What ever happened to the Asbury revival?

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By Wendy Griffith —

Asbury revival (screenshot YouTube)

It’s been one year since the biggest U.S. revival in more than 50 years broke out at Wilmore, Kentucky’s Asbury University. Although it lasted only two weeks and two days, the impact was felt far and wide, not only on campus but around the world.

Asbury President Dr. Kevin Brown says there’s still a feeling of expectancy in the air, even a year later.

“Our students continue to be hungry. They continue to lead. They’ve gone and they’ve shared, we’ve had over 50 groups go to different ministries and churches, both in the United States and overseas,” Brown said.

For 16 days and nights, students and others worshipped and experienced the presence of God. What began as student-led prayer at a scheduled chapel service on February 8, 2023, led to something extraordinary.

‘It Was an Overwhelming Glimpse of God’

“God turned my world technicolor, and I don’t know how else to describe it, but prayer came alive,” said 20-year-old sophomore Riley McChord. “I mean, I saw physical healing, cancer be removed, I saw physically cancer off somebody’s neck be removed. I saw emotional healing, relational healing, and there were two other girls and now my boyfriend and we did that time together and we spent literally every waking moment there. We did not sleep, and we stayed there for two weeks,” she said.

“It was an overwhelming glimpse of just God, His goodness, yeah, His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His firmness. It was a glimpse of what heaven’s going to be like when we get to just reign and dwell with God forever,” said 20-year-old student Caleb Rushing.

Twenty-one-year-old junior Lauren Bixler said she experienced God in a new way. “Oh my word, yeah, I don’t think I’d ever experienced that type of love from God before. I thought a hundred percent, I’ve done too many things, I’ve messed up too many times, I’m too far gone. I thought all of those things, and yet God met me with such grace and compassion,” she recalled.

BELOW – CBN News Coverage from February 2023: REVIVAL at Asbury University

As the one preaching that first day, Pastor in Residence Zach Meerkreebs admits it took some time to realize the extent of what was happening.

“I knew we were encountering something, but it was halfway through the weekend when I was like, this is really special,” Meerkreebs recalled.

He says one year later that feeling is still in the air. “The temperature on campus is unbelievable, but what’s exciting is they’re longing for authentic long-term steps, not just 16 days of power and encounter. They’re wanting to pursue holiness. They want to be done with porn. They want to be done with addiction to their phones. They want to be done with those kinds of things. They want to really have an authentic walk with the Lord and what’s amazing is that’s happening here,” Meerkreebs said.

Another result happened when the original Asbury House built in 1850 became a prayer room for students. “One thing that the outpouring did, it took down a lot of walls that maybe we had about who God is before the outpouring,” said Student Body President Emma Reid.

“I was not student body president at that time, but our student government and even our administration did a wonderful job of making sure that we as students felt like this was our home and felt that we were safe,” Reid said.

***Click Here for Access to CBN’s Documentary About the Asbury Awakening***

What’s more, the revival appears to have put Asbury on the map in other ways as well. Enrollment is up about 25 percent after 2023 saw the largest incoming freshman class in 25 years. “It was a significant spike in our students and our enrollment looks strong for the upcoming year as well. So, we’re really excited about that,” Dr. Brown said.

And the revival that started at Asbury last February didn’t stay at Asbury. Dr. Brown says it’s hard to know exactly how far it spanned. “Well, on one hand, yes, we can talk about students went here, here are the numbers, here’s the social media feed. I’m more interested in the long-term influence of what we’re seeing with this generation,” he told us.

You Can’t Put Revival in a Bottle

When asked if he thinks there will be another outpouring or revival, Brown said, “I don’t know, but I will say if it does, it won’t be because we plan it. It will be because that’s what the Lord chooses to do.”

Brown says you can’t put revival in a bottle. “I think that we would try to recreate it. That’s what we do as humans,” he said.

He adds that from his perspective, a key generation found itself at the center of revival.

“During those 16 days, there was always Gen Z represented at the altar. And the very last day that we had a formal service together, I’ll never forget, someone stood in front of all these students, 1,500 Gen Zers in the room, and said, ‘You will not be the generation defined by depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicidal ideation.’ And to hear a cry come up from that group, someone said, if we had the spiritual eyes to see it, we would’ve seen an altar filled with loosened chains. That’s my heart. That is the heart of the people around me, that this is a burdened generation, but God wants to use them, and we need to invest in them,” Brown said.

Students like Riley McChord say they can’t believe it’s already been one year since the outpouring and they’re looking forward to what God has in store next. “What happened on February 8th was only the catalyst for what’s truly happening and what’s going to happen and that was only the beginning,” said McChord.

Asbury University will hold a special one-year anniversary chapel service on Thursday evening, Feb. 8. The service is open to the community but will not be livestreamed. — CBN