Asbury University, located in Wilmore, KY, United States, was the stage for a large Revival experience that lasted for two weeks and attracted thousands of people to its campus. The Spiritual Revival started with local students and increasingly led to a pilgrimage of people coming from different parts of the United States as well as participants from other countries, who had learned about the event via social media. According to the various media outlets in the United States such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, The Atlantic, Fox News, and The Christian Broadcast Network – among other sources — some scholars describe this event as the first major spiritual revival of the 21st century in the United States. The event was spontaneous, and in an interview to Christianity Today Asbury University President, Kevin Brown, stated that this movement was led by students and “there was a classroom that got redeployed into almost a command center. If you walked in, there were flow charts on the wall and the whiteboards were covered with information. There was a volunteer check-in station. … It was one of the most impressive technical feats I’ve ever seen.”
The Wesleyan and Methodist tradition intersects with the history of revivals, starting with John Wesley’s religious experience of feeling his “heart strangely warmed” at Aldersgate Street in 1738 and the First Great Awakening. This evolved into a movement that led to camp meetings, revivals, and mass conversions in the United States at the beginning of the 19 th century – the second Great Awakening. These revivals had an impact on other movements such as Holiness, Salvation Army, Free Methodist, and other initiatives in the 20 th century which share the Wesleyan tradition and are now part of the World Methodist Council. Asbury University has its origins in this tradition, having been founded in 1890 as Asbury College, the first Methodist school in the state of Kentucky. One of its most renowned alumni was Stanley Jones, a Methodist evangelist and missionary to India who graduated from Asbury College in 1907.
Today, Asbury University has 5 academic units and nearly 2,000 students. Asbury Theological Seminary, across the street, became an independent institution in 1922. Asbury University has had a history of student revivals in its history – in 1905, 1908, 1921, 1950, 1958, and the famous “Revival of 1970” The “Asbury Revival of 2023” started on February 8, 2023, spread quickly to various other campuses in the United States, and continued for two weeks. With thousands of visitors arriving to Asbury University on a daily basis, the spontaneous event is being considered the first Great Revival of the 21 st century. For information, visit Asbury University website www.asbury.edu/academics/resources/library/archives/history/revivals/ and the university News Updates. The United Methodist News Service reported on the Revival also.