An interview with Evangelist Steve Hill
Steve Hill is the evangelist who helped to spark the revival at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensecola, Florida on Father’s Day 1995. Over 100,000 people have responded to the Gospel in over two years at Brownsville AOG.
What prepared you for this revival?
I was saved out of the drug culture. My background has helped me as far as the soul-winning aspect.
Early in my Christian life, back in 1977, I got around David Wilkerson’s ministry. He had an academy in Texas called Twin Oaks, a two-year leadership academy. Leonard Ravenhill taught on prayer, Nicky Cruz taught evangelism. It was a school where you were held responsible for what you learned. And if you did not learn, they would kick you out.
They would teach us on evangelism and then put us in a van, drive us to the streets of Dallas to a dope party, dump us out and say, “Go into that dope party, we’ll pick you up at four in the morning.” It was just hard-core evangelism. Instead of teaching the Four Spiritual Laws, they’d say, “Get out there, learn from experience.” When we came back, we’d talk about some of the hindrances we had, the bad experiences, and what we would change about our approach. Then they’d send us out again. You know very quickly whether you’re called to evangelism.
I graduated from that school, and went into church ministry. It was when I took a group of young people to Mexico that God called me to the mission field. I went to Argentina, and the very first meeting I went to was a Carlos Annacondia meeting out in the middle of a soccer field. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. I saw fifteen to twenty-thousand people craving God. I mean, going after God.
I had Carlos lay hands on me one night, and I feel that from him came a real evangelistic anointing. I’ve had the evangelism desire all my life, but I watched him–he’s led over two million people to Jesus. At one o’clock in the morning he’s still praying with people. At two o’clock in the morning, he’s still laying hands on people. He’ll go night after night. He’s so common, so loving, all he cares about is that one little boy, that one grandpa, that one uncle that’s coming to Jesus.
I hung around that for seven years, and you absorb it.
How did you end up at Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London?
I read in Time magazine how God was moving. I had been to London several times, and I thought, “I’ve got to see this. I’ve got to see God moving in the Anglican Church because I can’t imagine it.” The article said they were laughing, they were falling, and I had a very critical spirit.
I went to the bed and breakfast that we stay at when I’m in London; it’s owned by a Christian couple. I asked them where God was moving, and they said, “It’s our church.” They went to Holy Trinity Brompton.
I said, “I need to make an appointment with the pastor.”
They said, “Steve, he’s the busiest man in Europe. All of Europe comes here to get prayed for by him.”
I said, “Call him up and ask if he has time to pray for a Texan.” I wanted a little private visit with this guy [Sandy Miller] to see what was going on.
I went there at two o’clock that afternoon and there was a conference going on. I walked into the stately Anglican church in downtown London right by Harrod’s, the richest area of town, and stepped over about 500 bodies, people shaking all over the place. I had seen things like that before, but I’m an evangelist, so I’m after souls. If I can’t see hundreds and hundreds of people getting saved, then I’ll leave.
The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “You don’t need to talk to Sandy Miller. Just have him pray for you.” I walked up to him and said, “My name is Steve.” He says, “Oh my, we have an appointment at three o’clock, but look what’s happened in my church.”
I went up to him, he laid his hands on my head and it was over. I mean, I went down under the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do you channel revival fire?
That’s the most frustrating part to pastors because you can only live so long in this renewal. The first week after this broke out, I spoke a message on how to benefit from a divine refreshing. The first point was get all you can get. The second one was mix vegetables with the honey. Make sure you keep your feet on the ground. And the third one was let your stall get dirty. Where there is no oxen, the stall is clean. Get out there. You’re bubbly, you’re all on fire with the Christians, but let that happen at the workplace. And that’s what they started to do. And people started pouring in.
What is the relevance of it beginning Father’s Day?
I believe that was just a real special divine appointment. We didn’t really think about that. It was just totally spontaneous. The Father, he showed up on Father’s Day the way he did, and just loved on us. And you know, everybody got back to work. They got back to work in the fields and going after God, because they felt the nearness of the Lord.
What is the most important thing God has taught you through this revival?
What I’m convinced of more than anything else is the urgency of the hour. The urgency of the hour and the necessity of right now.
This is not a coliseum, this is not a secular place, this is night after night, sinners are coming to a church. Why? They’re hungry. People are hungry and God has sent the famine. The Bible says in Amos, that God will send the famine. The famine for truth. So he’s going to do his part; we’re the feeding station. We’re the ones with tractor-trailer rigs full of food. We’re laden down with everything these people need but they come into our churches and what do they get? Nothing. They don’t get fed. They need to hear about hell. They need to hear the full gospel. But they don’t get it. God is doing his part, we need to do our part.
How do you keep track of what is taking place at the altar?
We’re seeing a thousand people saved a week, but we are very conservative with the figures. To me, when someone comes up and has backslidden, that’s a salvation. They are a prodigal. They’ve been living in sin. He came back, crawled on his face and he said, “I’m not worthy. I can’t even be under your roof.” And the Father received him. That’s why Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards preached about backslidden conditions. Our country was back-slidden. When we give that altar call, there are a lot of people that are saved for the first time. A lot of people that come down that have never known the Lord, but there are also a lot of people that are backsliders and prodigals that are coming back to the Lord.
After they come to the altar, what happens to them? How do you follow up with so many people?
There are a lot of people that are coming from out of state. I had never seen anything like this. We have fathers and mothers bringing their unsaved children from Minnesota. They bring in van loads from Birmingham and have four or five unsaved people in the van to be prayed for healing. They come down here and they get saved, and so we encourage them to get involved in the local church. We do our very best to link them with people who have brought them, or we tell them about local Methodist churches and Baptist churches. Several pastors have gleaned people from this revival. But its an unusual type of situation because so many people are coming in from other areas that it is literally impossible for us to keep tabs on everybody that is coming. But another beauty of this is that a lot of people who get saved keep coming back because this is not a one week thing. So this is also like a discipleship process.
What do you make of the physical manifestations?
The Lord is welcome in this place to do anything he wants. But there is a balance here. They receive the gospel, they receive the cross, the blood. When the manifestations come, I welcome the manifestations, but I don’t major on the minors.
This last days awakening, mark these words–I’m not a prophet, this is not a prophecy–but this is what is going to happen. This awakening is going to shake this country, the power is going to come down.
I’m also a youth evangelist, and we are dealing with a culture that may not be demon-possessed, but they are possessed by demons. They are consumed with demonic warfare twenty-four hours a day. They have seen the power of Satan at work. You watch any rock concert, the frenzy, the fire, the pull, the enthusiasm that’s there. We talk about our God, and the power of God. We sing, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and they’re going, “Where is it?” They want to believe, but they see mom and dad are limp, weak, and they respond, “Where is the power? Mom, you’re popping valium and prozac and everything else and you’re talking about the power of God? Give me a break, Momma.” And so they come into this meeting, the punkers come in here, every age, every kind of person in the world comes into this meeting and they are hit by the power of God. Undeniably swept off their feet by the power of God and they basically by the hundreds say, “What must I do to be saved?”
Does everyone respond so positively?
There will be folks here tonight, who are skeptical and critical–they hate this revival. They don’t want anything to do with it, but they are out there tonight, and they are going to get saved. They are going to fall to the ground under the power of God, they’re going to be back next week with their friends. Why? They’re out here because they’re curious, they’re out here because Aunt Mabel was healed of cancer, they’re here for a million different reasons.
Are you overwhelmed by the historic nature of this revival?
What is phenomenal about this is the fact that when I look upon the people I see all the hunger. They come from the corners of the globe. They don’t come for the beaches. They come for this meeting and yeah, that blows me away. And I’m beginning to see how this could affect the nation. People are attracted to the fire. John Wesley said it: “I set myself on fire and the people come to watch me burn.”
Written by Steve Beard of Good News Magazine