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
By Allan Thompson
Missouri Chapter Founding Father
I was on a bus riding through the rough, Zambian countryside when it happened. The clouds cleared and I felt a calling from God like I had never felt before, or even since. You see, it was 2007 and I was a sophomore at the University of Missouri. My dream at that point was to be on ESPN someday as a famous sports broadcaster. But working with orphaned children in Zambia changed everything. I knew I wanted to tell stories and now it was clear that God was calling me to leave the ESPN dream behind to tell stories of his people doing Kingdom work around the world.
In this same season, eight friends and I had a crazy dream of bringing BYX to Mizzou. We had worked tirelessly the year before to found the Sigma Chapter and it was beginning to grow slowly but surely.
For me, BYX and this new calling to tell Kingdom stories have always been intimately connected. God used my opportunity to lead in BYX to form lasting friendships with men who deeply care for and believe in me, and to build the entrepreneurial spirit I would need when finally, in 2011, my wife and I founded One:Eight Productions.
Our goal is simple: to tell the stories of God’s people around the world making important strides for the Kingdom. We want to connect inspiring people with people in need of inspiration. This journey has taken us around the country and around the world, and we’ve been humbled by the things we’ve seen at each step.
This past January, we began work on a film with Dr. Faiz Rahman of Good News India. The purpose of the film is to shed light on the issue of bonded slavery, a toxic system that impacts millions of the poorest children in India. What happens is tragic: an already underprivileged family finds themselves in debt, or a child loses a parent and he or she cannot afford the meager expenses necessary just to live. These children are then conscripted into hard labor jobs to pay their debts. They miss out on the opportunity to get an education and are unable to provide a better life for themselves and their children.
Good News India works to intercept the most susceptible kids before they wind up in slavery. Under GNI’s care, kids are provided with stable housing, healthcare, education, and an understanding of their intrinsic worth and capabilities as God’s beloved children. Acres of Diamonds is a film we want to finish so the voiceless children of India are heard.
This is not a story of desperation but one of hope. The first time I heard Dr. Rahman use the term ‘acres of diamonds’ about these children I asked him what he meant. His answer was simple but profound enough to work its way into my heart.
“Diamonds are made under pressure; so are the kids of GNI. Diamonds are hidden away deep and need someone willing to dig deep to set them free. Diamonds needs work before they are presented. Diamonds sparkle in the sunlight; so do the GNI kids. Diamonds are multi-faceted. So are the GNI kids. And diamonds are treasures. So are these kids. At GNI we have the opportunity to collect acres of diamonds and set them free.”
We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to complete this film and we need the help of the BYX community. Your generosity will allow us to share the story of millions of children trapped in a life of slavery and give them the opportunity to be set free. All gifts to this project are 100% tax deductible. Thank you for your support.
Quarterly Review: Emphasis on leadership in fourth quarter sets up fraternity for long-term success.
The fourth quarter of 2014 brought with it a heavy emphasis on leadership. In November, the National Staff and Board of Directors hosted the largest National Officer Training to date. To wrap up the year, they conducted a fundraising campaign focused on generating funds to be allocated toward leadership development.
On November 21-23, over 200 men traveled to Denton, Texas for the annual National Officer Training. It was the first year that the event hosted over 200 brothers. A total of 35 campuses were represented at the event.
Students from three prospective chapters attended the weekend-long event, allowing the potential founding fathers to prepare for their roles as leaders and grow in their understanding of the purpose and vision of BYX by meeting men from all over the country. The weekend helped the potential founding fathers to catch the vision for BYX.
Since National Officer Training, the prospective chapters at Louisiana Tech and Miami University have been initiated as the Alpha Xi and Alpha Omicron Chapters, respectively. The men from Michigan State who attended National Officer Training have made great strides since the event and are likely to be initiated in the spring of 2015.
The weekend was an overwhelming success. Through small group breakout sessions and teaching from the main stage, the brothers left with a clear understanding of how to lead their chapters toward brotherhood and unity in Christ and how to carry out the specific responsibilities of their roles.
In December, the National Staff launched its “Next Man Up” giving campaign. The National Staff and Board of Directors made a strategic decision to promote leadership development in BYX because they believe that the long-term success of the fraternity is dependent upon developing leaders on the local chapter level.
The initiative was promoted across a variety of platforms including social media, video, email and mail campaigns. The “Next Man Up” campaign will help to directly fund National Officer Training and the COR Leadership Retreat.
To kickoff the giving season, BYX joined thousands of philanthropies, charities and non-profits for the international day of giving known as #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is a growing movement that promotes generosity in the midst of the materialism that often comes with the Christmas season.
In the fraternity’s first year of participating, some generous donors committed to match the first $30,000 donated to BYX on #GivingTuesday as a means of encouraging involvement. BYX raised $62,500 in one day.
In large part due to the vision, direction and execution of National Director & CDO Brian Lee and Communications Director Robert Bember, the “Next Man Up” campaign and #GivingTuesday promotion helped the fraternity to exceed its goal of raising $210,000 in 2014. In 2015, the Board of Directors has set a goal for the National Staff to raise $220,000.
The fourth quarter of 2014 put a bow on another great year for the fraternity. With exciting new initiatives and chapter leads at prominent universities, the 30th year of BYX is likely to be another landmark year in the fraternity’s history.
“They are all adulterers;
they are like a heated oven
whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
from the kneading of the dough
until it is leavened.
For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;
all night their anger smolders;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven,
and they devour their rulers.”
-Hosea 7:4, 6
I spend more time in the kitchen than the average 20-something single male, but as far as cooking goes, I really hang my chef’s hat on my work around the grill. Papa Bember brought me up on many a delicious meats off the grill and smoker, and I hope to carry the lighter, er, torch forward.
Growing as a grill master requires a degree of trial and error. Giving an impatient kid fire and meat is bound to result in a few batches of white and red meat turned to black meat. My early assumption was that if I just turn the heat on full blast, then the meat will cook faster. My theory was confirmed. It definitely cooked faster. However, despite the confirmation of my theory, I also confirmed that the meat was less edible and most definitely less pleasurable to put in my mouth.
Getting a grill too hot makes it difficult to use, and we see a similar analogy in Hosea 7. Throughout the book of Hosea (or at least up to this point), Israel has played the whore. They have been horribly unfaithful to God, chasing after their fleshly desires despite consistent rebuke and the warning of wrath to come.
In chapter 7, Hosea describes Israel’s lusts and passions as a heated oven. The oven is so hot that the baker no longer needs to stir the fire. Furthermore, it’s too hot to use. The flame of Israel’s sinful passions has been fanned to the degree that it’s blazing wildly without any sort of assistance. They’re not having to try anymore.
He comes back in the morning, and it continues to blaze wildly. Once again, he didn’t have to tend to it. The hearts of the people of Israel wait for the opportunity to act on these misplaced affections and pounce on the next sinful opportunity to present itself. Israel is so stirred up with sinful passions that it can’t be used. Their fiery passion is completely misplaced, and the Lord can’t use them for their intended purpose: To bring glory to His name.
I find myself falling into similar patterns. I can get so fired up about the most insignificant of things, especially during football season. Generating fervor and zeal is not a challenge to me, but directing it towards the eternal rather than the temporal is a daily struggle. My mind and heart, when left unchecked, can get so wrapped up in worldly interests that I miss opportunities to worship and serve my king. I’m that oven that’s too hot to be productive.
Often I pray that I would care about my walk with the Lord as much as much as I care about any number of other interests. How awesome would it be to look forward to picking up my Bible with the same anticipation that I have for walking into the TCU football stadium? That is a lot of anticipation. This daily checking of our passions and petitioning to the Lord to align our passions to his must mark our lives on a daily basis if we hope to be consistently fruitful for the Kingdom.
Tyler Owens joined the staff this December as a National Advisor after graduating from Texas A&M University. Tyler will begin law school in the fall, so will only be lending his services to the staff for one semester, so we decided we needed to hurry up and get to know him.
Why did you want to join the National Staff?
I saw it as a great opportunity to utilize my time and effort during the spring semester while transitioning from A&M to law school. BYX served me well during my time in college, so I can think of no better way to give back than being able to serve as a National Advisor. I love this fraternity and I love working with college guys. This isn’t just a job; it’s an absolute privilege. Also, the free merchandise and ski trip make a nice added bonus.
What positions did you hold at Texas A&M?
What do you like to do with your free time?
Sculpting my guns at the office, adding new leather bound books to my library, playing jazz flute and spending time with my true companion, Baxter.
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Easy, a t-bone steak. I would extract the bone and use it as a shank to get myself the heck out of there.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
It’s a tie between Ke$ha and Kanye West. And of course Abraham Lincoln.
Name three items on your bucket list.
Helicopter Ski, Be featured on ESPN Top 10 or Not Top 10, Play Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes…at my own funeral (it would be recorded of course.)
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, not named Jesus Christ, who would they be?
Michael Scott, Ron Burgundy, and Ron Swanson
What’s the last book you read?
Love Does by Bob Goff. No seriously, I’m actually being honest about this one.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Married, a couple of kids, working as an Air Force JAG, driving a truck, living in Texas, Jesus, ‘Merica.
What are you passionate about?
Missions, sports and working with people.
Would you rather…
-Fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
Bring on the duck.
-Merry a girl with baby hands or baby teeth?
Baby teeth. That can be fixed
-Eat poop-flavored chocolate or chocolate-flavored poop?
Poop-flavored chocolate. No doubt.
-Sweat chocolate or sneeze cheese whiz?
It depends. Is the chocolate sweat poop-flavored?
It was a beautiful weekend to fly to the Deep South of Mississippi. It was homecoming weekend for the maroon bulldawgs, and I was able to join the guys for a tailgate before the game against Bowling Green. I always enjoy my time at State because the culture of the school and chapter is so friendly and there are always many exciting activities going on. Going to a Mississippi State football game means that you’ve got to be prepared for the massive amounts of cowbell ringing that takes place. It is always entertaining taking a cowbell through airport security! One time a TSA agent even asked me if you actually call the cows with the bell. This trip, I made the unfortunate mistake of taking a “double ringer” to the game… Double ringer: twice the noise, twice the fan! Except they don’t tell you it also means twice the headache and workout!
I came in to the Omicron chapter after a busy week of having Island Party and Legacy chapter the two days prior to my visit. They had a great turnout for the Island Party concert where they had Green River Ordinance play in the amphitheater on campus. Legacy chapter was Friday night and they catered Chick-Fil-A and had a few alumni speak to the chapter. It has been a busy and very exciting semester for the guys here at Mississippi State. In addition to Legacy Chapter and Island Party, they took part in Chi-Omega’s Limelight philanthropy event for Make-A-Wish a few weeks earlier, they’ve been tailgating weekly, pledge-ship with 35 guys and much more. Retreat was the weekend after my visit to a small town in Alabama!
Saturday I was able to meet many of the new pledges and catch up with the brothers. Many of our guys are involved on campus, and it is one of the reasons that they continue to grow and have successful pledge classes. Campus involvement is so important! Auburn’s chapter president, Will Culpepper, actually came and hung out with us because his brother goes to Mississippi State and also my sister! Will also ventured over to Texas A&M and was able to visit the brothers there at the Auburn/ Texas A&M game!
Sunday, we went to church and lunch in Starkville. Then Sunday evening I joined the officers for their weekly officer meeting. Lakin has done a great job filling in as president this semester as well as Austin Grace as pledge captain. The officer corps was pretty tired from midterms and the week of activities, but they have worked hard to make it a successful semester for the brothers. I met with the officers and potential officers on Monday all day leading up to pledge meeting and chapter. Austin Grace and I went to Petty’s BBQ for lunch, and it was great southern style cooking.
The pledge class is a group of high caliber men that if they finish the semester out strong, have the potential to be great leaders in the fraternity. After chapter meeting I went to Mississippi’s own, McAlister’s Deli, with some of the brothers and pledges.
Tuesday morning I had another stack of meetings, but it was encouraging to see so many brothers and pledges getting to know one another over breakfast that day. It is easy to sit at the Student Union and walk around campus and see a familiar face.
The Mississippi State Chapter has many great members, and I always enjoy my time in the little town of Starkville, MS. The brothers have continued to make events better and challenge one another to be involved and grow in their walks with the Lord.
September 28th – October 1st.
Glory, glory to ol’ Georgia! It was great to fly back home and visit the Pi Chapter of BYX for the first time as their advisor. It has been a privilege to be on staff with our great fraternity and experience chapter cultures across the country, and it was great to take that experience I’ve gained back to where the BYX journey began for me back in the fall of 2008.
With Gameday taking over the normal tailgating spot of the chapter, the men changed locations to another area of campus and still were able to draw a large crowd including many former officers and alumni (Austin Burkhart, Pres, 2012 and Mark Johnson, VP, 2010). The guys had a great turnout and I enjoyed diving in and getting to meet the active brothers and pledges. There were 20 pledges this semester at The University of Georgia and many were around the tailgate. They continue to tailgate well—jamming to music, grilling out, tailgate games, and more.
It sure was a beautiful weekend in Georgia as the Dawgs played LSU. There were a handful of BYX brothers from LSU that made the drive up to Athens and made an appearance at the tailgate and stayed with brothers. It is always exciting to see men from across the country meet each other and learn more the similarities and differences of chapters.
After a long Saturday of football activities and meeting many of the guys, I met up with the officer corps Sunday afternoon for dinner and weekly officer meeting. We ate at a fairly new restaurant called the Herschel’s Famous 34. I enjoyed the great conversation with the officers and learning about how the many different facets of the fraternity were going. The men have worked extremely hard to build on the past to make for continued success at Georgia.
Monday was a very busy day as I had one-on-one officer meetings throughout the day as well as met with men running for officer corps and other brothers. We talked about pledgeship and the details of what the guys have been challenged with. Greek Light is on the horizon here at Georgia; it is an opportunity the guys have to host a worship service for the Greek community to challenge them to live it out for Christ on campus. UGA, Tennessee and NC State are joining forces for formal together this semester in Savannah, GA! VP Joseph Moore has worked hard coordinating this weekend formal and joint formals prove to be something that chapters can join together and enjoy together.
Monday night was a formal chapter meeting, and the officers have carried out a formal chapter ritual that was formed a few years back. I walked in knowing only a handful of brothers, but it sure was neat to see the guys that were pledges when I graduated still involved as leaders in the chapter. The brothers have been energized this semester by a strong group of pledges and have enjoyed investing in the future leaders of the chapter. I shared with the guys the vision of our fraternity and enjoyed the Q&A at the end of my chapter talk. I told a couple stories from my time as an active member and was able to talk through some of the areas the chapter could grow in but also areas that the Pi Chapter already excels. It was definitely nostalgic going back to where I grew as a leader and served the brothers a few years back, but it was exciting to see the men striving to grow closer to the Lord and challenging themselves to continually do things with excellence.
After chapter meeting wrapped up, chapter president Drew Anderson and myself went up to join the pledges, pledge captain Manny and assistant pledge captain Rebel at pledge time. It has been a very busy and challenging pledgeship experience, but the pledges seem to have a good grasp on what we are all about as a fraternity.
Following pledge time, there was a group of brothers and pledges that went to dinner at Transmet.
After living in Texas for 2½ years, it was a great adventure and challenge going back to where I came from and getting to invest in to the chapter. I was reminded first-hand that alumni can make a big difference in the quality of their chapter even after they are gone. There is a need for alumni to be in prayer for the brothers and pledges, give financially for scholarships, to pass on the rich stories and history of where the chapter has been, and to be involved with annual alumni events such as Legacy Chapter.
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It’s been an exciting first two days of the COR Leadership Retreat. The brothers have been quick to bond through the experiences they have shared so far. The men are hungry to learn and grow and eager to develop relationships with each other.
By Jason Hoyt
President and COO
Congratulations on making it to your final week before graduation. I vividly remember my last active member meeting where I had the chance to get up at chapter and share my heart with my fellow brothers. I had for years watched so many men go before me thinking that “that day” would never happen for me. It did come, and it was one of the most emotional days of my life. There were few words to describe how much the Lord had used BYX in my life to shape me and place me onto this path of my life. The Lord used men in BYX to lay foundational truths and foundational habits into my life. I learned what the pursuit of Christ looked like from other brothers in BYX. I took small steps each year towards greater maturity and relationship with Jesus.
As you begin to move on from your active member days in BYX, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on all that God has done in your life through your brothers in BYX. Remember the road trips to formals, the brotherhood retreats, the tailgating and the iron sharpening iron conversations in your cell groups. Those memories will last a lifetime, as well the relationships with the men you walked side-by-side with through these years.
Even though the active membership will soon end, those relationships will stand the test of time. I was just having lunch yesterday with one of my fellow BYX alumni brothers and former roommate. We were in each others weddings now 10 years ago and are watching our collective five kids grow up together. We continue to share the joys and challenges of life together now 13 years after we shared our last chapter meeting as active members.
I hope you will make the effort to become an informed BYX alumnus. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to stay “in the know” with what is going on in BYX. Follow us on social media in various places, and we will post blog updates, video updates, email updates and daily twitter and facebook updates on all the things the Lord continues to do through BYX.
We have designed Project 40 to support our growth. We are seeking $10,000 in chapter sponsors and 40 alumni to give $12 a month for 4 years towards one specific new BYX chapter. We are currently raising the support for BYX at the University of Alabama. Would you consider giving $12 a month in support of Alabama? Help us bring BYX to Bama by doing your part to support the vision of brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ. Click on the link here to give:
By Brian Lee
Chief Development Officer
As we approach the homestretch of my first semester on staff, I wanted to give you guys an update on our expansion efforts. I would like to begin by thanking so many of you that have helped provide contacts over the past several months. We can’t say enough that you guys are our best resource as it relates to establishing BYX chapters on new campuses across the nation!
So where are we going this year?
Alabama: As most of you know by know, Alabama is the first school out of the gate this year. Our plan is to initiate the chapter in August so that they will be ready for fall rush this year.
Stanford: We are in the processing of finalizing plans for our phase three trip to Stanford in May. We are hoping that they will also be ready to go for fall rush.
Michigan: We have a great group of guys that have been working hard to recruit more founding fathers this semester. We are planning our phase three trip in the fall to get them initiated in time for rush in the spring 2014 semester.
We are already cultivating a number of connections that we hope will grow into chapters.
South Carolina: I am talking with a group of nearly 15 guys at USC that are excited about establishing a BYX chapter. If everything continues to come together, they may also be ready to go by January 2014.
College of Charleston: I have talked extensively with a guy who has mobilized over 25 men who are committed to starting a chapter at another major school in South Carolina. The most remarkable thing is that he is a senior in high school! We will wait and see if everything comes together, but it would be great if we could start these first two schools at the same time in January since they are only an hour-and-a-half away from each other!
Kentucky: I’m communicating with a handful of men at UK that are hoping to start a chapter in 2014. They could use more guys so let me know if you have leads. By the way, if we establish a chapter, here we wrap up the SEC!
Kansas State: I am primarily talking with one guy at K-State. Need more leads! Kansas State isn’t far from a number of our chapters, so if you know men at K-State, pass their contact information our way and take some time to tell them about BYX.
Florida State: There are a couple of guys interested in starting a chapter here, but they are not yet committed. We could use some leads here as well.
Arizona State: There is one guy on this campus that would love to start a chapter, but has struggled to get enough guys on board with the vision. We would like to establish a chapter here as it is the largest campus in the nation, but we need more men on board.
Although this is a summary of our efforts so far, we know there are countless other men who would benefit from a BYX chapter on their campus. I would ask two things of you guys in response to this update. First, if you know anyone on the campuses mentioned above, please contact me at 979-575-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org pass their information along to me so I can follow up with them.
As you guys go your separate ways this summer and interact with men from other campuses, please be intentional about sharing how God has used BYX to impact your life and, if you are talking with a guy on a campus where we do not currently exist, encourage him to reach out to us to find out more about establishing a new chapter. Many of you will be working at various camps this summer. There is no better place to represent BYX and share all that Jesus has done in your life through the brotherhood. And don’t forget to send them my way if they would like to learn more about establishing a new chapter!
We are so excited about all that God has done, is doing and will continue to do in and through BYX. Thanks for supporting us as we seek to bring the Kingdom of God, through the avenue of a social fraternity, to campuses across our nation!