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Two-week revival ends on Kentucky college campus, but students say the spirit lives on

Posted at 11:17 AM, Feb 24, 2023

WILMORE, Ky. — After about two weeks of song and prayer at Asbury University, the on-campus revival services have reached a conclusion.

The final service ended late Thursday night, with people allowed to stick around in Hughes Auditorium until midnight.

The revival caught the attention of people across the globe, bringing tens of thousands into the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky. The university earlier announced the services to wrap up to allow their students to return to a normal academic schedule, and for people who live in the community to get relief from traffic and other challenges. The revival “exceeded capacity” on Sunday.

Earlier in the week, anyone over 25 had to watch via a live stream from a church across the street, and before that, hours were limited, putting an end to what was once a true non-stop service.

Asbury students Caleb Rushing and Lucy Kate Gray were at the first service on February 8. They returned for the final service on Thursday.

“I have personally rededicated my life to Jesus. My faith has been transformed through this,” Rushing said.

Rushing and Gray consider the revival, itself, not to be over because they don't believe they need to be at Asbury to experience it.

“It’s not going to end,” Rushing said. "Everybody who’s seeing this, everybody who’s experiencing it— whether it’s here in person, whether it’s over the phone, whether it’s halfway across the world, Jesus is in those places the same way they are seeing him here and so revival can happen anywhere at any time."

Across the street from the university, area businesses have seen the past few weeks as both a blessing and a challenge.

“It kind of put us on the map,” Fitch’s IGA Grocery store owner Leonard Fitch.

For Subway franchisee David Wier, the main challenge has been running out of food.

“It'll be nice to get back to a normal day, but again, I'm excited for what God has done for people's lives here,” Wier said.

Some people told Scripps News Lexington that they plan to return to Asbury this week, even if they can only be on the lawn. A university spokesperson said they would not remove people and would even still have prayer teams on site.

“We recognize if someone did travel here, we don’t want to just say, ‘Sorry see you later,’” said Abby Laub, the university’s communications director. “We believe in hospitality.”

She said the coolest thing to come out of all this is to see the unity among college kids, adding more than 210 colleges and universities were represented.

This story was originally reported by Ricky Sayer for Scripps News Lexington.