On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Asbury University chapel service that started on Feb. 8 came to a close as the National Collegiate Day of Prayer was broadcasted live from the campus’ Hughes Auditorium where it all began 15 days earlier.
University president Kevin Brown addressed the packed auditorium Thursday night, recounting what has taken place over the last couple of weeks. In addition to Asbury University students, the small four-year, multi-denominational institution of approximately 1,600 students witnessed “colleges and universities representing over 200 schools,” Brown said.
“Students flocking in from all over the country have joined with us over the last couple of weeks, and other guests have come from every region of the United States and even from pockets from the world,” the president shared.
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As he has stated before, Brown reiterated that the continuous, student-led worship service wasn’t planned, adding, “This was not a function of an innovative state of the art facility. It was not a function of a slick marketing scheme. There was no program planning committee, and it’s not because of celebrities or professional musicians. This has been a nameless, titleless movement, and tonight will be no different.”
ChurchLeaders was told that many known worship leaders, musicians, and pastors requested opportunities to lead during the worship services but were turned down by administration. The leadership at Asbury University felt led by the Holy Spirit to keep the event student-led and didn’t want well-known names to distract from what God was doing.
Thursday night was no different. Notable names such as Francis Chan, Rick Warren, and Allen Hood were previously scheduled help lead during the National Collegiate Day of Prayer before the continuous multi-week service broke out. After discussions between Asbury University administration and the National Collegiate Day of Prayer team, they felt it best to continue with the theme of event being 100% celebrity-free.
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“I am a firsthand witness of radical humility, of humanizing compassion, raw confession and honesty, a self emptying consecration, and life-altering commitment,” Brown stated. “What started with students has, over just a couple of weeks, swelled to thousands upon thousands of hungry-hearted guests. What is happening here is truly extraordinary.”
Brown said the one of the most inspiring things he has ever witnessed was the “selflessness displayed by many to create space at the table.”
“Please hear this,” Brown pleaded. “The trajectory of renewal is always deeper. The trajectory of renewal is always outward. Discipleship, habituating practices that make us more like Christ, the missional instinct to bend the universe in favor of our neighbor, in favor of the widow, in favor of the orphan, in favor of the alien. The compulsion to bear witness to a different King into a different kingdom and the political statement that Jesus is Lord.”