People from around the world have descended on a small college campus in Kentucky (USA) to experience what is being called the “Asbury Revival.”
On February 8, some students stayed behind in the campus chapel after service ended to continue praying. Many others joined in and the chapel was eventually packed with prayerful students. Students continuously filled the chapel in the two weeks since then and the marathon of worship went viral on Christian social media. As of Tuesday, there have been nearly 80 million views of TikTok videos with the #AsburyRevival hashtag.
@lightguy06 #asburyuniversity #asbury #asburyrevival2023 #asburyrevival #asburycollege #jesus #jesuslovesyou #revival ♬ original sound – Zach
With tens of thousands of Christians coming to the campus to be a part of the revival, visitors dwarfed the number of actual students. Asbury University is a small college with only 1,600 students that is nestled in the small town of Wilmore, population of just over 6,000.
Eventually, the logistical issues of the small campus and town being overcrowded became too much and the school had to make the tough decision to end the 24/7 prayer service. Starting Tuesday, following two weeks of continuous prayer on campus, the school stated that further worship services would have to be moved off campus. Since then, local authorities have been redirecting traffic away from the town.
But how did a small campus in a rural Kentucky town become the scene of a revival that attracted thousands of Christians from around the world?
How it happened
The first and most obvious answer is the Holy Spirit. God works in the hearts of people and He has brought on many revivals in the past. And it shouldn’t be surprising that it would happen in a small town that most people would otherwise never visit and probably had never heard of before two weeks ago. After all, Jesus was born in a similar small town of little notoriety.
So yes, it happened because God did it. And God is in the business of doing miracles. It’s exciting to see God working in the hearts of so many people to bring them to passionate prayer and worship. Only God knows what will result from this time, but it seems clear that He’s doing something big here.
We also shouldn’t overlook the role of social media in this revival. God often uses technology to advance the Gospel. Just as He used the Roman roads and the printing press before, He also uses social media.
God often uses technology to advance the Gospel. Just as He used the Roman roads and the printing press before, He also uses social media.
Christian social media spreads the revival
Andrew Chew saw what was going on all the way in Australia and decided that he wanted to be part of what God was doing in Asbury, so he flew 10,000 miles to join. “We live in a digital age and things tend to go viral. This was trending on Instagram and TikTok,” he told NewsNation.
This event is being compared to the Asbury Revival of 1970, in which people prayed and worshiped together on the same campus for 144 hours. But in terms of the number of people involved, this one is much bigger. One reason for that is social media.
“It has absolutely been social media that is the mechanism that people found out about this,” Mark Whitworth, Asbury University’s vice president of communications, told NBC News.
The worship and prayer marathon quickly went viral and became the biggest topic on Christian social media. From a distance, people could join on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and pray from thousands of miles away. And then even the mainstream media picked up on it and started reporting on this story, which only amplified what God is doing and helped more people to learn about it.
As the social media shares increased, the movement spread beyond Asbury to other colleges. According to The Washington Post, similar revivals have spontaneously popped up at other U.S. universities, such as Samford University in Alabama, Belmont University in Tennessee, and Lee University in Ohio.
God is using social media
God using social media isn’t anything new. We hear tons of stories about people coming to Christ or first hearing about Jesus through social media.
People like Sarah, a woman in Central Asia who was treated as property by each of the husbands in her arranged marriages. She first heard about Jesus through a Facebook ad, started chatting with an online mentor through Messenger, and came to accept Jesus as savior.
And people like Susie, a college student who was struggling and didn’t know whether she believed God was real. But after she saw a Bible verse on Instagram that resonated with her, she started chatting with the owner of the account. After a lot of conversations on Instagram and a Zoom meeting, Susie came to believe that Jesus is Lord and accepted Christ.
While social media influencers around the world use their influence to make money promoting things like clothing and weight-loss teas, Christian influencers use those same platforms to share the Gospel. York Moore, an ex-atheist turned evangelist, has more than 630,000 followers on TikTok. He uses his influence on the app to talk about Jesus, engage in apologetics, and talk about some of the difficult questions people have about faith. He estimates that 220,000 people have prayed to receive Christ on his TikTok channel.
God is doing something amazing on the Asbury campus. He is also doing something amazing through social media accounts all around the world, and you don’t need to be an influencer with tons of followers to make an impact. Every Christian has the ability to use their digital footprint for God, as the viral #AsburyRevival posts show.