COR 2014: Retreat heads north to Dallas for exposure to more industries, leadership skills
Day 4: Thursday, August 7
After driving a 15-passenger van around Traffic, TX (some people call it Houston) for three days more than I would have liked to, I was ready to welcome just about any destination, even Dallas. As we say in Fort Worth, “Life’s too short to live in Dallas,” but as I say, “Dallas traffic sucks, but Houston is on a whole different level of suck.”
We were all men on COR, so we made just one gas station stop between Houston and Dallas. But not just any gas station. Buc-ee’s is a goddess among gas stations. They make their own trail mix, fudge and beef jerky. And they’re all delicious. So delicious that when Tennessee brother Preston Morris walked out with a bag of Jack Link’s, I shamed him for choosing vomit over filet mignon. Their toilets are cleaner than a teenager’s car on a first date. Like sanitary enough to eat out of, maybe.
Speaking of food, we arrived in Dallas right around lunch time. On the slate was Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, a spot well known in the community of my taste buds for putting Thanksgiving dinner on a hoagie roll. Despite the influx of tryptophan, the day was nowhere near over, so we loaded back into the vans and started toward RightNow Media HQ to see former National Advisor Nick England.
RightNow Media is in a sea of its own, and they do what they do well. No other ministry or industry supplies users with a Netflix-esque library of Bible studies, leadership conference materials and other video resources. I’ve personally benefitted greatly from both the resources on RightNow Media and from the tutelage of Nick, so I was excited to hear what he had for us.
After giving us a tour of the facilities, Nick sat us down and opened his wisdom spigot. His session was on diligence. He spoke on how RightNow Media has been able to take advantage of the “blue ocean” they are in, meaning that the ocean is not “red” due to a feeding frenzy of companies trying to compete for their place in the market, thanks to them having foresight and diligence. The Q&A portion of Nick’s session covered everything from business to marriage, and I think it was a great value added to each man in attendance.
Things finally got real as we approached dinner time. We took our crew up to Coppell for some good ole Hard Eight BBQ. Those not from Texas were stunned by the culinary magic they were experiencing and us home folk were still blown away (for the nth time) at what this establishment can do with dead animals.
Day 5: Friday, August 8
Friday had three more sessions in store for us. We started things off on the campus of Texas Christian University to hear from board member and TCU alumnus Rick Waters on the importance of creativity in leadership. Leaders need to be creative in their problem solving and innovative in their thinking to excel. Rick gave a strong charge that every BYX brother would benefit from hearing: BYX men need to be the highest caliber men on each campus we call home. Our men should shine in integrity, excellence and love above all others because of Whom we are working for.
Once Rick’s session wrapped up, we had a short walk to Los Vaqueros Restaurant for lunch. At lunch, we would hear from another pair of Horned Frogs, this time a few of the founders of the chapter, Jon Sherman and Kyle Kight. TCU is the Beta Chapter, so these fellas were the first ever to bring BYX to a new campus.
They shared what it looked like to start a new BYX chapter back when the rapid communication we enjoy today was not even imaginable and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. A whole different set of challenges, to be sure. Although this group of frogs had little vision for what BYX was to become, God used them in a mighty way to impact TCU’s campus and set the precedent that would later create a job for National Director Brian Lee.
After our ancient history lesson, the curtain was pulled back and we got to see how raw and lasting the brotherhood found in BYX really is. Despite being out of college for nearly 25 years, these men and their compatriots still enjoy the support, transparency and love of their brothers as if they still lived together. Through catastrophe in the realm of health, family, job and otherwise, these men’s love for each other grew more as circumstances got harder.
Men, to enjoy this kind of deep, lifelong brotherhood, you’ve got to want it. You’ve got to fight to stay intentional with your brothers post-college. Life happens and people move, but if you make your relationships with your brothers a priority, life can’t hit you as hard because you’re going to have an army of men who will share your burden.
Then it was time to bolt across the metroplex to our hotel to change clothes and head over to Northwestern Mutual to see board member and Texas A&M alumnus Loren Hsiao. Most sessions up to this point stressed the importance of building and maintaining relationships, but Loren’s session took it a step farther. His session was entirely focused on investment and looked at how to effectively invest time and resources to best add value to your life and the lives of others. After the session, he welcomed us to his home where we ate Chick-fil-a and played sports. America.
Day 6: Saturday, August 9
The following morning was a talk from Texas A&M BYX founding father Drew Christman of Christman Kelley and Clarke, PC. He spoke passionately on ambition, but more importantly, that your ambition means nothing if you are trying to operate outside God’s will. You will never be more or less than what he intends to make you. Drew also stressed the importance of building relationships in telling us that simply having lunch with people (client, friend or otherwise) goes a long way in forming relationships that last.
After indulging in buckets of sweet tea at McAlister’s Deli, we made the short drive to The Village Church in Flower Mound for a session with board member and Oklahoma alumnus Jared Musgrove. Jared, the groups pastor at The Village, opened up Scripture and taught an extensive session on the relationship between David and Jonathan.
We had a group debriefing session at The Village before enjoying the 5 p.m. service. It was the last time the group that started the trip would be together since Hoyt, Bember and I would not be making the overnight drive to Colorado. The men took time to recap the Saturday sessions and put a bow on the cities portion before heading to the mountains.