The First Asbury Revival

In God’s timing, the movie Jesus Revolution was released just as the campus of Asbury College was becoming the focus of a spontaneous spiritual renewal happening among the students. Everything about our current American culture cries out for spiritual renewal: unprecedented violence, drug abuse, the search for personal identity and the cries for social justice. Whether you call it renewal, revival or revolution, our world needs Jesus as much as anytime in history.

I came to know Jesus in a deep, personal way in 1969 in Alabama at a place which came to be called “The Mission.” It was an abandoned convenience store with idle gas pumps still standing outside. But, there was no doubt that God was moving among my classmates, calling people to repentance and forgiveness each night at those services. So at the invitation of one of my classmates, a high school cheerleader, I made my way to “The Mission.”

The rest is history. Jesus revolutionized my life and I began to share my faith and answered Jesus’ call to follow Him in ministry. More than 2 million miles of travel by air and having lived in more than 26 different places, I think I understand a little about one of the most instrumental Christian men in American history, Francis Asbury, after whom the Asbury College and subsequent revivals have been named.

I am a product of the wave of young people who came to Christ during the late 60’s and early 70’s. The 1970 revival on Asbury campus had expanded through teams of young disciples spreading throughout the country telling the stories of their own life transformation through Christ. They even came to small towns and communities of 600 people, like the one I called home. By that time, however, I was 18 years old and preaching as a "lay pastor" of two small rural churches. I was not unlike those who followed the Lord after hearing Francis Asbury preach then going out into the frontier communities of early America.

English-born Francis Asbury had a 45-year ministry in America, he traveled on horseback or in carriage an estimated 300,000 miles, delivering some 16,500 sermons. When Asbury arrived in America in October 1771, there were only 600 Methodists in America. By the time he died in 1816, they numbered more than 200,000 and his legacy continued through the 4,000 preachers he led who roamed through the emerging frontier communities of America, telling the story of Jesus. By the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, there were more than 1.5 million Methodist believers.¹

We need spiritual renewal in America, no doubt! But what we need as well, are more young men and women like Francis Asbury. They answer the call to be missionaries to the unreached and ministers to those in communities which have a dying church or no church at all. They travel, they sacrifice and serve selflessly for the sake of Christ. The first “Asbury revival” took place in 1771 in the heart of one young 26-year-old man with no formal education willing to leave everything and follow Christ. The Lord Jesus continues to call young men and women to change their lives, then go out to change their world.

Pray for more workers in every country to saturate their countries with the Gospel, every town, every village until everyone, everywhere has heard the Good News.

Bob circle

By Bob Craft

Reach A Village Founder and President

Bob's ministry background of over four decades includes service as a pastor, missionary, and evangelical missions leader. He believes that the most efficient and cost-effective way to fulfill the Great Commission is to train local Christians, equip them with Scripture materials, and mobilize them to reach unreached villages with the Gospel.




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