Thursday, February 23, 2023


I don't know if you have been following the story of events at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, but they are worth a note.

On February 8, 2023, the University began a regular 10:00 am service in its Hughes Auditorium.   This service has just never ended since.  The congregants and students didn't want to leave.  They "felt what they interpreted as an unusally palpable presence of God."

Since that initial service, thousand shave flocked to this small university in Kentucky to be a part of what they see as an overwhelming revival.  These visitors have included faculty and students from over 22 schools across the country.  International travelers from as far as Singapore.  The service began to peak on February 14, 6 days since the start, with over three thousand attendees.  Two-thirds of which were from out of state.  The service has since spread to four additional facilities to handle the number of the crowds that are attending.

The movement also seems to be spreading to other campuses including Lee University in Tennessee, Andersen University in Indiana, and Ohio Christian University near Columbus, Ohio, to name a few.  

It's become so much, that the university President has announced that the official service for the general public will be wrapping up tonight, marking a celebration of the National Collegiate Day of Prayer.  Services for the general public will continue at other churches in Central Kentucky.

Much has been made of this event, with many referring to it as the start of a revival movement among generation Z.  There has been much debate about the use of the term revival and whether that is appropriate.  On what revival really means.  And there has even been those that have picked at the theology of the services.

Whatever you call it, I don't think you can ignore that this is a real movement of the Holy Spirit.

And I don't think you can ignore the hunger that remains for true, genuine interaction with the one Creator of us all, particularly among the younger generations.

I think this is surprising to most people in "church" circles. 

There's this prevailing thought that the younger generations are just turning away from the church.  You can look at the exvangelical movement and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated or "nones."  People look at lagging attendee in the current church and equate it with a lack of appetite for Christianity.

That is a logical fallacy.  

Just because people reject church the way you are doing it now, does not mean they reject the faith.

Because, there's a little secret to this - maybe some of what you are doing now or requiring now in your church has nothing to do with the faith at all and has everything to do with tradition, preference, or comfort.

This is the same thing we were talking about in the early 2000s when I got to be a part of the launch of terranova, a church within a church aimed at college students.  Even then, study after study identified a hunger for a real connection with something spiritual, and a great excitement when the younger generations found that connection in Christianity.  

The problem was they found that genuine, real spiritual connection to God missing in most churches.

Churches too locked in the way of doing things as they have been done to be receptive to the faith.

And that points to one of the biggest questions that Asbury raises - why can't this happen where we are?  Is this just a one time thing at a Christian college, an area primed for it if you will?  Or can we see genuine revival break out where we are?

Can revival happen in my church?  In my community?

And I don't know the answer to that question.

Think about it this way, what would happen at your church if people just refused to leave?  If they kept on worshipping and the service just wanted to keep going for hours on end? 

Could your service go on and on?

It gets hard when you have a second service starting an hour after one is designed to finish.  I know the heart of the people on the worship team and the pastoral staff, and I know our church would love for revival to burst forth and to have a genuine supernatural religious experience, but we also are pretty scheduled.  I would hope we would continue the moment, but the rubber hits the road when people start getting uncomfortable.  When there's no more room, when it starts to really hit home.

That's the challenge of Asbury.

Are we willing to be uncomfortable to see God really move among us in really powerful ways?

Lord, I pray we are.

"Lord send a revival, and let it begin in me..."

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