5 Ways Your Church Can Mirror the Asbury University’s Revival

Published: Mar 15, 2023
5 Ways Your Church Can Mirror the Asbury University’s Revival

We think nothing of shouting at a tv screen when our favorite sports team scores a touchdown. Don’t we owe Jesus a bit of the same fervor in our worship? 

On Wednesday, February 8th, 2023, Asbury Seminary held its normal chapel service. Zach Meerkreebs, the guest speaker, gave an ordinary challenge to the congregation members, and the worship team began to sing. But what they thought was a standard worship service turned into an outpouring of God's Spirit. This is not the first time Asbury University has seen revival. In the early 1970s, Asbury experienced a similar revival experience, and many people came to faith during that time. 

Many churches experienced this similar type of revival, including my own. The following Sunday after this revival was reported, after our worship team returned from a worship conference, our church broke out in a spontaneous expression of repentance, prayer, and worship. For an hour past each of our services, dozens of people came up to the altar on their knees and worshipped (including the worship team members), singing praises to God and asking him to be present with us. Many elders commented in their many years of attendance at our church, they had never seen anything like this. 

So how can churches experience their own revival? While there may be no rhyme or reason as to why a revival began in Asbury Seminary on an ordinary February morning, we can mirror some of the characteristics to welcome an outpouring of the Spirit in our local congregations. 

Here are six ways your church can mirror Asbury University’s revival:

1. Assume a Posture of Humility

Many churches limit themselves in the ways they express worship to God. They stand, or they sit. Although this may be found in more charismatic congregations, few conservative churches take the time to kneel or even lie prostrate on the floor in worship. Taking this posture in a public setting requires a massive dose of humility. To assume this posture, especially to those new to the faith, can be subject to ridicule or humiliation. People may laugh or make fun because people assume this posture. But worship is not about the people around you. It is about you and God. The attendance at Asbury Seminary threw off constraints and unabashedly worshipped the Lord. The Lord is greatly praised when this occurs, and churches who assume this similar posture may also see an outpouring of the Spirit in their churches. 

2. Ask the Lord

This may seem simplistic, but often, we make assumptions about God, and we assume he doesn't move in that way anymore, or he will not move in our church. But Scripture tells us we should ask God for everything, and he will decide according to his will if that request will be granted: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2). It is not for us to decide how the Lord chooses to move. Ask the Lord to move and then come expecting each week for him to do so.

3. Repent

Many people throughout the movement have gone up to ask for prayer for healing and repentance. While God still chooses to use us despite our sinful nature, repentance is a key ingredient to revival. Before you go to church next Sunday, take some quiet time with the Lord and ask the Lord to reveal any sins you might need to confess. Confession of sin and repentance of behavior are not only keys to having an intimate relationship with God but also contribute to a healthy congregation, and the Spirit can move freely. Although the Spirit’s movement is not contingent upon us being perfect, we do need to regularly confess any sin that might be a barrier to us and an intimate relationship with God. 

4. Pray for Others

Revival is not just for us, but it is for others as well. There have been testimonies from people at the Asbury seminary who felt called to go up to a stranger and pray for them. Revival not only strengthens our spirits, but it compels us to be prophets and priests to other people too. It is not squarely the pastor's job to care for the congregation. It is the pastor’s job to equip others so they may care for the congregation. If your church offers a time of prayer, take a leap of faith and go up to a friend and ask if there is anything you can pray for them. Don't leave it simply to the elders or your pastor to pray. Taking the time to interact with other people in your congregation, especially those whom you don't normally socialize with, will speak volumes about what God is doing in your life. God will use you in other people's lives if you let him. Tap someone on the shoulder, smile, and ask them if there's anything you can do to be of help to them. It will go a long way not only in your personal spiritual growth but in others' growth as well. 

5. Ask God for More

Your current Sunday church model may not make room for a group revival. That's okay. You can choose to have your own personal revival. For example, when was the last time you asked God for something big, something that seemed impossible to you, but would be a drop in the bucket to the Lord?  I call this going to the Lord with a “big ask.” Take a journal and write down some of the deepest desires of your heart. Commit to taking them to the Lord. How do you feel now that you have taken it to him? What stops you from going to him with all your “big asks”? 

When was the last time you had an extraordinary experience with the Lord in your quiet time? What happened? How did you feel? Did God speak? What did he say? What did he do? Ask the Lord to recreate this experience for you in your quiet time. Strive to make your quiet time anything but quiet! Try a different discipline. Try fasting if you’ve never tried it. Make solitude and silence a regular activity. Get into a place where you can experience silence and alone time. For some, this is more difficult, but if Jesus made it a priority to spend his mornings “in lonely places to pray,” then so can we. 

Try something new during Sunday worship time. Try shouting “Amen” at a moving moment in the sermon. How about your hands? How do you hold them in worship? We think nothing of shouting at a tv screen when our favorite sports team scores a touchdown. Don’t we owe Jesus a bit of the same fervor in our worship? How about singing? If you don’t feel like singing on Sunday, ask why. If our favorite tune comes on the radio, we will crank it and look like a fool in our car, but for the Lord? 

Strive to move out of your comfort zone and ask for more from God in your worship. Pray and be a blessing not only to yourself but also to others. Let’s worship him the other six days instead of waiting for Sunday to be the only day we experience God. When we look for him every day, our church (as well as us) can experience him in big ways.  

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Kativ

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

Related podcast:

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

So when sin is not being confronted, or even viewed as sin at all, it’s time to address it with the hope of gently helping to restore believers caught in its web. Here are 10 sins that often go overlooked in Christian community.

Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Soundstripe.com Thumbnail by Getty Images