(RNS) — Mike Bickle, the founder of an international around-the-clock prayer movement and charismatic minister, apologized Tuesday (Dec. 12) for past misconduct that caused “pain, confusion, and division in the body of Christ.”
“With a very heavy heart I want to express how deeply grieved I am that my past sins have led to so much pain, confusion, and division in the body of Christ in this hour,” Bickle said in an online statement.
“I sadly admit that 20+ years ago, I sinned by engaging in inappropriate behavior—my moral failures were real,” he wrote.
In late October, former leaders of the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer publicly accused Bickle of clergy sexual misconduct, based on allegations from several women about misconduct that allegedly went on for decades.
“The credibility of these allegations is not based on any one experience or any one victim, but on the collective and corroborating testimony of the experiences of several victims,” the former leaders said in their initial allegations.
Last month, current IHOP leaders released a report of an internal investigation, which they said cast doubt on the credibility of the allegations against Bickle. They also resisted calls for an independent investigation.
In his statement, Bickle gave few details and said many of the allegations against him were false. He also said he was not confessing to “the more intense sexual activities” he had been accused of.
“There are many misrepresentations of my words and actions in these communications including statements that are out of context, greatly exaggerated, or blatantly false,” Bickle said in his statement. He also said he thought his past misdeeds were “dealt with and under the blood of Jesus.”
On Sunday, leaders of IHOPKC announced they had brought on crisis manager Eric Volz to serve as the organization’s spokesman. Volz, director of the David House Agency, was falsely convicted in Nicaragua in his 20s for the murder of his girlfriend — a case that made international headlines. Volz has long professed his innocence, and his conviction was overturned on appeal.
Volz told the congregation at Forerunner Church, where members of the IHOPKC movement worship, that he had been brought on to help IHOPKC get to the truth. He also told the congregation he had become a Christian during his time in jail and had been to a number of IHOPKC events in the past.
“Over the years, I’ve gotten to know many of you,” he said. “Many of you I’m blessed to call friends.”
Volz also lauded IHOPKC leaders for their work in responding to the allegations about Bickle and announced the church had hired an independent firm to look into the allegations. He also detailed some of the conflicts between IHOPKC leaders and what he called “the advocate group” — a group of former leaders, alleged survivors of abuse, and their supporters.
He also said the time frame of the investigation would depend on whether the women who made the allegations and their supporters participate.
“Honestly, the length of time it takes depends on several factors,” he said. “But the main one is going to be whether or not the alleged victims and the parties involved in representing them are willing to participate. We hope they will participate so the truth can be brought to light quickly.”
Author and preacher Joel Richardson, who has been critical of IHOPKC, called Bickle’s statement a “public relations move.”
“I want to say this very loudly and very clearly,” he said on X, formerly Twitter. “Mike Bickle, come clean before you destroy more lives.”
In an update posted on social media, Volz said Bickle’s statement was “a step in the right direction” and said there are now two competing narratives about the alleged abuse. He again called on advocates and alleged victims to participate in the investigation into the allegations against Bickle.
Bickle concluded his confession by saying he would take an extended break from public ministry, including on social media.
“I will look to other leaders to determine how long this season will last — it may be long and it may even be permanent,” he wrote. “I will only reengage in my public preaching ministry, if God confirms it through others. I am at peace with whatever He wants.”