As Christians, we are all called to be leaders. Regardless of where we came from, what we have done in the past or present, God intricately designed each of our lives to be impactful for His kingdom and to His people.
Originally I thought the definition of a leader had boundaries to certain types of jobs and incomes and numbers of followers and so on, but after getting to experience the COR Leadership Retreat, my eyes were opened to how simple a true leader is: someone who grasps their calling and God-breathed anointing and does something with it.
To be honest, I originally applied to COR in 2013 thinking I was applying to a normal leadership retreat. I assumed it would be a couple days of getting fed the typical leadership dialogue that I had heard at several other church retreats and in leadership classes at school.
The outline of the trip seemed simple – going to Dallas and Houston for a couple of days to talk to alumni and gain wisdom from them, then heading to Colorado to have some fun, which I was most excited for at the time. Of course, I was looking forward to connecting with more BYX brothers from around the nation, but didn’t assume it would be any different that connecting with my brothers from back home or at National Officer Training.
Man was I wrong.
Not only did God have different plans, but also my expectations were blown out of the water. My experience at COR surpassed any leadership classes or church retreats I have been on because of several factors. I am going to simplify them into the challenge of Colorado, inspiration of alumni and bonding of brothers.
I love Colorado and the mountains, but AEI Base Camp, where we stayed the second week, was a legitimate Rocky Mountains experience. Yes we had to rough it a little bit, but the zip line, high ropes course, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and summiting of a mountain with fellow BYX brothers made the experience unforgettable.
Every day presented a new challenge, regardless of the overall struggle to breathe in the 10,000-foot altitude. And that is what made it worth it to me. As Christians we will face opposition and challenges every day, but our defining moments occur when we either give up, give in, or receive the strength of Christ and the help of fellow brothers to push through and overcome.
And that is exactly what Colorado was for me: experiencing challenges that shaped me into a man who recognizes my strength in Christ and my brothers fighting alongside me. A saying we coined after getting this experience was: Dallas and Houston developed us as leaders, but Colorado made us men. Although the Colorado portion was extremely challenging and a blast at the same time, the first week in Dallas and Houston really helped define my role as a Godly leader and prepared the path to where I am today.
Honestly the first week of COR in Dallas and Houston is like drinking out of a fire hose. I felt like a sponge being thrown into an ocean of wisdom and insight – obviously a lot more than what I was expecting to take in. But it wasn’t just the immense amount of insight on how to be a better leader with influence, integrity, creativity, discernment and other character attributes essential to a successful leader.
What impacted me the most was the intentionality each alumnus and board member. These men, who all have respectable careers, crazy amounts of influence, and busy lives, chose to set aside precious time to invest in us college-aged dudes. And every one of them memorized our names, talked with us after each session, prayed with us and asked challenging questions that truly sharpened us. They weren’t just there to provide knowledge; they were there to inspire and mold us. Indeed, it definitely worked.
It is huge to see older men who have been in our shoes before as a member in BYX now thriving in life because of the impact BYX made and is still making in their lives. Seeing them in the boardrooms and having dinner in their homes, COR uniquely provides a vivid example of how a godly man should live in every day life. This is something I believe that all Christian young men need to experience.
The third and final favorite part of COR is the brotherhood that is established. Top leaders from many chapters around the nation are chosen to attend and spend around 336 hours with each other. Obviously close bonds, unforgettable memories and a lot of inside jokes will occur with that amount of time. I loved the fact that every brother that was there wanted to get something out of the experience too.
Everyone had different personalities, upbringings, and passions, yet because we are centered in Christ and crave to learn more about leadership, the experience is 50 times better. Everyone was on the same page of being sharpened, open to learn and challenge one another.
COR creates an environment that is a catalyst for inspiration and impact, but also a place to form close-knit bonds that can’t be formed anywhere else. It honestly feels like a fraternity within a fraternity. I will never forget my fellow COR brothers and the experience we shared together.
COR helped define my future and shaped me into the leader I am today. Regardless of where you want to go in life, it is a stimulus for growth in many areas of leadership that can ignite your impact in your BYX chapter, in your future family or in your future career.
I would re-apply if I could. Apply today on the BYX website!