Abundant Life
Ellen Cochrane Class of 2022

I am your typical Christian kid. Sundays are for church, volunteering, youth group, and Bible study. Some of my earliest memories are singing “Jesus Loves Me” and doing sword drills in Sunday School. My K-12 education has been spent in Christian schools where I have attended countless chapels and heard thousands of prayers. I was a Christian because of these events, but only because faith was made easy — and, honestly, convenient. All I had to do was show up and not really think about developing a relationship with Christ. However, it wasn’t until I took Christian Thought with Mr. Lindloff my senior year that faith really became my own.

Christian Thought is a one-semester class that all seniors are required to take. The class’ main focus is to simply ask, discuss, and try to answer the big questions of life such as: “Is there a God?” or “How can you know which is the right religion?” There are units on apologetics, church history, the validity of the Bible, and more.

The wonderful Mr. Aaron Lindloff has made a large impact on students during the 15 years he has taught Christian Thought at Timothy Christian High School. Mr. Lindloff is not an ordinary teacher. In fact, he’s over-qualified. He has a graduate degree in theology from Trinity International University in Deerfield and he is a co-pastor at Peace of Christ Church in Westmont. He is part of a team of volunteer pastors, which means he occasionally preaches and does administrative work. He also is exceptional at connecting with students and knows how to gently defend Christianity against secular accusations. “I certainly have a lot of stories and examples from my own ministry,” he explains, “that can feed a lot of the issues that come up in the units.”

“I am so thankful for Timothy Christian and Mr. Lindloff for providing me with Christian Thought. I would not have gotten a class like this at any other school. This class has challenged me to deepen my faith, and seek God on my own.”

Mr. Lindloff’s stories supplement the frequent debates in his class. After lecturing on a topic, he encourages his students to discuss their beliefs on what they just learned. “My goal is to get students to not only think about what they believe and why,” he says, “but also [for students to] listen to what other [students] believe is right… [by having] a conversation, a respectful one, where [they] can maybe learn something about the other point of view and not be so dismissive of it.”

Mr. Lindloff’s debate-filled classes are really appreciated by his students. My classmate Kaitlyn Radoha says, “The reason Mr. Lindloff stands out the most is he promotes discussion in his class and isn’t afraid to go off topic. He’s more than willing to spend the whole class devoted to a good question if it means we will learn something from it.”

Besides debates, Mr. Lindloff also uses a team game to encourage discussion in class. He asks a question, then asks each team of students to speak, write, or draw up an answer. Mr. Lindloff then rewards points for the most correct answers. Over the units, these groups compete for the largest number of points; the winners receive candy bars. I love this game, and my classmates do, too. Besides having fun, the game also promotes debate between classmates.

Another aspect of Mr. Lindloff’s curriculum is reading Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter. This book not only summarizes most of what we learned in class, but also contains a great testimony. McDowell speaks of his reluctance to receive and follow Christ because of the post-Christian world around him. He writes, “in spite of the abundant evidence, I felt a strong reluctance to make the plunge… I knew the truth, yet my will was pulling me in another direction.” However, upon giving up worldly pleasures and his pride, McDowell’s life was truly transformed by Christ.

This testimony spoke to me: overcoming worldly pressures in order to follow God is extremely relevant today. More Than a Carpenter and Mr. Lindloff’s curriculum have presented me with an overwhelming amount of evidence that points to an abundant life with Jesus, further encouraging me to deepen my own faith. “The danger of a course like this is to turn Jesus into an idea and our faith into an ideology—and our witness into an argument,” Mr. Lindloff says. “That’s actually worldly thinking. My prayer is that logical truths will point us to the Truth, the Person of Jesus, who invites us to know him and trust him. And as we remain in Christ, we increasingly speak the truth as we should—in love.”

I am so thankful for Timothy Christian and Mr. Lindloff for providing me with Christian Thought. I would not have gotten a class like this at any other school. This class has challenged me to deepen my faith and seek God on my own. Additionally, it is because of Christian Thought that I chose to go to a Christian college next year — Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia — because after Christian Thought, I wanted to continue studying the Bible in a classroom setting.

As a result of my spiritual growth this year, I heard the Lord call me to the mission field. This fall I will be majoring in biomedical science/pre-medicine to hopefully become a missionary doctor in the future. The things I have learned, my note sheets, and More Than a Carpenter will definitely be joining me as I depart from Timothy Christian.

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