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September 13, 2018

Ask alumni, current students or faculty members to describe Asbury University in one word, and you’re likely to hear fond reflections and ruminations on “community” a dozen times over. Asbury’s emphasis on community, paired with academic excellence and spiritual vitality, sets it apart from many other colleges and universities. But how is this community created, and why is it so important to the culture of the University?

This year’s Fall Revival, themed #CircleUp, answered those questions and many more.

Asbury alumnus Rev. Jorge Acevedo ’84, lead pastor at Grace Church in Cape Coral, Fla., spoke during Chapel services and coffee house events throughout the week, leading campus in discussions on community.

Monday’s Chapel got students thinking outside the box about the ways in which we learn to connect with Christ. Acevedo juxtaposed the concept of lines versus circles. He explained that while lines are used to keep us in order, we can also draw dividing lines between “us” and “them.”

“Circles can be expanded to include more and more people in them,” Acevedo said.

He went on to explain that we learn to connect with Christ in pews, in rows and lines through corporate worship. But we should also be learning how to connect with Christ in community — in circles.

“Many of us have been seduced into believing that this is the most important place for us to connect with God…sitting in these rows, nice and orderly, looking at the men and women who lead us in worship,” Acevedo said. “We’ve been seduced into believing that’s all that we need to do to grow spiritually. I want you to know that that is a lie.”

It is in community that people are healed, given support at the darkest hours of life and freed from addictions through confession and practicing vulnerability. According to Acevedo, when we get out of rows, we can finally see each other, and that is where healing and spiritual growth begin.

“Miracles most often happen in circles, not in rows,” Acevedo said. 

#CircleUp comes just after the announcement of Asbury’s brand-new Banded Discipleship Groups program, wherein students form gender-specific groups of three to five people intentionally committed to meeting weekly around Scripture, prayer and accountability questions.

Year after year, Fall Revival provides a time for many students to encounter God in fresh ways, and it’s a space to be vulnerable with peers and spiritual leaders. We invite you to join us in praying for our student body as Fall Revival comes to a close at the end of the week.

Learn more about Spiritual Life at Asbury University.