My back side was no stranger to church pews, but I definitely wasn’t a regular attendant. Church attendance was never a priority. It was boring. I didn’t know why we did anything that we did because no one explained it to me. I would try to coax the hands on my watch to move faster because I was bored out of my mind.
If the Gospel was there, I couldn’t find it. I didn’t see a need for church because I was well-behaved enough, successful enough and prayed enough without it. Or so I thought. God was a good luck charm, and church was just a place I attended superstitiously to ensure my luck didn’t run out in the classroom or on the baseball diamond.
This whole Christianity thing that I half-heartedly associated with didn’t begin to click until I found myself rushing BYX in the spring of my freshman year. I got around men who loved Jesus and not morals, and I began to desire a relationship with Christ that I didn’t have up to that point. God used BYX to save me.
Between the growth I saw in BYX and the stigmas I attached to the church, I was content to treat BYX like the church. I went to chapter meeting and got filled up. I learned truth and was exposed to genuine worship for the first time.
After a semester-and-a-half in BYX, something began to change in me. Even though I loved BYX and showed signs of growth in the infancy stages of my walk with the Lord, I wanted more. BYX whet my appetite. I was hungry, and I started to see the church as a place that could feed me.
I played baseball on Sundays that fall, but I resolved that I would hang up cleats and find a church when the season ended. One of the most evident and poetic defining moments of my life was choosing to walk away from baseball to diligently follow Jesus and be a part of a local church.
My church shopping spree ended at two when I visited Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth. I knew that’s where I needed to be after worshiping at the college service and listening to the teaching of the college pastor, who I can still call a friend today. Christ Chapel quickly proved that the stigmas that I had unfairly applied to all churches didn’t apply to the ones that are doing it right. And there are a lot that are doing it right. After nearly seven years, I still call Christ Chapel home and have no intentions of leaving any time soon.
BYX should never serve as a replacement to the church. Instead BYX and the local church should have a mutualistic relationship. They benefit each other.
When BYX chapters are thriving, they’re creating devout men of God that know how to create community. I had a leg up on so many men after graduation because I knew not only what to look for in community, but I also knew how to create it and bring others into it. This is an extremely valuable asset in a church member: a willingness and desire to connect to the body in an honest, loving and transparent way. BYX taught me that.
The church has played a substantial role in growing me into a mature believer by providing resources that BYX can’t offer. I have found great teaching, mentorship and wisdom that I would be foolish to expect to find in a group of college men. It’s not fair to the fraternity to expect the BYX to provide that. Men can and should grow in spiritual maturity during their time in BYX, but that growth is just a fraction of what it could be if the men are not invested in a local church.
Many of our thriving chapters have thriving churches that the brothers attend. After four years of traveling to college campuses, I can tell which chapters consist of men who are sitting under sound, Scripture-saturated, Gospel-centered teaching. It pours out of those men and into the chapter. Good churches help make great chapters.
BYX has been a valuable part of my life and continues to be thanks to my job and the relationships I hold dear. The fraternity taught me to love Jesus, and, in the process, instilled in me a love for the church. By being pushed towards a local church, the fraternity set me up to grow, invest and find community long after my college years.