Asbury Revival: God is Moving at Asbury University, Stirring ‘Hunger’ for God
This article will be updated as new information comes in.
Updated 11:16 p.m. CST on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023:
What’s happening at Asbury continues to spread. The following posts on Twitter say the movement is spreading to Samford University in Alabama, Lee University in Tennessee, and Cedarville University in Ohio. These three are Christian, private universities.
The revival is spreading.
This video was taken at Samford university in Alabama.
Young kids are standing up for God!
So incredibly beautiful! pic.twitter.com/4tQVSRj91Z
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) February 17, 2023
IT’S SPREADING. Students at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, started a prayer meeting that’s been going since Monday. Some of them had visited the Asbury Revival, and they asked, “Why not here?” pic.twitter.com/Z5MSIIiAOZ
— Lee Grady (@LeeGrady) February 17, 2023
The revival that began at Asbury University is spreading to Cedarville University in Ohio and Campbellsville University in Kentucky and Lee University in Tennessee. Pray for more. America needs this! #revival #revivalAtAsbury #asburyrevival #asburyrevival2023 #revivalgeneration pic.twitter.com/YaFxv9IMlS
— Kevin 🇺🇸 💙💙🌊🌊 (@KEVIN_FREE1971) February 16, 2023
Pastor Has Previously Described Dramatic Open Vision of Revival Starting on College Campuses
Gene Bailey, host of the Christian commentary show FlashPoint, interviewed pastor and author Dutch Sheets on his show late last month, just over two weeks before the ongoing meeting began at Asbury University. Sheets shared the story of a vision he got while preaching in September of 2001.
It started with him seeing “Acts 3:19” being written on the back wall. Acts 3:19 reads, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Then: “It was like the entire back wall of the church became a movie screen,” Sheets said. He narrated what he saw to those gathered for at least half an hour, he said.
The vision illustrated revival coming to America, starting on college campuses. He said signs and wonders would occur and thousands of young people would gather to talk about Jesus, and it was “completely grassroots, completely spontaneous, led by no person, controlled by no person, planned by no person. God just began to hover over these universities.” He called it a “violent love” and intense passion from God to save this generation that can’t be stopped.
He said he saw leaders gathering together talking about getting the students to go back to class. “This was so powerful, they [the students] wanted to get together and talk about what was happening. And as the administrators would walk into these auditoriums to try and stop them, power of God would be so strong, they would just fall under the power of God and they couldn’t do anything.”
He saw students singing, the presence of God coming and them being delivered from demons.
“I saw these kids being interviewed. They were asked, ‘What is happening? Explain this to us.’ They had no answer.” The students stopped doing drugs and living in perverted, sinful lifestyles. He saw them being interviewed, asked why they stopped, and they said they love Jesus and something in them told them it was wrong. “It became a holiness movement,” but without preaching holiness and being told how to live. “Their hearts were simply changing and they wanted to please Him.”
Sheets said the students “really didn’t want religion. They really didn’t want our forms.” He said they came with their problems and in relationships they shouldn’t have been in, “but they wanted Jesus.” Tens of thousands would come to faith, Sheets said. He asked, “How do we teach them? They want to know God but they don’t want our religion.” Sheets said at that time he had turned to the leaders on the stage and said, “This is going to be incredibly difficult to steward. It will be like the book of Acts. They just had to learn on the fly.”
“What we’re about to experience, we don’t have a formula for,” Sheets said. He said he thought eventually millions of young people in America would come to Jesus. “We’re going to need to be ready to … take them into His presence and allow Holy Spirit to shape them. Allow Holy Spirit to teach them. To show them … what he wants, who He is.”
Summarizing, Sheets said, “I saw incredible power, incredible fire, a fire of revival, incredible signs and wonders, incredible passion, love for God, worship, spontaneous outbreakings of Holy Spirit until the entire nation was on fire with the … fires of revival.”
Bailey said it sounded like the Jesus movement of the 1970s, except at “a higher level.”
On Tuesday’s show, Sheets told Bailey that his vision has now begun to come to pass. “I think it is the beginning,” Sheets said. He said hundreds of people have contacted him saying this is what he was talking about. “Well it is what I was talking about.” He described the previous interview’s timing as “sovereign.”
One Pastor’s Experience
A beautiful post from Andrew Thompson, a pastor, describes his weariness as he went to Asbury and how he was instantly touched by God’s presence:
I walked into the room, and tears began to fall from my eyes unbidden.
All I can say about the experience I had over the next several minutes is that the manifest presence of the Lord is there—it is thick and substantial, and it is full of love. It is as if the Lord has set up his tabernacle right there over that room. The Holy Spirit covered me like a blanket, and then he began to flush out all the pain, and fatigue, and spiritual weariness I was feeling. I went down to the altar rail to pray, and an otherworldly peace came upon me such as I have only known one other time in my life. I felt two hands on my shoulders, and a voice began to pray over me: “Lord, walk with this man in his life. Let him know your presence. Fill him with your Holy Spirit.” When I later stood up, the two young college students who had been interceding for me were themselves praying at the altar. God is using his people to minister to one another in very humble, but bold ways.
Read Thompson’s full post here:
Asbury University is adjusting the schedule for meetings, starting on Monday, according to a report by Kentucky Today. They are prioritizing students and people 25 and younger and will move meetings off campus starting next Friday. Here are a few quotes from Kentucky Today’s report on the changes:
In a letter to parents, Asbury University President Kevin Brown said campus leadership has put together a schedule with “an attempt to recognize and steward this beautiful, historic moment of spiritual renewal while quickly moving toward a more sustainable campus experience for our students that fosters predictability, well-being, and continuity.”
He wrote the university is also working with groups to increase security, prayer and ministry support, event management and overall logistical planning. Samaritan’s Purse, for example, is providing Asbury with 10 additional officers to serve on campus for staggered eight-hour shifts over the next week.
The 7:30 p.m. service will have seating reserved for the main floor for high school age, young adults 25 and under and their leaders. Guests are allowed in the balcony spaces (if young adults have not already occupied those seats).
All other guests will be welcomed in other designated simulcast venues.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 24, evening services will be hosted at other locations to be announced and no longer at Asbury University.
Update on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023:
Lee University Hosts Day 2 of a Similar Meeting
Many have hoped that what’s happening in Kentucky would spread, and now Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, is in day two of an ongoing worship meeting as well.
February 14th, 2023. God shook the foundations of Lee’s campus. #asburyrevival2023 #leerevival2023 pic.twitter.com/QAHIkopQkI
— Brett Tanis (@brett_tanis) February 15, 2023
Tucker Carlson Asks, ‘What is This?’
Tucker Carlson interviewed Asbury University’s student body president Alison Perfater on Feb. 15. Tucker said he understood that the ongoing gathering began when “a boy got up and started talking about his own flaws, and then … something changed in the atmosphere and it never ended.” Perfater agreed.
Perfater said, “There’s a young army of believers who are rising to claim Christianity, the faith, as their own.” She also said, “We have friends here from Brasil, from Indonesia, almost every state, and they just keep coming.” She referenced the deadly Monday shooting at Michigan State University and the impact of 2020 on her generation. “The Holy Spirit has interceded for us here at Asbury and across the nation.”
“I assume you don’t know how long this will continue,” Tucker said.
“I could not tell you,” Perfater said. “Wouldn’t want to guess!”
Thrilled to see Tucker do a segment on this. Been praying weekly for 3 years now for revival on a prayer call led by a man who attended Asbury in his youth. 🔥🕊️🙌🔥 https://t.co/u53s40J7IN
— Ellie Harrington (@RationalAngels) February 16, 2023
When One Person Enters the Kingdom
Many jumped to their feet as the room erupted in applause in a video posted to Twitter:
This is the response of a young man publicly repenting of his sins and giiving his life to Jesus at the Asbury Outpouring. pic.twitter.com/iiftU1IB9E
— Jon Tyson (@JonTyson) February 16, 2023
Jon Tyson wrote that the celebration was due to “a young man publicly repenting of his sins and giiving (sic) his life to Jesus.”
The celebration looks much like the applause typical of sporting events. Remarkably, as one of the hosts of Remnant Radio, Joshua Lewis, noted in a their commentary on the move of God, students have missed watching the Super Bowl and celebrating Valentines Day to be at this gathering.
“These are college students, during the Super Bowl and Valentines Day who are … just sitting in a room praying and worshipping, and you’re telling me this isn’t revival? Like they gave up sports and romance. Like what else is there when you’re a college kid? … I think it’s absurd to look at something like this and say it’s emotionalism. Emotionalism would’ve killed this thing.”
Casting Out a Demon Together
According to an edited video, those in the chapel united in spiritual warfare for the sake of a woman apparently suffering from demonic influence. Initially medical personnel were requested to help. Then a woman commands the evil spirit to go. A woman’s scream rings out. Many in the room stretch their hands towards the afflicted woman in prayer and join in the spiritual battle.
Original article, published Wednesday, Feb. 15:
A scheduled 10 a.m. chapel service on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Asbury University has turned into an unscheduled worship gathering that’s been going day and night for a week now and has yet to stop. People are traveling to the Wilmore, Kentucky, university to experience this move of God for themselves. As of Wednesday afternoon, a week from the start, a YouTube search for “Asbury revival” brings up multiple live videos of the meeting from people in attendance. Kevin Brown, president of the university, told CBN News an estimated over 3,000 people have come in the past two evenings to worship.
It started simply. Zach Meerkreebs of Christian and Missionary Alliance taught on Romans 12:9-21 as part of a series titled “Love in Action.” The first two verses of the passage read: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
The chapel recording on the university website shows students streaming out of the room after the meeting officially ended. But about 30 students stayed, Asbury senior Alexandra Presta told The Christian Post. “I had left for a few minutes but then felt called to return. Since then, it hasn’t stopped. It’s been a mix of worship, testimony, prayer, confession, silence,” she said.
Asbury Chapel continued yesterday in waves of prayer, worship, and gut-wrenching public confession. It was a significant and spontaneous move of the Spirit that lasted for hours. What a phenomena to witness. Come, Holy Spirit! pic.twitter.com/xRgz6IPels
— Austin Wofford (@AustinWofford_) February 9, 2023
Presta spoke to Billy Hallowell on CBN News and described how the meeting started and how it’s affected the student body outside the chapel. She said there’s more of a “gentle care” among the student body. Rather than superficial interactions, they’re checking in on each other, praying, worshipping and crying with each other. “It really brings this sense of unity.” She said personal conflicts and tension within her friendships have healed since the move of God started. “I can just see the difference in us, even though it’s only been a few days.”
Student Zeke Atha posted a video update for his home church on YouTube. He described people coming to Christ in other nations.
Nick Hall described people confessing and turning away from their sins and everyone saying, “the blood of Jesus forgives you.”
A student who said he drove 6.5 hours described his experience. He went to the altar and looked around him and saw people of different generations praying for each other and a room full of people with outstretched hands. He said God told him revival “isn’t hype. It’s ordinary people crying out for a move of God in our generation.”
48 hours after the chapel service that started it, the next regularly scheduled chapel service began. The chapel speaker on Friday, an Asbury Seminary alumna, founder and director of K-Homes, called herself Tammy Ma. She spoke about “contending prayer,” or “wrestling with God” for the things they’re asking for. She referenced Jacob wrestled with God for a blessing, saying “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“I feel like it’s a continuation of what you guys are already doing,” Tammy said.
Tammy said she’s the mother of 46 kids — the youngest 14 — and she has been in South Asia for over 23 years. After she came to faith as a young person from atheism, she found that God answered her prayers, often quite quickly. She says he got through three years of seminary debt-free with never more than $100 in her bank account. Her stories continued into her time leading a home for children. She described many miracles that came from contending prayer.
One story was that of a young fatherless girl who was brought to the home by a social worker. Her mother was deathly ill. After being at the home for about 6 months, her mother came back for her because she had found a buyer for the girl, and she wanted sell the girl to leave her son with some money when she died. Despite Tammy’s efforts to get authorities involved to prevent the mother from taking the girl, she was told to let the girl go with her mother or her home would be closed down.
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As the mother was taking the girl away, Tammy asked God, “God, what are you doing?” God said, “Tammy, what are you doing? Fight for her.” She told God she had already fought and lost. God said, “Come on, Tammy.” She realized she needed to fight in prayer. The household prayed for 14 days and often fasted dinner. The mother returned the girl, saying that while she was seven hours away, still intending to sell the girl, a dark cloud had covered her and pushed her back to Tammy’s gate.
Tammy’s sermon points were to pray without ceasing, to pray without doubt, and to pray without offense (when we don’t get the answer we want). Watch the chapel service here.
‘The Church Wants God’
A man named Jon Baker drove to Asbury University with two friends and recorded their hopes, reflections on what God did at Asbury in 1970, and his reflections: “It’s reawakening hunger in the church. The church wants God. I tell you, if you learn anything from Asbury, it’s that, if you want God enough to disrupt your norm, he honors that hunger.”
Asbury lists nine revivals on their website, spanning from 1905 to 2006, the most well-known being that of 1970: “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.”
Correction: A previous version of this article said “Tammy fought the mother in the courts,” though Tammy didn’t mention courts. The article has been changed to reflect that Tammy said she got authorities involved. Also, for accuracy, “$100 to her name” has been changed to “$100 in her bank account.”
Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow Aliya on Twitter @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.