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Can I follow Christ and be active in a fraternity or sorority?

December 18, 2016

When Jesus walked the earth, he did so among Pharisees and Sadducees, not Sigma Nus and Kappa Kappa Gammas.

With such a great cultural distance separating Scripture and the modern experience of a college Christian, it can be difficult to square your beliefs with Jesus’ words.

If you have felt this tension, please continue reading and prayerfully consider what you read.

The Need

Around a year ago, a chaplain at one of the biggest fraternities on his campus told me what happened at his chapter meeting the night before.

He had written a devotion and had planned on sharing it at the meeting. Just as he was about to start, things went south quickly.

The chapter advisor stood up and said, “I want to hear some stories of your sexual exploits from this past weekend at formal!”

With that challenge, guy after guy began to stand up and tell stories that reminded me of the passage in Ephesians 5 when Paul is confronting sexual immorality. He says in verse 12, “For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

He obviously didn’t get to share his devo that week.

Before he could say another word, I said, “That’s exactly why you need to be active in your chapter!”

I went on to remind him that he was part of one of the biggest and best fraternities on campus.

Then I encouraged him from Galatians 6:9, which says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I challenged him to not give up on his chapter but to continue to go to every chapter meeting with the goal of giving a devotional each week.

I also reminded him that I chose to live in my fraternity house as a senior just to be around the guys so I could minister to as many as possible. By the end of my senior year, I had seen at least three guys trust Christ with me that year. Two of them went on to serve the Lord in full-time ministry.

If the story I shared earlier describes the way the majority of the guys in your chapter live and act, I want to encourage you with a few thoughts.


First of all, if you’re a follower of Christ, it’s imperative that you get involved in a local church. I would encourage you to get involved with a local campus ministry as well.

You need Christian fellowship. The Christian life was never meant to be lived by lone ranger Christians. If you’re going to be living in a dark and often hostile environment, then I would be involved in both.

Also seek out people in your church or campus ministry whom you can confide in and be honest with. These need to be people who can keep you accountable.

I was lucky to have a pledge brother who was also pursuing the Lord. He was a huge encouragement to me as we both ministered alongside each other in the house.

Be the most active person in your chapter!

Eat your meals at the house (or wherever the actives eat together the most). Spend time around the chapter, and attend every chapter meeting.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “They don’t care how much you know until they know that you care.”

Some of my pledge brothers used to call me “Active Ike,” and I didn’t mind. In fact, I even considered it a compliment because that was my goal—to be with them a lot!

I played intramurals with the guys and took younger guys hunting. I made my fraternity house my sole place of ministry.

Every once in a while I would serve as the substitute house boy at the Kappa Kappa Gamma house. They had better food and their girls were much better-looking than my fellow Sigma Chis. Even so, I still felt I needed to eat the majority of my meals with my brothers in my chapter.

I went to every party, but I chose not to drink alcohol at the house even when I was twenty-one.

That’s really up to you, but I just didn’t want to do anything that might cause someone else to stumble. If an active saw me with a beer, he wouldn’t know if it was my first or fifth.

This topic is hotly debated among Christians, but the bottom line is this: be careful, and strive to live a life above reproach, especially at the house.

Actively pray for laborers.

Pray that the Lord of the harvest would awaken men or women in the house to the gospel, and pray that they would trust Christ and follow him.

In John 4:35, Jesus says, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

I believe there are men or women living around you right now whose hearts the Lord is preparing to receive him. All you need to do is look around you and trust Him for opportunities.

Years ago a man named Henry Blackaby wrote a Bible study book entitled Experiencing God. One of his main points was that God is working around you; all you need to do is look around you and join with Him in what He is doing.

Finally, if you’re still struggling with whether Jesus would want you to be around so many “sinners,” then please read my article, “Would Jesus Have Joined a Fraternity?

Jesus might not have actually joined a group, but He would have spent His time around the lost ministering to them.