Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

The 16-day Spontaneous Spiritual Revival on Asbury University’s Campus is in its last day in-person

The revival started on the morning of February 8th when students attended an ordinary chapel prayer that became extraordinary.

“At the end of service, students were dismissed; a few students lingered, and we had a really strong sense that we should

worship, and the more that we worshipped, we can sense God’s presence,” said Wimore resident George Dumaine.

Dumaine says after the first day, the right ingredients were present to keep the spiritual fire burning.

“And then God breathes his breath of life into a room it will just self-sustain for as long as people remain humble, remain unified,” Dumaine said.

School administrators have agreed to continue the revival online.

Wilmore is home to 6,000 people, but it was hosting 50 to 70 thousand during the revival.

“Over the weekend, we worked very closely with the city of Wilmore and law enforcement agencies, and they were like, ‘look, we can’t fit another car in Wilmore,’” said Asbury Communications Director Abby Laub.

On this last day of in-person revival, Asbury had already scheduled to host the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. It was set up two years ago.

You can see more of the revival on Asbury University’s website.

There will be a live stream at 8 p.m. for the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. Only students will be allowed to attend in person. source


Beginning on February 8, 2023, Asbury University students along with faculty, staff, administrators, local community members, and visitors from out-of-town gathered in Hughes Auditorium for a time of spiritual renewal. Since then, it’s been humbling and exciting to see God spreading this move around the world. Effective, Friday, February 24, no further outpouring services are scheduled through Asbury University. Regularly scheduled chapel services are streamed live on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays at 10 a.m. ET during the semester.

Statement from Asbury President Dr. Kevin Brown

Friday, February 24, 2023

What is Happening?

On February 8, 2023, Asbury University’s regularly scheduled chapel service never ended. What we have experienced since that Wednesday morning has been a current of immeasurable goodness flooding our community and quickly moving into other regions of the world. Words fail any effort to communicate the abundance of experiences and stories that will leave us forever changed.

Thursday, February 23, marked the end of this historic multi-week gathering at Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary with the National Collegiate Day of Prayer broadcast hosted on our campus.

I find it fitting that what started with college students on our campus ended with college students joined in prayer and worship across the country.

“Stopping” Revival?

I have been asked if Asbury is “stopping” this outpouring of God’s Spirit and the stirring of human hearts. I have responded by pointing out that we cannot stop something we did not start. This was never planned. Over the last few weeks, we have been honored to steward and host services and the guests who have traveled far and wide to attend them. The trajectory of renewal meetings is always outward—and that is beginning to occur. We continue to hear inspiring stories of hungry hearts setting aside daily routines and seeking Christ at schools, churches, and communities in the US and abroad.

The effort by committed men and women on our campus to redirect energy, forsake other obligations, work tirelessly around the clock, and provide single-minded labor to accommodate our students and incoming visitors has been the high point in my career. In fact, it may be the most extraordinary act of collective Godliness and hospitable goodwill I have ever witnessed in my life. I am forever grateful. I am forever changed.

What’s Next?

Regardless of how we choose to describe what we have seen and experienced over the last several weeks (revival, renewal, awakening, outpouring)—this movement is not finished. Other colleges and churches are experiencing similar services. Rather, we are encouraging the continued movement of God through other people, places, and ministries.

We are excited to think carefully about how we process and steward this experience with our students. We want to capture their voices. We want to walk with them in continual discipleship. We want to commission them to be “salt and light” to serve the world and glorify God. 

 Read statement from Dr. Kevin J. Brown on February 16, 2023

At the completion of a regularly scheduled chapel service on February 8, 2023, at Asbury University, students lingered to pray, worship, and share. They have not stopped and, moreover, have been joined far and wide by hungry men and women across the world who desire to seek the Lord in this space. Since the first day, there have been countless expressions and demonstrations of radical humility, compassion, confession, consecration, and surrender unto the Lord. We are witnessing the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We continue to seek to discern the right balance between orderliness for our university students, faculty, and staff and our campus visitors—and creating space for individuals to have a life-transforming, Christ-centered encounter.

We are also tremendously thankful for the men and women who have worked so hard and diligently to create space for this special move of God. Hosting such a significant moment comes with a cost—and the goodwill and humility of our community has been inspiring. Finally, we cannot fully express the profound gratitude we have for stewarding this outpouring in the life of our school and beyond. Ultimately, we pray that our efforts in these days point to our Savior.

— Kevin J. Brown, Ph.D.
President, Asbury University

Asbury University has been known through the years for its history of great revivals. There have been several occasions when significant moves of the Holy Spirit have swept the campus and reached across the nation.

In February 1905, during a blizzard, a prayer meeting in the men’s dormitory spilled out to the rest of campus and the town of Wilmore.

In February 1908, revival broke out while someone prayed in chapel; the revival lasted two weeks and was signified by prevailing prayer and intercession.

In February 1921 the last service of a planned revival lasted until 6 a.m., and services were extended for three days.

In February 1950 a student testimony led to confessions, victories, and more testimonies. This went on uninterrupted for 118 hours and became the second leading news story nationwide; it is estimated that 50,000 people found a new experience in Christ as a result of this revival and witness teams that went out from it.

In March 1958 revival began in a student fasting prayer meeting that spilled over into chapel and lasted for 63 hours.

On February 3, 1970 Dean Custer B. Reynolds, scheduled to speak in chapel, felt led to invite persons to give personal testimony instead. Many on campus had been praying for spiritual renewal and were now in an expectant mood. Soon there was a large group waiting in line to speak. A spirit of powerful revival came upon the congregation. The chapel was filled with rejoicing people.  Classes were cancelled for a week during the 144 hours of unbroken revival, but even after classes resumed on February 10, Hughes Auditorium was left open for prayer and testimony. These sessions were presided over by Reynolds, Clarence Hunter and other faculty. Some 2,000 witness teams went out from Wilmore to churches and at least 130 college campuses around the nation.

In March 1992 a student confession during the closing chapel of the annual Holiness Conference turned into 127 consecutive hours of prayer and praise.

In February 2006 a student chapel led to four days of continuous worship, prayer and praise.

Archives Materials Related to Revivals:

  • When God Comes (video)
  • A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (video)
  • One Divine Moment, by Robert Coleman
  • Asbury College: Vision and Miracle, by Joseph A. Thacker, Jr.
  • God’s People Revived: An Account of the Spontaneous Revival at Asbury College in February 1950, by Henry C. James
  • Memories of Asbury Revival of 1950, by Marion L. Walker (ed.)
  • Revival Fire, by Wesley Duewel
  • News accounts in Asbury’s student newspaper, The Collegian

Article written by Matt Kinnell


  • Revival Fire, by Wesley Duewel
  • The Collegian Asbury College student newspaper
  • Asbury College: Vision and Miracle, by Joseph A. Thacker, Jr.


History Repeats: Could The Asbury Revival Last 100 Years Like The Moravian Revival In Germany?

Religion Unplugged believes in a diversity of well-reasoned and well-researched opinions. This piece reflects the views of the author and does not necessarily represent those of Religion Unplugged, its staff and contributors.

(OPINION) As you may have heard in news reports, a spontaneous religious revival broke out Feb. 8 at a chapel service at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky.

As I write this, nearly two weeks later, it’s still going. So far the revival has continued nonstop, but university officials have announced they will end public services on the university’s campus as of Feb. 20. What happens after that remains to be seen.

“As part of Asbury’s intention of encouraging and commissioning others to ‘go out’ and share what they have experienced, all (further) services will be hosted at other locations and no longer held at Asbury University,” says a notice on the school’s website. Those other locations aren’t specified.

The faithful and the curious have flooded into tiny Wilmore by the busloads from around the state and the nation to be part of the experience. That has strained resources for both the university and the town.

“It’s not winding down,” observed Craig Keener some days ago, during the height of the fervor. Keener is a widely regarded biblical studies scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, a separate institution across the street from the university.

“People have been praying for it for years,” he said. “I was hoping it would happen before I retired.”

At some points the university’s chapel has been so crowded the seminary’s chapel has been used as one of several overflow sites.

Keener emphasized he wasn’t involved with the revival’s outbreak and isn’t a leader of the ongoing events. But he attended services at the university multiple days.

“It started with the students,” he said. “I think they’re the most important component.”

The revival erupted during a regularly scheduled 10 a.m. chapel service. For some reason, this one didn’t end. People didn’t want to leave. They felt what they interpreted as an unusually palpable presence of God.

Keener said the gathering has been marked by prayer and worship, mainly, with an occasional sermon or celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

As odd as all this might seem, spontaneous revivals in Christianity aren’t terribly unusual.

On Feb. 3, 1970, a revival erupted at what was then Asbury College. That one, too, began at a morning chapel service. It lasted 185 hours nonstop. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately it spread across the United States and to other countries.

I wrote an in-depth story about it in 1990 to mark its 20th anniversary and interviewed alumni and academics who told me they were still feeling its spiritual effects two decades later.

Previous revivals had struck Asbury in 1905, 1950 and 1958.

Asbury is an interdenominational religious school whose roots are in the Wesleyan tradition of the Methodist Church. John and Charles Wesley, brothers, were 18th century revivalists. In a sense, revivalism is baked into Asbury’s DNA.

Revivals also are baked into Kentucky’s DNA.

An important revival in Logan County sparked the even greater Cane Ridge Revival in Bourbon County in 1801. Cane Ridge drew upwards of 20,000 people and introduced the massive Second Great Awakening to the South.

One historian has called it “arguably … the most important religious gathering in all of American history.”

It helped transform the South from a refuge for violent brigands into the Bible Belt.

But revivals aren’t just a phenomenon of Kentucky or the Bible Belt.

Before the Second Great Awakening, there had been the First Great Awakening. It swept Britain’s American colonies beginning in the early 1700s, partly as the result of a religious ferment roiling Europe.

Or we could talk about the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. It broke out among a ragtag congregation in a rundown neighborhood and ran day and night for years. Scholars consider it the birthplace of Pentecostalism, which has grown into the second-largest branch of Christianity, next only to the Roman Catholic Church.

Across the centuries there have been other landmark revivals in Canada, Wales, Timor, you name it. Revivals here, there, everywhere. And of course, the Christian faith itself was birthed in a revival recounted in the biblical Acts of the Apostles.

As you might imagine, there are as many explanations for these revivals as there are pundits to comment on them. Unsurprisingly, the explanations tend to mirror each pundit’s a priori assumptions about God and the nature of reality.

Some view revivals as manifestations of superstition, hysteria and social contagion. Some see them as reactions to major social upheavals — revivals occur when we’re rattled and want quick fixes for our uncertainties.

Others see them as merciful visitations from God, who cares about people and occasionally shows up in especially dramatic ways to let us know it.

I suspect there’s an element of truth to all the explanations. One explanation doesn’t rule out the others. Causes, like effects, overlap, intermingle and vary from revival to revival and participant to participant.

Some revivals last days or weeks. On the other hand, as Keener the professor pointed out, the Moravian revival in German Saxony, which began in 1727, lasted 100 years.

Whenever a spiritual visitation such as this arrives, you just never know. That’s part of the excitement. Any new revival could prove to be a very limited matter, soon past and forgotten. Or it could change everything, forever. source