Recent News

Students and Leaders Reflect on this Year’s Epic

By Brian Adams, Epic Camp Director

Epic 2018, Xenos' summer camp for high-schoolers, was an incredible success. From all of us in the high school ministry--thank you for supporting us financially and in your prayers! We could not do this without your support. 28 students came to personally receive Christ into their hearts at Epic this year! God is clearly behind this camp.

The weather this year was hotter than ever. That being said, student morale was still high. Students loved getting time together. Milo Fox, a senior in Globo-Chem home church, spoke about his experience this year: “This year at Epic was amazing because our cell group was able to be vulnerable with one another. We went from friends just joking around every Sunday and Tuesday, to gaining a closeness that will last on into eternity. This week definitely strengthened my faith personally.”

As leaders in the high school ministry, we could not be more thankful for your support, which resulted in hundreds of testimonies like Milo’s. Nick Hetrick teaches one of the high school Central Teachings and says, “We had a student who recently prayed to receive Christ. He was on the fence about coming to Epic, and his friends back in Columbus were texting him throughout the week about how much fun they were having partying--how much he was missing out. Instead of regretting his choice to go to Epic, he told his friends at Epic, "Who cares? I'd way rather be here at camp having fun with you guys."

Nepali High Schoolers Celebrate a First

This weekend marks a first for the Nepali ministry--the students involved in its high school groups will be going on a retreat. About 40 teens will be spending the weekend enjoying time together and studying the Bible at Camp Falling Rock near Newark.

Currently there are 2 Nepali high school groups, with a third being created soon. Kim Geiser is part of the Nepali ministry and says this age group has grown slowly, and the prospect of three groups represents outstanding progress. Kim says bringing all these teens together for the retreat will help them see that they're part of something bigger than their own group.

Kim says the topic is “If God is who He says He is...,” covering God’s attributes. The teachers will show how those attributes influence three practicalities: how we pray, what we hold as our greatest values, and how we share the gospel with friends and family who don’t know Jesus.

Westsiders Enjoy New Study Space and Resources

Folks on the west side no longer have to travel to Main Campus or 4th Street in order to enjoy shared library resources like you find at the Xenos Study Center. The new Grounds Café and Library is now open in the City Life Center in Franklinton, offering not only study materials but also a warm place to meet with friends.

Brittany Falkowski helped get Grounds started. She says she and other volunteers created and worked from a mission statement: "To create an inviting space for West-siders to enjoy fellowship, cultivate discipleship and encourage personal study into God's Word."

Xenos Group Leaves Soon for Cambodia

Each year Xenos sends a team to Cambodia for a short-term missions trip, offering support, training, and encouragement to fellow Christians who are established there. This year's team will leave Columbus July 31st, returning August 15th.

Once in Cambodia, the team of 40 people will split up, with one group going to Phnom Penh to serve with Xenos' global partner Fountain of Hope. That group will be doing a teaching series out of 2 Corinthians for 100 younger believers, encouraging them in their role as Christ's ambassador. There will also be a VBS team, a case studies team, a photography team and a construction team.

Another group will be in Kampong Cham to serve at the Friendship School, which is operated by 2 Xenos families.

The team asks for your prayers--that they would be unified and protected as a team and that they would be a source of encouragement to leaders of Fountain of Hope and Friendship School. Please also pray that the teaching series at Fountain of Hope would build up the faith of the young believers, and would encourage them to share their faith.
 

Help Get Local Students' School Year Started Off Right

It's almost back-to-school time, and Xenos is collecting school supplies for local students in need. You can help by getting a backpack and filling it with supplies--you can see a list of what kids need here.

The filled backpacks can be dropped off at the info booths at Main Campus (1390 Community Park Dr, Columbus 43229), the Warehouse (600 Oakland Park Ave, Columbus, 43214), and the 4th Street Pavilion (1934 N. 4th St, Columbus, 43201). The collection dates are August 5th, 12th, and 19th.

The donated backpacks will be given to students in need at Harambee Christian School and two Columbus Public elementary schools--Alpine and Avalon. Your donation will help them have the tools they need to succeed this school year!

Xenos Urban Ministry: The Why, What, and How

This spring staff members from Xenos' urban ministries held a class to give people an understanding of the work being done in local low-income neighborhoods. Urban Concern and Harambee Christian School Operations Director Michael Larson gives us an overview of the ministries, and the mindset that its participants have found to be most effective and relevant:  

Old school Xenos members who haven’t attended a recent youth meeting may not realize how much different the church looks today than it did in the early days when Dennis and Gary were sporting bell bottoms and rocking out to Freebird. Today, Student Ministries is home to a diverse group of young people from a variety of cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

But “Urban Ministry” can be an ambiguous term that means different things to different people and churches. Tim Keller’s book Center Church notes, “Cities increasingly influence our global culture and affect the way we do ministry. With a positive approach toward our culture, we learn to affirm that cities are wonderful, strategic, and underserved places for gospel ministry.” However, it’s no doubt that inner city Columbus neighborhoods bear little resemblance to the Manhattanite context from which Keller writes.

When we talk about urban ministry in Xenos, we are talking primarily about ministry to students and families who are low-income and under-resourced. As indicated by our own census and the extensive opportunity mapping done by OSU’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, urban neighborhoods like South Linden, Weinland Park, and Franklinton, among others, rank lowest in the city for various opportunity indicators including Housing & Neighborhood, Transportation & Employment, Health & Safety, and Education.

Yet, hundreds of students from these neighborhoods attend Xenos affiliated Bible studies each week!

The “Why” of Urban Ministry

XSI Resources Now Available Online

Hundreds of resources from the Xenos Summer Institute are now available online. You can listen to and download recordings of both plenary and breakout sessions. You can also click through the powerpoints and read helpful handouts. It's also a great way to share this information with a friend. You can find all the resources at xenos.org/teachings.

This year's XSI offered 37 breakout sessions, and some of the most popular were "Does Science Contradict Christianity?," "Freedom from the Guilt and Shame Trap," and "The Waiting is the Hardest Part."

The 2018 Summer Institute drew 3500 people, including 500 guests, coming from across the country and Canada. Of the guests who registered in advance, 30% had never attended XSI before.

Over 1400 Students Hear of God's Love at Summer Camps

Hundreds of kids—from pre-schoolers to seniors in high school—have enjoyed time this summer at one of 5 different camps Xenos has overseen this year.

They made memories, deepened their friendships, and  most significantly, experienced God’s love and truth in a deeper way. Camp leaders appreciate the folks who’ve been praying for this work, and point to the many students who say they started a relationship with Christ, as proof that He listened!

Here are a few highlights from the different camps:

Xenos hosted two Renegade camps for kids in low-income neighborhoods, one focusing on music and the other focusing on sports and arts. Both camps included Bible teachings and were structured to emphasize relationships. The camp drew 14 kids who have never attended a Renegade event, and 15 students say they started a relationship with Christ. You can read more about these camps here.

Volunteers Make XSI a Great Success

The 2018 Xenos Summer Institute has just wrapped up another successful event thanks in large part to the hundreds of volunteers who stepped up to help. Over 300 volunteers worked many different roles--directing traffic, checking in guests, working video cameras, and many more.

XSI organizers are thankful for their smiling faces and dedication to making thousands of guests feel welcome! The event would not be possible without their support.

 

High School Missions Trip Prepares to Host Sports Camp

A group of 27 Xenos high-schoolers will be heading to Dayton July 29-August 4 for a missions trip. They'll be leading a sports camp for kids that includes activities, lunch and a daily Bible study. While the group has adult leaders, the teens will be running everything at the camp--games, teachings, and the meals.

Please pray for these students to have stamina for the demands of the week, as well as a love for the kids they serve. The team specifically asks for prayer that they have an ear to hear God's voice in each and every situation they encounter. And pray for God to draw kids to the camp!

You can help with the costs of the trip--the team is doing a car wash tomorrow, July 21st at the 4th Street Pavilion (1934 N. 4th St., Columbus, 43201) from 10:00 am-1:00 pm.

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