Steve Gray reached a crisis point in his ministry in March 1996. Although Gray had built up the Smithton Community Church from 13 to 180 people in a dozen years, he wondered whether he had missed a calling higher than being a rural pastor in a community of 532 souls.
Bruised by squabbles within his central Missouri congregation, Gray regretted that lives had not been transformed as he had hoped. Broken and in despair, Gray drove 1,000 miles to Pensacola, Florida, to the Brownsville Assembly of God revival (CT, March 3, 1997, p. 54). But while in Brownsville, contemplating leaving the ministry, Gray says he heard God telling him that revival would come to his own church. "I thought that sounded ridiculous," Gray, 45, told CT. "I was in a shambles myself. How could a broken man have a revival?" He would soon find out.
Two weeks later, just as he returned from Pensacola to a Smithton Community Church Sunday evening service, Gray says he experienced the power of God as never before. He began twirling and jumping, both new sensations. The presence of the Lord spread contagiously throughout the congregation, and continuous praise lasted for 45 minutes. People openly confessed their sins and repented. Others, "slain in the Spirit," fell to the floor.
In the aftermath, Smithton's church members realized that a watershed event had occurred in the life of their nondenominational church. They agreed to meet nightly. Within three weeks, news of the revival spread, and outsiders began to flock to the revival meetings.
TRANSFORMED TOWN: Two years and hundreds of services later, the church continues to hold revival-oriented meetings five times a week: Wednesdays for corporate prayer, Thursdays for leadership training, and Fridays, Saturdays, ...1
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