A Full Circle Moment at the Asbury University Revival

I grew up on a dairy farm in Cave City, Kentucky, and every year I make a trek back to visit my family and friends. It just so happened that this year the revival at Asbury University coincided with the time I had planned to see my family and attend a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game on Saturday, February 18, in Lexington. So I suggested to my almost-16-year-old daughter, Journey Grace, that we drive the 17 miles from Rupp Arena to Wilmore to visit the revival at Asbury University after the game.

The road from Lexington to Wilmore is a two-lane backcountry road that twists and turns, and as we got closer, the traffic picked up with cars and trucks in a line that stretched for miles. We arrived around 5:30 p.m., parked and walked … and walked … to get to the lengthy line that had formed to get into Hughes Auditorium. We later learned on social media that there were 25,000 people at the revival on that day alone, and Chick-fil-A had come by earlier in the day to feed everyone. 

As we arrived to the line, three young women with a portable sound system set up on the grassy area near one of the administrative buildings shared instructions with us. They said, if anyone was Gen Z to come to them directly, and they would walk them to a different line and get them in sooner. I knew this would be the case ahead of time, and even if I never got in I wanted to get my Gen-Z daughter into the service. She texted me that she got in about 30 minutes after we arrived.

I remained in the regular line and got to know a myriad of people from all over the area and even other parts of the world. It was truly refreshing and amazing to behold the zeal and intensity that everyone demonstrated as they all braved the cold temperatures. 

As night fell and darkness descended, the line slowed, but the energy and anticipation grew. I reached a point where I couldn’t feel my feet or hands from the cold, and then eventually my body from the waist down was numb. It didn’t matter to me; I felt the power and energy. From the livestream broadcast in the grassy area, you could see and hear the transformation of the Spirit moving and descending on people. The guy behind me in line was from Indiana. He had driven a few hours to participate. The couple in front of me were from Frankfort, Kentucky, and I am grateful for the handwarmers they gave me as we passed the hours getting to know one another.

Periodically, different people would leave the auditorium, walk down the long line of people waiting to get in, and share testimonies of what was going on inside and how the Holy Spirit had visited them. One guy said he stood in line for 8 hours to get in, and it was worth every minute. Another young woman was walking down the street with tears streaming down her face, talking with exuberance on the phone with someone about how God had visited her and had spoken directly to her.

You could see and hear people moving in and out of the different chapels where either the service was being broadcast or other live events were occurring. There was a joy and life to it that took me back to my childhood days at county fairs. It also reawakened in me memories of tent revivals I had attended as a kid. The energy was palpable, fresh, vibrant, inviting and simple. It was what I imagine Peter, James and John felt on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was fellowship on mission. It was so life-giving to see so many people, especially young people, seeking after the heart of God. 

One man who attended said, “How can anyone condemn this? Seeing young people weeping, confessing, repenting and calling out to God … there’s nothing better!”

A Full Circle Moment

Ten days prior, Zach Meerkreebs had given a message in chapel that played a part in launching this massive outpouring of God’s presence—a sermon he thought he had “totally whiffed.” I have known Zach for a long time. He is now a sincere follower of Jesus, but many years ago I remember him as an unbelieving Jew who was led to Christ by Joe Schulman, Zach’s soccer coach and a member of Vanguard, our church in Colorado Springs. One of our former Vanguard pastors [and Outreach magazine contributing editor], Alan Briggs, also played a key part in discipling Zach. 

I wasn’t going to bother Zach knowing his hands were full with all that was happening, but I texted Joe, and he encouraged me to reach out to him, so hesitantly, I texted him. Zach was home that night taking a break from revival and ministering to his family. He was bummed we couldn’t connect, but I told him not to worry, because I was there for my daughter.

Meanwhile, God was speaking to my daughter Journey Grace inside Hughes Auditorium. She felt called to step out of her comfort zone and do something she didn’t think she would ever do. She sent the following text to a wayward loved one:

“Hi, I am at Asbury College right now and I don’t know if you have seen anything about it, but God is creating a revival. Jesus loves you and is chasing after you. God desires you and He has a specific plan for you. He WANTS you and He loves you. He is moving and He will move in and with you if you let Him. He loves you, I love you. I know you might not like this, but God has so much for you than this. let Him move. His heart breaks for the pain you feel, so let Him be your hiding place and your rock. I pray you find peace in God.”

The next day I sent this to Zach:

“I want to share how God used this Asbury Revival in my family last night. I never got in. I watched on the screen outside. But my youngest daughter, Journey Grace, got in. She stayed for a few hours and worshiped and prayed. 

“Last night in the chapel God spoke to J.G. and she sent a text to someone dear to us.

“Zach, thank you for being faithful and stewarding where God called you and what God has called you to do. Our family was blessed by God last night through it. It was a Divine and defining moment in my almost-16-year-old’s life and future, and we pray for our wayward loved one. May revival swell in the days ahead in this Divine moment. 

“Holiness unto the Lord!” 

It amazes me how God brings everything full circle. 

God called us from Kentucky to Colorado. In that time, our church has gotten to see 3,333 people make a public profession of their faith in Jesus and follow him in believer’s baptism—one of whom was Zach. God then called Zach and his family back to my motherland, and God used Zach to birth a revival that deeply impacted hundreds of thousands—including my family—at one our greatest and darkest points of pain. 

I am so grateful for the faithfulness of God to use Zach. I am so grateful for the outpouring of revival that we as a pastor’s family have already experienced in the deep, dark pain of our lives. We pray that the ripple effects of this will not just be temporary but long lasting and everlasting and impact the entire globe before it is over. 

Please don’t hate on what is happening in Wilmore, Kentucky. This place is electric with God’s presence, and it has sparked a revival and renewal in the hearts of a new generation who long to see God move again in miraculous ways. 

May revival sweep across our land, our nation and our world for the glory of Jesus and our good. And may God call missionaries to the field, pastors to the pulpit, and church planters to break the hard soil of unbelief and unleash a new movement of church plants led by Gen Z for Jesus’ glory. 

Come Lord Jesus and unleash a new move of your presence, we ask, in Jesus’ name. 

Holiness unto the Lord! 

We pray, Lord, heal our land (2 Chron. 7:14). 

Keep it simple.

Keep it real.

Keep it going in Jesus’ Name.

Read more from Kelly M. Williams » 

This article originally appeared on Patheos.com and is adapted here by permission.