You might know about IHOP in Kansas City and its’ leader, Mike Bickle but they didn’t come out of nowhere. It started twenty years ago at Kansas City Fellowship that infamously became known as the Kansas City Prophets. The story even predates Mike Bickle to be honest.
Bob Jones, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, Art Katz, Jim Goll and John Wimber are all people involved in the early days of the prophetic movement in Kansas City. For me, I was just a kid then but my mother loved to go to the meetings and hear the voice of the Lord through the prophets.
What it did give me is a respect for the prophetic word of the Lord and to honor the voice of the Holy Spirit in life and in ministry. Many Christians do not believe in God’s voice and that makes me wonder how christian they really are.
On a personal level, some of the most powerful prophetic words that I have ever recieved was from Bob Jones and Paul Cain. I am talking “read your mail” type words that could be clearly wrong. I am not too interested in these genetic words that I see coming out of most ministries. I do not consider myself as part of the Kansas City Prophets.
e day. Yet, there was a crazy snow storm that hit Kansas City on the first day of spring.
Mike Bickle called a twenty one day fast and it ended with a profound star across the sky that NASA was dumbfounded about. The prophetic was operating at levels that we could only dream of in most ministries.
Paul Cain took what was happened and took it up a few levels. He was giving prophetic words that included addresses, co-worker’s names, birth times of children, etc.
In a meeting in 1989, Paul was preaching and he turned around to my parents on the front row and yelled at my dad, ” it is time to go. You did your job.” What no one else knew what my dad was seriously thinking about leaving the military and moving back to Kansas City full time. It was a word from the Lord through Paul Cain that made it possible to make the choice to retire from the only job he had known: the military.
Add into that mix a regular message from Leonard Ravenhill that was coming to see his son that was teaching in Kansas City and was attending the church. He was as hellfire and brimstone as you can get and my mom still remembers the “trembling of God” when he preached once. It was intense and everyone really knew why revival tarries in that meeting.
However, when you have any movement that focuses on the prophetic ministry and divine healing; there will be people coming up with funny ideas and the revival in Grandview was not any different. People did take it too far.
Kansas City Prophets meets John Wimber
It was in the middle of the eighties that Mike Bickle first met Wimber but in the later part of that decade, Mike was doing alot of confernces with the Vineyard and Paul Cain was giving regular words to the ministries connected with them. I am sure that Wimber was a little uneasy about some of the stuff going on that was over the top but he was a man of grace and didn’t want to come down on it as long as lives were being changed.
Ernie Gruen was a pastor in Kansas City that did not like Mike Bickle and really didn’t like Paul Cain. He wrote a 233 page article on them and blasted it by post mail to thousands of pastors across America. He is really, really upset to put it lightly.
At this point, John Wimber was getting involved as everyone from the Southern Baptist Convention to Jimmy Swaggart to Pat Robertson was coming down on them very hard. Wimber had a choice: condemn them completely or take the bullet for them.
In the end, John Wimber came to Kansas City, rebuked Mike Bickle and Bob Jones. Kansas City Fellowship became Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship and John Paul Jackson went to California. Shortly after, Jim Goll left for Tennessee.
The good news of it all is some issues were being addressed and all the haters cooled down alot….. until the Toronto Blessing broke out.
God used the Kansas City Prophets
I look back at the time as a student of revival and I see what God did. If you understand the tower of Babel, the day of Pentecost and the wider Book of Acts; you know that God problems to take the message to the world.
In the tower of Babel, they all spoke in other tongues and they all went different ways. In the book of Acts, the same thing happened. Many know Acts 1:8 but not as many know Acts 8:1. God used trouble to get the gospel to the world.
In the same way, many ministries raised up around the world because of the issues in Kansas City. Jim Goll ended up in Nashville; John Paul Jackson would eventually land in Vetmont, Bob Jones would join Rick Joyner in Charlotte, and Paul Cain would spend his time between Kansas City and Los Angeles. Later, Shawn Bolz would be raised up to pastor in Hollywood.
The impact of the prophetic movement in the eighties reached to almost every major movement in the Church. God even raised up people that embraced the prophetic in the Baptist churches like Dr. Ron Philips.
Where are we going with the prophetic?
We have to get to the place in the prophetic that we live greeting people, “You are fine. How am I?” I am somewhat joking but I am also being serious. We need to get the prophetic ministry restored in every major movement in the Body of Christ. It has started and many do embrace it on some level. It must continue to grow until we all believe that God can use us to speak to the people around us.
Here is a quick video of Mike Bickle talking about the term Kansas City Prophets. The name of the book he named is Some say it Thundered by David Pytches.