I am a Greek! In fact I am a third generation Greek that came from a family of Greeks. Ok we are not from Greece to be clear but I did participate in Greek like in college. Greek life was very influential in my life and brought about great friendships that have grown even more today. Greek life was also a very challenging time for me as a follower of Christ. I know that rush is upon many college freshman and I know it is something that brings about a rush of emotions as this is how many will identify themselves for the next few years of life. The reason for this post is to give you some thoughts and encouragement for anyone considering or if you have begun on this path, especially for the person that claims to be a follower of Christ. Now I understand that this is not pro-forma for each Greek experience but I believe these points will help to make your experience stronger and more fruitful.
1. Remember your identity is in Christ. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Think about what happens when you decide to join a fraternity or sorority. You have made the choice and they have said as well "we want you and I want them." You have committed to go through the process of being initiated which means you are pledging your loyalty to others and to identify yourself as one of them. Then you begin to wear these letters to tell the world which group you belong with and call your friends and family. Now it can be very tempting to say: I am willing to do whatever it takes to belong here even at the cost of my identity in Christ. This is something that as a follower of Christ you simply just need to know. Can I be a member of this group and know that I will never be asked to compromise who I am in Christ in order to belong?
From my own personal experience I was saved as a senior in high school so I was pumped going into college. I remember though that I reached a point of choosing in my fraternity experience of whether I was going to identify with my brothers or not. I was not forced to do so it came through a personal choice. I was in an opportunity that I could have chosen to strengthen my identity in Christ and still be a member of the fraternity. I had fraternity brothers that did that and I carry a great respect for them today. For me the draw though to identify myself with others was much stronger. This was the path that I began to travel so that I could connect and feel like I belonged more. Did it affect my relationship with Christ? No. Did it affect my fellowship? Yes! This is more of a word of warning to know that the same temptation exists for many today. Always seek to keep Christ in the center. Never allow your identity in Christ be affected through any experience in life. Know as well that you will never be required to do anything to compromise your identity in Christ.
2. God puts us in places, circumstances, and with people for specific reasons.
Probably one of the most traumatic situations that our fraternity went through was the death of two of our brothers in separate instances of car wrecks. This was a very trying time for our guys but it did bring our bond together. I remember that we prayed together more, we talked together, we naturally leaned on each other more. Truly my hope and prayer is that a group never has to experience that once much less twice. God put believers there in those times to help be voices of wisdom and healing that helped many brothers wade through the waters of grief. The reality is that God may be placing you with a group of people to simply be Christ to them. I am not saying that you join a fraternity or sorority to be a missionary to them. I am saying though that for whatever group you join know that this is your mission field. How you respond to that responsibility determines greatly of what kind of impact you will make? If you decide to put your walk with Christ on a shelf somewhere, then your experience will be unfruitful. If though you decide to let it be a connected to your Greek experience then God will use this greatly for His glory!
3. Make life long friendships and bonds.
You are not buying your friends as some want to say. You are connecting to a group of people with similar interests and desires. We should never join a group and then go sit in a corner somewhere. You will see that as you spend time with your new brothers or sisters that they are similar. They have the same struggles, backgrounds, and even future plans. Yes you are not going to get along with everyone perfectly but you will begin to build trust and commitment to each other the more time that you spend with one another. As the old saying goes a true friend is one that comes in when everyone else has gone out. You have a great opportunity to do so through your Greek experience.
4. Hunger for the Word/Communicate through prayer daily
I truly believe the Bible. It tells me that I should have a desire to be in His Word and abide in Him. It tells me how no matter where I am or what circumstances I find myself in that I can call on the Lord in prayer. This is a great truth to remember. Going back to my experience, yes I partied and enjoyed college. I also remember how the call of Christ on my life kept me out of many negative situations that would have had worse consequences than I ever will realize. The same is true in your experience to remember to keep the main things the main things. Spend time in God's Word, pray as much as you can, go to church with other members and you will see God reveal His plan to you.
As I said before, my experience in Greek life was one that had its challenging times. It was also a time of where I learned to appreciate today the grace of God more and more. Do not be like so many that put their spiritual journey on the side in order to fit in. Keep doing the things that will keep Christ at the center of your life and you will see God use you no matter where you are.
God bless and enjoy!