Pastor, World Revival Church, Kansas City, Missouri
BS Music Ed., Berean School of the Bible
Ordained AOG 1979
Creator, Executive Producer, The Steve & Kathy Show, airs on DirectTV and affiliate stations
Married, wife: Kathy
Steve Gray: Addressing Empty Pews
By Mimi Elliott
The 700 Club
RAISING THE CHURCH FROM THE DEAD
Church attendance across the nation has dwindled significantly. While Steve has seen numbers in his church increase, he has been concerned about the overall situation.
“How worthwhile is any attempt to find the soul of the church and raise it from the dead?” Steve asked himself. “Religion in America is in crisis. It needs fixing.”
Twelve years ago, Steve was the pastor of a small church that didn’t even have a telephone. His message then, as it is now, is that religion in America needs to change – quickly.
One day a preacher friend of Steve’s came into town and said, “You know, the other preachers in town are afraid of you.” Steve asked why and his friend replied, “Because they are afraid you might be right.” (That would mean the leaders of churches would have to change.) Steve says we don’t need the same religion packaged differently. “What we need is a church that God Himself will attend.”
From his experiences, Steve says most people who don’t go to church are not anti-God. They are simply anti-religion. Even many who go to church are fed up with what religion has become. A reporter asked Steve why people didn’t go to church.
“They don’t go to church because they don’t want to,” Steve said. “They don’t like it. They don’t love it and don’t want anymore of it.” Steve was determined to help.
When he first started ministering, Steve says he would preach in different churches and faced absurdities in almost every one. He noticed that few people had any faith for anything and didn’t want the presence of God or miracles.
“The only thing these churches had to offer when all else failed was the promise of another life after you died,” Steve said. “When a religion relies too much on the promise of another life, it means it has nothing to offer in the here and now life.”
From his observations, Steve said people want a little bit of God in their lives, but mainly they want food, fun and entertainment. When people go to church, many times their first question is, “When does this thing get over with?”
“America’s spiritual diet has been reduced to bread and water. No wonder we have so much crime and violence,” Steve said. “It always runs rampant and unabated in a spiritually starved society.”
Personal morality is at the center of what Steve calls his “absurd religion.” While he does not promote immorality, Steve says morality turns absurd when it becomes the pivotal center of our view of God. Telling people to be moral doesn’t work.
“The Bible promises that God has the power to help us change, but morality without that power is absurd,” Steve said.
Steve’s idea is that God wants to show Himself strong and mighty in our day, just as He did throughout history.
“I believe it is His choice for every ordinary person to experience His presence,” Steve said. By presence, Steve means a tangible knowing, including things we can and can’t see.
“It’s a knowing that God is with us, is active in our lives, and cares about us,” Steve said.
Steve thinks most churches lack the presence of God because the people who control religion in America have never experienced it.
“You can’t give to others what you don’t have,” he said.
Steve has observed that many people don’t like hypocrisy in the church.
“The world is crying out for a home-cooked meal made with pure ingredients. The church serves synthetic and processed spiritual food,” Steve said. “Religion teaches us to divide the spiritual and the material arenas of our lives, but by doing this, it does not allow people to fully experience God in every area of their lives.”
Some churches try to deal with material needs by operating soup kitchens and the like, but Steve said people never make the connection that meeting someone’s material needs is a spiritual act, and there is no separation between the two.
Steve catapulted to national prominence in 1996 by a supernatural outpouring of God’s power in Smithton, Missouri that drew over a quarter million people worldwide to his small-town church.
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