By Jason Hoyt
President & Chief Operating Officer
In my role with BYX, I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know hundreds of our brothers over the past nine years. I have witnessed the Lord use BYX greatly in many of their lives as they matured in their faith and as a man during college. Brady Hammond is one of those young men. Brady came to BYX as a student at the University of Missouri. He and a small group of men started the Sigma chapter of BYX in 2006. Brady recently wrote his life story in a book called “Heaven on the Hardwood.” The following is from his book in chapter 9 entitled “College”.
“It wasn’t just my classes that were giving me a rough time; I was also having some dilemmas concerning my life outside of school. Due to my faith (which was relatively weak) and my “good kid” reputation, I didn’t drink, smoke, or party during high school, and I didn’t intend on changing that in college. Once I got to campus, however, it seemed like everybody did those things. Additionally, it seemed like all my friends were joining fraternities, starting to party, and loving every bit of it.
I suddenly felt this was what you were supposed to do in college. Go to class by day and get drunk by night. Moreover, if you were really going to be a “college man,” being a member of a fraternity seemed like a requirement. And since I was willing to do whatever it took to worship my new god of being cool and getting a girl, I decided to put my high school days behind me and began exploring what “college” was all about.
As a result of my new mission, Alex and I eventually became two of several founding fathers of a new fraternity on campus known as TKE. In this fraternity, we’d be a major part of the leadership from the beginning and would get to avoid the notorious hazing process since we’d never technically be “pledges”. I was excited about this opportunity and was ready to start experiencing college to the fullest. Within a few weeks of joining, I turned into a person most people wouldn’t have recognized as I began partying and drinking every weekend. While at the parties, I kept expecting to come across some sort of “Wow, now this is what I’ve been missing” revelation, but such a moment never came. Instead, all I found was an empty world full of immaturity, perversion, and most of all-selfishness.
I walked in expecting to experience the greatest night of my life. The way everyone talked about how great partying was, anything less than “heaven on earth” would be disappointing. What I found was far less than “heaven on earth.” In fact, this party was about as far from Heaven as you could possibly get. There were drunken people everywhere shouting out obscene profanities and trying to be funny with crude jokes. There were people “touching” each other in ways that should only be done privately and with a spouse. And there were drugs, vandalism, and shallow conversations everywhere you looked.
I didn’t know how to respond, so I did the only reasonable thing I felt I could do in the situation- I started drinking. I drank, I drank, and I drank and the fun never came. Later on, when I finally made it back to the dorm, I couldn’t believe that was what the big fuss was all about with partying. That’s it? That’s what I’d been missing?
The moment I realized I couldn’t live like this anymore came in one of the most shameful moments of my life. I was out at a party when I got a call from my brother Daniel. He called to see if I could run basketball practice the next morning for our youngest brother Jackson. I told him I’d be there. I continued to party and drink late into the night. When I arrived at the gym, I was totally exhausted with an upset stomach. Once I got home, I cheerfully told my parents how well the practice went and then rushed downstairs to take a shower. It was then I began to feel the guilt and shame I’d brought upon myself as I fell to the floor and began sobbing hysterically.
As I laid on the floor wallowing in guilt and praying for forgiveness, He heard me. It was during this humbling moment I finally decided to let God take control of my life and trust He knew what was best for me. No other god (basketball, popularity, girls, or achievements) could fulfill my eternal desire for meaning and self-value like Jesus.
When I returned to school, it didn’t take long to discover God’s answer to my prayers. Some of my Christian friends began talking about starting a Christian fraternity known as Beta Upsilon Chi. This sounded like a great idea to me. Wanting to experience college to the fullest, I really wanted to be in a fraternity but also wanted to uphold my dignity and build a deeper relationship with God. BYX promised to do both as it would promote a true “brotherhood” where people would sincerely care about each other and try to build one another up in Christ. This fraternity did wonders for me as I quickly began to grow into a deeper relationship with Christ, which as a result allowed me to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with those around me. I became confident enough to have fun without engaging in any of the irresponsible and unhealthy behaviors I’d been participating in as an insecure freshman. As a result, I made tons of more friends and undoubtedly became a much greater instrument for God to use for His purposes.” Brady Hammond
The story of Brady is a common one among college freshman men. Brady felt the desire to “experience college to the fullest” and saw others around him getting sucked into the partying scene. Wanting to be accepted by others, Brady dove head first into the scene and quickly set aside his faith and how his parents raised him. Thankfully, the Lord used great friends around Brady and his admittedly weak faith to speak deep truths of conviction and repentance into his life. As Brady reached the end of himself, Jesus heard his prayers for help and began a transformative work in his life. BYX and his fraternity brothers got to play a role in that transformation. BYX exists to be an alternative to the traditional fraternity lifestyle and Brady’s story demonstrates “Why BYX Matters” and how Jesus uses the fraternity in Christian men’s lives to allow them to experience college to the fullest while growing in relationship with one another and Jesus.
By Jason Hoyt