National oversight has been present in BYX since 1988. The vision of BYX has been protected, defended, and expanded through the national presence since that time. From the early years of the national body (1988-1998), oversight was limited in nature and exposure. The majority of oversight involved the establishment of new chapters throughout Texas by Wendel and an occasional visit to a nearby BYX chapter. BYX entered a new phase of development and it required a new approach to leadership in BYX in 1999. The Executive Board of BYX became established and the first Executive Director was hired. The primary scope and attention for Kyle Hoover (first director) at the time was to establish BYX as a recognized non-profit in the state of Texas and with regards to the IRS. Kyle also set out to “touch base” with the local chapters and attempt to aid them in their vision and direction for BYX. By the end of 1999, that scope of direction and vision in the local chapters included 9 BYX chapters all in the state of Texas. Kyle certainly had his hands full with a number of chapters that were questioning the new direction of national oversight for the local chapters. The first chapter dues were collected from our local chapters in the Fall 1999 which in turn increased the cost of an average member to join. As a reference point, I paid $90 to pledge BYX in the Spring of 1997. The increase in cost received some push back in the beginning, but hopefully by the end of this series you will understand how this laid down the foundation for strong BYX chapters for years to come. The first officer training retreat was held in November 1999 where all elected officers of BYX came together for training. Kyle began visiting local chapter in spring 2000 to provide one on one counsel and encouragement for the officers. In spring 2001, the first National Summit Retreat was held for any and all members of BYX to attend. Kyle left BYX at the end of 2001 with many seeds planted.
As Kevin (2nd director) came into BYX, he continued in the journey started by Kyle by beginning to enhance the officer retreat and the national summit retreat. Interest in BYX continued to grow and several more chapters were established including the first chapter east of the Mississippi in Vanderbilt. Kevin’s scope of administrating the fraternity and visiting local chapters began to grow beyond the capability of one person. Kevin saw the need to invest in the local chapter leadership more than we were and developed the ministry associate model in 2003 and implemented the model by hiring the first two ministry associates in spring 2004. Each “ma” was directly responsible for 7 chapters each. They continued to cast the vision for BYX and visit each local chapter each semester.
I came into leadership in BYX in the fall 2004. I really saw a need for BYX to have some longer term stable leadership from nationals. There were so many things that needed attention. None of it was from the lack of oversight from previous directors, but only a progression in our growth as a fraternity. A few examples of this progression is the development of officer training manuals and chapter evaluations. I could not expect the local chapters to carry out the vision and operations of BYX if I didn’t have some way of setting the expectations for them and then evaluating them based upon those expectations. I developed the evaluation of each chapter into categories. Those categories are leadership, communication, organization and planning, teamwork, chapter meetings, cell groups, pledgeship, fun/fellowship, stewardship, social and campus presence, and national vision and unity. Every semester since spring 2005, our staff has evaluated each chapter and given them feedback on areas they can and should improve on. Here is an exert from a spring 2010 evaluation that will provide you with some excellent insight into how we are leading our local chapters. This portion was written in regards to social and campus presence.
“As a reminder, I want to take the opportunity to briefly cover the why of socials to you all so we all stay unified and driven in its importance and clear in understanding its place. Why are we social in BYX? Because it’s who we are. BYX is a social fraternity with a spiritual purpose. A social fraternity is the vehicle by which we accomplish Brotherhood and Unity. We do this because it’s who we are, and who we are is because we exist to stand in the gap on college campuses of men falling by the wayside in their faith, and we’ve chosen to utilize the concept of fraternity to do it. So it’s who we are. From there it does 3 things.
1. Builds Brotherhood and Unity among us. As we engage in the purposes mentioned in the previous paragraph we draw nearer as brothers on mission together. Additionally, it gives facilitation for relationships to grow, providing time to be together. Some of this time will lead to serious depth of conversation and growth. Much of it will be simple fun, but this fun will provide instrumental balancing connection for the more intense and hard times of accountability (like how deposits into a bank account balance the withdrawals).
2. Opportunity to exalt Christ among those outside of BYX. Because of socials, we get an avenue to proclaim the goodness of our God as a cohesive unit of men, interacting with believers and non-believers alike.
3. Resulting promotion of BYX. A stronger social and campus presence in turn helps our recruiting. It helps us in our strive to make BYX available for every student who would want it.”
I also developed the first officer training manuals. Again, I thought if I expect an individual officer to fulfill his role to my expectations, then I need to let them in on what those expectations are and provide them with some direction on how to best fulfill those expectations. I rolled out the first training manuals to the officers at the November 2004 retreat. At that time, we had two retreats in one for the northern and eastern schools of BYX and one for the southern schools of BYX. I began to see an immediate impact of just those two things in giving direction to our local chapters.
Another area of growth has come in the chapter visits we take on campus. I started visiting local chapters as soon as I was hired in 2004 and completed my way through every chapter by the end of spring 2005. The majority of my visits were pleasant, but I noticed a distinct feel among several chapters that I was just there to make sure the house wasn’t burning down and that ultimately didn’t really care much about the leaders and the average members. I certainly didn’t enjoy those feelings, but knew they had to be coming from something. Beginning in the fall 2005, I instructed our staff to start taking two night trips to each local campus. Again, the impact was almost immediate. Our staff now got to play more of a role in the day to day activities of specifically the officers. We were now eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with multiple officers over a two day span. The intent here was to provide more opportunities for personal connection among the staff and the local chapter leaders. I wanted them becoming friends and c0-laborers instead of just officer and national staff. We continue in this trend even today and now have even more opportunity to connect with local chapters that need longer trips than just two nights.
In 2007, after a couple of solid semesters of building better relationships with our local chapters, we were then able to start taking our support of the local chapters to another level by providing them more and more resources. A couple of examples of this comes in the form of our further development of officer manuals. One of our primary areas of focus in BYX has always been centered around the cell groups. Those are and remain the heart beat of BYX. It is where the power of the Gospel of Christ is lived out in BYX. The relationships that are formed to establish accountability further deepens the bonds of brotherhood in BYX. We spent significant amounts of time developing resources for cell groups. How do you train cell group leaders? How do you put them together? How do you evaluate cell groups? How do you ensure them are achieving their purpose? Marks of a great cell group, Marks of a struggling cell group. All resources we put together to give vision, direction, and more meat to what we are teaching our leaders. Additionally, we launch a new national website in the fall 2007 along with local chapter websites that have similar information and look and feel as the national sites. All of these things bring the elements of brotherhood and unity among our chapters and nationally a little closer together. We also moved each of our local chapters over to quickbooks online in 2007 to further provide financial accountability among our local chapters. All of these projects have been instrumental in the development of BYX both locally and nationally.
We are continuing our journey in supporting and providing resources for our local chapters today. We have recently turned much of our attention to pledgeship by providing promotional videos, rush guides, facebook ads to our local chapters. We are currently developing some recruitment information in the form of brochures and booklets our chapters will have access to in order to aid them in recruiting other Christian men to join BYX.
In summary, you can see some of the progression we have made in regards to providing resources, vision, and direction for our local chapters. The first priority for us is always connecting relationally with our chapters. We want to understand them, encourage them, and equip them as individuals. Then we want to ensure that the local chapters as a fraternity are operating well and fulfilling the vision of brotherhood and unity in Christ on their campus. Then we want to aid them in improving in various areas of the fraternity in order to maximize our growth in Christ as brothers and our influence and impact on the local campus.