On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, during the midweek chapel service at Asbury University, a private Christian University, in Wilmore, Kentucky, something happened. The following account is from Asbury University’s president, Dr. Kevin J. Brown:
“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.
“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.
“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.”
While many within the church have responded favorably, others have been critical both within and without the church. Some have said, “Revival is more than singing and crying,” and “I’ll believe it’s revival when they denounce their toxic and abusive theology.”
I personally believe the revival I have prayed for in this nation may be starting at Asbury University. I hope revival is beginning wherever and it sweeps our nation. The church itself was started in the white hot revival of Pentecost.
Angered by the preaching of Jesus by Peter and the apostles, the Jewish leaders intended to kill them when Gamaliel, a respected teacher of the Law, said, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men … stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God,” Acts 3:35, 38-39.
We should give what has happened in Wilmore, Kentucky, and in other places prayerful and thoughtful contemplation. It may be that God does not live in the theological boxes we have built for Him; we certainly do not want to “be found fighting against God.”