MOUNT OLIVE – “Revival was just amazing! I still have goosebumps,” said Andrew Cruse, a junior early childhood development major who was recently baptized during the University of Mount Olive’s fall revival. “God is moving very strongly on our campus!”
The spiritual movement in reference has been building for some time on the UMO camps as students attend weekly chapel services and small groups sessions listening to the nudging of the Holy Spirit. However, a recent premier showing of the “The Blind,” a movie depicting the life of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, has served as a catalyst for students to examine their lives and their walk with God. After watching the movie, 30 students made a public declaration of their faith and were baptized in a make-shift baptismal in the courtyard near Raper Hall. In the weeks following, more students expressed their desire to confirm their commitment of faith.
With profound evidence of God moving in the hearts and minds of UMO students, a decision was made to offer a second baptismal opportunity during fall revival. The two-night event was characterized by many as, “a hunger for the Lord that I have never witnessed before.”
As music filled the Chapel, students joyously lifted their hands in adoration and sang with abandon. In a beautiful testament to the global campus community, students prayed aloud in their native languages, infusing the worship with a profound sense of unity and diversity. Guest speakers Rachel Gardiner, Executive Director of First Priority Johnston County and Niko Peele, Founder and Director of Ignite Movement, delivered powerful messages that touched the hearts and minds of those in attendance.
Gardiner’s message was a call to action, a reminder that true revival begins with an obedient heart that seeks to serve and honor God in all aspects of life. Peele highlighted the urgency of prayer and intercession, encouraging students to come before God in humility, acknowledging their need for His divine intervention. “Being a true follower of Jesus,” Peele said, “Means having Him at the center of one’s heart and allowing Him to be Lord over all aspects of life.”
Following the spirit-filled service, attendees gathered outside of Rodgers Chapel to witness the baptism of 48 students who made a commitment of faith, dedicating their lives to Christ. As each was submerged, the crowd of friends, family members, and supporters cheered and raised their hands in praise.
Emily Hodges, a freshman agriculture education major, said “Revival completely changed my life. God really tugged at my heart during the second night of revival. The Holy Spirit flooded me, and all I could do was cry and thank God for helping me see that I wasn’t too broken for Him and that I hadn’t run too far from Him. I’ll forever be grateful for what God has done in my heart while I’ve been here, and what he’s done in the hearts of so many people.”
The revival event was more than just a set of planned dates on a calendar; it was a fundamental transformation of hearts on campus. “Standing back up from the water after I had been baptized, I just knew my old life and everything I was holding on to was gone,” said Allison Marshburn, a freshman special education major from Richlands. “Having my friends there to support me and seeing them also dedicate their lives to the Lord was so special. The presence of the Lord was with us all. I will never forget what happened at the UMO Revival.”
The depth of the revival experience was so great that students stayed long after each service, and continued to worship and connect in the spirit of community well into the wee hours of the next day.
With tears in his eyes and a heart full of joy, Campus Pastor Matt Sharp said, “I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’ve never seen such a strong desire to live for God. I want students to know that they are part of a university that loves and cares for them. UMO is more than a university; it’s a family!”
As the echoes of worship and baptisms continue to ripple across campus, it is evident that something extraordinary has occurred, leaving a lasting impression on the lives of those who attended and on the University as a whole.