Baylor, once relatively unheard of, is hurtling into becoming a household name. The once small football program is now housed in a shiny new stadium, with fans desperate for tickets and expecting wins. Robert Griffin III is championing a new era for bears, playing for the NFL and freely talking about his faith with anyone who asks. Football has made Baylor popular, evident by this year’s freshman class: the biggest freshman class Waco, Texas has ever welcomed to Baylor.
Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Stadium
We stand at a crossroads. Baylor has two choices. We can gradually “grow out” of our faith. We can be “too big” for labels like Christianity. We can leave our spirituality behind in a cloud of dust, because we are finally heading towards the pinnacle of respect and prestige.
I don’t think Baylor will do that, though. My Baylor will take this popularity firmly in both hands, and thank God for the opportunity. While recognition is a chance to further your school and its students, it is also a chance to praise God and to turn the glory to Him. It is a chance to show the world that a first-class football program, an exceptional academic system, and Christianity can all rest firmly entangled in a knot the size of a Baptist university.
Choosing the Road Less Traveled
As a student, I’m at Baylor at such a wonderful time. We are hosting Pulitzer Prize winning authors and have one of the only Christian research parks in the nation: the Baylor Research Innovation Collaborative. Baylor is attracting a lot of attention, and with that attention comes a hefty responsibility to honor God with what we have been given.
Christian and non-Christian universities are given chances like this so often, and so often, we blow past them in hopes of glorifying our ministry, our school, or even ourselves. We forget in our quest for popularity, that popularity itself is merely a method by which we can share the gospel with more people. So much in the world encourages us to strive for popularity, but we have the choice to strive for something different.
Let’s accept popularity for what it is: an earthly sign of worth and wealth. Let’s also remember that when much is given, much is expected. I’m praying that Baylor sticks to its roots, dug deep into Christ’s faithfulness and His plans for the school. I’m praying that Baylor will seek to glorify God with any and all awards and fame it receives, because that is what sets us apart in a collegiate world so focused on others’ opinions and rankings.
We are given the chance to use our popularity, and not to revel in it. We are given the chance to glorify God with our rankings, and not bask in the accolades. We are given a chance. I pray that we use it wisely.
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.