By Jason Hoyt
President & COO
“Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1
We concluded the inaugural COR Leadership Retreat this Saturday with flights home to various places across the country. The only word than can describe the experience of this retreat is “incredible.” We started planning for this retreat in the summer 2012 with several vision casting and brainstorming sessions within the National Staff to discuss what we hoped this retreat could be. It was amazing to see how the Lord went before us and weaved together each session so that they tied into our overall theme of influence as an element of leadership. Houston, Dallas and Colorado were all the work of the Lord going before us. It was an honor to be a part of it.
Coming into the COR Leadership Retreat, we had five main goals for the 12 days we were together.
The brothers and the staff are well acquainted with each other now. Each brother took the initiative and care to get to know each other. There was no brother that caused tension in the chemistry of the group. The brothers slept in close quarters in hotels and then in bunks during our Colorado stay. The staff and I had individual and intentional conversations with each brother getting to know their hearts, passions and future aspirations.
2) Have fun.
In Houston, we had the opportunity to attend the Red Sox vs. Astros game. Several of our local Houston alumni who have sponsored various chapters were able to attend and interact with the brothers. One evening the brothers made a late night run to In & Out Burger for some fun. Colorado was certainly fun with all the team building and leadership development activities we were able to learn from. We were fortunate to have tremendous weather in Colorado and thus every activity was available to us. The brothers zip lined, competed on low and high ropes courses, rappelled, rock climbed, hiked and white water rafted. Each adventure further developed the relationships with every activity requiring teamwork.
3) Spiritual Retreat
Nearly each morning we gathered for a morning devotional from one of the brothers. Brothers stepped forward to share their hearts on what God has been teaching them lately. Several mornings we were able to have a 30 minute block of time to spend individually with the Lord and one morning we had an extended 3 hour block of time for prayer and reflection with the Lord in the mountains. It was encouraging to see every brother seeking wholeheartedly after the Lord and desiring to know him more and deeper. Each evening we would have a time of debriefing where the brothers and staff would come together to talk about the days activities and our takeaways from each session. These were easy sessions to facilitate with each and all the brothers eager to share their thoughts.
Each brother who attended the retreat is a leader in their chapter. The brothers respect and follow their leadership. Our hope, as a board and staff, is for these men to catch a greater vision for why BYX is important. Each session leader shared their heart with the brothers on how the Lord used the fraternity in their life and how the relationships built while in the fraternity continue to impact their lives today. Our desire is to see our stories impact the lives of the current members on the retreat. They can take the lessons learned back to the brothers in their chapter with a greater sense of national unity and a greater sense of the impact of brotherhood and unity in Christ that the fraternity affords.
5) Equip and Empower them to become more effective leaders.
Each session was designed with specific theme under the over-arching theme of influence. Sessions included were integrity, discernment, strategy, creativity, investment, ambition, empathy, obedience and love. Each session leader elaborated from a biblical perspective on the topic assigned. For example, in the session on ambition led by Texas A&M Founder Drew Christman, he talked about education, experience, attitude, emotional intelligence and trusting the Lord. The brothers walked about inspired by Drew’s life as he discussed the victories and challenges of his life and career.
Overall, the first BYX COR Leadership retreat was more than we could have expected. The brothers bonded deeply with each other. The experience created in 12 days will leave lasting imprints into the lives of all sixteen of us. The retreat became more than just a retreat, but began to function like a small, close-knit BYX chapter. Each brother consistently encouraged and shared life with one another. We laughed, we prayed, we shared, we were beaten up by the mountains and we grew deeper in brotherhood and unity in Christ.