The Asbury Revival that started on Wednesday morning, Feb. 8, at the Asbury University Chapel in Wilmore, Kentucky, was officially closed down by University and City officials on Feb. 23, after tens of thousands of visitors flooded the campus and small town, overwhelming locals and blocking traffic for miles.
A month later, a range of discussions have been taking place about whether it was a revival, some discrediting the event as all hype and emotion, others stating it was a planned university event. Others said “who cares," and some claimed it was just a social media manipulation.
What I enjoyed and appreciated about Asbury was that it didn't revolve around spiritual celebrities. It experienced the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit with the anointing of peace and holiness, a deep conviction of personal sin with a renewed hunger of love for their Messiah and others. From scripture, we ask the Lord to search our hearts; this is not a checklist, but this can be a deep supernatural work that reveals areas of our lives that we never knew existed and this clearly took place.
What added credibility was how they kept order during these three weeks as actors sought attention by loud, unnecessary aggressive prayer, efforts of exorcism, and blowing the shofar when not appropriate. That was not the purpose of this Holy Spirit visitation. There was one microphone and the hosts screened those that claimed they had a word and wisely held onto the mic to avoid any grandstanding.
The real heroes were those behind the scenes, namely the 100-plus volunteers who did a host of mundane yet critically important parts of serving. The real keys to so many successful churches are those that quietly but efficiently serve, and that was the case at Asbury. In fact, citizens of Asbury provided cooked meals, opened up their homes for visitors, and received guests with class and distinction.
The common area outside the Chapel Auditorium facilitated more than 20,000 people at a time. It's special that Generation Z (ages 16 to 25) were the ones that initiated this revival by being faithful to the work of the Holy Spirit and there are reports of over 200 Colleges and Universities being represented during this three week period.
Will there be efforts to create another revival? Yes. Will there be copycat efforts? Of course. Is this event understood by everybody? No.
The Apostle Paul helps us understand when he states that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him; and, in contrast, the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
There is no doubt that lives were touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and it is to be our prayer that the same visitation of revival comes to the Peace River area and beyond.
John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John