‘World Revival Church’ KC Re: ‘Smithton Outpouring’-Smithton Mo. – Where Cults Hide

When Cultishness Hides Behind ‘Revival Outpourings’

Earlier this year I somehow meandered into old online info’ regarding the ‘Smithton Outpouring’ that occurred from 1996 to 2000, in the small ‘cornfield community’ of Smithton Missouri. Recent references to the reality of actual bonafide cults existing in Evangelical churches, bro’t my tho’ts back to this earlier research. Some may remember the ‘Smithton Outpouring,’ as I myself recalled faint memories.

Interestingly, it paralleled the ‘Brownsville Revival,’ in Pensacola Fl. & the ‘Toronto Blessing.”

The Smithton Revival (also known as the Smithton Outpouring or the Cornfield Revival) was a Pentecostal Christian[1]revival meeting that occurred in the small town (population 532 at the time) of Smithton, Missouri, from March 24, 1996 to April 2000.[2] A small congregation of about 180 people,[3] Smithton Community Church, hosted steady crowds for three years resulting in over 250,000 visitors.[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smithton_Revival

Ready To Quit Over Aggressive Criticism

The revival began in March 1996 when Pastor Steve Gray, the pastor of Smithton Community Church, was experiencing a personal crisis. Having pastored for 13 years in this small town, Gray was ready to quit due to discouragement over some aggressive, and possibly undeserved, criticism. The church was relatively successful for the town size, but Gray believed he had reached his limit of talent and emotional strength.

The Brownsville Connection & Lightnings Of God

As Toronto was to the Brownsville connection, Brownsville was to the Smithton connection.

The revival began during a Sunday night church service after Gray had spent two weeks away, mostly in solitude, but also attending some services at the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida, where he received some inspiration and hope. Upon entering the front door to the sanctuary, Gray felt electrified by the “lightnings of God” and began jumping up and down. The congregation reacted to the moment by taking off their shoes and going to the front of the church in celebration, seeing that their pastor was touched somehow.

After the revival began, visitors began to attend the church from the local region, then people came from all 50 states, and eventually 50 other countries including Singapore, Australia, France, Germany, Israel, and Japan.[3][4] The church ran six services per week and often had 600–1000 visitors.[5]

The Reality Of The Smithton Outpouring Goings-On

The Rehearsed ‘Out Pouring’

a https://cultlife.video.blog/2019/05/07/i-survived-the-smithton-outpouring/

Steve left to check out the revival in Brownsville. We were led to believe that he was contemplating leaving the church and his wife. This led to an increase in prayer and prophetic moments during services. Looking back, it seems like there was some plan in motion for when he returned. I remember the service before he came back, a story was told about an occurrence at Brownsville.

A Manipulated Rehearsed Moment

We were told that during one of services, the worship team started a song, and everyone in the church kicked off their shoes and ran up to the front of the church, dancing and jumping. While Steve was gone, his nephew, Eric Nuzum, took over worship for him. I believe he was the one who relayed this story to us, saying “Hey, why don’t we do this same thing when he comes in,” and so we rehearsed this moment. Steve would come through the door, Eric would start this specific song, we would kick off our shoes, run up to the front and dance or jump. It felt like a welcome home gift at the time, but looking back, it was more of a “please don’t leave us” plea.

However, I feel like it was more than that. I think this was a manipulated moment.

A Purely Fabricated ‘Out Pouring’

This is the story that is told of the moment revival started in our church. Steve still talks about how he walked through the doors of the church in the middle of worship, and as he walked in the “lightning of God struck him and surged through the auditorium,” Eric started playing this song, and everyone rushed forward dancing and singing. It’s sold like it was this huge surprising, spontaneous moment. As an 11-year old, I remember that this is exactly what we rehearsed.

I don’t remember any special energy from that night. I do remember Steve getting up and saying, “I don’t know what happened here, but I want to come back tomorrow and find out.”

We wanted more of God, unfortunately we surrendered our lives to a movement and a man’s revival

In 2000, the congregation moved to Kansas City. It is reported that the church size was about 300 at that time and it is said 85 percent of the families made the move. Commenting on the reasons for the move, Pastors Steve and Kathy Gray felt “the town’s 532 residents had grown weary of revival crowds that outnumbered the town’s population and where recharged Christians and new believers found few ministry opportunities.” A Christianity Today article “Smithton Revival: Revival’s Relocation Pits Pastor Against Alienated Followers reported...”Five and a half years after revival marked by twirling and jumping broke out in rural Missouri at the Smithton Community Church (SCC), its pastor and two-thirds of the congregation have relaunched their revival at the new World Revival Church (WRC) in the more populous Kansas City. But some members who stayed behind in Smithton feel disillusioned and are disturbed because they have lost their church. ‘We wanted more of God, says Jerry Spencer, 56, a former lay leader of the defunct SCC. Unfortunately, we surrendered our lives to a movement and a man’s revival.'” (OCTOBER 1, 2001)[6]  https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/october1/14.18.html

The congregation in Kansas City was called World Revival Church until a name change to Revive KC in 2022.[8] Pastors Steve and Kathy Gray lead the church.[9] The congregation is about 700–1000 members.

More complete content of story above – the move to Kansas City

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?ion=1&espv=2&q=cache:www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/october1/14.18.html _____________________________________________________

The link below is a ‘church watchdog’ ministry, that has compiled information in categories including abuse history – wolves/spiritual abuse. Under abuse history is this disconcerting entry.


Red Flags of Abuse:

There are multiple red flags concerning the World Revival Church in Kansas City, Missouri. For starters, there’s a page on Facebook called KC Cult Survivor with over 475 followers focused entirely on “Finding freedom and solidarity through our stories. This is a journalistic endeavor to bring into the open the stories of cult survivors, particularly from organizations people were unaware of. The first dive will be into World Revival Church in KC, MO.”

The Facebook Page details experiences of former members in areas of mental, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, child abuse, financial abuse, OSHA violations, and other forms of mistreatment and abuse of members and volunteers at the church.

Another source for concern is an article from Christianity Today which briefly details the sudden and surprising uprooting, renaming, and moving of Steve & Kathy Gray’s church from rural Missouri under the name Smithton Community Church to Kansas City under the new name, World Revival Church.

Another website worth checking into is The Cult Life, where former members of the World Revival Church document their experiences in the church. You can also find documents on the church, including information on the many para-church and other non-profit organizations owned and operated by Steve and Kathy Gray.

There are videos detailing the abuse and experiences former members have had in this church. Ever since I put the word out that I’m writing a report on World Revival Church, I’ve been receiving story after story of abuse, cult-like activity and treatment, and more. Here is a particularly revealing one from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous:

WRC Testimony

Download PDF • 85KB file:///home/chronos/u-4e844f8a1c62e1f838f3e82a5ce31733ea5592a7/MyFiles/Downloads/WRC%20Testimony%20(1).pdf a https://download-files.wixmp.com/ugd/a15c7b_d257d7ddbfa04709bc7ec36f90a3d68a.pdf?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpc3MiOiJ1cm46YXBwOmU2NjYzMGU3MTRmMDQ5MGFhZWExZjE0OWIzYjY5ZTMyIiwic3ViIjoidXJuOmFwcDplNjY2MzBlNzE0ZjA0OTBhYWVhMWYxNDliM2I2OWUzMiIsImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTpmaWxlLmRvd25sb2FkIl0sImlhdCI6MTY1ODAwNTc4NCwiZXhwIjoxNjU4MDQxNzk0LCJqdGkiOiIyNTI2ZjczMjllYTciLCJvYmoiOltbeyJwYXRoIjoiL3VnZC9hMTVjN2JfZDI1N2Q3ZGRiZmEwNDcwOWJjN2VjMzZmOTBhM2Q2OGEucGRmIn1dXSwiYXR0YWNobWVudCI6eyJmaWxlbmFtZSI6IldSQyBUZXN0aW1vbnkucGRmIn19.uEeHT5BCEHcV4JGcDvyYyV3p7ECLV4gRsDJAZ1OeRiM

The PDF letter above, begins this way- below: (open file to read entirety-11pgs.)

“I don’t just want your money; I want all of you!”

Hi, I’m writing from anonymity as I’ve made every effort to put my history with WRC far behind me. I’ve lived by the ethos that I gave the first 20 years of my life (or rather had them taken from me) and that They (Steve and Kathy Gray) don’t deserve any more of my time. However, the creation of this page showed me that we are all at different points in our recovery. Our dark traumas surface and with each person that comes forward, more of us gain the strength to speak. Some of us can point to an exact moment this cult damaged us, but that isn’t the story I want to tell, not wholly. I want to speak to the insidious nature of how the WRC cult eats and destroys lives over time. Of how it takes and takes until you have nothing left to give. Of how people are discarded as though they were bottles, useless once empty.

“I don’t just want your money; I want all of you!”
I heard this line countless times and will sheepishly admit that as a teen, I was mesmerized by Steve’s words. How could anything be more right? We’re more than the money we have to offer. When you’re a broke, unremarkable child, those words give you hope that you can be a part of something bigger than yourself. Looking back, I feel silly. All I hear is unabashed hunger. I suppose he gets points for honesty. Steve blatantly told us our money wasn’t enough and he wouldn’t be through with us until he had wrought every ounce of talent, work, and hope from our souls.


Lastly and as always, we recommend that anyone currently attending this church walk themselves through Steve Hassan’s BITE Model and Undue Influence Continuum to detect and protect themselves and their loved ones from potential abuse in the church. The links to the BITE Model and Continuum are below, as usual.


Download • 145KB

BITE Model of Authoritarian Control Hand

Download • 124KB

Additionally, we took WRC’s characteristics of “pride” and “humility” from their training manual and compared them to Steve Hassan’s Influence Continuum. If the standards for humility in WRC’s training manual reflect the church’s real expectations, they may be spiritually abusive.


*> Daryl here: The ‘church watchdog’ link above has a chart and extensive questionnaire, with ‘WRC’ submission answers. The site, dated March 7 – 2021 ends with these comments:

We continue to receive personal accounts from former members of this church daily. If you have any information on this church and would like to help answer some of our questions or submit your story, please add your input in the comments section below or speak with Sarah directly through the Contact Page. Your identity will remain confidential unless you give permission for your name to be used in any capacity.

The Cult Life

Finding freedom and solidarity through our stories. WRC-KC Surviors

There are many articles on this site, all written in 2021, with one in Feb. of 2022

These are very revealing, telling stories, a must read of some, to those asking evidence.


There Are Cults In Our Midst!

I have been writing of the very real problems with very real cults within the Evangelical church for several years now. I have rec’d outright denial by some, and most certainly far more denial exists by those with knowledge of the specifics. The tho’t of the possibility is beyond many peoples ability to consider, cognitive dissonance in absolute control! All evidence is met with irrational rationalizing. It’s to much to comprehend, until it happens to you, and even then, many times, only after severe consequences and fatal repercussions! Many leaders of such, also oblivious, justifying, denying, lying, ‘for the sake of the ministry!!”

My heart cries out for eyes to see the spiritual abusive realities, existing all around us, many behind curtains of ‘revival outpouring’!

This end result, 20 years later, is not the fruit of ‘revival’, but in fact the fruit of man’s out of control, carnal nature, even tho’ there was absolute certainty of a ‘move of God.’ How much ‘spiritual activity today, is the work of the flesh, and unholy spirits? How many more similar scenarios will be and are being played out today, ending in destructive deception and spiritual abuse? How long will people suffer under spiritual abuse, severe consequences, fatal repercussions, spiritual, emotional, mental, relational, even physical devastation, before they finally realize the church, the Body of Christ, the Family of God, was not, is not, does not live and function this way.

This man, Steve Gray, upon returning from the ‘Brownsville revival’, March 24-1996, absolutely convinced that what he “felt, electrified by the “lightnings of God” and began jumping up and down,” was the Spirit and outpouring of God.

An ever increasing number of people today, are convinced just the same, that ‘spiritual phenomenon’ are manifestations of the ‘outpouring of the Spirit of God.’ With Steve Gray and the ‘Smithton Outpouring’ – ‘World Revival Church K.C., now Revive KC, the bad fruit has been blatantly evident. Around the world, christian cultishness, and Evangelical cults, thrive, under less obvious circumstances, spiritual abuse, never the less, rampant in one form or another, perhaps only as some heretical issues, by glorified leaders.

The sins of some men are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment; but the sins of others do not surface until later.

1 Tim. 5:24

Honouring the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word, the Scriptures of revealed truth given to us, above all else, will help secure our way, as we pass thro’ this life. Jesus, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, are to have preeminence our lives, even as we learn from and submit to Godly leadership.

And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence.


Signs, evidence of inappropriateness, disorder, doctrinal error, aberrancy, carnality, soulishness, unBiblical activity, abuse of any kind, spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, immoral (sexual, lying, cheating,) control, manipulation, intimidation, unapproachableness regarding issues and errors observed, any of these types of unBiblical inappropriateness, should be noted and considered, (correct response), not ignored, justified, or excused.

If this attitude is held to, most deception and spiritual abused could be avoided. So many are pulled in and trapped for years, as the testimonies express, because they didn’t respond correctly to error, inappropriateness and abuse, and the deception, control, manipulation and intimidation just kept growing. Maybe some of the error or inappropriateness fed the flesh. Some doctrinal error feeds the flesh, gratifying the carnal nature. Positions of authority are opportunities for some inappropriateness to be practiced, enticing to the flesh. Humility, holiness, the fear of the Lord, obedience to the Scriptures, will help guard our hearts from temptations to accept inappropriateness, either in others or in ourselves.

We cannot turn a blind eye to unBiblical behaviour, of any sort or degree, or succumb to accepting it. Cults form because people follow cultish leaders, accepting cultish environments. Sometimes there is more of a cultish group pressure than a specific cultish leader, at least in the most understood capacity.

The bottom line is; “We cannot turn a blind eye to unBiblical behaviour, of any sort or degree, or succumb to accepting it.”


  • A followup is coming. I didn’t realize how much this issue has been in the news lately. WRC response report say investigations have revealed no wrong doing. Other reports hold that; A recent investigation by Fox News has shone some light on this church’s disturbing cult-like practices and tactics. Off the back of that, Daniel shares his story of how he not only grew up in the church–which he  now describes as a cult–and how he finally got out. 

a https://mindshiftpodcast.co.uk/?p=3141 – Daniel Phelps interview

The Fox News story referred to above

“How about a fast until we break all these rotten attitudes?” the manual stated.

a https://fox4kc.com/news/problem-solvers/congregation-or-cult-former-members-accuse-kansas-city-church-of-abuse/

“People are almost put on a pedestal for being abusive to their kids,” said Carrie Phelps, who is still haunted by her time working in the church nursery.

She said children as young as 2 years old had to stand on carpet squares when songs were sung during services (five times a week) and hold their hands in the air. If they didn’t comply, their parents were notified.

Toddlers Beat In Bathroom-Failure To Raise Hands

“Countless times, I would hear people physically abusing toddlers in the bathroom because they weren’t standing on their mats,” Phelps said. “Their parents get called and come down and beat them in the bathroom and send them back to class.”

That’s a claim the church denied, but Phelps isn’t the only who witnessed it. So did another former member.

Throughout the night you would hear kids getting hit, at least some 20 times, said Claire, who asked FOX4 to use only her first name.

Claire’s sister Molly was one of those kids who got in trouble for not following the church’s strict set of rules. Molly said her father was upset with her for not jumping up and down and waving her arms in the front of the sanctuary during the service.

He pulled me into one of the rooms and grabbed a ruler and spanked me with that,” she said.

Although World Revival Church denied that abuse is tolerated, a church training manual provided to FOX4 by a former member touted the benefits of withholding food from any child who’s not behaving.

How about a fast until we break all these rotten attitudes? the manual stated.

Molly said in her house that fast, which allowed only vegetables and water, could last weeks. It was used as punishment for almost any behavior.

Rolling my eyes, clenching my fists if I was angry,” Molly recalled. “Anything that showed any kind of emotion that wasn’t happy was punished.”

Paralyzing Fear Leads To Years Of Sexual Abuse

One young woman, who asked not to be identified, told FOX4 the church taught her to be so afraid to make anyone angry that when a teenage boy, who was also a church member, started sexually abusing her when she was 5 years old, she never said a word. The abuse continued until she was 10.

“The fear of the unknown of what would happen if I would tell somebody was bigger than the fear of the abuse,” she said. “I knew I could handle the abuse.”

She and other former members said people who complained about almost anything were punished.

“If you didn’t tow the line, you could get rejected by the group,” Shapiro said.

World Revival Church Responds To Allegations

a https://metrovoicenews.com/world-revival-church-responds-to-allegations/

The ‘independent investigation’ was done by an out of state employment/lawyer that church members were cautioned not to speak to! (see Daniel Phelps audio interview above 52 min.)

Parents Criticizing Steve Will Lose Their Kids!

a https://www.facebook.com/kccultsurvivor/videos/182761910549764

One More Bizarre Cultish Steve Gray Story

You left Steve unprotected!

a https://cultlife.video.blog/2021/06/23/you-left-steve-unprotected/

Steve and Kathy called our house a couple hours before service was supposed to start.

It was a serious phone call, all of us were “shushed” and my dad spoke in grave tones, saying, “yes sir. I understand. yes sir.” – the next thing I knew, I was sat down.

My parents sat across me and said, Steve has asked that you get up and speak tonight. You’re to say how much you love him and how much he’s done for you. Do you understand? You love him, right? What are you going to say, what has he done for you?

I felt ENORMOUS pressure. I wracked my brain. Answers like, “He has given us this place where we can love God. He has brought us revival.”

They kept pushing me, like that wasn’t enough or not what they were looking for.

They said, “yes, but what about things he’s done for you personally, what has he done, how has your life changed?”

I could only think of how chaotic and scary life had become. But I said, “We can save Israel now, and I’m empowered to change the world and not be worldly.”

They fed me some more phrases and kept trying to get me to say things that didn’t feel right. Eventually, I think we landed on saying, “I love pastor Steve and he’s been so kind to my family and made a great place where kids can be empowered.”

They told me how serious it was, because there were 4 teenagers who were worldly and I was told they were on a path to hell. I was told their parents were allowing their children to live in darkness and that this is what we had to do to save them.

They told me the names of the kids, and to look right at them when I gave my testimony. Apparently, other families had been asked to do the same with their kids.

When the time came, I made the GRAVE mistake of starting my testimony with: “Pastor Steve asked me to say how much I love him and how thankful I am for…etc. etc.”

The look on my parents faces was as if I had just confessed to premeditated murder.

That night, I was reprimanded and told, “NEVER EVER SAY, ‘pastor Steve SAID’ – if he tells you anything, you share it as if it’s FROM YOU! How could you do that?! You left Steve unprotected! It’s our job to protect him!”

I found out later that the kids were all in families that had expressed concern about Steve’s methods; Steve had told the kids they were worldly and going to hell, and had asked them to write down the names of their friends who were going to hell.

Their parents’ concerns were dismissed and Steve had told them, “No other parent has a problem with me. In fact, they all love me,” and that’s why all of us had to get up and say we loved him.

More Links To Critical Thinking (About WRC KC)

a https://azusareport.com/world-revival-church/

My Observations To Evidence Provided-

Multiple Corroborating Testimonies

Another earmark of a cult is multiple corroborating testimonies, which actually form the basis for the allegations of multiple forms of abuse, prompting the allocation of cult, in describing WRC. Either the hundreds of corroborations are lies and exaggerations, in content and number, or WRC’s response is deflecting, denying and understating the widespread allegations, which is to be expected. The truth lies in the evidence. Was reported abuse fictional, as in toddlers taken to the washroom and beaten, (disciplined) for not ‘fitting in’ with adult ‘exuberant praise’? Are the multiple corroborating testimonies all lies, exaggerations or misunderstandings? How do we respond to the inhouse ‘training manual’ stating, How about a fast until we break all these rotten attitudes?” And the testimonies like Molly’s

Molly said in her house that fast, which allowed only vegetables and water, could last weeks. It was used as punishment for almost any behavior.

Or the young woman who says “the church taught her to be so afraid to make anyone angry that when a teenage boy, who was also a church member, started sexually abusing her when she was 5 years old, she never said a word. The abuse continued until she was 10.

Conclusions of cult status seem to be a necessary consideration

WRC spokes people respond with pointing out that the stories immediately above are all in the context of home situations, outside the jurisdiction of the church. Many testimonies relate directly to the church, and the choice must be made to accept the many corroborated stories as believable and suspect abuse, or dismiss it all as lies. Who is more believable?

Too many red flags observed by critical thinkers

Some of the earlier testimonies in the ‘Cult Life’ website, entailing interaction with leadership and staff re: discipline and confrontation, need to be addressed. All of the verifying incidents cannot be dismissed. Conclusions of cult status seem to be a necessary consideration. No other response and resolution from WRC seems satisfactory. There are to many unanswered incidents, too many red flags observed by critical thinkers.

Steve says, “If you get mad at me you’ll lose your kids!”

(watch 30 sec. video clip)

A https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=182761910549764

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