“It never occurred to me that God could use me to reach my fraternity brothers,” said Skylar Walker, a senior at the University of Georgia (UGA).
When Skylar arrived on campus for his freshman year, he joined the Greek system right away and eventually became a re-founding father of Chi Psi Fraternity at UGA. He was also a Young Life leader during college, building relationships with middle school students and extending God’s love to them—but he never considered how God might use him to reach his fraternity brothers with the good news of Jesus as well.
Inside the Greek System
According to Skylar, the typical “frat” stereotypes portrayed by media are the exception rather than the norm. “Greek life provides education to members that they cannot get in the classroom,” he said. “For example, Greek students learn about leadership, how to work together to accomplish tasks, how to engage in professional settings, networking, etc.”
But he admitted that there are many challenges in the Greek system, especially for Christians. “Yes, there are parties, drinking, and hook-up culture,” he said. “And many see religion as something that they can get into after college—they think that college is the time to get out there and make mistakes. Essentially, they don’t want to be held down by the rules of religion despite what they believe about God.”
After two years in the Greek system, Skylar received an email from a Greek InterVarsity staff member about a meeting they were holding. He decided he’d check it out.
“The first meeting that I went to really helped me realize that the Greek system was a place where Jesus’ light needed to shine, and I could actually help,” said Skylar. “God opened my eyes to the opportunity that was sitting right in front of me the whole time—I was going to start a Bible study in Chi Psi.”
The Start of Something New
Greek InterVarsity staff member Paula Frances Price was instrumental in helping Skylar get his Bible study up and running. She encouraged him to focus on strengthening his own relationship with God before taking on his new leadership role, so that when challenges came his way, he’d be ready.
Skylar was particularly encouraged (and still is) by Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm! Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Several of the fraternity brothers he invited to come to the first study spurred him on in a similar way. “They encouraged me to grow closer to God so that I could be the best leader that I could be,” said Skylar. “Some of them rallied behind me.”
Still, starting the Bible study was challenging. Though the first few meetings went well and Skylar saw close to half of his fraternity brothers coming, there were also weeks when no one showed up. He faithfully prepared to lead each week, however—and if no one came, he often spent that time praying for his brothers.
What Risks Can Spark
After two years of leading a Bible study in Chi Psi, Skylar has seen change in many of his fraternity brothers. “There are guys who are now boldly proclaiming their faith,” he said. “Also, there are many brothers who were introduced to the gospel for the first time in this Bible study. They are actively seeking out Christian brothers to ask questions and learn more about the Christianity presented in the Bible rather than what is portrayed through media.”
“Being vulnerable and talking about my faith with my brothers has been a huge risk that has been met with a mixture of ridicule and awe,” said Skylar. “However, I’ve seen God work through my risks and spark great spiritual conversations as well as seeing brothers turn their lives over to God.”