A routine prayer service at a small Christian college in Kentucky has blossomed into a nonstop revival, garnering millions of viewers on social media as it begins its second week.
Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, held a morning chapel service in Hughes Auditorium on February 8, after which a couple dozen students hung around instead of going home. Gradually, other students returned to the gathering, which has been running nonstop ever since.
The “Asbury Revival,” as it has been dubbed, turned into a viral phenomenon on TikTok and Instagram, spurring Christians from all over to make the trek and join in the worship.
Students have streamed into town from other universities: the University of Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands, Purdue University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Ohio Christian University, Transylvania University, Midway University, Lee University, Georgetown College, Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, and many others.
Last Tuesday, for instance, some 3,000 of the faithful overran the college chapel and four other overflow facilities throughout the college town. University President Kevin Brown said at least two-thirds of the attendants were from out of state.
Brown said that the first day’s service was “very ordinary” and even “unremarkable,” but the meeting caught on and turned into something special.
“It has absolutely been social media that is the mechanism that people found out about this,” said Mark Whitworth, Asbury University’s vice president of communications.
According to college senior Alexandra Presta, no one wants to leave.
“No one even expected this to happen. Not on a random Wednesday for sure,” she said. “Yet, we sit and sing about God’s love pouring out and His goodness.”
“Students from many other colleges are here, having travelled from across the country,” said Pastor Bill Eliff, who drove nine hours to Wilmore from Little Rock, AZ together with his wife. “The leaders at Asbury are very aware of this, even commissioning them to go back and cry out for revival on their campus.”
According to Eliff: “This is real. God is very present.”
“Worship is glorious, unified and simple,” he added. “A piano and guitar, led by various student teams who understand that worship is not performance.”
When microphones are opened for testimonies, long lines of grateful people come forward telling what God has done.
“Some are calling this a revival, and I know that in recent years that term has become associated with political activism and Christian nationalism. But let me be clear: no one at Asbury has that agenda,” said Asbury professor Tom McCall.