As Asbury University closes revival services to the general public, the nonstop worship phenomenon has reached other schools, colleges and universities in the U.S. Contrary to surveys that Gen Zers are leaving churches, many young Americans are starting a spiritual revival.
Students from Eastern Kentucky University and The University of the Cumberlands led unscripted worship services following the event at nearby Wilmore, Kentucky, reports Vision Christian Media. Cumberlands campus minister Jacob Ratliff said he “would hesitate to call it a revival at this point,” but he was “seeing significant evidence of the Lord’s work.”
We have been encouraged by our students’ desires to see Christ exalted. —Jacob Ratliff, campus minister at The University of the Cumberlands
“We have been encouraged by our students’ desires to see Christ exalted,” he added. “They have organized two worship gatherings that have been impactful for our campus and local community.”
A similar prayer gathering began on February 13 at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. The Stone Chapel on campus was filled with about 350-400 people, according to Spectrum. The 24-hour prayer meeting lasted for four days until leaders announced a schedule of services so worshippers could rest and attend Sunday services in their own churches. Campus pastor Rob Fultz called it “a predominately spontaneous movement of prayer and a beautifully sacred movement that is ongoing.”
Also in Tennessee, Grace Christian Academy of Knoxville, a K-12 school, held an unplanned worship service for a week. The gathering of middle school students began with the annual tradition of Discipleship Days. “God can speak in showers or waves, and at last week’s Discipleship Days, He decided to flood our campus with His presence,” said GCA Upper School Principal Angie Nordhorn.
Student-led chapel services also started at Samford University in Alabama, Cedarville University in Ohio, Regent University in Virginia and Baylor University in Texas.
“As with Asbury, people are not sure what to call it,” said Dr. Dale M. Coulter of Pentecostal Theological Seminary (PTS), located on the Lee University campus. He revealed that he received reports of students rededicating their lives to Christ, deliverance from habits, and some healings. “University officials keep saying that it’s a student led prayer service but, at times, it has clearly become more than that.”
Students stayed until late for prayer, confession, worship, singing and praise until the early hours of the morning. Raylee Foster, a staff reporter with the Baylor Lariat, said the youth yearns for a spiritual awakening for years. “Everyone on staff who has been praying for this is excited but, for students, a lot saw what was happening at Asbury and that something like this was possible in our generation – and hungry for it.”
In an email interview with Juicy Ecumenism, Regent University Director of Campus Ministries Dr. Jeff Gossmann wrote, “God is making known His claim on GenZ. This generation has suffered so much loss due to the pandemic. This current outpouring is like a Bar/Bat-Mitzvah for GenZ. It is their coming-of-age party, where Jesus says to them, ‘I see you. Welcome to the table.’ It is like the party that the prodigal son’s father threw for him upon his return.”