Kansas City-based World Revival Church recently came under scrutiny after a local television station produced a story with the headline “Congregation or Cult?” It outlined alleged abuse that occurred at the church.
The story aired during May “Sweeps” when local news organizations, dependent on Nielsen ratings that determine advertising rates, often run attention-grabbing headlines and what critics consider salacious content.
Steve Gray, pastor of the church for over almost 30 years, told Metro Voice that he and the church board provided answers to every question posed by the reporter on the story. According to Gray, few of those answers made it into the final story.
Metro Voice is publishing the official response of World Revival Church with a link to a Fact Sheet posted on the church website.
Armed with the Truth and Light
There are many scriptures in the book of John that provide enlightenment and guidance on how we should live our lives and embrace God’s word in times of plenty and in times of trial. John 3:21 instructs, “But whoever lies by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
In a recent local news station story, it was stated that the church is an abusive cult. Former members shared experiences that clearly stemmed from a place of pain and trauma, but that unfortunately and by their own admission, occurred within their families or outside the church.
The idea that someone who stopped attending our church years ago would suddenly and publicly come against the church in such a vicious way is confusing and concerning –as it has been for us. We have never been investigated by police or social services and have worked alongside these agencies to help rescue many children and families in traumatic situations. We don’t share these specific experiences publicly, as a church has the responsibility to keep information confidential.
These attacks against our church are unfounded and false, and it is critical that we as a church live in truth and light. Despite the claim in the news story that Pastor Steve Gray refused to speak to the outlet, the church and Pastor Steve indicated his willingness to answer the reporter’s questions once provided. After several exchanges, the reporter finally provided some general questions. Once received, Pastor Steve and the church provided written responses to all questions posed by the reporter. The reporter never followed up with additional questions or scheduled a time for an interview.
When we first heard of these groundless and untrue accusations on social media, we initiated a voluntary internal investigation into these claims. We found nothing. However, to further demonstrate our innocence and integrity, we hired an independent investigator to look into the matter. The investigation was conducted by a well-regarded female investigator and minority-owned firm based in Georgia with no connection to the church. The investigation firm has handled more than 100 investigations for Fortune 100 companies, local governments, educational institutions, and other organizations. The results of the voluntary independent investigation found no evidence of abuse, nor improper response to reported issues. In the spirit of truth, we have provided information about the allegations and the results of the voluntary independent investigation in a fact sheet to offer further clarity.
We also have documents, pastors’ reports, and emails from some of these accusers that greatly conflict with the stories they shared, and show an appreciation for their time at the church. In fact, the church has received two text messages from alleged accusers, one apologizing saying that she was wrong about us, and another saying, after posting a dramatic story, that “literally, nothing actually happened.”
While the church cannot provide a remedy to that which it did not do, we know God heals and corrects all wounds, and we are praying and thanking Him for the work He will do and is doing in each of the individuals’ lives.
We are thankful for each other. While we come together in a building called a church, we are first and foremost a spiritual family. The support, love, honesty, and encouragement shown by the body of Christ during this time has been a gift. It’s beautiful to see the congregation address these allegations with love and prayer – knowing that they were not true, but that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord.
And we are thankful for this opportunity to share our story. On this journey called life, all believers will be questioned, attacked, or painfully misunderstood at some point. And we pray that at that time, this story will be a clear reminder that, no matter how hurtful, erroneous, or dangerous the attacks and lies, we all must have faith that the truth will always come to light.
We invite you to visit our church and see God’s love in action for yourself.
The Board of World Revival Church
Metro Voice chose to publish the response so that all sides of the story may be heard. In full disclosure, the church is a monthly advertiser.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice