Day 15: Asbury revival continues to grow; University president: ‘This was never planned’

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


As the Asbury University revival, also known as the “Asbury Outpouring,” enters its final day on the Wilmington Kentucky campus, the movement that began Feb. 8, when a group of students said they felt led by the Holy Spirit to extend a mandatory chapel service, continues to spread to more than 20 other campuses across the country.

Among them is Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, where one observer described the spontaneous, student-led worship service as the “closest thing I’ve ever seen to ACTS.” 

“Jesus is moving at Texas A&M! It’s real! Met for 6 hours! STUDENT LED, no program! Closest thing I’ve ever seen to ACTS. Testimonies, worship, praying for healing, prayers for boldness to witness…” 

North American Mission Board Director Paul Worcester described similar events taking shape at Eastern Kentucky University, writing: “Campus wide worship and prayer for revival at Eastern Kentucky University! At least 5 got saved tonight on night 1. Please pray God continues to pour out His Spirit on this campus and every campus.”

The revival has also spread beyond the nation’s borders. FISM reported on Tuesday that the outpouring had drawn visitors in from as far away as Canada and Singapore. Since that report, worshippers from other nations — Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand, to name a few — have also joined the movement.


Asbury University President Dr. Kevin Brown recently addressed concerns that he was “stopping” the revival with his decision to move the marathon worship service to an as-yet-to-be-determined, off-campus location after Friday — a decision that has been met with criticism from some corners.

“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,” Brown said in a statement posted on the school’s website.

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. 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 U.S. and abroad.

Brown thanked Asbury students, faculty, and other staff members who have “work[ed] tirelessly around the clock to accommodate our students and incoming visitors,” calling it “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.”

The University also announced earlier this week that it had decided to limit admission to the ongoing services at the campus’s Hughes auditorium and overflow buildings to students aged 25 and under.

“God has pressed Gen Z on our hearts, and He’s made that so clear,” Abby Laub, the university’s director of strategic communications, recently told Relevant Magazine of the decision. “This started with them, so we want to really do that justice and work with how we feel God leading us.”

Laub cited safety concerns as a primary factor in Asbury’s decision to move the outpouring off campus.

“In our daily conversations, safety was a big issue,” Laub said. “With all the traffic coming in, new people coming to campus, there were conversations about how to keep students — particularly our girls — safe,” she continued, adding that “the infrastructure” of the town, with a population of just over 6,000, “literally cannot sustain this.”

Campus officials estimated that, as of Tuesday, some 50,000 visitors had come to the Wilmore, Kentucky campus.


Alexandra Presta, student editor of campus news publication “The Asbury Collegian” explained that the influx of visitors had begun to overwhelm students. 

“We’re still all wrestling in that tension of recognizing what God is doing is so amazing — we’re literally in awe,” she said. “We’re so blessed that we have been witnesses to it — but we do feel like our home had been invaded because there are people everywhere,” she continued.

“The whole posture of this revival has been radical humility and loving people, and just loving in action, and so we’ve been trying to do that.”

Presta added that she and her fellow students “don’t want people to remember us, and we don’t want people to remember Asbury. We just want people to remember Jesus.”


In a recent blog post titled: “The Asbury Revival: Latter rains?” author and evangelist Anne Graham Lotz noted that many people, including members of the mainstream media, have been asking what is going on at Asbury.

Lotz, the daughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham, offered a simple but profound explanation in the form of a passage of Scripture, James 5:7, which reads: “Therefore, be patient [brethren] until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”

She also included a copy of a text she received from her husband’s nephew, Dr. John-Paul Lotz, a Regent University School of Divinity professor who was sent by the private Virginia Beach Christian college to observe the event. 

“There was no leader, no rival, no envy, no pride, all humility, meekness, gentle hearts, stumbling sinners, tender students serving thousands of curious visitors in their love for mercy without knowing they are doing so! It is legit,” he wrote. “GenZ write-offs are graciously allowing us to peek in on this surprising work of God as they serve us like priests, unconsciously dragging us into the presence of the Lord through young, redeemed, romantic hearts for God. Christ is being honored, God is being glorified, the Spirit is at liberty,” he continued.

“The real awkward cringe-worthy gawkers are the over forty’s like myself who can’t put down their phones. The Z’s left theirs at home…” Dr. Lotz added. 

“Could what John-Paul observed be the beginning of the ‘latter rain’?” Anne Graham Lotz asked. “An outpouring of God’s Spirit in one last great awakening before Jesus returns? Lord God, let it be so … for the glory of Your great name, for the salvation of our nation, for the revival of Your people.”


The Asbury Outpouring has drawn inevitable comparisons to the student-led Christian revival that began on the same campus more than five decades ago. The revival played a pivotal role what would come to be known as “The Jesus Movement” of the 1970s.

Some might consider it beyond a mere coincidence that the current revival coincides with this week’s release of “Jesus Revolution,” a film that chronicles the “Jesus Movement.” 

It is also worth noting that somewhere around a year ago, the organizers of the Collegiate Day of Prayer settled on tomorrow, Feb. 23, as the date for this year’s campus-wide, interdenominational prayer event.