Confession: When I got to college and joined a fraternity, I thought that growing in your faith worked a lot like growing up. You don’t really think about it – it just happens, right? Every day you get exactly 24 hours older – with zero effort.
And I figured that my faith would kind of naturally do the same thing. With zero effort.
Here’s the problem. In my 18 years of life leading up to college, I had grown to be 18 years old. That’s fine. However, those same 18 years only grew me to about 135 pounds. Growing up and growing into an adult-sized body were apparently two different things.
Disclaimer: If you’re a guy and you weigh in around 135 pounds – nothing wrong with that. My college just had these really heavy wooden doors on the buildings - and I wanted to be able to open them all by myself.
So what did I do? I hit the gym. And the cafeteria. I put in the work. And you know what? I bulked up to like 160 lbs., which for 5’ 10” is just fine. Growing takes work. And I think growing in your faith is more like working out than growing up.
So here are the top five things I wish I would’ve done to grow my faith while in Greek life:
5: Start Your Day Right
In college I began to experience a shift in how I viewed my faith. Instead of trying to put in the least amount of effort, I started to think about this question instead: What difference does Jesus really make in my life?
A quick look back told me a lot. The days that I started with reading Scripture and praying made me closer to the person I wanted to be. I was kinder but stronger. I was less worried and quicker to be helpful. I was a better version of myself. All of that because I started my day with about 15 minutes of time with Jesus.
And it wasn’t anything complicated or crazy: I just read about 5 or 6 verses of the bible, and then used that to spring-board into prayer, asking God to meet me there: God, what do I need from you today?
4: Find a Solid Church
This one might seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but not to me. No one was making me go to church anymore. Plus the one church I did visit was full of AARP members.
Sitting by Edna in the second row is fine. But I’d also add that it was always easier to go to church with friends. So find a couple buddies and make it a weekly thing. Go get tacos afterwards.
Oh and spoiler alert: There’s no such thing as a perfect church. So find one you kind of like that preaches the Gospel and helps you connect to Jesus, then stay there.
3: Learn Under a Mentor
I had the privilege of learning from a very wise and weathered man who drove to campus just to meet with a couple of us flaky fraternity guys. And the things he was teaching me then have stuck with me. In fact, I don’t think you’d be reading this if it weren’t for Don.
He gave me tools to make the pages of the Bible come alive and feel relevant. He called me out where I needed to be called out. He challenged me when I needed to be challenged. And he continually pointed me to the goodness and forgiveness of Jesus.
2: Go to Greek Conference
I didn’t find out about this thing until my senior year. But I roped in a carload of guys and we skipped our Friday classes and road-tripped 10 hours (ask me about Skeeter’s Hot Dogs sometime) to get to Greek Conference. I met some good people and left feeling hopeful for what God was doing in the Greek system.
1: Lead a Chapter Ministry
Okay this one’s going to sound strange. But I think the thing that made me grow the most in my faith was leading the Chapter Ministry (Greek IV Bible Study) for my fraternity. I learned more about myself and more about God through that experience than in 4 years of church services.
And it makes sense, really. Think how much the twelve disciples grew, just from leading alongside Jesus. There are some things you can only learn about God when you take the risk to partner with Him in his crazy plan to save the world.
So. Can you grow in your faith while being in Greek life?
Will you grow in your faith during your time in Greek life?
That depends. Are you still growing up? Or are you ready to work out?