Editorial misses point of being CL: ministry

As a current Community Leader on campus, the editorial “It’s time to rethink CL requirements”, which ran in the Lariat on Jan. 31, immediately caught my eye.

While I do agree that a non-Christian CL could potentially be able to perform on-call duties and administrative functions as well a Christian CL would, it seems as if the author of the editorial completely missed the true mission behind why one becomes a CL.

CLs are ultimately meant to help build community through mission-centered conversations and to nurture the lives of students. While on-call duties and policy enforcement are aspects of a CL’s life, they are not the most important parts. CLs are on the front lines of Baylor Campus Living & Learning’s mission, which includes creating living and learning environments that foster the pursuit of a relationship with God.

As representatives of Baylor, CLs have the opportunity to connect residential life with Baylor University’s mission “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

We must not forget that Baylor continues to seek an integration of both academic achievement and Christian commitment.

And while the resident chaplain does play a role in students’ spiritual lives, resident chaplains are not the only individuals responsible.

This view places individuals in pastoral leadership as the sole guardians of the Christian faith and church. Instead, God has called all Christians to be a carrier of the Gospel. The concept of the “priesthood of the believer” calls every follower of Jesus to set a godly example for those around them. As God transforms individuals’ lives, He calls them to live from his kingdom perspective, thus separating the line between the sacred and secular.

CLs, therefore, play a vital role in connecting students with churches, Christian organizations and God himself.

In fact, CLs often have opportunities to share their Christian faith with students that do not come from a Christian tradition or background.

The editorial stated that “religion is not a factor that affects any aspect of the job.” While religion may not affect some individuals’ jobs, a personal relationship with God does.

Rather than being just a job, CLs often view their positions as on-campus ministry. Students that desire to become CLs merely for the economic benefits are in for burnout, because being a CL requires more than a desire for monetary gains.

Instead, CLs are often on the front lines of care to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of students on campus.

And so, it is for that very reason that Baylor continues to seek CLs with a “demonstrated Christian faith.”

In a culture that increasingly tends to deny the existence of spiritual needs, I commend Baylor for continuing to live out its mission and its goals in developing not only the minds of students, but also the faith of students.

Jaja Chen is a sophomore social work major from Norman, Okla. She is a guest columnist for the Lariat.