Paraklesis Blog Articles
I loved college. Specifically, I loved my college experience. Even more specifically, I loved being part of an amazing group of college men, a Christian fraternity, called Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) or “Bucks.”
BYX is in the news these days. On the campus of Vanderbilt University (Tenn.), BYX is the focal point of a concerning debate over religious liberty in this country. But let me back up…
BYX is a front-line ministry reaching college-aged Christian men in unique and meaningful way on college campuses across this nation. BYX is not the church and doesn’t pretend to be the church. BYX reaches only a subset of the church; men, and specifically Christian, college-aged men. Further, BYX focuses on only two aspects of church, unity and accountability. “In one accord…” is a motto for the men in BYX.
You may think that I’m being light-hearted when I say that my fraternity experience was the most important part of college, but I’m not. You see, the Lord was preparing me for the role of pastor. Through BYX, I learned Christian leadership. In BYX, I learned how to move individuals toward unity. As a member of BYX, I learned that no matter how short of a time you’ve known a person, through the common bond of Jesus Christ, you have just met an individual you can trust, and with whom you can worship, work, and have a life-long friendship. In BYX, I met men who inspired me to serve God whole heartedly and with full abandonment. I stood next to men in their weddings and saw a picture for what a Christian marriage looks like in our day and age.
Three things I learned that I want you to know:
1. Brotherhood (or fellowship) is best achieved when you serve on the field together. Every spring, BYX planned a campus-wide, evangelistic outreach called Island Party. Rather than questioning why we did this (remember that evangelism isn’t one of the two purposes of BYX), I dove in fully. Those men became the closest allies I’ve ever known, as we worked side-by-side to plan, raise support, and orchestrate those outreaches. Today, as a pastor, the question I'm asked most frequently is aimed at discovering the best way to get more plugged into the church. Thanks to BYX, I don't hesitate to respond with two simple words, mission trip. I urge men and women at our church to go on mission trips because serving together in the field is the best way to meaningfully connect to other believers, develop lasting friendships, and for us to grow corporately into the picture of the church Paul gives in Ephesians 3.
2. Unity is not about everyone singing the same note. The word “unity” in Paul’s New Testament writing is closer to the word harmony than the word unison. In a choir, to sing in unison is to sing the exact same note. To sing in harmony is to sing different notes that come together to make a beautiful, enormous sound. All of us are different. Don’t be forced into singing the same note, but let your voice sing in harmony with others.
3. Go to where the bible tells you God bestows His blessing. Psalm 133:1 is the verse upon which BYX is founded and goes, “Behold how good and pleasing it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” This psalm is designed to make one reflect on the goodness of unity in the church. In verse 3, the psalm describes a physical location, a mountainside in the morning. The verse ends by saying “there the Lord bestows His blessing.” Wait a minute! The Bible just described a physical location and then said that location is the place where God bestows His blessing. Think about that! Take a moment to reflect on just how beautiful it is when there is unity and love in a church, or a community of believers. Now realize that the Bible just said that it is in a loving and unified church where God bestows His blessing. From that point forward, I have always desired to be in a church that is constantly striving for unity, because I want to be in a place where God is blessing.I encourage you to read up on the religious liberty controversy and the situation at Vanderbilt. It is a complex issue and I don’t pretend to think otherwise. Pray for those guys. But more importantly, I encourage you to connect with a group of Christ followers where you can experience unity and accountability; it is how God designed for us to live as followers of Christ.