Nine insights on being a spiritual leader in your chapter
Being a chaplain or spiritual leader in your fraternity or sorority is one of the most effective positions in the chapter.
After 25 years in Greek ministry, here are my top nine thoughts on being the spiritual leader in your chapter:
- Don’t ever write anyone off as someone who would not care about spiritual things. I would have never guessed that either of my two pledge trainers would be interested in spiritual things, yet both of them ended up becoming pastors! During one of my last chapter meetings, one of the wildest guys in my chapter stood up and shared that he was considering believing in God. Winston Churchill delivered a famous speech over the radio to England during the height of WWII when Germany was threatening to invade and said, “Never give up!” Don’t ever give up praying for the lost men in your chapter.
- Read out of the ritual when you do a devotion in your chapter and not your Bible, because your ritual most likely has Bible verses. I used to do devotions at my chapter meetings on a regular basis, but I would not bring my Bible. Instead, I used the ritual to do devotions during chapter. The active members were more likely to listen because I was quoting our ritual.
- Do prayer walks around your house and pray for each active by name. One week I was invited by two Sigma Chis to pray over their house one morning at 5:00 am—we split up and prayed over the two floors. I listened, one by one, as they placed their hands over each door and prayed specifically for each member who was sleeping on the other side. It reminded me of the “Jericho walks” I did in college. I would take my disciples to walk around the house and pray either very early in the morning or late at night. Just like Joshua led Israel around the walls of Jericho, we would walk around the house for seven days praying for the chapter and then on the seventh day walk around seven times asking God to work in our house, raising up men who would follow him.
- If you have been elected to the chaplain position, you are most likely one of the most respected people in your chapter. With respect comes responsibility. You need to be careful how you live out the Christian walk. The active members are watching you closely. I have seen spiritual leaders and chaplains make one mistake and lose all the respect they had built over several years. I have also seen spiritual leaders not realize their potential and go inactive in the chapter.
You need to be one of the most active members in your chapter—attending every chapter meeting and every party. When active members have had a lot to drink, they may seek you out and want to talk. I usually try to set up another time to talk with them and ask them to attend our active Bible study. The next day I will follow up with them. This happened to me this past spring. A freshman ΣΑΕ saw me out one night and came up and wanted to talk. I could tell pretty quickly that he was under the influence of something, so I asked him for his number and told him I would text him Monday and set up a time to talk. I did just that and had the opportunity to meet and share the gospel very clearly with him.
Finally, I saw in my own life that, even though I was not perfect and made a lot of mistakes in college, the brothers did respect me over time as one of the spiritual leaders in the house. During one of my last chapter meetings of my senior year, the president called out the name of the person who would get one of the most prestigious awards of our chapter known as the “senior key award,” and he called my name! This was one of the most special awards I ever received because it showed me that, although many of the active members did not agree with what I said, they respected me for being consistent.
- Before a party, invite some of the younger guys in the chapter to cook out with you and your date so they can see the two of you and how you live a godly life. Then take them with you to the party. I did this several times.
- If someone opens up in a chapter meeting and shares a struggle, know that it’s possibly a divine appointment by God for you to go meet with that person and take him to lunch to talk to him about spiritual things and share the gospel with him.
- The second semester after I was initiated, I decided to do this: I stood before the new pledge class and gave my testimony. Then I asked them a simple question. “If you died tonight, how sure would you be that you would go to heaven? On a scale from zero to one hundred, with one hundred being that you are absolutely sure?” I would then pass out three-by-five cards and ask them to fill it out. Next, I would read through the cards and put them in order of who felt they were least likely to go to heaven. I would call them and set up appointments with each of them to talk them through the gospel. This is something that you could easily do every semester. When you go to share, prepare a five-minute version of your testimony. That’s long enough to share the important details but short enough to hold everyone’s attention.
- Consider inviting campus ministers like Cru, Navigators, and Student Mobilization staff to come speak to the pledges. Get them to help you follow up with the pledges to see where they are spiritually. Take advantage of the ministries on your campus that have staff trained to come help you succeed in ministering to your chapters.
- Click here on manhood to see the various talks I have given to pledge classes. You can give the talks yourself or line up campus ministers or alumni to give the talks. In my experience, these talks will earn the respect of the pledge trainer and other officers by giving the pledges good content for being a man. This will earn the right to meet with the pledges and share your faith.