By Robert Bember
Tired. Drained. Out of gas. All of the above. Sunday was one of those days where your eye lids feel heavy from about noon until you pass out that night. That time didn’t come until about one in the morning. Knowing that I’d have to be up at 7:30 to head to Denton for 10-straight hours of one-on-ones with the UNT Chapter didn’t exactly energize me.
I just started working with the Theta Chapter this semester after former National Advisor Tyler Wilson retired from BYX. Tyler had been with the Theta Chapter for all four years he served on staff. Watching how Tyler carried himself for the past year and seeing how deeply he loved his men caused me to develop a strong respect for him. I hope I can be half the advisor was. Don’t let his stature fool you. I feel like he left some Shaq-sized shoes to fill. So the pressure I put on myself to fill them only added to the burden I was carrying around.
God put it on my heart that afternoon to just meditate on Romans 8. I’ve used this passage while speaking on identity at chapter meetings this semester. It reminds us that we are more than conquerors in Christ and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. I needed that. As drained as I was, about the only thing I wanted to conquer was my bed.
The Lord showed up in a big way on Monday. When it was all said and done, I had spent literally 15 straight hours with my officers between one-on-ones, meals and chapter meeting. I’m an extreme extrovert. I love being with people and talking life, BYX, sports, whatever. Pretty much if it’s not politics, I’m happy to talk about it. Even so, stacking my one-one-ones back-to-back-to-back gets a little draining. I’ll start blinking a lot and slap myself a little bit to stay focused on what the officers are saying.
Not today. The Lord provided me with what I can honestly say was supernatural focus and energy from the moment I showed up at UNT, where I decided to drive the wrong way on a one-way street, until I left campus at midnight. There is no other explanation as to how I not only survived that day, but thrived. All glory is God’s for the awesome day I spent at UNT, and how he used me to lay a foundation for a good relationship with the Theta Chapter.
In all of my one-on-ones with the officers, I was impressed by the transparency they displayed when they shared their testimonies. I always want to learn where my guys come from on my first chapter visit. The UNT Chapter, as I understand it, has always been strong in the department of brotherhood and spiritual growth. They welcomed me from the beginning and shared their lives with me, including the struggles that had marked many of their pasts. They viewed me as a brother from the beginning and didn’t make me earn the right to be heard. The relationships that we have, as brothers bonded together by Christ, go well beyond backgrounds, ages and college affiliations.
Many of my conversations were geared towards helping the men understand how to invade the campus and fraternity life. The officers will be the first to tell you they need much work in that area. The first step is admitting you have a problem. The officers see that.
Much of the vision for the semester that the officers are casting focuses on social events. The members seem to be buying into it. This is something that the men want now more than ever. In the past, some members seemed to oppose BYX going in a more fraternal and social direction. Many of the members that held the chapter back in that regard have since graduated or dropped. Many of the officers indicated that much addition by subtraction took place this summer.
The men are starting to tailgate every game at their brand-spanking new football stadium that is supposed to look like an eagle. Tailgating and football in general isn’t a huge deal at UNT, but the men see its value. It’s something fraternities do. So we’re going it to. And why wouldn’t you? Tailgating is just another excuse to chill with your brothers and be a part of social life on campus. We don’t need an excuse to party. #fratlaw
I tried to instill in the men that they not only need to be hosting socials and participating in philanthropies, but they need to be doing them well. I stressed to them that just showing up at a philanthropy isn’t going to be what makes people notice your fraternity, but competing and winning will draw their attention. When people begin to see the chapter excelling, they’ll want to be a part of it. We will strive toward excellence because we represent Christ. I want nothing less than excellence to be associated with my Savior.
Chapter meeting was different from any I had been to in the past. The small size of the chapter allows them to be more creative and personal. Two specific portions of chapter really stood out. The first of which is a time they call encoura-bro. One member stands in the middle of the room. The chairs are set up in a u-shape with the pledges making the bottom of it. The men then take turns complimenting the brother in the middle for anything and everything.
The Theta Chapter also does what they call pledge lineup. All 13 pledges, which is their largest pledge class to date, stand up and are required to stand up and state their memory verse for the week. All of them nailed it. They then tell the chapter who they interviewed that week and who they’ve set up appointments with.
It was just a one-day trip to Denton, but I’m excited about the foundation that I was able to set with the chapter. The men are starting to catch the vision. The men of the Theta Chapter have a lot of work ahead of them, but we’ll keep moving in the right direction, taking vision and turning it into action.