More than 15,000 people are in Kansas City for the annual conference of the International House of Prayer, held at Bartle Hall.
“Mainly college-age kids, that’s the main demographic, but we have people of all ages,” says Jono Hall, on the senior leadership team for IHOPKC. “People are traveling from the local area but then from around the nation.”
According to Visit KC, the Onething Conference is one of Kansas City’s largest and 80 percent of attendees are from outside the metro.
In a press release, the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association estimated the economic impact of the conference at $7 million and told downtown eateries to expect a lot of late-night diners.
Hall says a large group came up from Texas, and another from California.
Conference attendees come “from a wide range of ecumenical Christian traditions,” Hall says. “Protestants - we actually have a bunch of Charismatic Catholics - some Orthodox Copts. Mostly, we’re an evangelical organization.”
The group operates a prayer room in South Kansas City that’s open 24 hours a day, and many of its followers live nearby in Grandview. While IHOPKC has been a major economic driver for the area, it’s also come under fire for controversial practices such as conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.