By Gwendolyn Herrick
Six years ago, in February of 2008, Xenos’ Newark ministry was begun by Joe and Erin McCallum and Amy Robinson. This work came from a desire to minister to the spiritually lost in a location close to the leaders’ hearts - Erin, a Denison alumnus and Amy, a Newark native. The group began as an eclectic mix of junior high, high school, and post high school members, with ages ranging from 11 all the way to 27, and has produced incredible successes and challenges.
The Xenos Newark Ministry has a history that is a continual demonstration of God’s sovereignty and perseverance. Says leader Amy Robinson, "The group has gone up and down and been a roller coaster in the past six years: we have gone from having a lot of high school students to mostly college-aged members, many times we have considered if we should fold the group, a lot of our people have walked away from the Lord, and we have lost leaders. We call this ministry 'The Abyss' because it’s spiritually dark, and the world seems to pull people fast and hard. There were many times we had no idea how long it would last, but we also knew people would not spiritually grow without regular fellowship around them. We took them on retreats, we had classes, baptisms, we went on missions trips, and we disciple numerous people. We just kept trying. We started a junior high group a year and a half ago. We now have a home church that averages about 12-22 people a week, and a junior high group.”
There is no doubt that the victories in this ministry have been numerous. The team has seen 18 people come to Christ, five of whom are being discipled. And out of “The Abyss” God has raised up spiritual leaders both in Columbus and in Newark. Patrick Haren, who received Christ in the Newark group has recently become a leader in the college ministry. Rebecca Gulley, an original member of the Newark ministry, is also serving as a leader.
Because God has been so faithful in this work, the team decided to take the next step and last summer moved four girls from the Xenos College Ministry out to Newark. Since they have arrived there have been three salvations. Reflecting on the work of this ministry Amy said, “I have seen God teach me, and the other members about how we are not qualified to do this work -- the aspect of 1 Cor 1: 26-31 -- it is not because of us that people are coming to know the Lord.”
The leaders of the Newark ministry are in for the long haul. They desire to grow and plant churches, establish a men's ministry house and perhaps start a Central Teaching. While the harvest is plentiful and the workers few, this team has no doubt that God will continue His work through prayer and perseverance.