Do Student-led Revivals Produce Lasting Fruit?

Man kneeling praying for revival

This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.

I am praying that this spontaneous time of repentance, prayer, worship through song, and sharing from Scripture that began at Asbury University on Wednesday, February 8, and is now spreading to other universities like Samford University, is the beginning of a great move of the Holy Spirit. A question I receive is, “Do these kinds of student revivals have any lasting fruit?” In other words, are they only a “flash in the pan”? Throughout history, God has used young people as His instruments to spread many revivals and awakenings. I am convinced that God used students to shake our nation in 1970: 

1. On February 3, 1970, an “ordinary” chapel service lasted 185 hours non-stop. This revival spread to 130 campuses around the U.S.A.

2. Asbury students were invited to share in churches all over the country. Many places they shared would experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. One example is the South Main Church of God in Anderson, Indiana. Revival broke out after the students shared. The church was packed each night for 50 consecutive days. Numerous people gave their hearts and lives to Christ.

3In 1970, the Jesus People Movement exploded on the scene with thousands upon thousands of young people turning to faith in Jesus Christ.

4In 1970, 2,000 youth were baptized in the Pacific Ocean through Calvary Chapel in California.

5. In 1970, after Asbury students shared, revival broke out at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

6In 1971, the SBC Home Mission Board reported there were “continuous signs of spiritual awakening in our Convention, especially among the youth.”

7. In 1971, Pastor John Bisagno, First Baptist Houston, told his people he would “rather see hippies sitting on the floor at their church worshiping Jesus than sitting on a park bench smoking pot.” The resulting FBC revivals saw 4,011 young people saved, requiring the church to hire another pastor to handle the necessary follow-up and baptisms.

8. In 1972, The SBC recorded a record number of youth evangelized and also an increase in SBC seminary enrollments.

9. Campus Crusade’s Expo ‘72 brought 80,000 delegates to Dallas with over 150,000 attending a Jesus music festival that lasted eight hours.

10. God changed countless people’s lives (I am one who was changed as a result of the 1970 Asbury Revival). Churches were revived, and a renewed seriousness about the Great Commission in missions was evident in the SBC and other evangelical churches. 

In retrospect, the 1970 Asbury Revival was a move of God that furthered the kingdom of God in the United States. Will this latest Asbury Revival impact our entire country? Only time will tell. However, I agree with Tim Beougher, one of my professors at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said, “Every believer ought to be on their knees in prayer, praying for God to do something. Our churches desperately need revival. Our nation desperately needs awakening. We ought to all be crying out to God, asking Him to do something new.” Let us pray that God will spread the flame of revival and change our lives, churches, communities, state, nation, and world. May God alone receive all the glory!