Campus News

Friday evening worship services spark talk of revival

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Students believe the winds of revival may be blowing at Bethel College through the Friday Night Fire services held weekly at Shiloh Prayer Chapel. About 20-30 students from Bethel, IUSB, Notre Dame and St. Mary’s regularly attend this student-led gathering focused on worship and prayer. FNFA core leadership group, comprised of students, brings instruments and leads the group in acoustic worship. Traditionally, the services lasted from 9-10:30 p.m. each Friday evening, but this year students saw an unpredictable shift, which several believe is the result of a collective desire to simply spend time communing with the Savior. This transition resulted in services lasting until as late as 12:30 a.m. at times. “It’s having that conversation with Him, where it’s not only praising Him in song, but it’s also letting Him love us,” said senior Jordan Norris, who leads the service. “Because truthfully, He’s exalted already, and He really wants to just pour out His love, His presence and His spirit in and over us. And it’s in that place we’re having a radical encounter with Him, and that’s true worship.” Dr. Mark Lantz, senior pastor at Christian Center Church in South Bend, Ind., recently preached about a revival that he believed would begin with college students in this area. At the time, he was not aware of Friday Night Fire. “The last two weeks, God has been stirring in my heart that we live in a college town,” said Lantz on Sept. 7, 2014 in a message he titled “The Joseph Generation.” Lantz specifically mentioned Bethel College, the University of Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College and Indiana University-South Bend as starting points for a nationwide revival among college campuses. “It has been prophesied more than one time that the northwest part of Indiana is a strike-first point for the revival through the college campuses of America,” he said. Lantz said he believed that America is on the verge of a nationwide revival that will begin on college campuses. “God is about to strike first in the younger generation and a revival in the college students,” he said. The first Friday Night Fire service of the semester included not only worship, but also “3-2-1-Prayer,” a time in which each person with a prayer need shared with the group. In turn, everyone present simultaneously prayed for the each need. During that service, the requests seemed to focus on two primary themes. One came from those dealing with grief or emotional pain of some kind. The main request, however, was for repentance. Many students confessed that they had fallen into apathy towards their relationship with God and that they wanted God to ignite the fire in their hearts again. That night set the tone for a series of Holy Spirit moves throughout the following weeks. “I firmly believe that when you call on the Father, when you call on the Holy Spirit to come, He does, and we just have to wake up and listen to Him and look for His presence,” Norris said. Students have testified about God’s healing and how He filled them with the Holy Spirit during these services. Some expressed excitement and gratitude for the ways that God has moved during these services. “It’s just a huge encouragement to see all of those students, worshipping God together in an intimate setting,” said freshman Kaylyn Fannon. “The time of prayer together was just amazing, to see students whose hearts are so on fire for God, it’s just awesome.” With this transition, the vision for the services shifted more towards providing space for each person who desires to come and meet with God. “When you have worship nights, you sometimes get very much into routine,” said Norris. “So this year has been a year of really taking time to slow down and making sure we’re not just in it for the sake of playing songs because we ought to, or think we should, but for the simple fact that we know that we’re spending time with the Father.” The group adjusted its format to meet the change by playing fewer worship songs and spending more time in prayer. The impact of Friday Night Fire surpasses the weekly gatherings, through the students who attend regularly. Sophomore Alexa Marcus spoke of a conversation with Norris on the sidewalk in front of the Dining Commons. Norris prayed for a specific need they discussed during their conversation, as well as some unspoken needs. “It kind of opened my eyes to how, even though I was stressed and everything, God was working in my life,” said Marcus. Norris mentioned the same encounter. “It’s just amazing to see what God is doing, even beyond Friday Night Fire,” he said. Fannon also said she enjoyed the opportunity to meet people through Friday Night Fire. “Just building relationships,” she said, “and doing life with people. I feel like I really connected with the group and it’s like, if you’re having a bad day or whatever, you can just text someone and if they’re free, you can hang out and lift each other up.”
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