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January 5, 2021

Yale Students Find Ways to Share their Faith Despite COVID-19

By Kelly Parks, Staff Writer


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“Why do Christians believe what they believe?” It’s a question that has intrigued our world for centuries. While cultural Christianity may have sufficed as a reason for some to associate with the Church in years past, in our increasingly secular age, Christians must think more critically about what they believe, and more importantly, why they believe it.

 

Luke Bell is a current sophomore at Yale University and has participated in Christian Union Lux since he first came to college. After placing his faith in Christ in middle school, Bell began to wrestle with difficult questions during his high school years. How could he know the Bible was the word of God? How did Jesus physically rise from the dead? How could God allow so much pain and suffering in the world? Apart from subjective experiences, is there any historical, philosophical, and scientific evidence to substantiate the Christian worldview? As these questions began to weigh more heavily on his mind, Bell began his investigation to find their answers by studying contemporary Christian apologetics. 

“I emerged from that journey with a resurgent confidence that the Christian faith is really true,” said Bell. “I believe in Christ not because it makes me feel good or because my parents are Christians, but because I can’t deny the evidence. It would be intellectually irresponsible to believe otherwise.” Before long, Bell realized that he was not the only Christian who wrestled with these questions and sought ways to help fellow believers find answers. After his first year at Yale - the end of which was cut short by the coronavirus - Bell worked with his Outreach Team Co-Lead, Maddie Bartels, to build a ministry outreach toolkit. 

Under the leadership of Ministry Fellow Chitra Kovoor, Bell and Bartels designed this toolkit to equip believers to address major objections posed by non-believers about the Christian faith. The apologetics toolkit consists of a list of resources ranging in length and depth, addressing ten of the most common objections to Christianity. These resources include links to short videos and longer lectures that can be accessed online, as well as a list of reading materials relevant to each of the ten questions. Additionally, it has specific sections geared towards individuals of varying faith backgrounds, ranging from Muslims to Mormons to atheists. 

While developing a ministry resource for Christians had long been on Bell’s heart, it was the onset of the pandemic that spurred the creation of this apologetic toolkit. As Bartels puts it, “We realized, after returning home in March due to COVID, that not all of our peers have Christian influences at home. It was eye-opening for me to see that some of my dedicated and faithful CU friends were the only believers in their homes, and it was compelling to hear about the challenges that come along with this[...] Luke and I are hoping that the toolkit can serve these friends by equipping them with the resources they need to share Christ with their family members and friends who may be more receptive to the gospel due to the circumstances.” 

The apologetic toolkit was released on November 12 at the Christian Union Universities Outreach event which CU Lux (Yale) hosted. The event, titled “Two Skeptics’ Journeys to Christ” featured renowned speakers and Christian apologists Vince Vitale and Abdu Murray. After sharing their journeys from skepticism to faith, Vitale and Murray opened the floor to questions. As a follow up, the toolkit was sent to the 500 people who registered for the event.

When reflecting on what the student leaders at CU Lux have accomplished this year, Ministry Fellow Kovoor said: “Watching them grow in their faith and dependence on God even when they can't see ahead clearly is so encouraging, and the willingness of student leaders to lead faithfully in the Lord's work amidst change has been so heartwarming.” 

Despite all the disappointments and hardships this pandemic has brought, it is encouraging to see that student leaders are continuing to build each other up in the faith and are inviting others to the hope found in Jesus. Rather than allowing COVID-19 to immobilize them in this unusually challenging season, students have found creative ways to share not just the hope they have in Jesus, but to respond with the reasons for their hope.