Mike Bickle (born 1955) is an American Evangelical Christian leader best known for his leadership of the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC). As the leader of IHOP-KC Bickle oversees several ministries and a Bible school. Bickle has written a number of books and served as the pastor of multiple churches.
After serving as a pastor in several evangelical churches in St. Louis, Bickle moved to Kansas City to start the Kansas City Fellowship (now known as Metro Christian Fellowship) in November 1982. Eventually, Metro Christian Fellowship joined the Association of Vineyard Churches led by John Wimber in 1990 and remained a part of that association of churches until 1996. During his tenure as the pastor of Metro Christian Fellowship, Bickle pastored a group known to both detractors and supporters as the “Kansas City Prophets” that, by some accounts, included Bob Jones, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, and others. Bickle asserted no formal group known as the “Kansas City Prophets” ever existed, but that the term “clustered a whole bunch of personalities into one group and one stereotype.”
During his ministry, Bickle claims to have had several encounters with God, including hearing the audible voice of God and being taken to heaven twice.
In 1999, Bickle left the church that he was pastoring, then a megachurch of over three thousand members, in order to start the International House of Prayer (also known by its acronym IHOPKC). IHOPKC is most well known for its daily prayer meetings based on its “harp and bowl” worship model that are held 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year since September 19, 1999. IHOPKC also established a Bible college, known as the International House of Prayer University and several internships for young adults. In addition to these training programs, IHOPKC also organizes various evangelism and charitable programs locally and internationally. The ministry currently consists of approximately 2,500 full-time staff members, students, and interns.
Bickle organizes the annual onething conference at the Kansas City Convention Center. In 2010, the event saw over 25,000 young adults attend. The conference focuses on worship music and sermons on prayer, evangelism, and Christian eschatology.
Bickle’s teachings have primarily focused on prayer, worship, fasting, the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, spiritual gifts, and the Bible with a particular emphasis on the books of Song of Songs and Revelation.
In 1988 Bickle began studying the Song of Songs, a book that he had dismissed in the past as being only for women. He interprets the Song of Songs as an allegory of the relationship between individual Christians and God. After studying this book for several years, he began to focus his ministry primarily on the Great Commandment.
Bickle teaches extensively on prayer. Bickle began teaching on the Tabernacle of David in 1983 after an experience in which he claims to have heard the audible voice of God. He encourages churches and Christian ministries to develop a “culture of prayer” by developing continuous worship and prayer.
Bickle has also focused some of his teaching on God’s spiritual purposes for Israel. He believes that it is important for Christians to pray for the spiritual salvation of the Jews.
Bickle also focuses much of his teaching on Christian eschatology. He has taught extensively about the Millennium, advocating historical premillennialism. Bickle believes that the Second Coming of Christ can occur within the next hundred years though he is quick to relate that no one can know the timing of Jesus’ return with certainty.