The Smithton Outpouring








Claudia R. Wintoch















History of Revival

J.D. King





World Revival School of Ministry

Fall Trimester 2001






1. Outbreak of Revival


2. Before the Revival


3. Since the Revival


4. Future of the Revival


5. Controversies of the Revival


6. References



1. Outbreak of Revival


On March 24, 1996, pastor Steve Gray walked into Smithton Community Church at 6:12 p.m., after having been away for two weeks. As he opened the door, walking towards his wife Kathy, he suddenly started jumping and throwing his arms in the air, as the power of the Holy Spirit hit him. His weights were thrown off and “indescribable joy and hope” (Gray 1999:16) came in their place. The same power hit the rest of the congregation as they were rushing to the front. As pastor Steve Gray started praying for people, they were collapsing and crying in repentance and brokenness. Another meeting was scheduled for the following night, and the next, and the next, soon drawing more and more people from the USA and even other nations. The lives of those hit by the power of God would never be the same again[1].



2. Before the Revival


For seven years Steve & Kathy Gray were traveling around the States with a music group. They desired finding a quiet place of retreat between their trips and settled down in the village of Smithton, Missouri. Certainly a place that fulfilled that requirement – 532 inhabitants, no gas station, no stop signs, no soda machine. However, the Lord had something else in mind. After some time in Smithton, Steve was approached by village people concerning the small church that had been closed for four years, asking him to take over the pastorate. Steve & Kathy had already accepted a pastoral position in a big church in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and immediately declined that ridiculous offer. However, the people were persistent and came back two more times. The third time, pastor Steve decided to be polite and answered by saying he would pray about it. As he started praying and asking God, what He would do, His answer was, I would raise the dead. That settled it for him. In 1984 Steve & Kathy Gray became pastors of the little Smithton Community Church. Over the years the church started flourishing, the congregation growing to 150 people. However, over the years the Grays started burning out. In 1996 Steve was ready to quit the ministry and even leave his wife. At that time, weekly prayer meetings for revival had been going on for two and a half years. While pastor Steve wanted to run away and start a new life, he went – encouraged by his wife – to Pensacola, Florida, having heard of the revival there that had been going on for a few months. He would spend all day locked into his motel room, trying to seek God, going to the revival meetings in the evening. Steve describes what happened in the meeting, when he responded to the altar call:

     A man nearby was dressed in a nice, three-piece suit, kneeling and crying as hard as I have ever heard any man. At first  I thought he must have committed some really big sin. But as I watched him, I realized he had what I needed. This man was completely broken. I wanted this more than anything else. (Gray 1999:14)


After a few days a glimpse of hope came in. That first Sunday he called his wife, telling her, he had just been in the best Sunday morning service ever. Kathy Gray passed that on to the church which caused a new stirring in the congregation of Smithton Community Church. For over two years they had been praying for revival. Now brokenness and repentance came upon the church as the Lord prepared His people for the approaching revival. A five year old girl prophesied at the Wednesday night meeting, “It’s coming! It’s coming!”.

  Meanwhile God spoke to pastor Gray in Pensacola, “I want you to have a revival.” However, he considered himself too broken, until God said, “I didn’t say you had to be a revival. I said I want you to have a revival.” (Gray 1999:15) and he could accept that.




3. Since the Revival


By now about 300,000 people from all over the world have come to taste of the Lord’s goodness in this outpouring. Their lives were changed forever – the sick healed, the captives set free, the broken-hearted restored, just as described in Isaiah 61. Rev. Robert Clement – driving 1,700 miles from San Diego – shares his not uncommon testimony, being in a struggling church: “Each time I go up and get prayer, it’s like layers peeling off. Layers of fear, failure and rejection.” ( The church would have five services a week with more and more people driving into Smithton, outnumbering the inhabitants and angering them because of the traffic and the loud music. It became clear that the revival would have to move to another place to be able to grow. Several locations were checked out in 1996 and 1997, yet nothing was working out. Finally God told pastor Gray to shut down the outpouring services and move to Kansas City. When he asked if the Lord would guarantee success there, He answered that “He could guarantee that the Outpouring would end if they didn’t” ( On March 24, 2000, the fourth anniversary, the church began a series of “Cover the City in Glory” in Kansas City, visiting local churches. About 60 families were getting ready to also move to Kansas City to be a part of World Revival Church of Kansas City. In June of 2000 God provided 62 acres of land and the first meeting was held on June 30, in a tent that had been put up. This led to an increase in anointing and miracles, and more and more families moving to Kansas City to be a part of the revival. The 25,000 square-foot building was raised up in an incredibly short time, the first meeting taking place on January 5, 2001, with pastor Steve Gray preaching on “Christ in You, the Hope of Glory”. The church’s regular e-mail newsletter describes those first meetings the following way:


  Friday night was great, but Saturday night the powerful presence of God really moved in. […] Praise was awesome as the people cried out to God for His presence and revival fire to come. Worship deepened as a surge of people rushed forward toward the platform and fell to their knees and upon their faces in the presence of God. Our hearts melted as we again experienced the awesome, loving presence of God that is beyond all we could ask or think. […]Sunday morning we took another step forward in the Outpouring of God to experience an explosive increase. The sense of destiny was stronger than ever before. Memories of the old Smithton Community Church came to mind as people from the Kansas City area and at least ten states were packed in, filling the large foyer and spilling over into an overflow room. Kathy Gray brought a powerful and significant message defining World Revival Church and our mission. "We are called to carry revival to the world," she said. (



4. Future of the Revival


“We are called to carry revival to the world and our vision is to touch the world using methods and ideas old and new with the breath of God on them.” (Kathy Gray, quoted in a WRC e-mail newsletter, The move to Kansas City, the big piece of land and new church building opened the doors for an increase in ministry. While still in the tent, World Revival School of Ministry was started in the fall of 2000. Also, the World Revival Network was created as

a place for ministry-minded people to exchange ideas, develop edifying relationships and become a part of a united voice that promotes revival throughout the world. The World Revival Network is gathering and equipping with the fire of revival and the Word of the Kingdom.” (World Revival Network webpage,


Pastor Steve Gray and his people are already traveling internationally, carrying the fire of revival to the nations. It is their passion to see the church revived and equip people to go out and do the same.


5. Controversies of the Revival


No revival is without its enemies. When the Spirit of God came with fire, calling people to holy, fully dedicated lifestyles, some church members left and turned against their former church. Sadly they are spreading their poison, facilitated by a medium like the internet, accusing pastor Steve Gray and World Revival Church of spiritual abuse, cultic methods, dishonesty and more. One of those former members actually admits:

“We had some worldly attitudes that began changing. Actually, the lifestyle changes we made were needed and have remained until this day. We felt we were part of THE move of God. This greatly appealed to our pride.” (1burned2shy,


She further claims, without giving any details:

“We began to seriously pray and search scripture. We took old teaching tapes and found they didn’t line up with the WHOLE Word of God. We began to match certain behaviors in our church with things my husband had learned in the occult. We felt trapped. Smithton had helped release us from the world’s kingdom, but had enslaved us to their own kingdom. We still went back for a couple of weeks. We were like junkies who needed that “fix” we received at prayer time. My husband then decided not to get prayer. We finally left in January 2001.” (1burned2shy,


Scripture exhorts us:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV, Matthew 5:10-12).


6. References


1burned2shy, Re: Smithton Outpouring, August 2, 2001,


Gray, Steve, When The Kingdom Comes. Lessons from the Smithton Outpouring, Chosen Books: USA 1999


Haywood, Leilani, Outpouring in Southeast Asia,


McGatlin, Ron & Barbara, Beyond Hunger To Desperation, May 10, 2000,


McGatlin, Ron & Barbara, History & Destiny in Kansas City, July 1, 2000,


Palmer, Tim, ‘Smithton Outpouring’ has Missouri town leaping & shouting, The Baptist Standard July 21, 1999,


Stead, Pam, and Linda Valen, World Revival Church of Kansas City,


Unknown Author, How It All Began: When God Poured Out Revival on Smithton, Artist’s Spotlight,


Unknown Author, Renewal! 2001. Celebrating Victory,


Unknown Author, Smithton Revival,


World Revival Church, e-mail newsletter,

[1] A popular phrase in the Smithton Outpouring.