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The Asbury Revival Is Over. What Happens Now?

By Fiona Morgan
rupp arena
People attend a revival event led by evangelist Nick Hall at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Feb. 26, 2023. (Photo by Fiona Morgan)

After more than two weeks and worldwide headlines, revival services at Asbury University in central Kentucky came to an end recently.

But the revival goes on off-campus.

On Sunday, Minneapolis-based evangelist Nick Hall brought an Asbury-inspired revival event to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, about half an hour from the Christian school’s campus.

Hall is the leader of Pulse, a ministry that aims to bring “Jesus to the next generation” by hosting big events. He attended the Asbury revival in its first week and said he was overwhelmed by what God was doing.

After the Asbury revival started spontaneously on Feb. 8, the university officially ended revival services on Feb. 23, which was National Collegiate Day of Prayer. During that final service, people prayed over college campuses, asking God to bring revival to the world.

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Similar prayer services have been held at other colleges, including Samford University in Alabama, Lee University in Tennessee and Baylor University in Texas.

Asbury President Kevin Brown announced on Feb. 19 that “outpouring” services would move off campus. The school later decided to no longer have a role in those services.

The school decided to end the on-campus services after tens of thousands of visitors flooded the campus and the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, overwhelming locals and blocking traffic for miles.

“The Asbury team was just fried, and there was decision fatigue, and just burnout,” Hall told media. He said Brown told him the school’s leaders felt like Asbury’s role was complete. The school said its hope is that revival continues in other spaces.

On Thursday, Hall still felt God was telling him to continue revival for those who might’ve missed the opportunity at Asbury. So at the last minute, Pulse put together the Rupp Arena event in two days’ time.

“I just met so many people who didn’t get to Asbury who wanted to get there, people who were filled with so much regret because ‘God did something and I missed it,’” Hall said.

The event at Rupp Arena was similar to what happened at Asbury, in that there were no structured sermons. Rather it was a time of worship with simple songs, prayer and repentance. The event went for nine hours. Students from Lee University also shared how God moved in their lives.

rupp arena hall
People attend a revival event at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Feb. 26, 2023. (Photo by Fiona Morgan)

At several points, people went up on stage to share testimonies. One Iranian man, who goes by the name of Que, came on stage to share that he was healed at the event. He had come to Rupp Arena in a wheelchair and said he has had problems with his legs since 1998.

“Lately it got really worse and I don’t know what was the reason; I couldn’t walk without the help of my friends,” Que said.

He said a man at the event asked him what he could pray for, and Que told the man he wanted to run again.

“He started praying for me and every time he did, I could feel the Holy Spirit going through me,” he said. 

Que then walked across the stage and down the steps with no assistance.

Forrest Limon, a Pulse staff member and young evangelist, said he was inspired by the revival services. 

“There’s a hunger from the younger generations to seek after the Lord,” Limon said. “It was the ministry that was happening in seats, just young people crowding around each other, and grandparents, just all praying for the younger generations. There was this multigenerational unity tonight.”

In putting on this event, Hall said he also wanted to help teach people what they should do after revival. After many people came to Christ or rededicated their lives, people were looking for guidance.

Robert Coleman, who was a professor of evangelism at Asbury Seminary for 27 years, spoke in Rupp Arena about what Christians can do next after a revival.

Now 94 years old, Coleman was at Asbury in 1950 when a revival broke out at the school and he was also at another famed Asbury revival in 1970.

“’Follow me,’ Jesus said; isn’t that simple? ” he said. “We can all understand it. You don’t have to go to a big university to know how to make disciples. You just follow Jesus.”

Coleman explained that the best way people can bring lasting revival to their communities is to make disciples, as that was the last command Jesus gave his church.

“Don’t look around for a crowd; begin with the person next to you, who’s next door, or who you work beside,” he said. “Make a friend and continue to develop that friendship; that’s how we make disciples, by being together. Put your arm around them, love them, show them that you care for their soul.”

Asbury Revival
Students pray together during a days-long revival at Asbury University. (Source: The Asbury Collegian)

Asbury student Lexie Presta, who is editor of the school’s student newspaper, said Asbury students have been sharing their experiences of revival in local spaces. Unlike past revivals at Abury, students are not being officially sent out by Asbury to share their stories.

“Asbury students have been encouraged to follow the Great Commission and to take next steps,” Presta said. “For some, this means staying on campus and processing with friends and family. For others, it means traveling to churches and groups outside of Wilmore for worship, testimony time and Scripture.”

Many churches and other spaces in Kentucky have been hosting revival events. However, Presta said that people should always proceed with caution for revivals popping up, and make sure they are authentic.

For example, revival events may be advertised online as being connected to the Asbury revival, but the school has said it’s not connected to other revival events at this time. 

Hall said he recognizes that people should use discernment, as some churches and leaders teach false Christianity, and others look to capitalize on the hype. But he also said Christians can overthink in their discernment, as some still question and argue whether or not what happened at Asbury was a “revival.” 

“Every expression is going to be different,” Hall said. “We can’t help but compare, but God is going to move in different ways in different spaces.”

Fiona Morgan, an Asbury University alum, is a journalist based in Danville, Kentucky, and contributor to Religion News Service.

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22 Responses

  1. I just stumbled across this, originally posted at Baptist News Global on February 20. It’s an analysis of Asbury written by Rick Pidcock, titled “Questions to ask while pondering if Asbury is hosting a ‘true revival’ “.

    Here’s a snippet of Pidcock’s analysis: “Those who support calling the event a revival have hailed it as a spontaneous movement of God for repentance toward justice, with no political- or personality-driven agenda. But when we move from speculation about the guitar-strumming students on stage to discussing the facts about who is standing in plain sight right around the corner, serious questions arise.”

    See link to full posting: https://baptistnews.com/article/questions-to-ask-while-pondering-if-asbury-is-hosting-a-true-revival/

    1. There is a HUGE problem with the baptistnews.com article that you posted here. J6 was an insurrection only in the sense that the FBI, Antifa, Nancy Pelosi, the Capitol Police, etc., led and set the stage for a peaceful protest of the fraudulent election to get way out of hand. People who are knowledgeable of that day have know that since that day happened, and it will be common knowledge very, very soon. It is regrettable that the author of the article in question here has not done his homework before publishing his views.

      1. I’m confused by a couple of things you mention. You seem to be discrediting Rick Pidcock’s analysis regarding the topic of Asbury because of a single reference to January 6. Is this an accurate reaction? Also curious, you appear to be criticizing him for not having “done his homework” regarding some “common knowledge” that hasn’t been revealed yet, but will be in the future. I don’t understand the criticism.

  2. I know that the Roys Report is just trying to cover some (perceived in this case) good news here to counter the corruption, sexual assault and cover up articles. But the Asbury event was in no way spontaneous.

    This entire “revival” was planned and financed by The Signatry. The same money channelers who are facilitating the “He Gets Us” advertising campaign.

    At one point Francis Chan and Rick Warren were scheduled to appear but then backed out. The dates coincided with a Planned national campus day of prayer. The whole plan reeks of manipulation.

    Please investigate this further as you and your associates are so good at doing.

    Thanks!

    1. Was this done to “drum up business” for the college? Curious.
      Nothing seemed spontaneous when I watched it. The original “sermon” was bland and “relatable” to the congregation.

  3. Why don’t we simply rejoice that God has chosen to ignite a divine spark of consecration, repentance, and devotion at Asbury, instead of trying to find one-hundred reasons why we should be skeptical of this move of God. Darkness was on display at the Emmy’s and Super Bowl half-time show, but God showed up at Asbury, as well as other locations to inspire young adults. America’s only hope is national revival, why should we be surprised that He’s answering our prayer for it?

    1. I agree, Dr. John, so we say – ‘praise God!’ ‘O Lord, we need more of your closeness and outpouring.’

    2. “Why don’t we simply rejoice that God has chosen to ignite a divine spark of consecration, repentance, and devotion at Asbury…?”

      That’s easy. Because He didn’t. Because of the big money, personalities, agencies and planning/marketing involved. And because of biblical discernment.

      America’s only hope is the Jesus of the Bible. Not what some people organize, schedule and pay millions of dollars for in order to to advertise God.

      Also, God’s omnipresence ensures that he, unlike us, never has to “show up” anywhere.

      Facts Doc, not feelings.

      1. Alan, what is your evidence for your allegations here and above, e.g. when you say “This entire “revival” was planned and financed by The Signatry”?

        1. Hi Mark,

          There are several articles available online that in aggregate,
          serve to make a convincing case.

          A few minutes web-searching Asbury, revival, He Gets Us, Super Bowl advertisement, The Signatry, etc will turn up info.

          Some places to start;
          Here: https://julieroys.com
          CRN: https://christianresearchnetwork.org
          Baptist News: https://baptistnews.com
          The Gospel Coalition:
          https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/faqs-he-gets-us-campaign

          The listings above definitely do not constitute my endorsement of any group. Just sources of information.

          Please consider this. After the event started it wasn’t long that it was shut down for pragmatic reasons. What human would/could end something if it were truly a work of The Holy Spirit?

          As a detective, one always follows the money.What passes for the “church” today is worse than lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). I hope you are able to exercise discernment and put the pieces together.

          Good hunting.

          1. “Please consider this. After the event started it wasn’t long that it was shut down for pragmatic reasons. What human would/could end something if it were truly a work of The Holy Spirit?”

            Thanks for this. I thought the exact same thing when Asbury’s leaders made an official call to end the whole thing. My initial response: Seriously?!?!

            One other thing that sort of bothers me: There’s a photo making the rounds showing students and others inside Hughes Auditorium (photo credit going to someone named Sarah Thomas Baldwin) that appears to be touched up a bit, visually suggesting (at least to me) something “divine” is taking place. Select rays of light coming from above within a hazy atmosphere that would seem to have been added as enhancements to the photo. Some may argue that I’m quibbling here. Sure, OK. I guess I’m just a stickler for authenticity, to a fault. Especially when it comes to photos taken inside a populated church sanctuary that are documenting a spiritual moment.

  4. Oh dear. Well, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from a March 3 notification: “Measles Exposure at a Large Gathering in Kentucky, February 2023 and Global Measles Outbreaks”

    Summary: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to notify clinicians and public health officials about a confirmed measles case at a large gathering. On February 24, 2023, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) identified a confirmed case of measles in an unvaccinated individual with a history of recent international travel. While infectious, the individual attended a large religious gathering on February 17–18, 2023, at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. An estimated 20,000 people attended the gathering from Kentucky, other U.S. states, and other countries during February 17–18, and an undetermined number of these people may have been exposed. This Health Advisory also highlights other recent large global measles outbreaks and associated U.S. importations, and the importance of early recognition, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. CDC recommends that clinicians be on alert for cases of measles that meet the case definition.”

  5. Alan, the links you shared above provide no evidence to support your wild accusation that “This entire “revival” was planned and financed by The Signatry.” In fact, the linked articles support the opposite and affirm the lack of celebrity participation in the event. Please stop wasting people’s time, and worse, with your fake news that is not backed up by demonstrable facts.

    1. Mark,

      I can lead a horse to water but I can’t make him drink. Perhaps I touched a nerve because you have some some skin in this game.

      As far as wasting time, you engaged me.

  6. David,

    I’m glad someone else noticed the human intervention aspect of the shutdown. Asbury U. had The Collegiate Day of Prayer scheduled by a leftist social justice group called Student Churches. They needed the auditorium.

    As far as the photo, good call. Many times it is something small that just doesn’t seem quite right that provides a lead. I don’t remember seeing a photo that was possibly altered in the way you describe. It is however, easy enough to do. Thanks for sharing that observation.

    1. David,

      I found the photo you mentioned. It looks altered. No way that auditorium could have been that dusty or smokey. Also the beam of light falling on the the two men who are praying seems a bit convenient to me. Almost certainly a promotional photo.

      Turns out that Sarah Thomas Baldwin (the photographer) is member of the Asbury U staff. She is employed as Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students. Her personal blog (disturbingly) recommends some unscriptural books and practices.

      Thanks

  7. I tend to appreciate critical/skeptical thinking during a time of “universal deceit” that many seem currently oblivious to. Once you develop a mindset that sees patterns to the systems of fraud and deceit – it’s much easier to make an accurate diagnosis from collective bits and pieces of evidence.

    Having said that, whatever spiritual awakening or life that came from the Asbury event if injected back into the present religious systems of “church” will most likely not amount to much, just like people’s hope that a certain president in the current political system would save America from destruction.

    Both systems are captured by far too many vices like money, power, corruption, fraud, distortion and stagnation that they need to be totally abandoned immediately and traded for a better way of life (not system). Just my opinion.

    Regarding the concern about a measles – an objective look at the evidence of those who have objected from long ago to the entire theory of what measles is and how it comes about. It will become clear this is another area of duplicity at work.

    1. Kenly,

      Well put, thank you for commenting. I agree with what you wrote and am encouraged that there are some more discerning people out there.

      Being critical, skeptical, discriminating and discerning are a part of the true believer’s arsenal to ensure that we “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 21, 22.

      I have not looked into the measles angle yet but am now intrigued by your take on it.

      Thanks again!

  8. Allan,
    Thank you for laying out what really happened at this “revival”. So many more Christian conservative sources also dove deeper, some visited the “revival” personally. Everything about it was pre-planned by just out of sight promoters as you clearly listed, [100’s more easily googled].

    Our nation is fallen far away from biblical truth false teachers are leading so many institutions. These false teachers, prophets, are clearly warned of by Yeshua infiltrating the Body of Christ. Thank you for being on guard and defending truth, its time true Christians stand up and call out the false leaders of our day. Julie Roys is turning over all the rocks exposing the true condition of so many big name churches/ institutions. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Some people are so blind no amount of proof will ever convince them.

    1. Rakas,

      I appreciate your observations.

      We are sadly and certainly in the downward slide to mass apostasy. The false teachers are here in abundance and most people don’t even see the problems.

      The Messiah’s ecclesia became the “church”. An institution with a hierarchical/top down authority structure that does not exist in the New Covenant. Then the churches became businesses and corporations that front celebrity “pastors” and multisite temples made by human hands.

      In the search for fame and money they have forgotten “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:3

      Alan

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