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May 6, 2024

Christian Union Nova at Princeton Holds Powerful Leadership Lecture Series

by erin conner, writer and communications associate

To address the mental health crisis on our nation's college campuses, Christian organizations such as Christian Union and the Veritas Forum are using their ministries to create opportunities and discussions, as well as provide forums and workshops, to equip students to explore deeper meaning, freedom, and life through their faith in God. 

Recently, Christian Union Nova at Princeton invited Dr. Matthew Suh to speak at a Friday night Leadership Lecture Series on “The Religion of Science, Integration of Faith, and the Art of Healing-a Christian Surgeon’s Journey into Supernatural Faith.” It was a powerful message and testimony, incorporating his career as a surgeon, his faith in Christ, and how the Lord miraculously healed him. 

The next day, CU Nova students spent the day with Dr. Suh and his wife, Dr. Margaret Yoon, who is a practicing psychiatrist, in a training workshop entitled, “Healing of Mental Illness from a Christian Perspective.” This included a ministry time to conclude.  

Mike Vincent, ministry director of Christian Union Nova at Princeton, shared that mental health is a prevalent issue in the lives of college students. Research across the country confirms this. 

Vincent continued, "Addressing mental health from a spiritual perspective is not common practice in the Western church nor in Western medicine, but there is Biblical support for it, so I wanted to bring speakers and medical professionals to encourage, teach, and minister to our students. The time was well spent. Students found a deeper level of understanding and freedom as a result."

gospel move 1

Other university Christian ministries are also addressing the spiritual dimension of mental health. The Veritas Forum is one. 

“I tell my students that the greatest scarcity they will face in their professional lives is not a scarcity of opportunity, but a scarcity of meaning,” economist James Choi (Yale) shared at a Veritas Forum event hosted by the National University of Singapore this past fall. “If we are to be happy,” he continued, “then it’s essential for us to know the why of our lives.”

According to Veritas News, Choi explained how “arrival fallacy” — the mistaken belief that lasting happiness comes only after achieving a particular goal — can lead to deep disappointment. “That satisfaction is going to be temporary,” Choi said. “Accomplishment — by itself — is not enough for happiness.” Choi challenged students to identify a purpose in life that extends beyond achieving happiness or professional success — a purpose that can rest on something true. For him, Choi said, Christianity provides the meaning and purpose that his professional and academic accomplishments cannot. 

Happy All the Time? | James Choi at National University of Singapore 

More recently, the Veritas Forum hosted an event at Harvard Medical School called “Happier Doctor — Healthier Patient?” They invited Dean Bernard S. Chang (Harvard Medical School) and Arthur Brooks (Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School) to discuss happiness, vocation, and burnout in healthcare.

Brooks, a social scientist and NYT bestselling author, said studies show that “the happiest people are fundamentally paying attention to four things each day: their faith, their family, their friendships, and the work that serves other people.” On faith, he said, the discovery of meaning is supremely important. “I recommend to all of my students that they go on a quest to boil this down to two questions: Why am I alive? And for what would I be willing to die today? If you don’t have answers to those questions, you have a meaning crisis, and that’s a problem.”

Happier Doctor—Healthier Patient? | Arthur Brooks & Bernard Chang 

Currently, at the universities where Christian Union ministers, there is an evident need for faith-based support and programs, as a mental health crisis is sweeping our college campuses with the highest reported number of young people struggling with anxiety and depression our nation has ever seen. 

If this need goes unmet, many students at these secular schools will likely not find a designated space and community in which to encounter the Word of God in life-giving ways. This would be devastating to students' overall vitality and health, as Scripture teaches that "man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4). 

With the implementation of Christian Union Bible courses and Leadership Lecture Series this upcoming fall semester, Christian Union expects to see minds transformed, hearts encouraged, faith nurtured, and strength renewed in 400-500 students' lives. 

One Christian Union Bible course student testified, “God used Christian Union’s ministry to completely transform my life…Now the authority of Scripture permeates my life. I view everything through the lens of a Christian worldview and take captive every thought and action to make it obedient to Christ.”  

Christian Union has ministered to over 4,000 alumni from ten leading educational institutions to date. As these alumni step into their God-given callings and professions, the time they spend together in the pages of Scripture during their college career will undoubtedly bless their families, communities, and this nation.  

Please consider supporting Christian Union students by helping to provide them with expert speakers and other resources in the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Are you a CU alumni or friend living near D.C.? Learn more about an event being hosted at the Bible Museum in D.C. on June 12th entitled, "The Bible and Mental Health" featuring several speakers, including Christian Union America member, Carrie Sheffield.