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Baptist-affiliated schools among those reporting revival

Samford University students worship in Reid Hall. Spontaneous worship events have sprung up at several college campuses, including at least two affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Photo from Samford/Facebook

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Scenes of college students singing, praying, confessing sin and reading Scripture aloud have spread in recent weeks, including at least two universities affiliated with Southern Baptists.

It was nothing unusual when a few Samford University students gathered in Reid Chapel the evening of Feb. 15 to play the piano, strum a guitar and worship, campus pastor Bobby Gatlin told Baptist Press.

But then another student showed up who felt called to pray for a revival on campus.

Then a few more.

Then a few more.

Soon, texts began flying and word spread. Students leaving the Pete Hanna Center, where their Bulldogs had dispatched UNC Greensboro, made their way across campus to Reid.

By 10 p.m., several hundred were there. They stayed until 3 a.m.

“College students are hungry for authentic faith,” said Gatlin. “They long to experience a Christianity that is real and meaningful.”

On Feb. 16, students gathered again at 1 p.m. and remained until 1 a.m. They did so again Friday (Feb. 17), staying throughout the day for prayer before a worship service held at 3 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 18) brought additional photos and videos on social media of those gathered at Reid Chapel.

The Feb. 14 chapel service at Cedarville University continued past its regular time and then continued again later that night, said President Thomas White.

“I love our students and their passion for Jesus!” he wrote in a Facebook post. “God may be stirring hearts across the country. Pray! Pray for wisdom on how to steward this moment and for a genuine authentic outpouring of God’s Grace and power.”

White reported that several students had given their lives to Christ during the time of praying, reading Scripture, sharing testimonies and worship. Students were further encouraged to go to other universities to share the Gospel. Another two-hour worship service is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Since students at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., continued to meet following a chapel service on Feb. 8, similar events have been reported at other college campuses on social media.

The gatherings at Samford have been mostly student led, said Gatlin, with guidance from his team in the Office of Spiritual Life. He estimates that crowds have reached 1,000 with multiple reports of students growing closer to Christ and three confirmed salvations.

“This movement is a grassroots stirring that can only be explained by the Spirit of God working in the lives of individuals and small groups of students who are coming together in faith,” said Gatlin, who has more than 30 years of student ministry experience.

“For several years, multiple students have prayed for and asked about revival. I think God is answering those prayers in a powerful way and is bringing about life transformation.”