Chapter meetings are an opportunity once per week to gather the entire chapter together. It is in chapter meetings that chapter-wide brotherhood and the exchange of vital information take place. It is where brothers worship and where they receive encouragement from a speaker or activity.
Without these weekly “touch points,” the only way to stay informed about what’s going on in the chapter would be to read one’s email or Facebook group. And worse still, there are some brothers in a chapter who may seldom interact if not in chapter meeting.
But BYX chapter meetings aren’t just any fraternity, weekly meeting; there are specific aspects that not only set us apart from other greek fraternities, but also further our unique purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity in Christ. We believe these aspects make up the framework of a successful chapter meeting, and because chapter meetings are defined as a critical success factor for BYX, it is essential that our men understand how to do them well.
In order to do a chapter meeting well, four basic elements must be included and balanced: spiritual encouragement, brotherhood and unity, tradition, and communication.
Every chapter meeting should include scripture reading, impactful worship and purposeful prayer. Now how these things are done can be seen in many different ways. With sharing scripture, the founding verse (Psalm 133:1) should always kick off chapter meeting, and a prepared scripture reading or devotional should be presented during chapter meeting by an officer or member, even if it is not the main event. It is good to have a verse for the brothers and/or cell groups to take home or discuss and pray about each week as a chapter.
Worship should be uplifting and impactful, meaning this requires a strong worship leader and instrumentalist who can lead the men by creating an atmosphere that his both reverent and engaging. The chaplain and worship chairs must discern what songs and style of worship is most engaging to their men; indeed, worship should be at least two songs that members know and can comfortably worship to lyrically and melodically. Don’t have the same three-song worship set every chapter in order to evade monotony.
Some chapter meetings can be more spiritually focused and have longer worship sessions to allow the Holy Spirit to move more readily; furthermore, consider worshipping through different avenues like poetry, spoken word, scripture reading or using different instruments.
Last but not least, prayer needs to permeate everything we do at chapter meeting. There should be a prayer to open chapter meeting, as we enter devotional or scripture reading time, and at the close of the meeting. These can also include a specific time to focus on individual prayer through prayer requests and corporate prayer that is impactful and unifying during or after chapter meeting.
Brotherhood and Unity
Our purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity under Christ should be a primary focus each week. In large part, this will occur naturally as everything we do should promote brotherhood in unity. In chapter meeting, brotherhood and unity is built when we:
- Worship in song together.
- Share our hearts with our brothers.
- Pray together.
- Celebrate fraternity accomplishments.
- Participate in fraternity traditions.
- Encourage brothers for outstanding achievements.
- Make decisions about the future of the chapter.
- Converse before and after chapter meeting.
- Communicate future opportunities outside of chapter meeting to build brotherhood.
At time, you should be creative in how you foster brotherhood and unity within the chapter. If it fits with the culture of your meeting, consider having a fun, engaging game as simple as a trivia competition among pledge classes or big and little brothers. Hold a dodgeball tournament or other competitions between cell groups. Consider tweaking the format of chapter to facilitate and encourage brotherhood and unity by having a specific time allotted to play a game, “take a break” to mingle with brothers or hang out after chapter meeting.
This means that there can be certain chapter meetings that are completely devoted to fun brotherhood events like an impromptu date dash announced at the beginning of chapter, or a night of family (grandbigs, bigs, little brothers, etc.) competitions that bring out the fraternity aspect of BYX chapter meetings. Brotherhood and unity should be promoted intentionally as well as occur naturally.
Successful chapter meetings maintain national traditions as well as unique local chapter traditions. Traditions make BYX the unique fraternity it is, pointing us back to unity and our purpose, while specific chapter traditions help set us apart in our own way as well.
How to do specific chapter traditions would be impossible to describe since they should be meaningful to your men and hopefully already occurring, but there should be at least three national traditions present at every chapter meeting, which we won’t speak of publicly. These are just the basics, but more are encouraged to partake in; moreover, there should be at least one unique tradition like mapping out date parties (TCU), giving out cream soda’s to engaged men (OU), any variation of “Bro of the week” or “Encourage-a-bro”, etc. Read the tradition manual for other ideas.
Last but definitely not least, chapter meetings must include effective communication during and outside of meeting. There are many ways to communicate, whether it’s using verbal announcements at chapter, weekly pamphlets, powerpoint presentations, emails, Facebook group, group texts, smoke signals or snapchat. We would encourage finding one primary form to communicate through that guys know will be the most reliable or “purest” source to observe. Everything that is announced in chapter meeting should be recorded and included in this weekly post-chapter communication.
Announcements at chapter have to be planned ahead of time with few exceptions. On occasion a brother may have a miscellaneous or urgent announcement, but it is encouraged that these announcements last no longer than 30 seconds to avoid taking away from more important, detailed and planned announcements.
Outside announcements should be confirmed ahead of time by the secretary, president or PR chair so that discretion can be used on the quantity of outside announcements. The chapter’s leaders should clearly communicate how long the outside announcers have before chapter meeting starts so that they don’t cut into chapter meeting time.
Ultimately chapter meeting is the one time each week for brothers to be physically present, aware and up to date with what is going on in the chapter, so effective and efficient communication is crucial. Realize that each chapter will have a specific way that is more effective than others, but how each chapter communicates should be well-known.