Is the revival at Asbury going to create long term effects for college students?

Recently, at Asbury University in Wilmore Kentucky, spiritual revival broke out. Many college students at Asbury were seemingly transformed, on fire and passionate for Christ. The revival began Feb. 8 at Asbury when students stayed after a chapel service to continue worshiping. The Asbury Revival went viral, its effects even reaching Azusa Pacific University as hours of worship broke out across campus.

The revival at Asbury University lasted a week and a half and brought thousands to the school’s auditorium, including those in the community and from all around the country. But is this just a trend, or is there real substantial change happening that will continue to make its way across our nation’s campuses? 

In my opinion, it was encouraging to see other college campuses have spiritual renewal.However, I believe we won’t know immediately if a revival was a revival until we see its long term effects. 

“We can tell if a revival has lasting effects by their fruit afterwards as time passes,” said APU theology professor, Jeff Tirrell.

I agreed with Tirrell that we’ll know the attendees’ fruit overall from their actions following the revival. It also aligns with scripture. As Matthew 7:16 (NIV) says, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” 

Revival is also personal. It’s not just about students worshiping, but about change in the core of an individual. “I feel revival has to start in the heart of individuals, and then it spreads to a large group,” said Kaleigh Ammon, a sophomore at APU.

Revival can’t be manufactured when it’s truly the work of the Holy Spirit. Though I think it’s tempting to jump on the “revival bandwagon,” I don’t believe the Asbury Revival was forced, considering its humble beginnings. 

“If you seek revival you’ll get performance. But if you seek Jesus you’ll get revival,” said Jacob Coyne, a student from Asbury. To me, this means that though other colleges cannot create a revival, their heart posture can make room for it. 

An Asbury participant, Hannah Williamson, took to Instagram to describe how she was deeply impacted by the Asbury services.

Williamson also saw several people going to the altar and repenting before God. Even when there were no altar calls being made, people were convicted. “I felt the Lord’s manifest presence strong in that room. There was [sic] no lights, fog, smoke, big name speakers on stage, gimmicks or unnecessary hype.,” Williamson said.

Since Asbury, I have believed spiritual revival could spread across our nation, including to our own campus. “I think revival can spread to other campuses and happen here at APU and the body of Christ benefits when anyone goes through any type of revival,” said Tirrell. However, Tirrell emphasized that even if revival doesn’t occur directly somewhere, the entire body of Christ is still strengthened. 

Seeing videos and photos from the revival at Asbury made me hope the same thing wouldhappen at APU. If it could happen at Asbury, it could happen at any college campus, especially if there is a history of a previous revival. 

The last labeled revival that happened at APU was in February of 1970 at the Upper Turner Campus Center. It started on Feb. 6 during a morning chapel that ended up extending until the afternoon. 

During that chapel service, many students were moved to their knees in prayer. Various students repented, accepted Christ, and hugged one another in unity. Chapel service that day was seven hours due to students going through spiritual renewal. The aftermath of revival in 1970 at APU caused revival in local churches and colleges.   

Some feel that revival has come to APU once again as last week Asbury student body president Alison Perfater spoke at chapel on March 1. Dozens, if not hundreds, of APU students worshiped for over 30 hours across campus. Time will tell if this too will make the history books. 

The spiritual revival at Asbury can be an inspiration to other college campuses. As time passes, it will be made known if there were long term effects from the Asbury revival. Many people have been impacted from their experience recently at Asbury. The question is will this be the start of spiritual revival across college campuses nationwide?