: In September of 2018, for our 19th anniversary, 1,000 Chinese church leaders from across the globe “converged” at IHOPKC for four days of prayer, worship, and fellowship. I could not have anticipated all that the Lord would do, but I’m so glad that He did!

You see, the Chinese had experienced a shift several years earlier where the Lord strongly emphasized the need to build a healthy community—to love one another, be your brother’s keeper, and live more intentionally as a spiritual family. While not naturally part of their church culture, the Chinese embraced this calling and shifted how they did things. The fruit was visible.

It was powerful to be part of the four days of meetings with our Chinese brothers and sisters. Instead of a planned schedule for our four days of gatherings, we started each meeting with worship and then waited on the Lord. He was faithful to speak and direct us. What came out of that whole gathering forever marked the ministry. There were moments of repentance and forgiveness and a pledge to change our direction by being more intentional about relating together as a spiritual family.

Most significantly, my wife, Diane—who for years had served our ministry by running a real estate company—was suddenly established as an important leader in our community. Tasked with helping IHOPKC strengthen our pursuit of community, Diane was diligent in this work by hosting many smaller meetings to hear the hearts of many, including those who were hurt and/or disappointed.

Some other changes quickly followed: We canceled our conferences, including our annual Onething (a huge undertaking that regularly attracted over 20,000 people to Kansas City each December), to allow our staff to spend more time with their families over the holidays. We cut out other events, resolving to be less busy so that we can focus on loving God and loving one another. I am encouraged by what’s taken place.

Back in the early 1980s, more than a decade before IHOPKC started, the Lord gave us a strong prophetic word we call “The Blueprint Prophecy,” which mapped out many things that have shaped our ministry. There was one key phrase that the Lord is now emphasizing, that “our strength lies in drawing close together.” While we’ve always desired this, we have not always known how to make it happen to the degree that the Lord wanted. But God sovereignly shed light on this by sending 1,000 Chinese to show us some keys to the way forward.

One year after the September 2018 Convergence meeting with the Chinese, we celebrated our 20th anniversary as a ministry, and the mood was especially sweet. There was a family feel in the room, a greater sense of unity, and a greater focus on championing those who the Lord sent to us, whether for a few months or for many years, including those who are no longer with us in Kansas City. Most importantly, there was a shared sense that “you belong,” that this place wouldn’t be the same without the men and women that the Lord has drawn here over the last 20 years, and a willingness to fight for each other’s destiny in the Lord as well as for IHOPKC’s specific ministry calling.

Have all of our issues been addressed? No. And that won’t happen in a perfect manner until Jesus returns. But what I do see is a new direction and priority for our movement and our ministry, one that includes fiery love for Jesus and great love for one another and the lost. I believe that when the Church walks in these two realities, it’s lights-out for the kingdom of darkness!!! A bride who passionately loves Jesus and who lays down her life for others, even her enemies—this is a witness that the world is longing for (and Jesus is worthy of).

We’re not there yet, but I’m encouraged about the way we’re going. I’m also glad for how the Lord spoke similar things to other ministries in the nations around the very same time that He emphasized this to us, doing, as only He can, a sovereign work that almost appears humanly coordinated. This encourages me that we are on the right path and He is doing a similar work in many places.

Our strength lies in drawing close together. This is only possible as we follow Jesus and seek Him first. The second commandment always flows out of the first commandment. If both realities are not present, then something is out of balance. Praise the Lord, who faithfully corrects those who are His!

I’m glad for what God’s done and continues to do in our community, in particular following the Chinese Convergence. We have slowed down (a bit) with intentionality about “seeing” each other and building stronger bonds of community.

Thank you for being part of our story. I pray this reset touches you, your family, and your church family. The Lord’s call is clear: love Him first and love others; on this hang all the law and the prophets. May the Lord grant us all grace as we seek His face.

What change are you believing for in your life and spiritual family?

Celebrate IHOPKC’s 20th anniversary with its special YouTube playlist of the event. Watch here >>

Mike Bickle

position

  • Director, IHOPKC
  • President, IHOPU

Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship. He is also the founder of International House of Prayer University, which includes full-time ministry, music, and media schools.

Mike’s teaching emphasizes growing in passion for Jesus through intimacy with God, doing evangelism and missions work from the place of night-and-day prayer, and the end times. He is the author of several books, including Growing in Prayer, Passion for Jesus, God’s Answer to the Growing CrisisGrowing in the Prophetic, and Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man.  Mike and his wife, Diane, have two married sons and six grandchildren.

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