By: Tyler Rogers
Tyler Rogers is an alumnus of the Pi Chapter of BYX at UGA
I left my small hometown of Pavo, Georgia, my family, and our farm, and headed to UGA in the fall of 2005. UGA was a huge change for me coming from a small town. I found a great church and some awesome friends, except that they were all graduating seniors. I began to look for more like-minded guys and in the spring of my freshman year I heard about a rush event for a Christian Fraternity that had just started that fall. I pledged spring 2006 in the Beta Class of the Pi Chapter of BYX at UGA. This wound up being one of the biggest and most life-changing decisions of my life. I went on to serve as social chair and later as president of the chapter at UGA. The guys I met there became my closest friends and many have remained as my closest friends today. The majority of my groomsmen were BYX men.
While at UGA I majored in Cellular Biology and Microbiology (I’m a nerd). I graduated from UGA in the spring of 2009 and decided to take a year off. During the year off, I moved to Fort Worth, TX and served on the staff for BYX. It was a huge year for me. The time away gave me some time to reflect on my future plans. That year I made two more life-changing decisions while on staff with BYX. With a lot of prayer and in community with the other BYX staff members, I decided to accept a position in the Mercer University School of Medicine, Class of 2014 and I decided to take a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.
I spent the remainder of that year in Fort Worth growing while serving on staff. In the fall of 2010, I moved to Macon, GA and started medical school. That fall my life changed forever when I met another student named Megan and in the spring of 2012 I started dating her. Over four years later, I married her on September 17, 2016! We both graduated from medical school in the spring of 2014. I promoted to Captain and moved to Fort Gordon, GA and started a residency program in Family Medicine, and Megan moved to Columbia, SC to start a residency program in Pediatrics. We are currently happily married (even though we live an hour apart) and are both in our last year of residency. In June, we will graduate and have both accepted teaching positions on the faculty at Fort Gordon (me, active duty and her, civilian), and she and Maverick (our dog) will finally move to Fort Gordon with me.
BYX has impacted every single major event in my life since joining freshman year. From the men who still walk through life with me, to the lessons I learned in leadership while serving as president or on national staff, the impact of BYX on my life is immeasurable. The emphasis on mentorship is something that continues to push me to mentor and to be mentored in my life even now. I learned servant leadership which is something I use in my marriage, my job as chief resident, and in my relationship with my patients. I am so grateful for the path Jesus put me on when he sent me to what was probably the most unorganized rush even in the history of BYX.
Tyler Rogers, his wife Megan, and their dog Maverick
The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends! Robert Earl Keen released his “No 2. Live Dinner” album in 1996. I entered college as a freshman in fall of 1996 thinking that the college road does go on forever.
Each semester in BYX I remember senior chapter where older brothers had the chance to share their hearts and wisdom with those that will be back next semester. I always said to myself “I can’t imagine being that brother who is graduating.” It seemed so far off each semester.
I spent my college years investing into BYX. Making plans for our upcoming date parties, formals, investing into my cell group and all the brotherhood activities we had each semester. The Lord spent my college years using this fraternity to chisel away at my heart, challenge me as a Christ follower and expand my knowledge of His character. It introduced me to men who became lifelong friends.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend our North Texas BYX Chapter’s senior banquet. It was a well-planned event to honor each senior and his family. Each senior invited his parents and significant other to the event. The officers had planned a slide show for each of the seniors and allowed the members to stand up and share a word of encouragement to the seniors. It was a special moment for each of them as they witnessed their own impact on their brothers. I had the opportunity to share just a few words with the chapter.
To the parents and as a father of four children, I referenced Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
These are the commandments for us, as parents, and these are our hopes and prayers for our children as they begin to stand on their own two feet in college. One mother approached me after the banquet just to tell me how different her son is from four years ago. She said that her son was a difficult teenager and that he came to know Jesus just a few shorts weeks prior to starting college. She had no idea which direction he would go during college, either the way of the world or the pursuit of Christ.
He met a BYX brother shortly after starting college and ended up pledging his freshman year. Four short years later, his life is hardly recognizable from his senior in high school. He is not the same person. That’s a testament to the Lord using the brothers in BYX to chisel and sharpen the young man.
To the members, I encouraged them to make the most of their time and to realize how special these years within the fraternity of BYX are to their life. Recognize the impact their brothers are having on their lives and how the Lord is using them to challenge and grow them as a young men. Members have a choice to sit on the side lines and let these years in BYX pass them by or they have a choice to jump in, serve, lead, fail, succeed and grow through BYX.
To the seniors, I encouraged them that The Road does Go on Forever and the Party Never Ends! Earlier that week, I was on the phone with one of my brothers from my cell group in 1999. Every summer my closest brothers from BYX and I gather for a weekend of brotherhood and unity in Christ.
We catch up on life and family, pray with and for one another and genuinely enjoy the brotherhood. Life looks completely different than it did 15 years ago for all of us. Between the nine of us we have close to 30 children, busy careers and are involved in different churches and organizations, but the lifelong brotherhood continues through the relationships that began as a freshman in college in the fall of 1996. That’s my hope and prayer for the seniors of 2015. The road goes on forever and the BYX party never ends!
By Jared Musgrove
BYX Board Member
A significant part of cell groups is accountability, though that can be a loaded word for most of you. It brings to mind all kinds of connotations, so I wanted to take a few moments to share some ideas about how you can pursue life-giving accountability in the context of your local chapter’s cell groups.
First, know that mutual accountability doesn’t have to be a beating.
It should be an encouraging time, that is, it should be a time that gives you courage to walk with the LORD more deeply today than you did yesterday. The idea is not a focus on sin but a focus on Christ. That changes the game for Christian accountability.
We are not holier because we feel guiltier. We are holier the more openly we walk with our God and with each other, confessing our sins as God is just and able to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. And then we get a tangible encouragement from those we walk with as they pray over us, speak truth to the lies we too easily believe and are for us in our walk with Christ.
So in seeking, setting up and walking in accountability in cell groups, have Christ as your focus. A fantastic question I’ve been asked by some good brothers as I ramble on and on about my failures is, “Where is Jesus in what you’re telling me?” This is the point of Christian accountability: to get the focus of MY sin, MY failure or MY inability to fix someone. And get all our eyes back on Jesus. We need constant reminders. That’s what Christian accountability is all about. Resolve to be a reminder.
And as reminders to one another, develop a shared vocabulary for discussing what’s going in in your hearts.
A solid book to go through together as a cell group is Tim Chester’s “You Can Change,” a great volume on walking through your junk honestly, redemptively and ultimately with Christ at the center of your community. There are questions in each chapter that you can work through together, learning to practice life-giving accountability. Another good resource is Matt Chandler’s “Recovering Redemption”, which also has an accompanying sermon series online.
There are also some articles you can find online that are helpful, one by Tullian Tchividjian called “Reminders Are More Effective Than Rebukes” and one by Ed Stetzer called “48 Accountability Questions” that simply gives you a framework of questions to pepper into your conversations with one another.
And that is what Christian accountability is all about. It is continual conversation with those who are in your community. The above resources are just to get you guys started and give you a shared vocabulary to begin discussing the deeper things that are going on in your heart. Because the heart of your problem is the problem of your heart.
It takes intentionality to begin going deeper into life-giving accountability. It won’t just happen. It has to be pursued.
And it starts with cultivating honesty and authenticity by your own example. If you are vague and gloss over your fears and failures, others will take your lead. But if you share with appropriate specifics and a heart that is truly moved to be open, to be reminded by other brothers and then to be obedient to what God is saying in His Word, you’ll find your leadership inspires others to share openly the areas they need more of Christ. And that’s when we start seeing holiness pursued with abandon.
Remember it is Christ that we always turn to in Christian accountability. We remind each other to remember the gospel, remember the pleasure it is to walk closely with God and that He will never fail us.
By David Pearson
BYX Board Member
I’m sitting in bed writing this blog posting at 10:02 p.m., Tuesday evening, September 16, next to my wife. She’s feeding our third child, Sam, who is just 69 days old today. We’re both exhausted. I work 55-hour weeks, coach soccer, lead Indian princess, our small group and our Sunday school class at church. She spends 65 hours a week feeding the children, cleaning the house, preparing the meals and organizing our lives.
To be honest we are more than exhausted. We’re frustrated, we’re empty, we don’t have anything left to give to one another and right now we are just plain mad at each other. She wants and desperately needs some time alone while I desire appreciation and acknowledgment for hours spent serving others. We both want to take and neither of us has anything left to give.
Sin like this is hard to recognize. Sin like this is hard to repent for.
I don’t want to be apologetic or sorry. I don’t want to admit that deep down inside of me I desire to be appreciated, elevated and lauded. I don’t like admitting I’m prideful and I particularly don’t like putting someone else’s emotions and needs before my own. I am, after all, human. Consequently I am fallen, separated and disconnected from the natural design of God’s creation.
However, I am also saved by the grace of God and through his grace I am a new creation, restored and in right relationship with the Lord. Through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, I possess the ability and power to overcome my selfish, fleshly desires to continue looking inward. I am sitting here as I write faced with a choice. Remain selfish, remain prideful and remain isolated or humble myself, apologize for my actions and repent.
These opportunities exist for each of us regularly. Some small, some large. Some private and hidden, while others occur on grand stages in full public view. The circumstances vary, but each of us recognizes our sin. Whether we choose to admit it, apologize for it and repent of it is another matter altogether.
For some, pride will keep us from admitting we’re sinning. “I’m not the only one” or “This really isn’t that big of an issue” are both common excuses. For others, they choose to see greyness in Scripture, saying “I’m not entirely sure what the Bible says on that issue” or “How can we be sure this still applies today?” Whatever the sin and whatever the excuse, conviction from the Holy Spirit serves as a terrifically accurate compass for navigating these situations. Sit and listen.
Whatever the sin and whatever the excuse, conviction from the Holy Spirit serves as a terrifically accurate compass for navigating these situations. Sit and listen.
Then, when humbled, repent. Find remorse in your sin. Dig deep enough to unearth the heart issue behind the sin and let the Holy Spirit start to work. Is parental disappointment or poor self-image the root behind pornography and sexual lust? Is the power to control and fear of acceptance the motivation behind the quick-witted, sharp-tongued humor? Repentance is the beginning of change. True change, life change and heart change must start here. For if God’s spirit is to truly repair heart level issues, the root causes of our sin, we must learn to admit, regret, apologize and repent.
Now please excuse me, I need to turn over, wake up my wife and repent!
By Chris Chancey
Georgia BYX Alumnus
The blood gushed from my hip. My shorts were around my ankles, and 32 of what would become my closest friends stood awkwardly around me, unsure how to respond.
This is how brotherhood begins.
When I showed up at an info session to hear about a Christian fraternity starting up at The University of Georgia, I had little idea of what brotherhood meant. The closest thing to brotherhood I had experienced was under the Friday night lights of South Georgia high school football stadiums…but these college guys spoke of sharpening each other, spurring each other on, and holding each other accountable. Furthermore, their hope was to prepare men at UGA to be great businessmen, husbands and fathers one day.
Being sold on the vision, I decided to join. Our first official activity as a fraternity was the weekend following the info session. We hiked Blood Mountain together, one of the first peaks on the Appalachian Trail, and were planning to camp overnight at the top and hike out the next morning.
We made our way to the summit, set up camp, built a fire and roasted hot dogs. Though all these activities are conducive to male bonding, something didn’t seem quite right. The day had been full of awkward conversations and strange humor that almost made me regret my decision to come. There was little cohesion among the group as we each slid into our sleeping bags in various tents.
The guys in my tent were just as bummed as I was and discussed the potential of quitting the frat once we hiked out the next morning. We said a simple prayer before we drifted off to the chorus of North Georgia crickets, “God bring this group together, and if you need to, use us.”
The next morning we all gathered around a mound of honey buns and pop tarts as some fresh wood was being chopped a few yards away to start another fire. That’s when it happened. I felt a stinging sensation in my lower left hip and looked down to see a blood stain soaking through my shorts.
In the process of chopping firewood, a shard of the hatchet blade broke off and managed to embed itself deeply into my hip. My first reaction was to pull my shorts off to try to figure out what was happening. Though it took a few minutes to locate, someone had packed some tweezers perfect for removing shiny metal objects from flesh.
Everyone surrounded me out of curiosity, concern and to cautiously laugh and thank God the point of impact was not a few inches to the left. As the blood slowed to a trickle a folded paper towel and some duct tape served as a bandage and we all began making our descent in hopes of getting me to a hospital as soon as possible.
As in turns out the wound needed nothing more than to be sanitized and healed up quickly, but the impact it had in uniting a ragtag group of Christian men would fester for some time!
It may sound trivial, but there was a notable energy in the room when all 33 of us gathered for our first chapter the following Monday evening. There is something about facing adversity, no matter how big or small, that tends to bring together those involved.
And so it began. Brotherhood united our fraternity, sparking a movement at UGA still ablaze with the same purpose of becoming the men God has called us to be and impacting on our campus.
Over the next four years, I experienced this type of brotherhood. It changed everything about how I pursued the Lord and how I interacted with others. The love and acceptance of my brothers gave me the opportunity to experience authentic relationships built on humility rather than pride.
This brotherhood helped us stand our ground when the discriminatory legal battles heated up. It was brotherhood that inspired sacred traditions, encouraged steady growth and allowed us to be the youngest chapter to ever get chartered by BYX up to that point.
But as I look back on my college days, I have to wonder if what we experienced at UGA was an anomaly (Shout out to Lecrae’s new album). Is it possible to encounter a similar level of unity among the staff and teams we work with now? More importantly, does it require an injury or other adverse experience to promote trust among our co-workers and team members!?
It’s hard to believe the bond our fraternity experienced could be replicated, but Ephesians 4 affirms God’s expectation for us to be unifying agents on whatever group or team He has placed us:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” -Ephesians 4:1-3
Of course, sacrificing our body for the sake of unity is not necessary, but trust is most certainly developed through adversity. Stephen Covey highlights this point throughout his book, The Speed of Trust. Covey recognizes trust as “the catalyst of enterprise and reducer of friction on all decisions. It increases profit, both financially and in personal satisfaction for all involved, but you must be ready to lead your team through conflict to grasp it.”
I do believe we can ask our Heavenly Father for help in unifying the various groups in which we are involved. Moreover, I know He longs to use us to bring out the best in those around us – even if it means catching a piece of sharp metal in the hip. After all, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!”
Chris Chancey was a member of the alpha class of the Pi Chapter of BYX at the University of Georgia. He and his wife Sarah have been married for 5 years and reside in Atlanta with their two-month-old son, Boaz. Chris works for HOPE International, a Christ-centered micro-finance organization investing in the dreams of entrepreneurs in some of the world’s hardest places. Connect with Chris on Twitter: @chrischancey.
On consecutive weeks, members of the National Staff initiated founding fathers for two new chapters. On April 22, men from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga were initiated as the Alpha Lambda. A number of brothers from the Tennessee Chapter traveled to Chattanooga to support the new brothers. The following week, on May 1, the Alpha Mu Chapter was initiated at the University of Kentucky.
National Director & CDO Brian Lee is currently tending to new chapter leads at Kansas State, South Carolina, Iowa and Iowa State. South Carolina is the last SEC school without a chapter, and Kansas State and Iowa State would give BYX chapters on every Big XII campus. The National Staff and Board of Directors intend to add at least two chapters in the fall in order to reach the annual goal of four per year.
The National Staff added three new national advisors this summer. Zach Van Meter, who served as president of the Kappa Chapter at Oklahoma, will serve eight chapters in the fall. He worked on a part-time basis in the spring by advising one chapter. Zach also attended the inaugural COR Leadership Retreat in August 2013.
Kyle Yarborough joins the staff from the Alpha Alpha Chapter at NC State, where he served as vice president. Kyle will also serve as an advisor to eight chapters beginning in the fall.
Jayson Fisher joins the staff as a part-time national advisor, serving five chapters while also attending Dallas Theological Seminary. Jayson served as the pledge captain for the Gamma Chapter at Texas A&M. He served two chapters in the spring and will work with a number of the fraternity’s newest chapters.
The National Staff hopes to once again add a record number of pledges in the fall by providing the local chapters with resources to aid in their recruiting efforts. For the second year in a row, the National Staff distributed full-color brochures, DVDs featuring multiple videos promoting the fraternity and post cards to send to potentials.
Next week, 20 brothers will join the National Staff in Houston to kick off the second annual COR Leadership Retreat. The brothers will go through a number of sessions with prominent alumni and friends of the fraternity intended to grow them professionally and spiritually. Sessions will also be held in Dallas before heading to Almont, Colorado for a number of exciting team building activities. COR is a special opportunity to invest in the fraternity’s elite leaders so that they can return to their local chapters and help move them forward.
The National Staff continues to move towards its year-end fundraising goals. As of June 30, $59,100 has been given toward the year-end goal of $210,000. In August, the fraternity will promote it’s new non-cash giving opportunities by utilizing email blasts and social media.
SMU BYX Alumnus
When I made my decision to leave my first college, Tabor College, I thought that Southern Methodist University (SMU), being a Methodist university, would surely have a Christian fraternity. In 2002, SMU was about 75 percent Greek, so I was excited about pledging a Christian Fraternity to start my new life at SMU. What I found when I got to SMU was a totally different story.
What I didn’t know was that some Christian men, led by Kurt Schuster and Japheth Broeg, were in the process of bringing together a group of men that would eventually become a chapter of BYX. Their vision was for this chapter of BYX to become a ministry to reach Christian men on campus, solidify their relationship with Jesus Christ and to glorify His name on a secular campus.
At this point, I feel I need to mention that Southern Methodist University is actually a secular campus. There is still a seminary on campus, but that is as Christian or Methodist as the campus gets. As Japheth and Kurt grew their group, which was initially named Christian Brotherhood @ SMU, to a solid number in the Spring of 2002, I was able to join these men in the fall of 2002 to assist and push for the chapter of BYX. As we pushed hard to become a BYX chapter, we also found it hard to change the SMU bylaws for a charter on the campus. We faced many of the same challenges that other BYX chapters faced when it comes to starting BYX as a Christian group exclusively for men.
During this time, with outside forces outside our gates, we found the 16 founding fathers of the Mu Chapter were growing closer together. Through studying God’s Word, cell groups, putting on Island Party, hosting a formal and going on a BYX retreat, we were growing together and growing more in love with Christ. It seemed that a common goal of becoming a probationary chapter and trying to change the bylaws of the campus gave us our foundation, and putting on these events with Christ as the center drew us towards each other. As iron sharpens iron, the Lord put obstacles in our way to make us stronger.
When I look back at that time, I believe God put us in those positions to grow a strong group of Christian men who were ready, able and willing to take on the world as it is instead of the world as we would want it to be.
When I look back at that time, I believe God put us in those positions to grow a strong group of Christian men who were ready, able and willing to take on the world as it is instead of the world as we would want it to be. Much like Paul’s sentiments toward the Corinthian church about beating his body to keep it under control, the Lord was challenging us, beating our spiritual bodies into submission to Him. When we left SMU and our immediate BYX family, we were prepared to fight for the truth of in all areas and aspects of our lives.
I thank God for my time with BYX, even though it was only 2 years. I learned much about life as a Christian and about how to share my life with other men who would hold me accountable. I learned how to share the truth of the Gospel without being overbearing or confrontational and to instead be loving and honest about where we, as Christians, stand.
As men of BYX, we must understand that we carry the standard of Christ where ever we go. We are the ambassadors to a fallen world that may never have another look into what a true Christian community looks like or feels like. We must be the shining example on a hill. Just as the Lord saw us through our early days as a chapter, surely God will be just as faithful to see us through difficult times in our lives.
By Don Reid
Texas Chapter Alumnus
I grew up in Eastland, Texas, a small town on Interstate 20 about 50 miles east of Abilene. I grew up a Texas Longhorn fan, but after arriving on campus in the fall of 1984, I quickly realized that life at UT, and in Austin, was going to be just a little bit different than life in Eastland.
I had accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a freshman in high school, and I was looking for a group of Christian students at UT that I could hang out with. I was lucky (okay, blessed) to have a few Christian friends from Eastland that were also attending UT. They were involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, and they brought me along to a few of their weekly meetings.
I started attending Campus Crusade meetings on a regular basis, and I soon met Craig Albert. Yes, THAT Craig Albert. It wasn’t long before Craig and I developed a friendship, and that friendship has been a blessing to me ever since.
In the spring of my freshman year, Craig mentioned his idea of forming a Christian fraternity. I had gone through a few days of fraternity rush earlier in the year, but it seemed to be quite a different lifestyle than my Eastland upbringing. I was curious, however, about Craig’s thought of creating a Christian fraternity.
I enjoyed Campus Crusade and the friendships I was finding there, not to mention the solid Biblical teaching I was receiving from the Campus Crusade staff. However, I did notice that many students who attended Crusade meetings were also fraternity and sorority members. Even in Crusade, cliques developed, and my self-perception, accurate or not, was that I was an outsider. I wondered what it would have been like to pledge a fraternity and have a group of “brothers” on campus.
So, I tagged along with Craig and many others to Jester dormitory and listened as Craig presented the plan to form BYX. It has been almost 30 years since that first meeting, so I’m too old to remember a lot of the details. But I do remember that we continued to meet, eventually finding a gathering place in the basement of the University Christian Church. Talk about humble beginnings!
I would like to tell you that I have kept in touch with all my brothers in Christ that created BYX, but the truth is, I haven’t. I’m hard-pressed to remember many of their names. Most of them would say the same of me. So, you might ask, how has BYX impacted me if many of my friendships from college didn’t last forever? That’s a fair question, but it’s also an easy answer.
BYX gave me a sense of belonging when I was just figuring out who I was as an adult. Of course, just about any group can give you a sense of belonging. But not many groups are Biblically-based and can give young men courage to live their faith on a college campus surrounded by all kinds of temptations to do anything but live their faith.
BYX gave me a chance to actually have a social life and…uh…MEET GIRLS. But again, there are plenty of groups you could join to meet girls, but not many groups give you the chance to meet Christian girls in a spiritually encouraging setting. Through those early Island Parties and semi-formals, among my Christian brothers, I learned valuable lessons in how to think of, and treat, my Christian sisters. Now that I have daughters of my own, I am thankful for my young BYX brothers who seek to honor God through their relationships with the fairer sex.
BYX gave me a built-in accountability group. Throughout the years, I have found that having a consistent prayer life and Bible study is certainly a requirement to growing closer to God, but being accountable to another Christian brother or group of Christians is invaluable to my walk with God. The times in my life that I truly feel like I am growing spiritually are invariably at times when I know I have a fellow believer along the path with me, encouraging me and redirecting me if necessary.
BYX bridged the gap between my dependence on my parents as a child, when I had no choice but to go to church on Sundays, and the time as a young adult when I would have freedom to decide whether I would continue to seek God or not. By having BYX brothers as examples who were keeping the faith in college even without “having to,” my faith was strengthened.
BYX has shown me how seemingly small, insignificant actions can have a tremendous impact. As I mentioned earlier, I was just a tag-along with several BYX founders. I would have never dreamed that BYX would grow to what it is today. I wasn’t even sure BYX would be around when I graduated from UT. And yet, from its humble beginnings we now have dozens of chapters across the country, with hundreds of Christian brothers drawing closer to God through their friendships and fellowship with each other.
It would be over 15 years after I received my undergraduate degree from UT that I crossed paths with Brett Williams, a founder of the Texas A&M Chapter. He helped to reconnect me to BYX and showed me the growth that was occurring all over the country. What an exciting day that was to hear Brett tell the story of BYX!
BYX is an encouragement to me today. I have reconnected with several of my BYX brothers that live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As a Sunday school teacher, I have seen students graduate high school and then pledge BYX. One of them came back to visit our church a few weeks ago and told me how BYX was a difference maker for him in college.
I cannot tell you enough how encouraging it is to know that I am not fighting the good fight alone, but with my Christian brothers who have been there all along and to know that young Christian brothers are drawing closer to Christ and developing strong bonds with fellow Christian brothers through BYX.
It’s been, and continues to be, a great journey from my days as a kid in Eastland. I look forward to hearing from my brothers how Christ is being proclaimed through BYX. My prayer is that BYX will remain Biblically based, seeking ways to serve others and encourage our fellow brothers, and that we will all remember Matthew 22:36-40.
By Jon Lineberger
Houston Baptist Chapter Alumnus
I was 20 when I made a decision to fully follow Jesus Christ. My friends and girlfriend at the time weren’t ready to make the same decision for their life. After a couple of weeks of falling back into old sinful habits, I knew I needed to get myself away from these friends who were a bad influence on me. Otherwise, I would never become the person God wanted me to be.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) says, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” I needed to begin surrounding myself with sincere Christians that would help me and encourage me to live a Christian life.
It was lonely for a while because I didn’t have a lot of Christian friends, but I knew who I hung around in college would determine who I would become over the next few years. Did I want to go back to the person I was before Jesus changed my life? Or did I want to rise above and become a better person in Christ? I had the desire to become better, but unless I put myself around others that were on the same mission as me, striving to be more like Christ, I may not get there.
Over the next few months I did begin to develop some Christian friendships. Including a guy that was in BYX at Texas A&M. He told me about BYX and I was impressed. While on a campus visit to Houston Baptist University that summer, I noticed a BYX flyer on a bulletin board and was excited to know HBU had a BYX chapter. I called and left a message for the president of the chapter at that time and he called me back and told me about the chapter.
After I moved on campus that fall, I decided to go through Greek rush. I was exposed to several secular fraternities and was almost persuaded to join one of them, but I had been to their parties and knew that if I joined this particular fraternity I would fall right back into the lifestyle Christ had saved me from. There was a part of me that said “you can be a witness to these guys if you’re a member,” but I knew the likelihood was greater for them to pull me down than for me to pull them up so I didn’t pledge.
That next spring I pledged BYX, and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made because I built God-honoring, lifelong relationships in BYX. I don’t have to look back on my days at HBU with regret because I put myself around great people. I saw how the secular fraternities negatively influenced some of the men who went through Greek rush with me. One of the guys that I would have been a pledge brother to was kicked out of the school for some of his actions.
I’m not saying my brothers in BYX were perfect. We all had our struggles, but we were trying to get better and helping one another out. We are all in this Christian life together. We need brothers we can count on and look to for support, encouragement and inspiration.
This recent photo (right) is of me with two BYX brothers that I still look up to. They both had a strong impact on me while in college. The one on the left is Justin Pankow. He was the president of the BYX chapter at HBU when I arrived at HBU and the first person from BYX that made contact with me. While I was not a good student starting off, Justin encouraged me to make good grades in school. His encouragement and example inspired me.
On one occasion in the men’s dorm computer lab, which was notorious for viruses, Justin was on one of the computers and an inappropriate image popped up. He quickly turned his head and jumped up out of his seat. We looked to his monitor to see why he jumped up and someone closed the image on the computer.
It was actions like this that made the rest of us look at him and say, Justin is a man of God. He made a covenant with his eyes. Some people may not have been shocked by the image, but because Justin worked to keep his mind pure he had not become desensitized and was shocked. This is the type of person I needed to be around and model myself after.
On the right is Ross Shelton. Ross was another man I looked up to both spiritually and academically. He became president of HBU’s BYX chapter after Justin graduated. Ross and I also became roommates and his good habits rubbed off on me.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
Both Justin and Ross inspired me to be a better student and Christian. I thank God for these men and I thank BYX for giving me the opportunity to meet them and build a relationship with them. This is what BYX is about; brothers unifying to grow in faith, character, and Christian leadership. I didn’t see these qualities among the leadership of other fraternities on campus.
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” -Psalm 133:1
Please don’t get me wrong, BYX wasn’t like living in a monastery. We had a lot of fun, some of the most fun I’ve ever had. In fact, I’ve had more fun living my life for Jesus than I ever did trying to live for and please myself. But I didn’t get in trouble and I never had to deal with guilt or shame after hanging out with my BYX brothers.
My point is that BYX attracts and helps develop men striving to follow Jesus Christ. If you are a college student wondering what group to join look no further. You will never regret joining BYX. If you are an alumnus, grateful like I am for having had the opportunity to be in BYX, find a way to support your chapter and promote BYX by posting stories of your experience on social media so others will know about the great fraternity and impact of BYX.