From time to time, we offer a closer look at one of the Xenos elders. This time we highlight our newest elder, Chris Hearty, and find out what led to his role at Xenos:
What brought you to Xenos, and why have you stayed?
I was brought out to a Xenos home church for the first time in late 2004 as an atheist college student. I visited on and off for a couple months until I decided that I wasn't interested. The months that followed in early 2005 brought me to an extreme breaking point. My life was in tatters, I had distanced myself from my friends and family and was in the darkest spot of my life. My best friend from childhood had, in the meantime, come to begin a relationship with Christ and had continued to attend weekly home church meetings and central teachings. I had major problems with his change of priorities in life and had taken his new found spiritual interest as a personal affront. As our relationship crumbled and my life fell apart, the Lord stepped in and gave me another chance.
Through a series of miraculous events and chance encounters, I was brought back out to a home church meeting. In late April of 2005, in tears, I decided to call out to the Lord and ask for Christ's death on the cross to apply to my shattered life. At the moment I knew everything had changed and God had answered my prayer. I have been involved in the college and high school ministries ever since. I owe a great deal to Brian Runk and James Rochford, who continued to minister to me through this process. They were used by God in a powerful way to answer my questions and to point me towards God's grace. Conrad Hilario has also invested a great deal of time and prayers into helping equip and train me to lead the people God has put under my care. His perseverance and investment in my life is unmeasurable and I am eternally grateful for his love for me and my family.
What do you feel are the strength and weaknesses of our church?
The greatest strengths of our church are that we teach the Bible, teach the grace of God, and invest deeply in others’ lives as we have been commissioned by Christ. Our focus on personal discipleship and evangelism in the context of an every-member ministry is a shining example of the mission given by Jesus to his followers. I consider myself truly fortunate to have been given an opportunity by God to be a part of his great work here in Xenos. Because our commission is dependent on every member engaged in this great battle, our weakest link comes down to the commitment of each individual member. My hope and my prayer is that the Lord would continue help us to equip his people to lay aside every encumbrance that may entangle us so that we could engage in this spiritual battle in setting captives free and point them towards the great grace of the cross.
What's a favorite experience you've had at Xenos?
My great privilege in this fellowship has been to sit under Godly leadership that holds the Bible in its proper place of high regard. This includes teaching what the Bible teaches and emphasizing what the Bible emphasizes. I am honored that the Lord would allow me to be a part of this in teaching his Word. I have a great burden to share the gospel with lost people and am so thankful that our fellowship emphasizes this essential part of our great commission. The people that the Lord has put in my life to both sit under as a learner and as a teacher myself, constitute a great portion of the joy given by God in my life.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family. My two children are a source of great joy in my life and I see them as a real gift from God. I have also been greatly blessed to have been given an amazing spiritual wife who, no matter how much time I get with her, it is never enough! My wife Lauren, is a necessary source of God's love and provision in my life and I am not sure I could do anything without her. She has been a great reward from God in my life. My friends also are deeply important to me. Without this constant infusion of Godly people in my life I am not sure where I would be and for this I am eternally grateful to God.
Is there anything else you can tell us about you?
I am perfectly comfortable sitting in front of a fire I've made with a book and glass of whiskey. My favorite book is The Hobbit, which I have probably read fifteen times. I really enjoy science fiction, action and horror movies and books, of which I have quite a collection. It is difficult for me to choose a favorite movie, but Predator, The Thing and Empire Strikes Back all probably tie for first place. I love music and almost always have it playing wherever I may be (so long as it's in my control), and when I get a chance I love playing it myself as well. I love spending time enjoying the outdoors. I have a number of hobbies, but my favorites always come back to enjoying some aspect of the great biological world that the Lord has made. Going on nature walks with my family is my favorite activity of all. Teaching my kids about the outdoors and exploring nature is exciting for all of us, regardless of what the weather may be outside.