For many Black women, many of our most profound revelations and creations are borne in the crucible of crisis. For many young Black women in ministry, many of our greatest words, and greatest works, come out of the voids that we encounter in our work. Lisa V. Fields is familiar with both of these realities, but like many of our foremothers, she refused to allow them to dictate her destiny. Rather, these clarified her call and ignited her passion for articulating underrepresented, culturally-centered defenses of the Christian faith.
When I met Lisa, she had contacted me for an interview with Jude 3. In my research process, I was drawn into her interviews with theologians such as Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, Sho Baraka, and Dr. Reggie Williams. I was impressed by her work. Her organic conversations were held with artists, scholars, and pastors, each of whom had a passion for their respective dialogues. As I continued to research, I learned that Lisa built Jude 3 with her own faith, and her own hands. Her motto is, “apologetics matter,” and she is on a mission to She is a model of how many of us are living out our calling: creating the space and the opportunity to actualize, rather than waiting for these to be handed to us.
What I appreciate about Lisa’s ministry is that it was conceptualized as a response to deep need, which she perceived in a season of crisis and questioning. She didn’t allow herself to become dismayed, and made the faithful assumption that perhaps someone else could benefit from her struggle. Lisa has painted a brief portrait of her call and her work, in her own words.
1. Please introduce yourself! in the terms most fitting for YOU!
My name is Lisa Fields. I’m the founder and president of the Jude 3 Project. I’m a daughter, sister and friend. I’m from Jacksonville, Florida, and I’m trying my best to love God and God’s people.
2. Please tell us the story of your call to the Jude 3 project. What is the purpose of the work, and what is the void you're attempting to fill with it?
During my time in undergrad, I experienced a faith crisis. Undergrad was the first time I was confronted with intellectual arguments that made me question my faith. I had grown up in church and never really thought critically about why I believed, what I believed. So, when I was confronted with different ideas about scripture, I felt completely blindsided. Thankfully, as I was going through that, my father introduced me to apologetics and I fell in love. Apologetics helped me navigate through that process but there was a problem. Most of the popular apologists were old, white men, and that was problematic for me. While some of their work was helpful to me at a crucial stage, I felt like I needed to see myself represented on the apologetic platforms. I felt like apologetics needed a more nuanced and contextualized approach. I started the Jude 3 Project because I wanted to see Black and Brown people represented in apologetics, I wanted to hear the questions that we asked receive answers, and I didn’t want any person of color to feel blindsided by the intellectual challenges to their faith.
3. why do "apologetics matter?"
Apologetics matter because Peter tells us, in 1 Peter 3:15, that we should be able to give an apologia (defense) for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect. I also believe apologetics matters because it grants us the freedom to ask and the freedom to question the God we claim to worship. For me, that is liberating because God is big enough for our questions and Ge welcomes them.
4. Please tell the story of a "win" and a challenge in your work.
At the end of 2016, God gave me the idea for a HBCU tour called, “Is Christianity a White Man’s Religion?” The purpose of the tour was to have forums on HBCU campuses where we discussed white Jesus, slavery and the Bible and the contributions of Black and brown people throughout church history. In February 2017, we held our first tour stop at Bethune-Cookman University, and it was phenomenal!
My challenge came when I started the Jude 3 Project, at a meeting with the CEO of a well known Christian non-profit. I was super excited for the meeting because I thought he was going to help connect me to some keys leaders in the apologetics world. However, I was discouraged when he told me that it would be hard for me to raise support and be taken seriously because I’m black, a woman and young. I was devastated and thought about giving up but I used his words instead as fuel and instead of relying on people to help me I put my trust in God.
5. You created Jude 3 from the ground up. What word(s) would you pass on to other young Black women in ministry about ministry and entrepreneurship?
If you can’t afford it, teach yourself how to do it. When I started Jude 3 Project, I was a broke seminary student. I couldn’t afford to pay a graphic designer, a web designer or a podcast editor, so I taught myself by watching YouTube tutorials. Don’t let the lack of resources hinder you from doing what God has called you to do. Be courageous and pray that God would give you the wisdom to execute the vision he has given you. Lastly, don’t be intimidated. You can do it!
Please check out Lisa and her ministry, the Jude 3 Project, here.
For Lisa’s interview with Rev. Neichelle on #metoo and rape culture in the church, please see below.