LU students travel to Wilmore, Kentucky to participate in Asbury Revival
An ordinary Wednesday chapel service at Asbury University transformed into non-stop prayer as students continued to pray and worship. By the time it ended two weeks later, Inside Higher Education reported that 50,000 students from 260 colleges had come to pray.
The impact of the recent revival at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, stretches far beyond the confines of its campus. Even from miles away, Liberty students felt its weight, and several students traveled over seven hours to be a part of it for only a while before returning the same day. Those who visited the event have returned to campus changed.
Such was the case with Noahli Fisher, a junior studying psychology. Fisher never expected to travel to Asbury University. As she first saw videos and posts on social media about the ongoing chapel service, she thought it was nothing more than a cool story of God’s work elsewhere. As the week progressed, though, and the worship kept going, the magnitude of what was happening began to weigh on her.
“I just wanted to look back and know that I had chased the Lord as much as I could,” Fisher said. “I knew the Lord was moving so powerfully in that place, and I didn’t want something as silly as a road trip to stop me.”
At 4:30 in the morning of Monday, Feb. 20, Fisher left for Kentucky along with three other Liberty students, with hopes to make it to the 1 p.m. service. Though the worship at Asbury went on 24/7, the university set up a schedule for services starting Feb. 20 and going through Feb. 23. From 1-5 p.m., they had a service for the general public that consisted of worship, prayer and a time for sharing testimonies and scripture. From 7 p.m. until midnight, they held a service specifically for Gen Z’ers that included a sermon from Zack Meerkreebs, who had spoken at the first chapel service where students stayed late.
“(Asbury was) prioritizing ages 16-25,” Fisher said. “(The people) believe the Lord is really working in our generation, and it started with us. It was college kids that were hungry for the Lord and his Spirit … so (Asbury) wanted it to end with us.”
Throughout the experience, the university’s posture toward the outpouring struck Fisher. Representatives of the university that spoke at the services refused to give themselves or the university credit for the movement, crediting God solely.
“Asbury’s main message that they spoke was ‘radical humility,’” Fisher said. “(The people) were so extremely humble — none of the students took credit, no one took credit at all.”
The ongoing worship and prayer at Asbury have now finished, as the university decided it could no longer sustain the event and did not want to force its continuance.
While some people have speculated on the genuineness of what happened, Fisher does not doubt the authenticity of the revival.
“I felt the Holy Spirit, and I saw (my friends) feel it and get (emotionally moved) by it ,” Fisher said. “You can’t fabricate (God’s) presence.”
Some, including Asbury itself, hesitate to call these events a revival. The school prefers to use the word “outpouring” to describe the movement of God on campus. Fisher said it felt like a touch of heaven on earth.
“I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence immediately … it was so tangible,” Fisher said. “It felt like a reminder of … why it’s so important that we share the gospel (with everyone) that we can … because we want everyone to be able to experience that.”
Regardless of others’ opinions, Fisher confidently believes that this event comes from God and not from man.
“Nothing would be happening if God wasn’t present. There would be no revival if God wasn’t present,” Fisher said. “It’s all because of him.”
When Fisher came back to campus after her time away, she felt a jarring shift in perspective. She compared nearly everything at Liberty to her experience at Asbury and hesitated to talk about her trip because she didn’t want to come across as prideful.
“When I got back … it felt like coming home from a vacation,” Fisher said. “I just kept thinking ‘I just want to be back there.’”
Her mindset soon changed, though, and she began seeing more of the ways God was and is moving on Liberty’s campus that she had never noticed before. The prevalence of the Holy Spirit at Asbury deeply impacted her and affected her perception of his work moving forward.
“I think you have to invite the Holy Spirit into your daily life,” Fisher said. “You have to understand the effect and the significance of God’s presence and run after it.”
Fisher has encountered many students who question why the same type of movement has not yet struck Liberty. From Fisher’s point of view, she thinks her time away helped her see that God doesn’t need to work in the same way all the time.
“Just because we don’t have a worship service going on for 100+ hours doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t still here,” Fisher said. “He wants to be in your life just as much as he wants to be at Asbury.”
Campbell is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion