Faith & Service

Chairman of Liberty’s Board of Trustees Tim Lee Shares Testimony of Restoring Relationship with God

By Christian Shields, April 22, 2022

Note: This article was first published in the 50th Anniversary Special Edition of the Liberty Champion, the university’s student newspaper. The edition features stories about Liberty’s trailblazers, timelines of key moments in campus development, Liberty Athletics milestones, testimonies of alumni who overcame tremendous odds, and more.

Growing up as the son of a pastor, Tim Lee was no stranger to the Gospel and accepted Christ at the age of 10. But as he got older, Lee slowly strayed from the faith in pursuit of worldly pleasures. God finally got a hold of his life in one of the most unlikely places: a battlefield in South Vietnam.

While serving as a Marine in 1971, Lee lost both of his legs when he stepped on a 60-pound land mine. Lying on the ground in excruciating pain, Lee decided to mend his relationship with his Creator. He promised God that if he miraculously survived the accident, he would offer his life as a living sacrifice for Him. 

Lee credits the transformation of his heart as the reason why he is still alive today. 

“If I had hardened my heart, if I hadn’t gotten right with God, I think I would have died,” Lee said.

Since his time in the military, Lee has used the loss of his legs to share the love of Christ with others. He has spent the last 44 years as an evangelist, visiting all 50 states as well as many foreign countries to share his testimony of redemption. He and his wife, Connie, have three children and six grandchildren.

Tim Lee became Chairman of Liberty’s Board of Trustees in 2020 (Photo by Joel Coleman).

Fifty years have passed since the explosion. Lee continues to deal with the daily trials that come with being in a wheelchair. Yet, despite all of the discomfort, Lee refuses to let his faith waver and continues to serve God as a living sacrifice. 

“What little suffering and pain I go through pales in comparison to what eternity has for me and what God has for me in heaven,” Lee said. “I want to spend my life for Him, and make it count, and to see people come to Him and see lives changed. That’s why my interest in Liberty University remains strong and passionate — I believe it’s a place where lives are changed for Christ.”

Lee first became involved with Liberty when Dr. Jerry Falwell asked him to preach at Thomas Road Baptist Church in the 1980s. Then, in 1991, Falwell asked Lee to serve on Liberty’s Board of Trustees. He now serves as chairman of the board. 

Lee’s time at Liberty allowed his relationship with Falwell to blossom into a strong friendship. 

“(Falwell) was a fun guy to be around,” Lee said. “We had a lot of great times together. He was a giant to me. He was like a hero. Not like this world looks at heroes, but he really looked like a true biblical hero to me in the way he lived his life and the way that he believed God was going to build
this university.”

To Lee, Falwell served as a testimony of the power of God, and it impacted his faith, especially in relation to the founding of Liberty University. Where others saw an empty plot of land, Falwell saw a university. 

“God showed him by faith what could happen on that mountain,” Lee said. “There was nothing, and yet 50 years later we see the miracle. There was no money, but he had a dream — he could look on that mountain and see these buildings and, more importantly, these students. There’s nothing like this place in the world.”

Even after Falwell’s death, Lee continues to see Falwell’s legacy grow through the university as it continues its mission of Training Champions for Christ. 

“When you come to Liberty University, you’re not going to be there very long before you hear somebody telling you the Gospel and telling you how your life can be changed for the Gospel,” Lee said.  

The Liberty Champion launched in 1983 as a monthly eight-page newspaper. It is now the largest weekly newspaper in Central Virginia, circulating 13,000 issues every Tuesday. In addition to its 16-page spread, the student publication also tallied nearly 1 million website clicks in 2021.

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