You know what’s great? Just hanging out and spending time with guys I don’t get the chance to see often. Whether it’s climbing through underground tunnels, going to my first baseball game of the year at Mississippi State and having the Bulldog mascot jump into my arms, playing epic games Super Smash Bros. Brawl with brothers at the University of Central Arkansas or driving around town in the back of a pick-up truck while myself and six Texas A&M brothers are dressed up in onesies, what makes this job so satisfying is the immediate brotherhood I can experience with another chapter.
I’m a proponent of unique experience; of living life to its fullest, and over the past year this job has been a catalyst for some incredible experiences. Thanks to some creativity, my guys have put together a fuller semester than I could have dreamt up.
Mississippi State University
Last fall, I had to reschedule my visit to Mississippi State due to some bad weather in both DFW and Jackson, MS. This year, however, proved to be the exact opposite. After watching MSU pull out a win, some of the brothers gave me an exclusive and unique tour of the campus. I’ll spare the details because I’d rather talk about the exciting things this chapter is doing.
The Omicron Chapter just took their first spring rush class in roughly eight years and initiated nine new members a couple weeks ago. The effort that the officers as well as the chapter’s members put in through rush and pledgeship has signified the desire they have to continue to grow further as a fraternity, expanding their impact on campus. Most notably though, BYX played an integral part in the founding of a new Independent Greek council that will provide another avenue for this chapter’s growth.
My future expectations are high for MSU BYX, for good reason though. Fall planning has been going on for months already, and with a semester under their belt, this officer corps is primed for a strong start in August. There is significant movement from some of the membership towards deepening the spiritual depth of the chapter which only serves to bolster the officers’ efforts and maintain focus on Christ in all we do. I love every minute spent with these guys and can’t wait to be back in the fall.
University of Central Arkansas
By 9 p.m. Tuesday night, this had likely become my most interesting visit yet. The lead-up is important though, so let’s not skip that just yet.
I’m no stranger to travel issues and April 13 was no different as I experienced a multi-hour plane delay. The important part is that I eventually made it to Conway for dinner with a few officers and other brothers. Actually, I’m going to let my thoughts detour real quickly. Don’t worry, it’s applicable.
You know what’s really cool? Seeing growth. It’s been a month or so since I was in Conway but I can tell you now that God is working in lives there. Reflecting on this visit has made me realize that the Lord was prepping me to go through something similar. Part of what makes me love my job is the opportunity to speak into a guy’s life and see change happen. I won’t name any names but to sit down with someone and help them realize something within themselves that they are unaware of is joyful for me. To watch someone take criticism well and actively seek change through seeking a deeper relationship with Christ brings me so much joy.
I’ve never been great at that though. I’ve not been the one to welcome someone speaking into my life when they recognize where I’m falling short or not representing Christ in all my actions. I didn’t realize until now that the Lord was preparing me for a few difficult conversations. God has recently used some of my friends to point out areas I’ve been slipping in that I was unable to recognize. While it isn’t easy to be laid into and hear how I’m falling short, it is a necessary part of a Gospel-centered community. I need that, and even though it isn’t comfortable, I’m thankful I have people in my life who aren’t hesitant to bring it up.
While in Conway, I had the chance to talk to the chapter about the importance of that sort of community. To see that received well was pretty special. I am excited for what God is doing in the lives of these guys. They are doing big things like winning the UCA step show and growing their influence on campus. They don’t show any signs of slowing down either. So take some time and get some rest, keep up the good work and don’t eat all the Pineapple Whip while I’m gone. That bit would make me sad.
Texas A&M University
I know what you’re thinking. “He’s going to tell the story about the onesies!” You’d be right, and I’ll do you one better with some exclusive photographic evidence. Thanks to Tanner, we were able to squad up and go get these studly BYX guys some formal dates. Between this, learning how to play 42 and getting yelled at by a rent-a-cop for the loud-ish music coming from the truck, it was easily one of the most interesting nights of my time on staff with BYX.
This has been a challenging semester for these guys, and this officer corps has had to grow and take charge when called upon. Not to my surprise, they’ve done one heck of a job leading their chapter through some tough stuff. They certainly didn’t ask for this but they’ve responded with diligence and perseverance, and it’s been equally encouraging to see the chapter respond well too, following the example of their officers.
Before this visit, I had heard tales told about a legendary Dr. McGuire. This time, I finally had the chance to sit down with this involved alumnus and get to know him. He has worked with BYX chapters for nearly eight years, has been with A&M for more than half of that and worked as the UGA Chapter’s advisor for a few years prior to moving back to College Station. He has a passion for working with this chapter and desires their growth and success as a chapter, but also as individuals and men of God.
What I look forward to is seeing that continued growth. Planning early for events next fall set the chapter up for operational success but if they work out their plans to push each other deeper spiritually, the results will be far greater than a great party or four mixers or another huge pledge class. Those things are good but the effect that a deeper relationship with Christ can have within our brotherhood can magnify the outflow of Christ’s love shown to this campus.
I can’t wait to see the new ways these chapters will get involved on their campuses, like Steven Lanz being elected Senior Yell Leader at TAMU or some of the MSU and UCA guys being elected to their Student Senate. That sort of stuff gets me jazzed. I want to know that BYX guys aren’t passively floating along through their four (or the occasional five…) years of college. Recognize that your impact for Christ on your campus can be significant and that obedient faith in God’s plan can open some pretty awesome doors for influence.