As reported yesterday, Mike Bickle from the International House of Prayer is calling it quits on OneThing to focus on being more of a local expression of the Church in Kansas City and to give the community at the IHOPKC mission base time to grow from the inside out.
I was there for the first OneThing many years ago and I can tell you that there things take a lot of work. It was really crazy when we was still in the double wide trailer, had about 150-200 staff members and was doing 4-5 major conferences a year. As the mission base grew, the work got easier but it was still quite insane because the work grew as well.
There is no sugarcoating it. We would come into the Global Bridegroom Fast the first week of January completely wore out from OneThing and it was just running on fumes for the next week. I know it because I did it. I am not complaining about it. I am just saying what was happening in the aftermath of OneThing.
So when I read that Mike Bickle was calling it quits a few days ago in the email, I read between the lines and came to believe that there was really three reasons this decision was happening. One was spiritual and the others were practical and financial.
Mike Bickle was honest!
There is no question that he was being forward about the leading of the Lord to engage the churches in Kansas City. He did not want a repeat of 1990! He wanted to focus on building community and fellowship in the city. Other churches have felt crushed by IHOPKC and namely OneThing. People would go to the last night of the conference instead of being at their local church’s New Years Eve service. I read a heart of true concern for the saints in Kansas City.
Bickle believes that is it important for the saints to grow together. Many forerunners (myself included) has went as far as to mock community and fellowship (for good reasons). However, God has been speaking to many in the last few months about the need for deeper relationships with the saints. I put out an article a few weeks ago about it. Read it here.
He believes that doing big events like OneThing and the smaller conferences at IHOP University has become a major hindrance to what the Lord was wanting to do in the hearts of the people in Kansas City. This is within the local expression at Forerunner Christian Fellowship and in the larger context of Kansas City.
The focus on relationships is something that God seems to be speaking to prophetic people around the country. It is also a current theme in prophecies I have heard in some Pentecostal churches. It is clear that the Holy Spirit is calling the people to fellowship on a deeper level.
This re-simplifying of our purpose is vital if we hope to renew our ministry culture from the inside out, but an equal emphasis is that we must also see and discover one another in this context of divine affection. We must think like family, not just intercessors on a mission or stewards of a conference ministry. -Mike Bickle
Logistics of OneThing
In the letter, he spoke about the work it takes to both keep the prayer room going and also the amount of work it takes to make OneThing happen.
For the last 18 years, the four days of Onething in December have represented a minimum of four months and multiplied thousands of man-hours of time drawn from every department here at our missions base.
This is probably the understatement of the year. It takes much more work. I would guess the minimum collective hours is at least 4,000! It just takes that much work from media to seating to transportation. It is like moving an entire division in the military.
The message is clear: they need a break from this. People are just tired. The concern is real: People want to be Mary but are in danger of being Martha. That is what I see written all over this letter from Mike Bickle.
It is interesting that he put the “what if” in the letter about a massive prayer meeting such as The Call in the case of a national emergency, Israel or another international crisis. This leads me to believe the message is : We are tired but once we rest, we are going to do sacred assembly again! It just won’t be conferences.
What about money?
For many years, OneThing was free then they started charging for it again. The reason was really clear: it was costing too much money to put on. They would raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to pull off the event. It was all underwrote by well off businessmen around the country that believed in the mission of prayer. However, the cost got to be too much.
Is there some underlining issue of the raw cost of doing it that could be a factor? No question about it. Everything in ministry comes down to budget no matter how spiritual you want to be. Brownsville Revival even led the local church in thousands of dollar in debt. For all we know, IHOPKC might have serious debt related to these events as well.
The concept has always been that donations + offerings + sales from Bookstore will be greater than the cost of production. I don’t know if this actually works in the 21st century. People tend to not give like they use to and due to the current technological environment we live in, people are buying Kindle books and downloads; not books and LPs anymore. The harsh reality might be that the numbers just no longer work out!
It is important for a ministry to have control of their finances if they want to make it for the long haul. I do know from my time in Kansas City, IHOPKC rarely has much money on hand after all the bills are paid each month.
Why “Reset” is important?
The fact of the matter is they need to concern the vision for revival. Building a people of faith that are in community as well as rested will be critical if revival breaks out again. They have had the IHOP Awakening but that is nothing compared to what is coming!
Again, these are just my thoughts from knowing Mike Bickle and the leaders at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I tend to know how they think, not just what they think.