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God Causes Growth: The 133 Award

Author: Jason Hoyt     Topic: BYX, Awards

God Causes Growth

“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

In 2004, I began this journey of leading the fraternity of Beta Upsilon Chi with a vision for strengthening our existing chapters and growing BYX to new campuses. We have largely succeeded in that vision because of the favor the Lord has graciously shown us. Texas Tech BYX came into existence as our seventh BYX chapter in the spring of 1998. By 2004, the chapter had just begun elementary school. They were a little known chapter of about 30 guys who were just beginning to understand the vision of BYX and struggling to execute much of that vision. Leadership was struggling to keep their commitments at times, recruiting and pledgeship was a struggle, and campus and social presence was very limited.

They were learning the routine of having to get themselves out of bed, make their own lunch, brush their own teeth, put their own shoes on, and get to first grade on time. The chapter continued in this routine for about the next 5 years of existence as their numbers fluctuated between 30 and 45 brothers in any given semester. From the outside looking in, I struggled to understand how a major university in a giant conference with conservative roots in one of the most conservative states in the country was struggling to make an impact for the Kingdom through BYX. I considered Texas Tech BYX to be one of the largest kept secrets on campus and in the world of BYX.

But God caused it to grow! After a trip to campus in 2009, I began to sense the Lord moving in the chapter greatly. The leadership began to talk about how BYX can make a bigger impact on campus. They began to build better relationships with sororities and campus organizations. The men made a conscious effort to get involved in other campus leadership opportunities. One of the catalysts for that is the student orientation camp called “Foundations.” Several of our brothers began to invest in Foundations and it became an incredible opportunity to network with other young men who share a common bond under Christ. BYX began to grow and grow and grow from that point forward in all areas.

The 133 Award

The 133 Award is a special award. It’s given to the chapter that exemplifies success in all five of our Key Success Factors. As a result of the success, the chapter’s impact on the individual brothers lives and the campus at large are clicking on all cylinders. The success factors are leadership, chapter meetings, cell groups, pledgeship, and campus and social presence.

Leadership in the Texas Tech chapter has been stable year after year. Each officer unit is operating at a high level while keeping the vision of brotherhood and unity in Christ at the forefront of their minds. Chapter meetings are well-run with chapter members looking forward to them each week. There’s not another place any of the brothers would rather be on a Monday night than investing into one another through chapter meetings. Cell groups are focused on Christ-centered community where brothers are breaking down the walls of small talk and pressing into each other’s daily challenges. Recruiting and pledgeship have improved dramatically over the last five years, with the chapter growing in vision and growing in numbers. The chapter currently has 158 members this spring semester which is the largest in their history. The chapter’s campus and social presence continues to grow with many brothers serving as leaders in other campus ministries and organizations. Their annual Barn Dance open party is one of the largest events thrown by a fraternity on campus.

Overall, the chapter is hitting on all cylinders right now and that’s the primary reason why the chapter is set to receive the 133 Award in an official ceremony on Monday, April 25. It’s been a privilege to see the Texas Tech BYX Chapter grow to maturity where they are executing the vision of BYX at a high level and making a Kingdom impact on their campus.

“But God who causes the growth,” says 1 Corinthians 3. The Lord has graciously grown our BYX chapter at Texas Tech University through the young men who have committed their college experience to the fraternity. It truly has been an honor to play a small role in what God is doing in the life of BYX at Texas Tech, taking it from one of the chapters with the most potential to now being rewarded for best accomplishing the purpose of BYX in establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ. Well done, brothers!


Jason Hoyt is the National President and COO of BYX. He graduated from Texas A&M in 2000 and because the National President in 2004. He and his wife Ashley live in Keller, TX with their four children.


 

Excellence in Awards: Influence through Social & Campus Presence

15 Byline Kyle

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” The body of Christ is called to excellence in everything we do because it brings glory to the Father who gifts us with the abilities to serve Him. As a member of BYX, you have surely heard that a number of times. How often it is repeated cannot diminish its validity and as a staff, we have made an effort over the last two years to publicly recognize excellence within our chapters.

There are five awards that are presented each year: the National Unity award, for the chapter that best understands, appreciates and respects the national body of BYX brothers; the Party of the Year award for the chapter that puts on the best planned, organized and executed event; the Momentum Award, given to the chapter that has shown the greatest progress; the 133 Award, given to the chapter that overall best accomplishes the purpose of BYX in establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Christ; and the Social & Campus Presence Award, presented to the chapter that is maximizing their campus influence and is making the greatest positive social impact.

MSU officers S16

Today we are highlighting the Social & Campus Presence Award. There are many reasons why I love BYX. I love the ability for college men to gain experience in leading, organizing, planning and executing some of the best events that a given college campus will see that year. I love the relationships our BYX guys create in their circles outside of the fraternity and how those influence the campus through Student Senate or other elected positions. These are only two examples of campus presence, but they are weighty.

This award recognizes the chapter that excels in mobilizing their chapter towards leadership outside of BYX, involvement with other Greek organizations and pursuing opportunities to change their school for the better, all while understanding that without far-reaching arms within BYX, the impact a chapter is capable of making is severely limited.

This award is also greater than just the events themselves in that while a chapter may be doing the right things, if the heart behind them and intentions are wrong, it undermines the purpose of what you are doing. “Not for men”, Colossians 3 says. If our goal becomes furthering our reputation for ourselves and merely to make ourselves look better, we’ve missed the mark.

MSU chapter S16

At National Officer Training 2015, the National Staff recognized the Omicron Chapter at Mississippi State University for their excellence in Social & Campus Presence. Their tireless efforts towards furthering their social position within the Greek community as well as their presence in campus leadership, SGA and other ministries set the chapter apart in a way that deserved recognition. From winning Mr. MSU in back-to-back years, formally joining the local Greek community, hosting open social events that are not only numerous but planned with excellence, Mississippi State BYX displayed excellence in attention to detail and organization. Beyond that, the Omicron Chapter demonstrated an understanding of the purpose of and need for a strong social and campus presence and how that strength pervades other areas of BYX and lifts recruiting and furthers internal brotherhood. Good work, men!

Key Success Factors: Four steps to leading well in your chapter.

15 Byline Bember

The officers and leaders at the local chapter level have the opportunity to take new peaks with their chapter or lead them right off the cliff. Both the short- and long-term success of Beta Upsilon Chi rely heavily upon the men leading on the local chapter level.

There is a plethora of resources available to grow as a leader in general, and a responsible man will make those a priority. While applying general leadership principles will go a long way, we want to drill down deeper into our specific context. Leadership is the final key success factor of Beta Upsilon Chi, so we have to specifically define what successful leadership looks like within BYX. If you remember and apply these easy-to-remember points, the chapter will thrive under your leadership.

Walk the walk.
As a leader within the chapter, you have to be a living, breathing example of the purpose and identity of Beta Upsilon Chi. You have to epitomize commitment to BYX and all that we believe in by how you live your life. Men buy into a picture more than a statement. You are that picture.

If you are not the picture, they will find someone else to emulate. That can be to your detriment because they may not be leading in the right direction. If they look to the vocal senior in the back corner with a rebellious streak who picks and chooses when he will show up and how he will be involved (I know an image comes to mind immediately of who that brother is in your chapter), you will have problems for years to come. Be the picture they can look to by walking out a life committed to Christ, your men and your fraternity.

How do you walk the walk as a leader? Simply put, you have to stand for what BYX stands for. Therefore you must be a stalwart of brotherhood and unity under Christ. You are a catalyst for bringing men together.

As an outflow of the purpose, a leader who walks the walk loves his men well. He is involved in their lives, lifting them up when they’re down and pulling them back when they’re off track. As John Maxwell said, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care, and you can’t ask for their hand until you have their heart. Leaders will love the men well even when they don’t want to.

Our leaders have to follow Jesus closely for their sake and the sake of their men. The leader not abiding in the vine will die, and his men will suffer because of it. Leading in our flesh will not bear fruit. In the same way that you must show men how to be involved with BYX, you must strive to show them how to follow Christ well.

Talk the talk.
The most successful leaders in BYX will consistently keep the purpose and identity in front of their men. Their communication is laced with the why behind all that we do.

Albert Mohler said:

“Convictional leadership begins with a commitment to truth and a relentless desire to see others know and believe that same truth. But communication is a form of warfare. The leader is always fighting apathy, confusion, lack of direction and competing voices. The wise leader understands this warfare and enters it eagerly.”

The leaders in the local chapter have to step into the conflict and help their men to have a sound understanding of who we are and what we do as a fraternity. They are bombarded with competing messages from poor sources of information, be that disengaged brothers or those outside of BYX, who promote their opinion of what we should be. Communicating the purpose of BYX in a manner that both educates and inspires will be a huge factor in the success of the chapter.

Run in your lane.
Andy Stanley said, “Only do what only you can do.” When our leaders commit to handle the specific tasks that they have been delegated based on their skill set, the chapter as a whole will thrive. Each leader needs to run in his lane, focusing on executing with excellence the tasks that fall under his job description.

Details, logistics and administrative tasks are not always sexy, but they are necessary. By focusing on little things, they can add up to yield big results and impact the big picture. When they get out of whack, other elements of BYX will suffer.

For example, a successful rush week takes a huge amount of preparation. Look at just a few of the responsibilities that have to be tended to prior to rush:

  • Schedule events.
  • Plan out each event.
    • Location
    • Time
    • Speaker
    • Theme
    • Food
  • Promote the events.
  • Purchase materials for each event.
  • Develop a list of potential pledges.
  • Personally invite potential pledges to events.
  • Prepare active members for events.

If those little things don’t happen and the little things that go into each of those little things don’t happen, then there are big consequences. Numbers in attendance at the event can suffer. Potentials who do come may have a diminished experience if the event is poorly executed and the brothers are not engaging them.

All of the sudden, mediocrity with your responsibilities turns into a mediocre pledge class, and you’re left rationalizing it to your national advisor by saying, “We didn’t get as many as we expected, but the eight we got are all solid, quality, legit guys.” Sure they are. Those issues can be avoided by taking care of responsibilities with excellence beforehand.

Bring others with you.
Sometimes, chapters catch lightning in a bottle and bring in an officer corps that far exceeds the standards of previous officer teams. At that point, one of two things will happen when their term is up: the next group will regress to the historical standard or they will continue to drive BYX forward to new heights.

Which of those possibilities becomes a reality is dependent upon the officers’ ability to replicate leadership. Officers, chairs, cell group leaders and other leaders in the chapter need to identify younger men in the chapter that will be stepping up in the future and prepare them for the opportunity to lead.

Leaders can’t pass on opportunities to identify gifts and talents in others. They have a capacity to make a profound impact on a younger brother who may have never understood the ways that the Lord has specifically wired him to impact the kingdom. When you see potential in a brother, don’t let it go unrealized. Bring him with you on your leadership journey, showing him the intricacies of your role and giving him an understanding of what it takes to faithfully lead his brothers.

The chapters that consistently give men chances to lead and make it a priority to invest in them are the ones that experience long-term growth and health. Current leaders have to place a heavy emphasis on building up the next group of leaders. They have to stir up their enthusiasm to serve BYX and equip them to successfully channel that fervor.

Key Success Factors: The importance of leading well in BYX.

15 Byline Blake

We all know leaders, and chances are if you are reading this you are one yourself. At some level, everyone is a leader and are tasked to lead in one way or another. We are all also acquainted with various types of leaders. Most likely you have interacted with good leaders and bad leaders alike. Leadership is inevitable. So why is leadership so important and why is good leadership essential?

Leadership is the most critical element of any organization. Think of it in terms of a car and leadership is the transmission. Good leadership sets things in motion to move forward, and poor leadership causes the organization to reverse and regress. Then there is neutral leadership, which is tossed here and there by circumstances and environment. It is very crucial to understand what type of leadership you are displaying and how that is affecting those around you. Leading in a manner that promotes forward movement and momentum is a tough challenge but absolutely necessary for success and positive change.

Here are a few reasons for why good leadership is necessary.

Leadership is influence and followers are key.
I am reminded of the ebbs and flows of leadership within “The Mighty Ducks” movies. Coach Bombay was inspiring and engaging, causing the team to follow with reckless intent. On the contrary, there were times when the coach made poor decisions in leadership producing division and angst. In both situations, the leader was influencing; one positively and the other more negatively.

As a leader you must understand who you are influencing how you are influencing them. And if you realize no one is following, then you must not really be leading. If you are really leading and doing it correctly, there should be some type of draw to you. Followers need to want to follow you rather than feeling obligated to do so because it’s their job. In effective leadership, followers choose to follow the leader. This is a much healthier way to meet standards and accomplish goals.

I’m not advocating for you to be best buds with everyone, and, honestly, in leadership there will be times some people don’t like you. But it is important you win people and gain trust of those you lead. How are you drawing people in?

Leadership creates change.
Being an agent of change in leadership is great. We all know stagnant leaders who use their position of leadership as nothing more than a placeholder and résumé builder. The best leaders are the ones who not only embrace change but pursue change. No, you don’t need to change things for the sake of changing. I’m a believer of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. But there is always potential to improve, and being in leadership allows the opportunity to create change for the better. Be creative with how you can add value through change.

Leadership motivates people.
Great leaders are concerned with the success of those around them. Successful leaders fight the urge to act selfishly. Motivating people and pushing them towards a common goal is Leadership 101. Do not simply manage people for the sake of results. Be long-term-minded and lead people towards a goal.

This not only brings you success but also brings success and growth to those following you as well. Ultimately, dividends are paid in large amounts when both leaders and their followers thrive. Motivating people toward a vision and goal for their sake is way different than for your selfish ambition. The latter is what some would call manipulation. John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ponder on that quote and let that be a force that drives you to motivate rightly.

Ultimately there are countless reason why leadership is important. I hope you recognized an overarching theme of these reasons for leadership’s importance. That theme is the people you lead. A common thread for the most effective leaders is the healthy view of their followers and the relationships they have with them.

Key Success Factors: Building a consistent presence on campus and a good name socially.

15 Byline Kyle

We often talk about the “why” behind each thing that we do as a fraternity, and every bit of it is justified. Knowing our purpose drives us to excel. That is important to keep in mind as we continue. As it applies specifically to our social events, quantity is always important. However, don’t let quantity supplant quality. People will recognize when an event is well planned and executed.

Good events provide greater attention and better attendance; all of which can positively influence future events as well as recruitment. This can seem a little cyclical, and to a degree it is, but it will always require great effort and attention. Point being, if you aren’t active on campus, you are greatly limiting the impact you are capable of making as well as the potential for each member’s personal growth. Each event is an opportunity to build relationships.

If you’re confused at what BYX is supposed to look like socially, use this blog as a resource when brainstorming ideas, deciding which ideas to move forward with, planning, communication and execution. We will also cover what meeting expectations looks like.

Events
Date Functions
A typical semester in BYX should be filled with date parties, mixers, open parties and philanthropy events. Date parties include formal and semi-formal in addition to more frequent and less extravagant date functions. A friend of mine took his future wife to a BYX date function. That was their first date. I’m not saying that’s definitely going to happen to you but hey, who’s to say that it can’t? Be creative too. It is always important to hold events that your members want to attend, so throw your chapter a curveball and plan a grab-a-date event, blind date function or something out of the ordinary.

I can’t stress how important it is to start planning early. This goes for each and every event you throw. Start planning at least six weeks out. Have your venue and entertainment with four weeks to go, and with two weeks to go, you should have all the details worked out: catering, travel arrangements, etc. By getting a head start, you may also be able to work out a deal with a venue or service provider that lowers your cost for the event. Something unexpected will always happen, whether it’s a canceled venue, double-booked band, your date drops out, extreme weather or otherwise. That extra two weeks before your event will give you time to make adjustments.

Mixers
Some chapters also call these socials, functions and swaps. Whatever you decide, they’re a large part of what your chapter should be doing in the Greek community. Each one is a new opportunity to show a different sorority what it’s like to be treated with respect and dignity.

Clemson Rave F15Creativity is a common theme when it comes to campus involvement and you need to be especially mindful of this when mixing with your school’s sororities. If at all possible, don’t repeat ideas/themes. There are plenty of ideas, like an 80’s mixer at a roller skate rink or Cute Dads & Fun Moms, to need to recycle.

Again, timing is your friend. Sorority calendars fill up quickly. Many have a certain number they are able to do and sometimes even have fraternities they must mix with so communicate with them early and set a date. If you give yourself time, you can work out the theme and other details later.

The last thing to keep in mind is avoiding favoritism. Treat every sorority equally and exceptionally. This applies to mixing in particular. It may be easy to always mix with one sorority but make an effort to get involved with as many as you can. 

Philanthropy
One of the ways we can impact campus is through philanthropy events. Whether your chapter is putting on the event or your members are attending a sorority’s philanthropy event, be sure to participate. Not only does this give your chapter other opportunities to be represented on campus, it also strengthens your relationship with that organization.

Though the events may vary from school to school, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. From Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash to Pi Phi’s Arrow Jam, encourage your men to take part. From my experience, there’s not one event that I regret attending or participating in. You’ll be creating memories and increasing the brand of BYX at the same time.

Other Involvement
One of the most overlooked ways to impact your campus is through leadership and involvement in organizations outside of BYX such as SGA, various local ministries, academic clubs and even intramural sports. It doesn’t take a title to make a difference in these spaces; just a presence and intentionality. People take notice when BYX is represented and involved. Expand the potential for BYX to impact your campus and encourage your members to get involved outside of the fraternity.

Open Parties
The way we are capable of reaching the largest audience is through our open parties. These can take many forms, and there is no single right way to go about them. House parties, a campus-wide rave or organizing a concert are just a few of the many ways to host an open party. As with any event, early planning will reduce stress and may provide the possibility for discounted venues or entertainment, depending on the format.

The most notable of these will almost always be your Island Party. It can seem daunting because of its reputation but in reality, it should just be another well planned event that happens to occur annually under the same name. Don’t let it be overwhelming. Start early and nail down the necessary details, giving you enough time to adjust if needed and without stress.

With all campus-wide events, you need to communicate very effectively. As soon as you know the theme, date and venue, begin advertising. Your most valuable resource is your membership. Utilize them and get them involved so make it a priority to communicate all critical details to them. Get the word out on campus by handing out flyers at other campus events, chalk or paint your campus commons and send a few of your well-spoken guys to sorority meetings and personally invite them to your open events. Those are a few of the many ways to creatively get the word out to your campus.

Meeting Expectations
You are expected to be involved on campus and the following should give you an idea as to how a normal semester schedule might be filled. However, do not let these guidelines be limitations. An exceptional chapter will go above and beyond the minimum.

As a general rule, you should be holding two to three date functions each semester. That can include a formal or semi-formal and one to two other events. A normal chapter should aim to have three mixers with different sororities as well as involvement in two philanthropic events, either hosted by BYX or attendance at another organization’s events. The typical chapter will hold two open parties each semester as well. One of these may be your Island Party. Motivate your chapter towards other campus involvement as well, whether that’s through leadership in other organizations or intramural sports teams.

In the beginning, there are no bad ideas. From there, pick your best, most feasible ideas from what you’ve come up with. Determine the essentials: cost, date, time, location and take care of as much as you can as early as possible. Then, effectively make known the event details to your intended audience. Holistically, that may seem like a lot but each part is important in developing and maintaining the impact of your BYX chapter.

Remember that it all begins with preparation. If you lay out a plan for the semester early on, you won’t get to October 28th and be wondering if you’re going to have a Halloween party or not.

Key Success Factors: The importance of leveraging the opportunity to impact campus socially.

15 Byline Blake

As you’ve heard many times, both by our advisors and mentioned in previous blogs, we have five key success factors. To reiterate, they are pledgeship/recruitment, chapter meetings, cell groups, social and campus presence and leadership. These areas of BYX are crucial for success, and they are all equally weighted in importance, standing firm on the foundation of Christ. Let’s take a moment discuss the why social and campus presence makes this list.

12046991_10153638898938407_6020560924527421597_nMany times we find ourselves, whether successful or not in this area, seeking social involvement on campus for the wrong reasons. We must get back to the basics of the most beautiful part of this opportunity. The word “opportunity” is purposefully used here. Social and campus presence is an opportunity; an opportunity to love, serve impact and grow.

It is absolutely necessary that we understand and stay on purpose here. The moment we forget the heart behind why we do what we do, we are subject to negativity. Yes, being cool on campus is great. Yes, meeting people is great. Yes, recruiting results increase and that’s great. Yes, building a positive image of BYX is outstanding.

But no, it’s not about those things! When good or even great things become ultimate things, they are out of place. Likewise, if motivations are for the personal by-products of success then it won’t last in as much effectiveness. Success often follows rightly ordered priorities and motives.

So focusing on motivations of social and campus presence, there are two areas of interest. The first is love. We are called to love our neighbors. Every time you have any interaction with the campus (social, date party, mixer, open party, homecoming, intramural, etc.) remember that you are there to love them. Now what does that love look like? Love looks different in every situation. However, two important things to keep in mind are:

  1. Relationships are key and foundational
  2. You are not there to throw the Bible at them or condemn anyone.

Love is crucial not only in BYX but in life. Love at all cost. Disclaimer: this does not mean passive acceptance but it does mean love when it’s uncomfortable and not pretty. That’s what Christ did for you and me.

The second area of interest is service. Bottom line is there should always be an attitude of service in every part of BYX but especially the success factor of social and campus presence. You might be surprised at how rare it is for people to actually serve. And not only serving but serving with an attitude that is not self-centered but others centered. Keep in mind, the needs of your campus. It will likely be refreshing for your campus to see a brotherhood of men there to support and serve. Whether it is cleaning up at sorority houses, volunteering to give energy and resources to philanthropies or serving on SGA, there is any number of opportunities to show BYX in the most positive light.

Finally, let’s touch on some great by-products of good social and campus presence and why that is necessary. There are several by-products but I will focus on 3.

Recruitment is enhanced.
Every positive interaction on campus will impact your recruiting ability. Likewise, every negative interaction has a potentially detrimental result. So every time you have a bad mixer or a poor showing at Greek event or a variety of things on campus, you are compromising efforts in your recruiting and put yourselves in a hole relationally. Be aware of campus expectations and exceed them. That means you will have to do little things that prove a difference.

Impact on campus is increased.
The more the chapter is known the more influence they have. The more influence they have, the more impact they can make. Understand that your impact can be restricted by a poor social and campus presence. BYX is in a very unique space to make impact and we have to be aware of growing into relevant place impact in this unique environment.

Chapter growth and development is impacted.
Individuals in a chapter with a successful social presence can be greatly impacted. Whether are growing socially, professionally or relationally. Skills learned through this avenue of BYX can be carried to wherever the brother serves the Lord in the future.

Remember social and campus presence is an opportunity that we should always enjoy and never waste!

Key Success Factors: Putting the marks of a quality cell group into practice.

15 Byline Dean

Cell groups are real dang important. Now that we’ve established the why, let’s get practical. The four identified marks of a good cell group are transparent life sharing, accountability, fellowship and prayer. Every cell group is going to have its own flavor, but these things are a consistent staple of successful groups. More on that in a minute.

Leaders have the responsibility of facilitating cell group meeting and discussion, while exemplifying themselves everything they hope their cell group to be. Cell group members also have a duty to the group. So if I’m a cell group leader, how do I lead an effective group? If I’m a member, how do I contribute to my cell group’s success? Glad you asked. Let me start from the bottom. First you have to get to cell group.

Attendance
Step one is to be present. Regular absences by one or more cell group members reminds the rest of the group that this time of fellowship and spiritual sharpening is expendable to other demands, often a result of a poorly managed schedule. Your group members dictate the time you meet; make adjustments and show up. Secondly, be attentive. Physical attendance with mental or spiritual absence is the thumbprint of a marginal Christian, and it’s no different for a BYX cell group. When cell group starts, be ready to engage the men around you for an hour or two.

Transparency
As with everything, transparency starts with leadership. Cell group leader, if you want your group to be transparent, which you do, it starts with you leading that out by example. From the other men, too, more active prodding may be necessary to get some brothers to open up. And, seeing as BYX is in the business of stretching and sharpening our men, we’re for that. Do it tactfully and lovingly, but asking follow-up questions when an individual gives a surface-level response to a discussion question is good. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate a brother’s openness, whether it’s confession of sin or opening up about a family issue, etc. Without transparency, the environment of closeness and spiritual sharpening we are aiming for in cell groups is not created.

Accountability
Accountability is probably up there with “intentional” and “guard your heart” in the Christian buzzword power rankings, but let’s not forget its gravid meaning. Cell groups, when done correctly, can provide a battlefield for brothers to combat sin. It’s a safe place if you want to deal with your junk and kill sin, but not so if you want to harbor it. So ask yourself this: would you rather deal with the growing pains of sanctification or the cancer of sustained sin? That’s where the Marines surrounding you come in. When a brother is dwelling in and justifying sinful behavior, it’s time to ask some tough questions. Grace is not to be forgotten, but it is expected that cell groups hold their members to the high standards to which they’ve been called. This isn’t the hacky sack club.

Fellowship
Cell groups are constitutionally required to meet once per week, and that’s where a lot of the heart level fellowship is going to happen. It’s a place for men to be encouraged and embraced when they’re down and challenged when they’re out of line. But the fellowship between cell group members stretches beyond just this weekly obligation. Find a weekend to take a retreat with your cell group. Do an awesome food challenge together one night. Go to the driving range and whack some balls. Relationships are multidimensional, so there’s more to cultivating them than a weekly meeting.

Prayer
Imagine if you could walk into your doctor’s office unannounced anytime and be seen right away. For free. Yeah, not gonna happen right? Why is it that prayer is either forgotten altogether or practiced as a mere formality in some cell groups? Have we missed the fact that the creator of the universe, who also happened to sacrifice himself so that you could justly have communion with him for eternity, is always a toll-free call away? And we don’t get his answering machine either. Our God is a big god. He’s strong and really smart. Inviting his presence in your cell groups, interceding to him for brothers’ needs and enjoying intimacy with him is not to be overlooked.

I can’t tell you the perfect logistical format of a cell group, but whether you have cell group in a living room, a Starbucks or a hot tub, these general principles should help produce some fruit. Never forget that brotherhood and unity is our number one aim. Cell groups provide a perfect avenue for it on the most personal level, and that truly does impact everything else the chapter does.

Key Success Factors: The quality of cell groups affects everything else the chapter does.

15 Byline Fish

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47 [Underlining added]

Throughout the four Gospels and the book of Acts, you hardly ever read about a person going out on their own besides Jesus himself. We were designed to live in community. BYX gives you a great opportunity to live out the biblical standard of community in college before it becomes much more difficult to surround yourself with biblical community. After college, it will take much more effort to pursue Jesus with others if your local church body does not require it of members. Take time now in college to practice biblical community and see the life change that comes from it.

My local church here in Dallas has “core values” for community that I think can directly apply to how you should be living in community:

  • Devote ourselves daily to a personal relationship with Jesus (John 15:5)
  • Pursue deep relationships with one another, based on love and acceptance (Romans 12:10)
  • Offer and receive biblical counsel in all areas of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Live authentically, sharing our struggles (James 5:16)
  • Encourage & Admonish one another faithfully towards maturity (Colossians 3:16)[1]

If you strive to do these well, you will not only prepare yourselves for post-college life, but everything your chapter does will change. The brotherhood and unity that will come from cell groups will spill over into chapter meetings, into pledge meetings, swaps, formals, etc. The maturation and love developed in cell groups will be infectious not only within your chapter, but also on your campus. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a fraternity that is bonded tightly while also sharpening each other to look like Jesus (Romans 8:29)? 

So why do we have cell groups?
Because God shows us in His Word that we cannot submit our lives to the Bible without having community (Galatians 6:1-10; Romans 12:3–13; Psalm 133:1; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Colossians 3:12–17). These three things we must do well in order to live out the purpose of cell groups:

  • Promote brotherhood and unity
  • Equip and train men in the Gospel
  • Sharpen each other by operating on a heart level and driving them to the Gospel

Promote brotherhood and unity.
If cell groups are functioning in a healthy way, brotherhood and unity should flow out of the times you meet with your cell group. Continuing to meet outside of the once a week meeting only enhances that. If each cell group is fostering brotherhood and unity multiple times a week, think about how drastic all the other events during the semester would look! Brotherhood and unity has to begin in cell groups, and that will bleed out into all aspects of the chapter.

Equip and train men in the Gospel.
Along with brotherhood and unity, each of the men in your cell group will begin to be equipped to engage God in His Word and allow that to pour over into all aspects of their lives. Equipping and training men is important because it sets the chapter up for long-term spiritual health and maturity. On top of that, it puts the men in position to thrive post-graduation. College is a formative time for everyone, and this is a great opportunity for every member in the chapter to see how to daily walk with Jesus.

Sharpen each other by operating on a heart level and driving them to the Gospel.
Keep in mind that these first two points cannot come from a cell group that functions at surface level. Sharpening each other by operating on a heart level is important because guys do not know how to talk about feelings. Members need to learn to get to what is driving their actions more so than behavior modification. Removing the roots that drive sin is vital to sin mortification. Cell group in BYX is often first time men learn to do this, and they can take the lessons learned into adulthood. You will see when you graduate that more often than not men in the church do not know how to have deep conversations that glorify Christ. The act of continual confession and repentance alone (not to mention prayer) cannot be done on a surface level. Continue to walk out prayer, confession and repentance and operate as a cell group at a deeper level.

All this to say, if cell groups are on the periphery of your priorities, you are not doing a good job investing your time in BYX. Brotherhood and unity in Christ is our number one goal. Take every chance to pour into others and also be poured into during your time in BYX. You have an opportunity to form relationships that will last much longer than college. I hear stories of brotherhood and unity all across the country, and I would hate for you to miss out on something so precious. Invest in your cell groups, they make all the difference.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25

[1] All of the Core Values can be seen here at http://www.watermark.org/dallas/ministries/community/resources

Key Success Factors: Holding a productive and fruitful chapter meeting.

15 Byline Van Meter

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.

Spiritual Encouragement
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.

S15 LSU chapter worshipWorship 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.

Tradition
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.

Communication
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.

Key Success Factors: Why is chapter meeting more than just a weekly event?

15 Byline Bember

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.