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History Recruitment

Are We Ready to Respond to a Surprising Work of God?

"The proof of any revival in history is not in the event itself, but in its outcome, its transformational effect on participants as well as broader society."

By now you’ve probably heard of the events at Asbury University which began on February 8. It has been called many things by participants and outside observers: a revival, a renewal, or an awakening. Whatever you choose to call it, since it began at Asbury, other colleges and universities have begun to have similar experiences, drawing the attention of many from around the country and around the world.

What are we to make of it?  Responses among believers have varied, as have the reasons for them. As a mission’s organization, we at Avant Ministries would do well to think about this from a historical perspective.

As historians and missiologists have noted, God has often used such events for his purposes in global missions.  Throughout history, from the Moravians to the Haystack Prayer Meeting, these kinds of events have often been the catalyst for great missions’ activity, especially among college-age students.

The late 19th century was a particularly notable time for world missions. Avant Ministries itself, founded in 1892, traces its history back to this period of heightened missions’ activity, growing out of the evangelistic efforts of the YMCA, which itself had strong connections to the Student Volunteer Movement. 

The proof of any revival in history is not in the event itself, but in its outcome, its transformational effect on participants as well as broader society. The great revivals have resulted in purity of living, positive social change, and increased or renewed engagement in global missions1. It is perhaps too soon to know in any detail about specific outcomes from what we can currently observe in Asbury, yet we pray for such transformation.

Many more examples could be given of how God has used extraordinary events in the lives of young people to profoundly shape global missions. So, while we must be discerning as we evaluate the events surrounding Asbury, as we learn from history, we also have reason for hopeful optimism. Who but God himself knows what future missionaries and leaders might be called through this?

To that end, pray that God would help us as individuals and as an organization to be ready to respond to however he may be using this for his own glory and greater purposes. Be discerning, yes, but also prayerfully adopt a posture of hopeful readiness to how the Lord may be working.

As you pray, consider reaching out to a student or anyone else you think might be affected by this. Perhaps ask them, “How has this affected you or your community?” and then be prepared to listen for how God may be working. We do not know what the result of this movement will be, but as we prayerfully seek the Lord and have intentional conversations with others, we adopt a ready posture to join the Lord in whatever he desires to do.

1For more about defining revival, see John Piper, Desiring God,

Ben Laur joined Avant Ministries in December 2022 as the Director of Recruitment. Ben graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2012, where he majored in Biblical Studies. In 2019, graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master's in Divinity. Before Avant, he served as an associate pastor of a church in the Kansas City area through their pastoral residency program.

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