The Convergence that brought 1,000 Chinese church leaders to Kansas City in September of 2018 helped launch IHOPKC in a new direction. One year later, members of IHOPKC’s Cultural Renewal Team, which formed following the September gathering, share their take on what’s changed in our community and what’s to come.
(This is the third and final part of a series looking at one year after the Convergence. Read Part 2 here.)
Q: What changes would you still like to see in the IHOPKC community?
Diane Bickle, CRT Co-chair
I want to see a healthy family—spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. I would personally define that by everyone knowing who are their five people who are going to champion them, who are their eight who are going to celebrate them on their birthdays, who are their mom and dad they’re going to call when there’s a crisis, and who’s table they can sit at and have a cup of tea, because that’s what family is.
There’s an aspect of love we can exchange one for another in the prayer room, but it has to surface outside the Global Prayer Room (GPR). It has to surface in walks with one another, translate into cups of coffee—that we may see the other dimensions of the person that are beautiful and worth celebrating. We can’t love one another in a way that is true and authentic and lasting unless we are first experiencing being loved by God and loving Him in return. Yes, the first commandment is in first place, but the second commandment is on its heels. And furthermore, if it’s not, then we’re not doing the first commandment right.
Isaac and Morgan Bennett, Pastor, Forerunner Church (Isaac), and CRT Member (Morgan)
Isaac: One of my desires is for every person who is part of our spiritual family to believe that they belong. Their belonging isn’t contingent on a ministry designation, or an org chart, or a gift mix. Each and every person of the family matters. Each one has a place and purpose. We need one another, and we cannot go forward into God’s purposes without each other. Paul tells the Church the growth of the Body of Christ in love occurs when each joint supplies as they do their specific work (see Ephesians 4:16).
Chi and Lillian Ukpai, CRT Members
Lillian: I am excited by the evidence of change, which gives me hope and confidence that we’re going to see so much more. The banner that was recently placed on the Forerunner Church wall is just like the poster that was put on the wall 16 years before IHOPKC started. Day-and-night prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David is now a reality; so, as we are aligning with God and becoming family, those things that we have on the church wall are going to become reality too. And I get to be a part of that, so that excites me.
What will it look like when we get together as family, agreeing with God, loving one another, serving together, and then suddenly the staff goes to 500 individuals dedicated to fulfilling the purposes of God? And then, “Boom”—we are on Truman’s property? And from that land praying together for Israel?
God’s raising up IHOPKC to be a spiritual intercessor for Israel. Could it be that when we are positioned in that way that the prayers will mount up, fill the bowl, and the promises of God will be poured out?
Shady and Ruth Abadir, CRT Members
Ruth: The changes are a confirmation of all the things the Lord has spoken that are yet to come: “I really am zealous for you to be strengthened to do this well.” They are a stamp of affirmation that He is with us: “I do see you, I am at work. I am fulfilling the plans I have for you. This is one way of ensuring that I’ll accomplish My work through you.” He’s putting legs to how His plans are being walked out: strengthening, reinforcing, undergirding.
I took courage seeing how other communities and streams had the same message, focusing on family, their own community, dialing down the external to focus on the internal, to prepare for the next season. Our capacity to actually steward 500 to 5000 staff members and to actually walk out practically those things we’re contending for in the coming season are very contingent upon the work He initiated through the Convergence last year.
Q: What would you say to people who are disillusioned or doubting the changes?
Diane: There are yet people here that haven’t felt the shift, that doubt it’s happening, and are hanging on by a fingernail. But there are more who have either felt the shift or they’re daring to believe that it’s happening and are going to feel it in due time. I’m sad for them the ones who aren’t feeling it yet.
The Cultural Renewal Team is a team of moms and dads. There’s about 16 of us, and we are sitting down with those people, and this department, and that department. We’re mindful of the cost that people have paid to be here, the sacrifices they’ve made, and the pain that some carry silently to continue in that role. That matters to the Lord, and that matters to us. As much as we can help with that, we do.
Chi: My advice to them is that they need to be a little bit patient and see what is going to happen. I truly believe the leaders of this IHOPKC family. Their desire is for this place to be a family, and everybody will be included. For us to say we are not going to have Onething and other conferences to focus on making this a reality is a big shift. If we are a family, everyone is going to be included, no matter where you come from, how old you are, whether you are old or young, black or white, or coming from other nations—you are included in the family of God.
Lillian: I would say to look at the big picture of God’s thoughts and purpose, and then to remember that it was the Lord that brought you here. Remember God did so many things to bring you here. You make up your mind: “I am not going to give up. I’m not going to give up until I fulfill the purpose for which He brought me here.” As long as our eyes are on the big picture for which God brought us here, we can persevere.
Q: What are some of your main prayers for the IHOPKC community?
Diane: That we would be a family. That we would love each other like a family, like a healthy family. That we would be a source of life and blessing and encouragement to one another, and that we would all mature together. Ephesians 4—that we would grow up together so we could be who we were created to be. Never were we created to be outstanding and isolated. We were created to be together, and together we can accomplish more aligned with the Lord’s heart than we could ever do alone.
Isaac: Recently, my main prayer has been Ephesians 3:19. I want our family to experience the affections of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God. I cannot think of a greater thing than the church in this city and across the nations being filled with the fullness of God. And Paul defines it as experiencing the love of God—together (vs. 18).
Morgan: My prayer for our community is Ephesians 4:1–6, that we would walk worthy of the calling, seeking to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, that we would be one body. And John 17, that we would be one as Jesus and the Father are one, that we would share the same love with which He has loved us.
Chi: My prayer and desire is that the IHOPKC family will be the spiritual family we want it to be, a family where everyone is welcome, everyone is given an opportunity to serve in any capacity where they have a calling and fulfill the call of God in their life here.
Shady: Help God! That we would walk in the fullness and with a sense of gratitude. I pray I never lose sight of that—this amazing place I get to be part of every single day, where I have been sustained all these years. Even as part of the healing process, I pray that we would connect with that gratitude.
God’s invited us into a place none of us would ever have dreamed up. It’s huge. I pray that we would all walk in gratitude and the fullness of why God raised up this place, and that we would individually and corporately accomplish all that God desires and put a smile on His face.
What is the Lord speaking to you in prayer for your community in 2020?
Relive and re-experience what God did at the Convergence with IHOPKC’s YouTube playlist of the event. Watch here >>