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Q&A With Spiritual Life President Isaac Conrad

Julian Perez
Spiritual Life President Isaac Conrad (left), speaks with Spectator reporter Anna Kuschel on Sept. 12.

This fall, The Spectator will be interviewing all the student leaders of the “Big Six” organizations at CUC: the Student Government Association, Spiritual Life, the Campus Activities Board, the Latino Student Union, the Black Student Union, and the Student Athlete-Advisory Committee. 

Senior Isaac Conrad is the president of Spiritual Life for the 2023-2024 school year. Originally from St. Peters, Mo., Conrad is a mathematics major and he also participates in the pre-seminary program. The Spectator sat down with Conrad to discuss his role as president of a Big Six organization, and the role of Spiritual Life on campus.

Spectator: How would you explain what Spiritual Life is to someone who has never heard of it? 

Conrad: Spiritual Life is all about student-led ministry. There are a few different branches of Spiritual Life. We minister to people on campus, people in the Chicago area, and help support ministry throughout the world as well. There are other ministries as well, such as the residential ministry, Concordia Youth Ministry, and CUC for Life. 

What was the process of becoming president like? Was there an election? 

It was an application process, so I submitted an application and then our former campus pastor selected who was going to be the spiritual life president. Spiritual Life works really closely with the university pastor or chaplain. From there, the president and the pastor work together to select the rest of the team for the upcoming year. 

What motivated you to apply for president?

I have been part of Spiritual Life for two years before this, and I know how a lot of things work from that experience. Obviously I enjoy Spiritual Life and appreciate the ministry, and so being able to have both the passion as well as the experience and institutional knowledge led me to apply. 

Has your role been affected in any way in the absence of a campus pastor? 

Oh, absolutely. Normally the campus pastor and the university deaconess would both be helping us, and without either of those positions being currently filled, it’s a lot of work. It’s a student-led ministry to begin with, but now it’s even more student-led. But Deaconess Betsy [Dodgers] is being very supportive from afar, and Gary Ireland has stepped in to help as well. Everyone is definitely really looking forward to Simeon Raddatz arriving though.

What are the responsibilities of the Spiritual Life president, and how do you balance these responsibilities with other things in your normal college life? 

Because we have a pretty sophisticated structure, I am not directly planning most events. Most of the event planning is done by the ministry coordinators, or they might even have people that are planning the events for them that they are coordinating. Part of my role is supporting the ministry coordinators, because a lot of them are new to their role or don’t have much experience. Another big part of it is supporting their ministries by going to their events and encouraging other people to attend as well. As far as balancing responsibilities, I am taking a lighter class load this year because I know that I need to have more time free in the evenings to support different ministry events. 

Are there any challenges you have faced so far, or any challenges you anticipate this year? 

Not everything is going to be fixed when Simeon Raddatz gets here. He won’t be able to support us at first in the same way Pastor Jeff [Leininger] did, as he will be new to the position. I really look forward to getting to know him though. Spiritual Life is one of the first organizations to get to know him because we work so closely with the person in this role. 

Do you have any long term goals for Spiritual Life?

We are really interested in reaching out to the students that aren’t in chapel everyday or aren’t in a church work program. We want to reach out to people of different religions, or to reach out to athletes, or just people who aren’t as interested in the faith, to minister to them and invite them into our events and into our programs and into our faith. 

What is your favorite activity or event that Spiritual Life does? 

I really like Men ‘n’ Mugs. It’s very inspiring to see a group of 20 guys get up at eight on a Friday morning just to come and read the Bible and to talk about God’s word while drinking coffee.

What should people do if they are interested in getting involved in Spiritual Life on campus? 

Check your email, and come to events. We send out the Monday Morning Memo, which is also on the Spiritual Life Instagram. That’s where you can learn about all of the events we are having. Just show up. You don’t need to do anything beforehand, just come and we will be there welcoming you with open arms. 

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About the Contributors
Anna Kuschel
Anna Kuschel, Editor-in-chief
Julian Perez, Photographer