By Don Reid
Texas Chapter Alumnus
I grew up in Eastland, Texas, a small town on Interstate 20 about 50 miles east of Abilene. I grew up a Texas Longhorn fan, but after arriving on campus in the fall of 1984, I quickly realized that life at UT, and in Austin, was going to be just a little bit different than life in Eastland.
I had accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a freshman in high school, and I was looking for a group of Christian students at UT that I could hang out with. I was lucky (okay, blessed) to have a few Christian friends from Eastland that were also attending UT. They were involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, and they brought me along to a few of their weekly meetings.
I started attending Campus Crusade meetings on a regular basis, and I soon met Craig Albert. Yes, THAT Craig Albert. It wasn’t long before Craig and I developed a friendship, and that friendship has been a blessing to me ever since.
In the spring of my freshman year, Craig mentioned his idea of forming a Christian fraternity. I had gone through a few days of fraternity rush earlier in the year, but it seemed to be quite a different lifestyle than my Eastland upbringing. I was curious, however, about Craig’s thought of creating a Christian fraternity.
I enjoyed Campus Crusade and the friendships I was finding there, not to mention the solid Biblical teaching I was receiving from the Campus Crusade staff. However, I did notice that many students who attended Crusade meetings were also fraternity and sorority members. Even in Crusade, cliques developed, and my self-perception, accurate or not, was that I was an outsider. I wondered what it would have been like to pledge a fraternity and have a group of “brothers” on campus.
So, I tagged along with Craig and many others to Jester dormitory and listened as Craig presented the plan to form BYX. It has been almost 30 years since that first meeting, so I’m too old to remember a lot of the details. But I do remember that we continued to meet, eventually finding a gathering place in the basement of the University Christian Church. Talk about humble beginnings!
I would like to tell you that I have kept in touch with all my brothers in Christ that created BYX, but the truth is, I haven’t. I’m hard-pressed to remember many of their names. Most of them would say the same of me. So, you might ask, how has BYX impacted me if many of my friendships from college didn’t last forever? That’s a fair question, but it’s also an easy answer.
BYX gave me a sense of belonging when I was just figuring out who I was as an adult. Of course, just about any group can give you a sense of belonging. But not many groups are Biblically-based and can give young men courage to live their faith on a college campus surrounded by all kinds of temptations to do anything but live their faith.
BYX gave me a chance to actually have a social life and…uh…MEET GIRLS. But again, there are plenty of groups you could join to meet girls, but not many groups give you the chance to meet Christian girls in a spiritually encouraging setting. Through those early Island Parties and semi-formals, among my Christian brothers, I learned valuable lessons in how to think of, and treat, my Christian sisters. Now that I have daughters of my own, I am thankful for my young BYX brothers who seek to honor God through their relationships with the fairer sex.
BYX gave me a built-in accountability group. Throughout the years, I have found that having a consistent prayer life and Bible study is certainly a requirement to growing closer to God, but being accountable to another Christian brother or group of Christians is invaluable to my walk with God. The times in my life that I truly feel like I am growing spiritually are invariably at times when I know I have a fellow believer along the path with me, encouraging me and redirecting me if necessary.
BYX bridged the gap between my dependence on my parents as a child, when I had no choice but to go to church on Sundays, and the time as a young adult when I would have freedom to decide whether I would continue to seek God or not. By having BYX brothers as examples who were keeping the faith in college even without “having to,” my faith was strengthened.
BYX has shown me how seemingly small, insignificant actions can have a tremendous impact. As I mentioned earlier, I was just a tag-along with several BYX founders. I would have never dreamed that BYX would grow to what it is today. I wasn’t even sure BYX would be around when I graduated from UT. And yet, from its humble beginnings we now have dozens of chapters across the country, with hundreds of Christian brothers drawing closer to God through their friendships and fellowship with each other.
It would be over 15 years after I received my undergraduate degree from UT that I crossed paths with Brett Williams, a founder of the Texas A&M Chapter. He helped to reconnect me to BYX and showed me the growth that was occurring all over the country. What an exciting day that was to hear Brett tell the story of BYX!
BYX is an encouragement to me today. I have reconnected with several of my BYX brothers that live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As a Sunday school teacher, I have seen students graduate high school and then pledge BYX. One of them came back to visit our church a few weeks ago and told me how BYX was a difference maker for him in college.
I cannot tell you enough how encouraging it is to know that I am not fighting the good fight alone, but with my Christian brothers who have been there all along and to know that young Christian brothers are drawing closer to Christ and developing strong bonds with fellow Christian brothers through BYX.
It’s been, and continues to be, a great journey from my days as a kid in Eastland. I look forward to hearing from my brothers how Christ is being proclaimed through BYX. My prayer is that BYX will remain Biblically based, seeking ways to serve others and encourage our fellow brothers, and that we will all remember Matthew 22:36-40.