Blog #327: The Asbury Revival. What is Happening There?

Author Jesse T. Jackson writing on the website, asks this question: What Is Happening at Asbury University Wasn’t Planned—Is This the Start of Widespread Revival?

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, following an ordinary morning chapel service led by Rev. Zach Meerkreebs in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University (located in Wilmore, Kentucky), students were encouraged to stay after chapel if they wanted to continue worshiping God. In his chapel service talk, Meerkreebs had said to the students, “If you want to become love in action, you start by prostrating yourself before the love of God. If you want to become love in action, you have to experience the love of God.” And, then directly addressing those who are preparing to graduate this year, Meerkreebs added, “Do not graduate and think you are going to do all this stuff in your own strength. Do not leave here before you learn about the love of God and experience the love of God, so you can pour it out, and he will fill you back up.” He encouraged the students to say and worship God. Eleven days later, that worship service hasn’t stopped.

As news of this localized revival has spread, Christians from other places have made pilgrimages to witness what God is doing in Asbury and asking, “is it a revival?” One of those onlookers was a Robby Gallaty, the Senior Pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Henderson, Tennessee. Here were his thoughts on what he observed and experienced at Asbury University’s ongoing worship service: “No one sang out of routine or familiarity. Everyone intentionally focused on each word that rose from their lips. Worship songs I’ve sung for years seemed to have a deeper meaning. I believe the expectancy for God to move by those in the room led to a personal encounter with him,” Gallaty shared. “Those in attendance anticipated God working in their lives. I wonder if we arrive each Sunday for worship with the same posture? Many times, we attend out of routine. I’ve been guilty of that myself in the past. That was not the case at Asbury, at least from my perspective.”

Certainly, what is happening at Asbury was not planned – which is always the case with revivals. Humans cannot plan for them, they can simply “prepare the ground” for them. Revivals happen through prayer, repentance, a commitment to purity, the worship of God-the-three-in-one, and a longing to be in His presence. After the chapel service, about 20 students who were there, according to Sarah, one of the students present, began to just worship Jesus with everything they had. “It was beautiful,” Sarah said, explaining that students “began to pray over each other, and my friends brought in their guitars and started playing and singing too. Jesus has been moving in beautiful ways since the very beginning. The time just absolutely flew that day. I ended up being there for 13 hours straight, not once leaving, because I just couldn’t get enough of it.”

53 years ago, on Feb. 3, 1970, something similar took place in the same auditorium—an event now known as the Asbury Revival of 1970. It began when Dean Custer B. Reynolds invited students to share their testimonies during a chapel service. That revival lasted for 144 hours and resulted in the university canceling classes for a week. The 1970 revival produced 2,000 Asbury witnessing teams that went to colleges and churches across the nation. At the same time, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, God was bringing people to repentance through what is known today as the “Jesus Movement” (sidenote: I became a Christian and made a commitment to becoming a church pastor during the Jesus Movement). Truly, what happened during the Jesus Movement/Asbury Revival of 1970 time was both spiritual and sociological. As God worked, people wanted to be part of what was happening. It was all good. May what is happening at Asbury University today bear much of the same good fruit!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *