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Record 20,000 Attend Asbury Revival: 'God Is Calling Back His People to Intimacy'

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Feb 22, 2023
Record 20,000 Attend Asbury Revival: 'God Is Calling Back His People to Intimacy'

Record 20,000 Attend Asbury Revival: 'God Is Calling Back His People to Intimacy'

A crowd of 20,000 people poured into Wilmore, Ky., over the weekend to experience the Asbury University revival, even as school officials prepare to shift the public portion of the event to another site.

The revival began on Feb. 8 during a regularly scheduled chapel service at Asbury’s Hughes Auditorium and has been going nonstop ever since. Monday marked the 13th day of the revival. Before Tuesday morning arrives, the revival will have passed 300 consecutive hours.

Monday will be the final public service of the revival, according to Asbury. Beginning Tuesday, services “available to the public will be held at another location in the central Kentucky area,” Asbury said. Asbury will host evening services for college-age and high school students (25 and under) through Thursday, Feb. 23.

Greg Gordon, who has followed the Asbury revival since its inception, told Christian Headlines that a law enforcement official in Wilmore had estimated the weekend crowd size at 20,000. Gordon has been speaking to pastors on the ground and was driving cross-country to Wilmore from California on Monday. He is the founder of and has been one of the go-to sources on social media for information about the revival.

Timothy Tennent, the president of the university’s sister institution Asbury Theological Seminary, called it the “largest crowds yet in Wilmore.”

Wilmore’s population is 6,000.

God wants to revive the church, Gordon said.

“God is calling back his people to intimacy and first love with Him,” Gordon told Christian Headlines. “I believe that this is the opportunity for people who are away from the Lord that they [could] be more intimate with Jesus, if they would just cry out [and] experience that personal revival, His presence.”

The nationwide focus on the small community has led to out-of-towners like Gordon driving to campus and standing in line for hours in order to enter Hughes. Asbury officials opened up at least five other locations on campus to accommodate the crowd. Individuals in those buildings were viewing the revival on a simulcast.

“Lines are long and we cannot guarantee entrance to Hughes,” a statement from Asbury said.

Gordon believes “two things” sparked the revival. First, he said, “America, Canada and the Western” have “spurned God” and have not fought evil with “prayer and with the love of God.”

“We've allowed these things to happen – and the world has infiltrated the church faster than the church is infiltrating the world,” Gordon said. “He sent this love awakening – a gentle, sweet presence of God that heals, that calms, that gives people peace in anxiety. And I believe it could be a relief before what is coming. In history, you see it many times [that] revival came before calamity or revival came after calamity, World Wars, or major events. And I think this is a mercy time for us to press in and to experience as much of God, of this, as we can because it's for our strengthening. … And it will help the Christians to be strong in the Lord, to minister to other people in a time of calamity."

Second, Gordon said, God wants to revive His people.

“Prayer should be something you want to do – not that you have to,” Gordon said. “Worship is something you get to do. It just changes everything when you have that first love with Jesus.”

The revival, Gordon added, is "not about personalities, not about celebrities, famous bands or preachers, or a college.”

“It's about Jesus,” Gordon said.


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Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Hannah Busing

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Record 20,000 Attend Asbury Revival: 'God Is Calling Back His People to Intimacy'