If we are looking at fraternity life as a Thanksgiving feast, then chapter meeting is probably the turkey. There are lots of other great components to the meal, but if you’re a proud red-blooded American, you have to have a turkey. A fraternity without chapter meeting might as well not be a fraternity. Chapter meeting is a staple for every social fraternity, and BYX is no different.
But chapter meeting is much more than just a required event that we do because it is what fraternities do. Chapter meeting is the fraternity’s weekly opportunity to bring together all of the brothers to celebrate, promote and teach the purpose and identity of BYX. It’s a time to be built up in Christ with the men you walk most closely with. This is a time to rally the troops and remind them why we do what we do. Chapter meeting, like every thing that we do, is an outflow of the purpose of BYX.
Simply put, chapter meeting celebrates everything that we are with everyone who is in it. There are four specific opportunities afforded by chapter meeting that make it a key success factor.
Opportunity to dwell together in unity.
BYX exists to establish brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ. Chapter meeting is the time we carve out each week to live out this purpose, dwelling together in unity.
Each week, at the same time, our brothers get to be together as one cohesive unit. This in and of itself has value because, if nothing else, chapter meeting facilitates an opportunity for brothers to further their relationships with each other. If we promote strong, Christ-centered relationships within the fraternity, then chapter meeting will be fruitful.
Opportunity for spiritual encouragement.
There is no other opportunity for our entire fraternity and exclusively our fraternity to come together to be encouraged in their walk with The Lord. At chapter meeting, our brothers grow together as they share their hearts with the chapter, be it through teaching from Scripture, musical worship, open mic sessions or direct public encouragement of brothers.
Chapter meeting is an ideal opportunity to, as Hebrews 10 states, stir up one another to good works. Regardless of the chosen format, men should walk out of chapter meeting feeling refreshed and empowered to pursue Christ diligently throughout the week because they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses in the form of their fraternity brothers.
Opportunity to conduct fraternity traditions.
When I was in school, my chapter didn’t place nearly enough emphasis on fraternity traditions. I didn’t see anything that resembled a legitimate fraternity tradition until initiation. That was a special night that moved me emotionally and affected me spiritually. Why wouldn’t we want to strive for that sort of effect at our weekly chapter meeting?
Every week when our fraternity comes together, we have the privilege of incorporating meaningful traditions into meeting that remind us why we do what we do. Our traditions show solidarity within the fraternity and point us back to our purpose. They give our men something to recall that points to our purpose yet are so much more than just words on a page. Fraternity traditions bring us together while visually reminding us why we are unique.
Opportunity to communicate to the entire chapter.
As with any meeting, there should be an exchange of pertinent information in chapter meeting that allows the brothers to walk away from the meeting feeling more aware of why we do what we do and what we are actually doing as a chapter. Chapter meeting is important because we can get all the brothers on the same page.
In chapter meeting, officers and leaders have a platform to cast vision and promote the fraternity’s purpose and identity. It’s the best and most consistent opportunity to keep the purpose in the forefront of their men’s eyes. A good leader will ensure that the purpose of the fraternity is always driving the fraternity. For that to be a reality, it has to be communicated clearly and consistently.
On top of the “why,” we communicate the “what” in chapter. With the platform they have available, the leaders of the chapter should get the brothers in the loop on the gory details of the upcoming events and get them excited about the events. You can get details in emails, but it’s really hard to inject enthusiasm into your brothers through one.
Chapter meeting is a key success factor because it takes so much of what we hold dear as BYX and consolidate it into a single meeting with the entire fraternity. When we take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by chapter meeting, we thrive as a fraternity.