‘We cannot stop something we did not start’: Asbury ‘revival’ meetings end, ripples continue

Although the “outpouring” services at Asbury University were officially concluded, the life-changing testimonies from the last few weeks continue to pour in.

Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky,…

Although the “outpouring” services at Asbury University were officially concluded, the life-changing testimonies from the last few weeks continue to pour in.

Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, experienced what many are calling a revival after a regularly scheduled chapel service on Feb. 8 continued for more than two weeks.

The small town of 6,000 saw an estimated 50,000 people flood to the city to witness the movement that made national headlines. Similar events were reported around the nation, many involving college campuses.

Last week, the university decided not to continue the ‘outpouring’ services, with the finale being a service broadcasted for the National Collegiate Day of Prayer.

While the decision to end services surprised some, school leaders offered a different perspective.

“I have been asked if Asbury is ‘stopping’ this outpouring of God’s Spirit and the stirring of human hearts,” Asbury President Dr. Kevin Brown said in a statement. “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.”

Another factor was the lack of infrastructure to handle a continual flood of travelers, as well as safety concerns.

Many students seemed content with that decision, reiterating that Asbury was never meant to become a mecca.

“We’re still all wrestling in that tension of recognizing what God is doing is so amazing – we’re literally in awe,” said Alexandra Presta, editor of The Asbury Collegian, in an interview with Relevant Magazine. “But we do feel like our home had been invaded because there are people everywhere. That’s just an honest reality.

“We don’t want people to remember us, and we don’t want people to remember Asbury. We just want people to remember Jesus. And now we’re in that transition of trying to obey the Bible and being commissioned to go out.”

Despite services formally ending, their impact continues.  

Gracie Turner, a university senior, regained the faith she says she lost after her great-grandmother died of cancer in 2019. 

“I came to Asbury and the only time I would pray to [God], I would just say, ‘God, it would be really nice if you just didn’t wake me up in the morning,'” Turner said in an interview with Fox News Digital.  

On the first day of the revival, Turner said she had hit a breaking point. After crying during her physical therapy appointment as she confided in her trainer regarding her declining mental health, Turner received a text message that changed everything. 

“Come to Hughes…something is happening,” her friend texted.  

Turner came and says she felt a tangible sense of God’s presence, began to cry and prayed genuinely for the first time in what seemed like forever.  

“It felt like God was telling me, “This is what you’ve been missing,’” Turner said of the experience. 

As the services rolled on in Asbury’s Hughes Auditorium, Turner says she felt a sense of community she never thought she’d find. She was also baptized. 

Then the senior, who was reluctant to ever speak before a crowd, stood before a thousand of her peers and testified to the work God had done in her life. 

“I feel so much better. I feel like I’m at peace now. I feel like my anxiety and depression is so much better because now I can talk to God and give it all to Him,” Turner told the audience. “I realized that I’m not alone and for the past three years, I felt like I was alone. And I just know that He’s behind me.” 

Students and school officials alike are hopeful that the spiritual awakening will spread.  

“I don’t believe that God ever meant for Asbury to hold this,” said Abby Laub, Asbury’s director of communications. 

“I don’t believe it would be a true revival if He meant for it to just stay here in our little town.”