Nils Smith

Nils attended Texas State University and graduated in 2002. He was a member of the Beta pledge class of BYX and served as a chaplain in the Zeta chapter. 

Q: Nils, how did you find out about BYX? 

Literally my first day on campus at Texas State University, I got a phone call from a friend who said, “I’m in a Christian fraternity. Do you want to come to our rush event?”

This was a Godsend because I accepted Christ my senior year of high school, but I’d originally chosen to go to Texas State because it was known as a party school. So there was kind of this struggle between my old life and my new life in Christ.

But I went to the rush event at a pool hall, and the guys were just normal guys who I felt an affinity with right away and even looked up to. So it was a no-brainer. I jumped right in and pledged BYX. It was amazing.

Q: How did BYX help you in your faith?
BYX gave me fellowship with other believers. I was surrounded by 30 guys who wanted to walk with Jesus and who were fun to hang out with. So whether it was playing basketball, working out, or even just watching TV, we did life together as brothers in Christ.

Three guys in particular poured into my life. One was with my big brother, Chris. He took me to dinner every Wednesday night my freshman year. All we did was hang out and eat, but he spoke into my life in such a significant way.

Two of the other guys were Travis, my pledge captain, and Brian, who was President of the fraternity. Those guys really took me under their wing and spoke truth into my life.

Q: How has your experience as a BYX brother prepared you what you’re doing now? 

I think it set me on the path God had for me. I was a youth ministry intern every summer in college, and my fraternity brothers encouraged me to pursue ministry after graduation. So after college I started working as a middle school youth pastor with Community Bible Church. It was going to be a short-term job originally, but God just kept developing me and showing me how online ministry could have a huge kingdom impact.

Even as a youth ministry intern I was using AOL instant messenger to connect with my youth because that’s where they were hanging out. Then Myspace came along around 2005, and it was this incredible platform for the youth all over the city to connect and have community throughout the week. Then came Facebook and by that time we’d started live streaming our college ministry services, which expanded our reach like never before online.

And God just kept using my gifts to create opportunities to connect people with Him. Eventually, I was hired out to launch onlinechurch.com. We built a fully functioning church online. We developed online small groups and reached about 3 million people per week on Facebook. More than half our community was outside the U.S., including Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. And Pakistan and Indonesia are two of the most prominent Muslim countries in the world. So it was really exciting to reach into countries where we knew we couldn’t easily start brick and mortar churches.

Since then I’ve helped many other ministries reach tens of millions around the world online. And I know that God used BYX to set my feet on this path to help expand His Kingdom impact.

 

Q: What are you most grateful for in your experience as a BYX brother?

I’m grateful for the first steps they took with me as a new believer. I’m also grateful for them being part of my life when I met my wife, Katie. I had seven groomsmen at my wedding, and six of them were my fraternity brothers. Those were the guys that stood next to me as God drew Katie and me together. The depth of community that was built during that critical season of my life was unbelievable.

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