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Seeking God at Asbury University – Barren Co. Progress

Allyson Dix, Jobe Publishing, Inc.

Assisted by Mary Beth Sallee


People from across the nation have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to the small town of Wilmore, Ky. to worship, praise, and feel God’s presence in an ongoing worship service sparked by the youth of a university that many are calling The Asbury Revival.

The massive amount of people that made their way to Asbury University has captured the attention of the world and the many denominations of Christianity matter not. All that matters is seeking God’s presence and praising Him. In a time where most Christians are voicing the ever-increasing presence of darkness spreading across the nation, God is making His Holy presence known to believers and unbelievers on an immense scale beginning with Asbury.

The influx of people to the small community just southwest of Lexington has wrapped the entire university grounds daily with people waiting hours to get into the Hughes Memorial Auditorium where, on Feb. 8, the revival began following a Wednesday service. Ultimately, attendees are returning home with a revived exuberance for sharing God’s love, which is causing the movement to spread like wildfire as thousands are returning to their first love, Jesus.

Many locals have trekked the journey to Asbury to experience the Spirit of God moving and a few of those have shared their experiences.

Tyler Chapman of Glasgow, a Rocky Hill native to be exact, traveled over two hours with his family before arriving at Asbury on Feb. 13 and said he felt the presence of God in the chapel.

“I felt the presence of the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) and His outpouring on our hearts while there was humbling,” Chapman said, “Seeing how far we have gotten away from His Word and His Will, it’s a blessing seeing that He is working with people in a mighty way.”

Hundreds of people waiting to enter the Hughes Memorial Auditorium on Feb. 13 for The Asbury Revival. Photo courtesy of Tyler Chapman

Chapman, who describes himself as a Torah-pursuant believer in Yeshua (Hebrew name for Jesus), said being in the midst of the worship service was as a “beautiful symphony of brothers and sisters coming together to return the breath that YHVH gave us to Him in praise.”

“Everyone was focused on one thing, which was the giving praise and glory to The Most High God,” Chapman continued. When asked more specifically about what he personally witnessed, Chapman said he was so engaged in praising God and trying to draw near to Him that he wasn’t focused on what others were doing individually.

“Only the collective goal was most notable, which was welcoming the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

In the five hours Chapman and his family were at Asbury, he explained the congregated people were completely unconcerned about theological stances or interpretations. “We were all there in one accord, crying out to The Father and welcoming His Spirit,” he said, adding that this is detailed in Revelation in the kingdom–everyone in covenant with YHVH singing praise and worship to Him.

Tonya Wells of Knob Lick, formerly from Barren County, said she chose to attend The Asbury Revival for several reasons. She and her cousin, Melissa Collins, planned a weekend trip after seeing the heavy social media presence of posts and videos.

Cousins Melissa Collins (left) and Tonya Wells (right) at the Asbury Revival during a weekend trip in front of Asbury Hughes Memorial Auditorium. Photo courtesy of Tonya Wells

Wells said, “We both have been praying for many years for a great revival and most importantly, we wanted to see many come to faith in Jesus/Yeshua.”

“We’ve been concerned about the younger generations and the strong enticing pull of the world,” she said, “Just a few weeks ago all of social media was abuzz over the demonic displays presented by music artists at the Grammies.” Years ago, Wells added, this would never have been allowed and now it’s accepted.

She touched on the increasing drug epidemics raging across the decades and the devastating effects that alone brings families and communities, as well as other issues.

“Sexual perversion as defined in the Bible is flooding our schools,” Wells explained, “Children raised in Christian homes are being immersed in these anti-biblical ideologies every day by their peers while the commandments of God that use to be held in high reverence are seen as outdated or unloving.” It is a true representation of a great falling away by the generations that are following behind us, she added.

Wells said her experience at Asbury was an empowering feeling, a feeling of total peace with intense joy, to be surrounded by thousands of men and women of faith. “It’s like going to battle with many warriors by your side.”

The Asbury Revival has gained scrutiny over the gathering with even Christ-believers questioning the movement and some going as far as to say it is an emotional and fanatical event.

The naysayers of the Asbury Revival have valid points, Wells explained. “There are great concerns about Asbury not being a true revival and the many others popping up across Kentucky,” she said, detailing some of those as no preacher and no salvation being preached and singing isn’t true repentance or signs of revival.


The Asbury Revival began on Feb. 8 following a Wednesday evening service on the campus of Asbury University. Led by the youth, pictured is many praising and seeking God inside the Hughes Memorial Auditorium. Photo courtesy of Tonya Wells


Wells referenced The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, “It says go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” She is confident the Asbury experience is God-ordained and many are crying out to God for revival. Testimonies of salvation, re-dedication, and deliverance are happening.

It is her hope that the revival movement continues to spark excitement, hunger, and passion for God all across the world. “I want to see an army of believers who are able to push back the adversary and bring the kingdom of God to this earth.”

Wells considers herself of the Messianic denomination but points out the attendees were able to remove all walls of denomination and seek God together in worship, “As one body…the bride of Christ.”

Hart County Pastor Scott Coats of Rowletts Baptist Church said he had a moment like Moses in Exodus 3 when he saw the burning bush after learning about and seeing videos of the Asbury Revival outbreak. He alongside several others made their way to Wilmore on Feb. 14.

“I knew I could keep my distance and hear 1,000 different opinions about this revival from people who knew absolutely nothing about it or I could just travel a couple of hours and find out for myself what all the fuss was about,” Coats said. The group waited in line for a couple of hours before entering Hughes Auditorium and once inside, the nearly 1,500-seat capacity was full of people worshipping God with overflow areas that spilled outside the auditorium. Accommodations were made for those outside with large screens and sound of the main worship area.

Hughes Memorial Auditorium was constructed in 1929 and according to the university’s website, it has been the scene of many great spiritual awakenings and witnessed a number of revivals including the well-known revival in Feb. 1970, which ultimately led to some 2,000 witness teams that went out from Wilmore to churches and around 130 college campuses around the nation.

Attendees of the The Asbury Revival praying. Photo courtesy of Tonya Wells

“We heard a sermon on True Sacrificial Love while in the auditorium–a picture of what the church should really look like,” Coats said, “Different denominations, different races, different ethnicities, and very different backgrounds coming together for one common cause, to tell the world that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!”

When it comes to The Asbury Revival, Pastor Coats said it’s not for him to endorse, however, his experience was one he says was beneficial to the body of Christ and according to scripture.

“But what I can endorse is God was very present during our visit because I do know him. He was with me before I got to Asbury but sometimes in certain settings, we can see him more clearly than others. We clearly seen him there in the worship and in the Word and in the love displayed by all we encountered.”

Over the past 25 years, Coats has experienced several outstanding moments in ministry, some great revivals, and services, but is unsure if he’s ever been in a service quite like the one experienced at Asbury.

“I don’t care what name is over your church door, I don’t have the promise of eternal life because I’m a Baptist,” Coats said, “I have the promise of eternal life because of my faith in the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. Our faith must be in Christ…and that is what the atmosphere was filled with, a lot of Jesus and very little of man, and I desire more of that.”

It appears Coats is not alone in his desire. As of press time on Feb. 21, The number of people coming to The Asbury Revival has made such an overwhelming impact on the small town’s infrastructure that logistical changes have been implemented, which included a final public worship service on Feb. 20 for Asbury’s campus. Many say the move indicates the ending of the revival.

On Sunday, Asbury University President Kevin Brown shared in a video message on the school’s website details on the decisions for the changes. “While it’s true Thursday evening will conclude the last service at Hughes Auditorium on the Asbury campus, we know this is not a conclusion to the hungry hearts being stirred and response by seeking Jesus Christ,” Brown said in the video.

More information on the changes in The Asbury Revival can be found at as well the video message from the university’s President.

Paul Grider, Pastor of The Way Church in Horse Cave, also experienced similar outpourings of the Holy Spirit at the revival when he and his family attended the student-led service.

Grider said The Way Church has been experiencing similar things, “The altar is full of people praying and repenting, people are being saved and delivered every week.”

“We truly believe that a great move of God is taking place all around and we need to do whatever we can to be a part of it.”

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