Written by The Northerner’s Emily Sisk
Over 200 hours have passed since a Christian revival broke out at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky outside of Lexington. And it is still ongoing.
The private Christian university’s movement inspired a revival of its own on Northern Kentucky University’s campus last Wednesday.
Hundreds of students, faculty and staff made their way to Loch Norse and the steps of The Oakley and Eva G. Farris Amphitheater, singing songs of worship, saying prayer and some even being baptized in the waters of Loch Norse.
Senior Patrick Flynn, a member of the campus ministry College Life, could be seen playing guitar and singing songs of praise on Wednesday night. The organizational leadership major said his inspiration for a revival-based event came after he visited Asbury for himself on Monday.
“You could feel the presence of God in that room,” Flynn said of Hughes Memorial Auditorium at Asbury, the place where revival began on Feb. 8 and has continued ever since. “I was sitting with my friend and he was like, ‘How do we walk away from this different?’”
From Tuesday night into Wednesday, the senior kept talking to his friends and fellow members of College Life who felt there was no reason a similar event couldn’t take place at the Highland Heights university. Then, he received a call from a friend at Cedarville University, a private Christian college in Ohio. Cedarville had experienced revival on their campus, according to the friend, and their president had encouraged them to spread the movement to other public universities around the region. That’s when Flynn and other College Life members knew they were all in.
As Wednesday afternoon approached, word started to spread via social media. At 5:30 p.m., the first people began to arrive at The Farris Amphitheater. With just their instruments and voices, campus ministry leaders began singing worship songs and praying for the campus.
And then more people came.
Members of the Baptist Campus Ministry toted their sound system and keyboard from their on-campus building to the outdoor area. Musicians rotated in and out to give others a break. A cross was constructed out of two-by-fours purchased by Flynn and propped up with bricks found lying nearby.
The event lasted until 2 a.m. with 15 people baptized and even more proclaiming salvation, according to Flynn.
While the event turned out to be a successful movement of the spirit to the ministry leaders, they had some doubts beforehand.
Alex Aaron, another member of College Life, remembered feeling nervous that the revival would get shut down.
“I didn’t know if we were gonna have to move off campus or not, if that was a disruption of on-campus policy,” Aaron said. “But even administration that I don’t think loved what was happening were fine with allowing us to stay on campus.”
For those who don’t agree with the representation held on Wednesday night or possible future displays, the College Life students encourage them to come experience it for themselves. They are open to answering questions and feel they are acting in obedience to what the Christian faith calls them to do.
“When people think of the word Christian, they think of this hateful person that will condemn you for how you’ve been living your life. And that’s just not our life,” Flynn said.
Aaron said their intention was to love people, teach them about the love of Jesus and pray that they would believe and accept the gift of eternity. The senior feels there can be a shift in the lives of Gen Z, where depression and suicide rates are the highest of any generation.
Senior Austin Klosterman attended Wednesday night’s revival, and noted how even though members of various campus ministries attended or led the movement, there was no division.
“The biggest thing from the whole night that stood out to me was when everyone unified under the name of Christ and not under the name of their organization,” Klosterman said.
The Christian cross, representative of the crucifixion of Jesus, remains at The Farris Amphitheater for all to see.
“If anything happens to the cross we’ll be excited because that means someone had to look at that,” Aaron said.
As far as what the future holds, the students are hopeful the movement won’t be over after one night.
“We’ve talked about doing something like this again,” Flynn said. “I don’t think this will be the last time.”