I think I heard God chuckle, but who knows, I was setting off fireworks at the time. That was July 4, 2013 and I was leaving my home state of Florida to join BYX National Staff the next day. Not four weeks later, I was driving a 12-passenger van to Houston, Texas to pick up the participants of the first ever COR Leadership Retreat. Welcome to staff. You are about to embark on a two-week retreat that spans Houston, Dallas, and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. You are in for a ride that will challenge you spiritually, mentally and physically.
I had no idea what to expect from this retreat, except maybe something about leadership. But that didn’t matter because when we got to the first session, whatever I was expecting to expect was leveled immediately. It was as if I was braced for only the possibility of a sprinkle of water from a squirt gun and what I got was a broken dam.
Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by 16 men in shirts and ties, including Brett Williams, Texas A&M Chapter founder and investment management
professional at Avalon Advisors, headed to the 30th floor of a towering skyscraper in downtown Houston. To put that in perspective, the most “on top of the world” I had ever felt was on the boardwalk about to descend onto the beach.
Over the course of the two weeks, we toured big buildings and scaled 13,000-foot peaks. We sat in fancy meeting rooms and we went white-water rafting. We ate corporate bagels as well as granola, drank purified water as well as fresh water from a stream. It was certainly a lot to take in.
I pushed myself out of my physical comfort zone at high altitudes. I scribbled notes furiously as the session leaders poured out their wisdom and sincerity. I think I even swooned a little bit when we took a tour of Houston’s imposing Memorial Hermann Medical Center, one of the greatest and most advanced medical centers in the country, headed by CEO Craig Cordola, who we can also call our fraternity brother.
I found that I was oblivious to the level of success some of the BYX alums and BYX board members around the country had achieved. Between thirteen session leaders, their professions spanned the arenas of finance, law, medical administration, pastoring, teaching, journalism and even hospitality. And that is why, to my jaded eyes, I was stunned to witness the genuine investment these men, many of whom had seen vast worldly success, chose to make in their college fraternity, the young men who now lead their fraternity and the Kingdom work their fraternity does.
COR Leadership Retreat provided a shining example of commitment and humility, true servant leadership by men who are now walking it out in the world. If anything was going to prepare me for the battlefield that is leading college men, it was hearing these men speak about integrity, creativity, discernment, investment, conflict management, obedience and more. I’d learn the particulars of the job later, but these are qualities that every leader needs to lead biblically and effectively.
Seeing the CEO of a mammoth hospital complex greet staff by name, whether they were doctors, receptionists or janitors taught me to know and invest in my men. They don’t care how much I know until they know how much I care. I watched a grown man break down while sharing a testimony of weakness in his life around a campfire. Transparency and humility with my men in my own mistakes resulted. The overall rawness and objectivity of the session leaders illustrated that leaders don’t sugarcoat, but do have tact. Thanks to this, I have been able to, in evaluation of my chapters and myself, boldly exhort, instruct and rebuke in truth and love.
Although I initially felt “thrown into” the experience, COR Leadership Retreat proved an invaluable opportunity for my development as a BYX staff member, as a brother, as a man and as a leader.
With conviction, I endorse this retreat to any brother who wants to witness similar growth in their life. BYX exists to show the world a different breed of young man. Take this step.