Beta Upsilon Chi is a lifelong brotherhood of committed Christian men seeking the bonds of brotherhood and unity in Christ through the avenue of a social fraternity on a college campus. However, to the men of BYX, it is so much more of that. Hear from some of the brothers from our different campuses as they share what BYX is and how it has impacted them.
Sean Kelly's story
Shane Athans gives his testimony of how the Lord used BYX in his life.
The vision of an alternative fraternity lifestyle inspired a small group of men to launch Beta Upsilon Chi on The University of Texas campus in 1985. Since then, BYX has spread to 24 campuses in 12 states and has given students the chance to have their college experience shaped by genuine brotherhood, personal accountability and spiritual formation. We invite you to listen to the stories of life change that God is bringing about through BYX.
The one lesson that BYX has taught me above all others is what the perfect picture of men walking through life with one another looks like, spurring one another on towards the perfector.
Man has it been an amazing 3 years! I look back at the friendships formed, the life-changing, life-long friendships that will not soon be forgotten. The kind of friendships that really will last forever, the kind that you can look a brother in the eye and tell him you love him and that you would do anything for him, and really mean it! I can't even begin to express what this brotherhood has done for me and in me. I can only show my appreciation by taking what I have learned and applying it in the world, applying it to those around me, those outside the fraternity, outside the church, outside my little "circle of friends."
What a different place our world would be if we all just walked side by side supporting one another in our ultimate purpose of bringing Him glory. As my education nears its end and I start to look ahead to what the future may hold, I do so with a bit of trepidation and anxiety. I am excited to leave the comforts of my brothers and venture forth into this crazy place we call Earth. The question I ask my self now, the question we should all be asking at this juncture in our lives is, "What difference am I going to make in the world around me?" The only answer I can come up with for that question with absolute certainty is, "Far more than I ever could have imagined before I had BYX."
I arrived at Vanderbilt in the fall of 2003 with intentions of transferring to the Air Force Academy after completing my freshman year. My time at Vanderbilt would be short and I would take care of business.
I studied hard, made fantastic grades, and had a miserable time. Despite some efforts to make friends, after freshman year I had no meaningful friendships to speak of. Could there really be no one at Vanderbilt I would want to be friends with? It turns out that I was not looking in the right places.
As you may have concluded, I did not transfer after freshman year. Sophomore year began and with it my life changed. A friend in several of my classes got me interested in BYX and in the fraternity rush process. At Vanderbilt, rush lasts the entire fall semester. Whereas freshman year I had no fun, the fall semester of my sophomore year was thrilling! Through the encouragement of that one friend I discovered a group of Vanderbilt students that I had not met before. I met my future roommate of two years and several of the other closest friends I have ever had. And I was astounded at how much fun college had become!
At the end of rush I had to make a decision. BYX or an IFC fraternity. It was not an easy decision and I prayed that God would place me where I should be placed. At the time, choosing BYX felt right and I have never looked back or regretted my choice. I love Jesus Christ and this fraternity is based upon the common bond of Jesus Christ.
Making good friends became easy when I discovered where to look. I even found friends that still loved me after I sprayed 100% pure skunk extract in their hair, providing firm closure to an ongoing prank war. Log wars, gallon challenge, football games, wrestling matches, date dashes, tree climbing, midnight frisbee, dance parties, camping trips, fireworks wars, beautiful praise music on Monday nights, cell group accountability, mentorship, encouragement, leadership development, and friends with which to share it all. And to beat it all God smiles as his children enjoy each other's company.
"Behold how good and pleasing it is when brothers dwell together in unity." May God continue to bless the unique and invaluable ministry that BYX offers.
God used the men I met through BYX to shape my college experience. More than that, He used those men to encourage and edify me to seek Christ in the face of a thousand temptations to do the opposite.
Because of that, I am a huge advocate of BYX and the potential it has to mold college men into passionate followers of Christ. BYX allowed me to taste the kind of community displayed by believers in the Acts 2 church. And while BYX is not a church, it is an extension of the body of Christ—where those united in the common bond of Christ can share life together.
Nothing illustrates this better than a story from the fall of my senior year. In late September of 2005, a brother’s dad passed away. He had been battling cancer for several years, but had been in remission so his death was completely unexpected. Within minutes of hearing the news, BYX members began showing up at this brother’s house. No one had to speak; it was completely evident that they were there to lift this brother up and share his burden. After an hour or so, several members took this brother to the airport so he could fly home to be with his family—but not before receiving over a hundred sympathy cards and notes of encouragement. It was a Tuesday, so our BYX chapter meeting was scheduled for that night. Whatever had been planned for that meeting was scrapped so the entire chapter could unite in prayer for this hurting brother and his family.
I had never felt the Holy Spirit work in a BYX meeting like I did that night. After an hour, we opened our doors and welcomed 50 or 60 more brothers and sisters in Christ for another hour of prayer. The funeral was scheduled for that Friday in El Paso— 600 miles from the TCU campus in Fort Worth. Despite the distance, 30 of our chapter’s members cancelled plans, skipped class, dropped everything and drove or flew the 600 miles to attend. Two of our members were from El Paso, so they opened their homes to sleep and feed the 30 men who made the trip. It was some of the most selfless living I’d ever witnessed.
Like anything else, BYX isn’t perfect. But when tested, the authentic community found in the common bond of Jesus Christ stands strong. There’s nothing else like it. BYX provides a place where college men can experience that common bond of Christ like they never have before. I know I did. And after seeing and living it firsthand, I’m determined to build and facilitate that kind of authentic community wherever God chooses to use me in this world.
You are truly “Standing in the gap” during one of the most formative times of these many young men. I continue to pray the Lord’s blessing upon you and BYX. It is a honor and a privilege to be associated in this small way with BYX.
I am six years removed from college life and therefore six years removed from being an active in BYX. I am no longer a college student on a college campus. I now work in the "real world"Â, I wear the hat as a husband and a father. However, not a day goes by where I do not reap the benefits of that organization.
The ripple effects of the ministry of BYX run deep in my life. Looking back, I realize how great an opportunity and responsibility the men of BYX took on. As a brother in our fraternity, I placed the integrity of my spiritual walk and relationship with the Lord partly in the hands of another brother and others asked the same of me. What a task! I don't think I truly grasped the importance of that responsibility at the time.
If BYX carries on its purpose and runs on the right track, men engage in that task. The fiery darts of our enemy would like nothing more than to see my college life littered with sin and separation from my Savior. The men of BYX encouraged me to diligently pursue the Lord. They set an example for me to see and I watched them honor the Lord in their lives. I wanted to follow them as they followed the Lord. My brothers reached out a hand of accountability. They loved me when I fell. There was healing in my confession of sin. They prayed with me through my struggles and shouldered my burdens. They wanted to see me victorious in my daily walk with the Christ.
The leaders of BYX taught me. I was their student. I watched how they made decisions. I listened to their conversations. I observed how they studied the Word. My closest friends came from this fraternity. Early in my college life, I was a mile long and an inch deep in my "friendships."Â I quickly became fed up with those shallow relationships. I wanted something more. When I joined BYX, over time, God brought men into my life that loved me and our friendships developed with depth.
I have a passion for BYX because I have personally seen it change the lives of so many men. I have heard brothers share testimonies about renewed zeal for the Lord and freedom addictions that they were able to attain through the encouragement and accountability provided by BYX.
BYX is a place that a freshman guy coming into a new surrounding at college, knowing nobody, can get plugged in with other Christian men and be in an environment of fellowship, accountability, and encouragement that is so difficult to find on college campuses.
I've seen BYX at UGA start from the dreams and visions of 6 Founding Fathers and mature into a brotherhood of 45 Christian men who are committed to seeing themselves and each other go deeper in their relationship with God. BYX has made the founding scripture of Psalm 133:1 a reality in my life. I have personally experienced how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!
When I think about what BYX has meant to me, I have a difficult time quantifying it.
It is not easy to come up with a number when you are trying to remember all of the times that you were hanging out with your brothers instead of going to a party you really had no business going to, nor could you even come close to recalling how often a guy from your cell group was there to pick you up when your best was not quite good enough on the last test you took or when you went through a tough breakup. If you were going to do that, you should have started a tally board at the beginning of your pledge semester because it is too difficult to accomplish now after the fact.
While I was blessed to have "joined" Brothers Under Christ my first semester of college, but it was not until the end of my sophomore year that I really joined and took it seriously. You see, my problem has always been that I was too good for just about anything or anyone, including my big brother when I pledged. Sure, I would show up to meeting every week, spend time at cell group and figured that I was doing the whole BYX thing. My big brother, Jeff Brown, would constantly call me, but each time I had an excuse. I had the opportunity to have a brother in my life, something I desperately wanted growing up but did not have it as I grew up with two sisters.
Although he never really saw any fruit to his efforts in person, Jeff's persistence helped me tremendously later in my college career. As the semesters began to pass by, I became increasingly frustrated with an organization that I thought was for me, but one in which I refused to get involved in. Due to my lack of involvement, I was unable to build very many meaningful relationships.
Then, one day, I got blindsided by a difficult time in my life. I was devastated and was really having a difficult time making through each day. One of my pledge brothers, John Walters, who had just been elected Treasurer of our chapter, saw the hurt on my face and could hear it in my voice. He began to reach out to me in simple ways by inviting me to hang out with him and some of his buddies. I continued to push him away, much the same way I did to Jeff, but for some reason I felt like I could trust John. One night I was finally able to confide in John and let him know this terrible burden that was on my heart. I cannot tell you how much of a difference that made in my life at that moment; it was like someone had just lifted a five hundred pound bar right off my chest!
That same night, as I was laying in bed, the Holy Spirit really began to convict me about my lack of commitment to the organization that I was so proud to talk about to my parents, but one in which I was doing very little to get involved with. My mind kept going back to Colossians 3:23-24, which reads "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
I began pouring myself into my cell group, as well some other guys that I did not know really well. Immediately I began to see how my attitude change towards both the other guys I got to know and the organization I was serving. Since I had gone through an experience where someone had reached out to me in a time of need, I felt like it was my duty to do that for others as well. But something else was growing within me and that was something that I truly feel was from the Lord: to lead this organization that I at one point thought was not very helpful and to turn it into one that would continue to transform college men's lives both during college and hopefully beyond.
To me, it was a bold thought, at least in terms of where I started out in my attitude about BYX, but I also knew that it was what the Lord was calling for as well. I should note that I did think the officers, particularly the president at the time who I have a lot of respect for, Travis Wussow, were doing a great job and were continuing to lead our chapter in the right direction. It was my desire to help further that cause by running for president.
When I ran for president, our chaplain at the time had also decided to run. He was a great guy and one that I think would have done a great job. For some reason, however, God had plans for me to be in that place. There were many times I wondered why me, a guy who once could care less about BYX and now here I was as the leader of this great organization? Fortunately, I was blessed to serve with some incredible guys, such as Brad Beasley (Vice-President), Bryan Plantes (Treasurer), Ryan Lehtinen (Secretary), and Broun Stacy (Pledge Trainer). Broun and I had been good friends in high school and had gone through a parting of ways early in our college careers in large part due to my lack of commitment and involvement to BYX, although that was certainly not the only reason. This opportunity allowed us I believe to mend some fences that we, and by we I really mean me, had broken down earlier in college.
While I had an opportunity to see how much BYX had impacted me for the first couple of years of college, I was often times overwhelmed at seeing so many other lives changed because of this organization. I saw how guys came from broken homes and had found a family within the chapter, guys who had grown up in the church but never really knew what it meant to be a walking Christian until their time in BYX.
I also got a chance to see how much time and energy Brad Beasley put into running such a huge event like Island Party. If you want to talk about a guy that was committed to the cause, it was that guy. Brad always seemed to inspire me to continue to encourage me to make BYX a better place. He worked tirelessly on an event that lasted for one in which we had decided to raise around $40,000 for. The goal was lofty and so were our expectations. It was through the hard work of the entire chapter that and the blessing of the Lord that we were able to reach the financial goals we had set. Through that work we know of two people that came to Island Party and gave their lives to The Master. While that may not seem like too many considering the amount of money spent, can we really put a price tag on salvation?
The final thing that BYX really gave to me during my time in it was a guy that I never knew for the first few years in college. He came from the same hometown as I did, Houston, TX, was in BYX and like me did not get involved initially. While I missed who he was for the first three years of college, I was fortunate to have met him the summer before my senior year. James Schuelke was a guy a lot like me a felt, a dynamic individual with an infectious who one day had the potential to become a great leader if he allowed the Lord to make him one. He and I instantly hit it off and were soon great friends. He was there for me during the tough times of being president and actually was elected as the next president of the chapter. His friendship was something that meant a lot to me, much like the other relationships I had built with John Walters and Brad Beasley.
Then, at the very beginning of his presidency, he had a life-threatening illness in his immediate family. James was so broken up about how sick his loved one was that it literally brought me to tears. I honest cannot remember the last time I cried that hard. He and I immediately left Austin and headed straight back to home in Houston. There I stayed with his family as we wrapped our minds around a very difficult situation. It was in that time, on that car ride home, that I realized that it was my time to be there for this brother of mine in the same way that so many others had been for me in the past. I truly believe the level of encouragement I received before this had greatly altered my life and the decisions I had made and it was my hope that I would be able to do the same for my friend who was suffering. It is a process we continue to go through even today.
When you think about it, BYX really boils down to relationships. I can almost guarantee you that no one is positively impacted by BYX that did not make real, meaningful relationships while they were in it. To me, that is a travesty and ultimately it is our greatest failure as an organization and fraternity if that does not happen. Sure, we want guys to continue to grow in the Lord through this ministry, but how many guys do you know actually did grow in that way that did not have real and authentic relationships with others in the chapter? I know I sure would not have.
John Walters is a source of constant prayer to this day. I know that he is a man after God's own hear that will continue to remain faithful to Him and will encourage me. Brad Beasley continues to inspire me to push hard towards the goals that we set for ourselves and I am blessed that he is still a part of my life. James Schuelke and I are both in different stages of our lives right now, but that will change soon. He has and will continue to stick by me as I have done so for him both in times of joy and sorrow. Overall, BYX has been a place of encouragement, comfort, and restoration.
While I think back and reflect upon my time there for four years, I think of all of the verses in which BYX has stood upon, such as Psalms 133:1 and Proverbs 27:17. Dwelling together with my brothers and having them sharpen me have made me so much stronger than I ever could have been on my own.
To me though, there are two other verses that epitomize what BYX meant to me and hopefully what my friendship has meant to others that I have come in contact with. Galatians 6:1-2 reads that "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Is that not what cell groups are intended to do, to help others in times of need and distress? I know that I have had key people play that role in my life and I believe I have done that for others too. I find it hard to believe BYX can be successful for each person if they do not experience receiving that and giving it as well.
Finally, and as I mentioned earlier, I never had a brother in my family, although I desperately wanted one. God, in his infinite wisdom, did not give that to me growing up and I believe it is because I would not have ever appreciated the relationships I have with some of the people I do today. Proverbs 18:24 reads that "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." I pray that this ministry would continue to grow so that we may be able to give that to new college men all across the country in the same way that I hope you received it. I know I have had brothers in my life like that.