In fall 2008, I invited one of my closest friends, Shane, to travel to another campus to attend Island Party. Shane and I consistently went to concerts and he often attended BYX events, so we headed over together.
Shane wasn’t a Christian. In fact, Shane at times ridiculed me for my beliefs, but he still had a good relationship with many of my brothers and me. He was a crucial part of our success on the intramurals field and a valuable part of our lives.
Before the headliner at Island Party, a speaker addressed the crowd, sharing the Gospel and teaching on the passage about old and new wineskins. The headliner played a few worship songs and consistently shared about their faith.
The event massively impacted Shane. He had a profound experience with Christ that night, stirring up foreign emotions and illuminating his need for and means of salvation. After some conversations in the car on the way home, Shane placed his faith in Christ. He rushed BYX the following semester.
Today, Shane is still a huge part of my life and has remained involved as a donor for BYX. He lives his life with an obvious fervor for Jesus. BYX, in a number of ways, was pivotal in sparking that fervor. Beta Upsilon Chi has the opportunity to profoundly impact their campuses and the individuals on them.
Why: The overflow of our purpose.
Beta Upsilon Chi is an inwardly focused fraternity. Nothing in our purpose or identity statement explicitly states that we have an obligation to impact the campus for Christ. This might be bothersome to individuals with a strong inclination for evangelism, but stay with me for a moment.
If BYX is indeed focused on developing brotherhood and unity under the common bond of Christ (purpose), and BYX is indeed a fraternity that consists of committed Christian men (identity statement), outward impact on campus will happen.
Let me connect some dots for you. Because of the inward focus of BYX, men are expected to be growing in Christ. The culture within the fraternity should be one in which men are challenged to look more and more like Jesus. What does a man who emulates Jesus look like? Among other things, he is outwardly focused. He desires for more people to know Jesus.
As men grow through cell groups and their relationships within the chapter, they become better equipped to impact the kingdom and more passionate about doing so. We light the figurative lamp and place it on a stand to shine forth to the campus, Greek community and beyond.
What: Christ on display.
The goal of campus involvement is not to bludgeon people with the Gospel but to create opportunities for it to be received. As we walk out our purpose of brotherhood and unity under Christ, people are exposed to Christ through our words and actions. In doing so, they should be either encouraged in their faith or better positioned to place their faith in Christ.
Impact may not always look like a salvation. In fact, I would say that it is rare. However, we impact campus every time a young lady leaves an event feeling as if she was more respected than at any other event that year. We impact campus every time we win or lose with grace on the intramural fields. We impact campus every time we show up to support our brothers participating in campus events, philanthropies and activities. By looking markedly different from the norm, people may start asking questions as to why we look so different.
Because of our constitutional requirement to briefly share the Gospel at our events, we have the opportunity to introduce people to the good news that the Son of God died for their sins and rose again. However, impact and success should not be measured solely by how many people heard the Gospel and how they responded.
How: Good events and better men.
In 2005 when my beloved Houston Astros went to the World Series, they had an average attendance per game of 34,627 fans. In 2012, the Stros lost 107 games and were bottom of the barrel in attendance with 19,848 fans per game. The lesson: nobody is showing up if you’re giving them a crappy product.
If you want well-attended events you need to put on well-executed events. College students are bombarded with opportunities to attend social events. To choose one, you have to likely give up another opportunity. So we need to make it worth the sacrifice.
As a fraternity that explicitly represents an excellent Savior, everything associated with us should drip with excellence; excellence in planning, theme, promotion and execution. Events should be exciting and creative to the point that people inside and outside the fraternity anticipate them.
However, if the brothers are not engaging, loving, friendly and so on, no amount of planning is going to mask it. The quality of the men needs to surpass the quality of the event. You can throw the best birthday party this side of the Equator and attendance will be relatively sparse if people can’t stand you. Even if they do show up, they don’t really care about you or what you stand for.
Our men have to be engaging the campus, especially at the events that we host. Each brother should walk in a manner that reflects Christ, and each event should be marked by a joyful and welcoming atmosphere. Otherwise your chapter will be stuck interacting with the same small circle of people and never get your name out on campus, crippling your ability to have any sort of impact on the campus.
Remember this principle: you attract what you are. If you, as an individual or organization, are involved, engaging, loving and charismatic, you will attract those type of people. If you are shut off, awkward, selfish and boring… you do the math.
BYX has a unique purpose that develops men in a unique manner to positively impact a unique field. We hope that each chapter maximizes this opportunity by having a sound understanding of why we desire to impact the campus, what we hope to achieve and how we can achieve it.