What started out as a routine Wednesday morning chapel at Asbury University, in the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, on February 8 is now in its seventh day of continuous worship, prayer, repentance, testimonies, Bible reading and, hopefully, transformed lives.
But in the age of social media, live-streaming videos and other wonders of the internet age, what is going on at Asbury is happening on a world stage, and people hungry for a genuine move of God are flocking (in person or online) to Asbury’s Hughes Auditorium, the university’s gathering spot, or to the overflow locations at the nearby Asbury Theological Seminary’s Estes Chapel or McKenna Chapel.
And what is indeed more exciting, the revival is spreading beyond Asbury.
CBN News reports that revival has also begun among the students at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee and that at least 24 other universities are sending busloads of students to Asbury to see and participate in what God is doing there.
Alexandra Presta, the Executive Editor of Asbury’s student newspaper, The Asbury Collegian reports she has been contacted by people as far away as Brazil and Italy about the revival.
Preska has been personally touched by the events on her campus, as her almost-daily missives explain. On February 8, the very first day of the revival, Presta wrote, “As a senior, I have never experienced anything like this.” You can read Alexandra’s ongoing reports here.
Asbury, with its approximately 1,600 students, is located about 16 miles southwest of Lexington, Kentucky, which is home to the University of Kentucky and its more than 30,000 undergraduates and graduate students, many of whom have been making the short trip to Asbury to join in the worship and prayer, according to David Hausknecht, the Pastor to Students at UK’s Christian Student Fellowship.
“Lots of repentance. No production, just genuine prayer and confession and testimony,” Hausknecht told us. “People are traveling in from everywhere because Gen Z is showing them the way.”
Those who have attended Asbury’s current revival report the scene is one of spiritual freedom, but with a light touch from the campus pastor and other leaders to ensure things are happening in an orderly way.
Asbury Theological Seminary President Timothy Tennent is another first-hand witness to events on campus since February 8. In a February 14 blog post, Tennent says he prefers to label what’s happening an “awakening” rather than a “revival,” reserving the latter term for a future point in time when, looking back on these events, people will see “lasting transformation which shakes the comfortable foundations of the church and truly brings us all to a new and deeper place.”
“Someday,” Tennent writes, “we will look back on these days and thank God that he visited us in ways we will talk about for years to come. But what we are doggedly seeking is not lasting memories, but transformed lives long after the lights go out in Hughes auditorium or Estes Chapel or all other places which are experiencing this work of grace.
“In short, it is not about ‘this place’ or ‘that place’ whether Wilmore or any other city. It is about Christ himself. None of us ‘owns’ this awakening. But all of us must own in our own lives His work and His beckoning to that deeper place. Come, Holy Spirit!”
Asbury has been the scene of several revivals in its 132-year history, perhaps the most famous of which occurred in 1970, when students spent 144 straight hours in worship, prayer and repentance following a chapel service.