Historic Revival Outpouring on Asbury Campus

Asbury University was the site of continual worship and prayer on campus for weeks during February, which drew an estimated 100,000 people to experience a work of God that many have referred to as revival. It is reminiscent of the revival that Asbury experienced in 1970—a part of the Jesus movement in this nation.

What began as part of a scheduled chapel service on the morning of Feb. 8 in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY, transformed into a continuous impromptu gathering. The revival generated worldwide interest, resulting in people waiting hours in blocks-long queues to gain entry.

The university decided after 16 days and about 360 hours of overflow capacity to conclude the “public worship service of this recent outpouring.” The revival overwhelmed the infrastructure of both the campus and the community, which determined the need to return the campus to normal operations. Public and student gatherings were moved to other venues off campus.

Bobby Singh, who owns a gas station across the street from the Asbury, was pleasantly surprised by an unexpected surge in his business. “I’ve never met such nice people, people are inside donating to us,” says Singh. “[It’s a] blessing in disguise, man, it came out of nowhere.”

“We recognize life for the students had to return to normal, they have to go to school, they have midterms,” says Abby Laub, Asbury’s communications director. “They know this is a gift, they have received it as a gift, so we are going to charge them with now you take this to your job, your family, your church.”

Christian and secular academic institutions across the nation also experienced similar gatherings of spontaneous worship among students, as the momentum spread. In addition, the 200th anniversary of the Collegiate Day of Prayer was simulcast from Asbury on February 23, with students filling the auditorium and millions more viewing around the world.

A 2018 study from Barna Group found that Gen Z (college-age and under) is the least Christian generation in American history as just four percent hold a biblical worldview, with more teens identifying as agnostic, atheist or not religiously affiliated than any previous generation. 

To read our publisher’s impressions of this outpouring, based on this visits to the campus, click here.

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