Asbury Revival 2023

Asbury University is a small Christian private university, affiliated with the Wesleyan-Holiness movement. John Wesley is the founder of the Methodist Church. The Holiness movement emerged chiefly within 19th-century Methodism. The Asbury University is situated in Wilmore, Kentucky, USA. A regular Wednesday worship service, conducted in the University chapel continued for nearly two weeks. This is known as the Asbury Revival 2023.

The revival has captured the attention of all Christians in USA and other nations. In Christianity, the term “spiritual revival” means a powerful move of the Holy Spirit among the people. It is a thirst for God and His presence. Revival is a reconnection with the divine after a period of spiritual drought. The result is purification of souls and empowerment of people to live a holy life. Revival always promotes evangelical movements and church planting.

Revival happens when people thirst for God. They feel that an urgent intervention of God is necessary. Things are going wrong everywhere and there is no hope. The Asbury revival too is a need of the time of unrest and uncertainty.


We cannot plan a revival. We cannot happen a revival. It is always spontaneous. We cannot gather a group of people to start a revival. No man can engineer a revival.


In Asbury University, it is mandatory for the students to attend certain worship meetings on weekdays. Worship services are conducted in the Hughes Memorial Auditorium, which was named for John Wesley Hughes, the founder of Asbury University. The auditorium has a capacity of nearly 1,500 seats. 


The Asbury revival 2023 started on Wednesday, 8 February 2023, after the morning service. The revival began during an altar call to confession. The choir was singing a song to end the service and some students remained there singing with them. The spiritual atmosphere changed when a student went forward and openly confessed some of his sins to the small group. More than 100 people fell to their knees and bowed at the altar. Since then, it has turned into a Holy Spirit outpouring. Students continued to stay there and worship the Lord.


The worship services continued without stopping. Initially only student publications and Methodist circles, shared news of the event. The first report of the revival is in the student newspaper, The Asbury Collegian. But soon, the attenders posted videos of the service on TikTok and Instagram. The videos showed people praying with lifted hands and holding hands with strangers. Some were weeping while the worship music went on. The videos showed people worshiping, confessing their sins, and encouraging testimonies. These videos reached millions of people within a short time.


People from all over the nation started to flow to the chapel to participate in the revival. The crowd became larger and larger. They stood in line outside the college’s main chapel for an opportunity to take part in the service.


The revival continued to the second day, on 9 February. 50 students remained in the auditorium throughout the night. Participants from outside the university started to attend the service. The local media covered the news. Crowds grew larger, beyond the capacity of the auditorium on the fourth day of the revival.


On 12 February, the revival continued. People from other churches arrived by buses and vans. More chapels in the university were opened to accommodate the crowd.


On 13 February, the seminary students at Virginia Theological Seminary started Wesley's Covenant Service in response to the revival. And students at Cedarville University, in southwest Ohio, a Baptist-affiliated institution, also held a worship. It was organized by the Methodist Society of the Episcopal Church.

On 14 February, the revival at Asbury continued to the seventh day. 3,000 people arrived to attend the meeting. So, four other auditoriums in the university were opened. People came from many states including Hawaii, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee and Indiana.


There were long ques to enter the service and the town police had to divert traffic. But the university authorities ensured that all could be a part of the revival.


The revival spread to other universities, breaking the barriers of denomination. Students at Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, Kentucky and Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee held worship in response to the revival. Campbellsville is a Baptist-affiliated institution, and Lee is a Church of God-Cleveland affiliated university.


On 15 February, the revival was covered by The Washington Post. Entry to the Hughes Auditorium was restricted to students below 26. Facilities for others to attend the meeting was arranged in other auditoriums in the University.


On the same day, students at Samford University, Homewood, Alabama, started a worship meeting in response to the Asbury revival. This meeting continues to this day. Samford is a Baptist-affiliated institution.


On February 15, the hashtag "asburyrevival" had over 24 million views on TikTok. By February 18, views grew to 63 million.   


On 16 February, the revival continued into its ninth day. The university authorities closed the Hughes Auditorium from 1:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Livestreaming from the auditorium was banned.  


But revival continued into its tenth day. Hughes Auditorium was opened to the public. Seating preferences were given to high school students below the age of 25. At 5 PM a fourth external venue, Mt. Freedom Baptist Church, was added to service. It is situated near to Asbury University.


On 18 February, as the revival meetings continued to the eleventh day, both government and Asbury officials, raised security concerns. It is announced that 19 February will be the last scheduled day for the revival service for the public at Hughes Auditorium, in the university campus.


The hashtag #asburyrevival had more than 68 million views on TikTok on Sunday, 19 February 2023.


The revival has attracted national and international attention. Students from at least 22 colleges and universities came to the campus. The revival is gaining more support. People from across the country come to participate the meetings. The former Vice President of America, Mike Pence, tweeted his support to the movement.


The revival has been described as calm, noted for the absence of many of the features of contemporary worship. There are no celebrity praise leaders or famous preachers at Asbury. There was nothing to attract people other than the presence of God. And that is what God is doing in this place.


What we are seeing on social media is a true picture of the revival at Asbury. One of videos shows a young woman speaking through a microphone with her eyes closed, saying: “You are in this place richly. We can feel you. We feel your presence like a blanket, it covers us all,”. Testimonies of miracles and healings are spoken during the meeting. People talk about how they are released from depression and suicidal thoughts during the worship.


People came to attend the meeting from far places for multiple days. They stayed in hotels, with friends, or are provided some accommodation by the ministry’s hospitality team.


The work of the hospitality team is amazing. They provide the children, food, colouring books, crayons and even played with them, so that their parents can attend the worship. It is amazing to see the white people welcoming the black into their houses for a short stay, for attending the revival meeting.


Revival is all about Christ, and His love. It is not only singing, preaching, and weeping. Christ is the only person common among all.


It is reported that 20,000 joined Asbury revival services in the weekend meeting. This is all happening in the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky which normally has a population of 6,000.


The university expanded its worship services to five buildings. All of them were overflowed and even the grass lawns are filled. The roads are jammed with cars going to Wilmore for more than 2.5 miles. Wilmore City officials decided to reroute traffic due to the flood of people coming to the small town to experience the revival.


This is not the first spiritual revival in American history or colleges there. Revival meetings in universities were started from small prayer groups of students, which aimed to deepen their faith. The Great Awakening in the 1740s and the Jesus Movement in the 1970s are some of the other revivals in American history.


Asbury is a place of revival in America. Revivals occurred there in 1905, 1908, 1921, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1992, and 2006. The 1970 revival happened in Asbury University lasted for 185 hours, or more than seven days. It intermittently continued for weeks and spread across the United States and abroad.


Since the crowd grows too big day by day, the university authorities have decided to end the public meeting in the campus by Sunday 19 February 2023. They allowed the public to attend the meeting in the university auditorium on Monday, 2 PM. That was the final public meeting. But the regular chapel services on Wednesday will continue. Asbury will host evening services for college-age and high school students, who are below 25 years, until Thursday, February 23. The day is the National Collegiate Day of Prayer.


The revival meetings are not stopping. Meeting will continue in other buildings, in the central Kentucky area.

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