It’s a popular conference, bringing in nationally known speakers and equipping hundreds of Christians from around the world during its yearly run. And for folks in Xenos it’s not only convenient—happening at Xenos’ main campus—but is also extremely affordable, with Xenos members paying $20 or less to attend.
It’s the Xenos Summer Institute (XSI), running July 11-13. This year’s title is “The God Who is There,” which honors the 50th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s classic book of that title, and captures the conference’s theme of Biblical apologetics.
Xenos Equipping Director Pat Reeder says the elders picked this theme in part because of the availability of the main speakers—J. Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell, both of whom specialize in Biblical apologetics. Wallace is a former homicide detective who went from being an atheist to a committed Christian after investigating Christianity’s claims. McDowell is the son of Josh McDowell, and has taken up his father’s work of investigating and communicating a defense for the Christian faith.
Pat says the plenaries—the main teachings—will be lead by McDowell, Wallace and Xenos elders, and will be on topics like the reliability of the Bible, the existence of God, and the more general issue of how we come to know things. But Pat says, “That being said, the particular title—The God Who is There—was selected because it permits options for speakers slightly wider than apologetics proper.”
Pat says the topic of apologetics is relevant and useful to all believers, both new Christians and mature Christians. “Apologetics is often viewed as of more immediate use to a brand new Christian and for good reason—it can help undergird one’s newfound faith and answer hard questions. But it’s also of value for the more seasoned Christian. They need to refresh their understanding of it since apologetics is not like riding a bicycle—it's more of a use-it-or-lose-it discipline.”
And he says apologetics is a constantly changing art, with new scientific, archeological and linguistic discoveries coming into the picture. But Pat adds, “Of course, new skeptics emerge and require fresh responses. So, even for the longer term believer, this conference will be effective for both refreshing and extending previous engagement with these hard questions.”
You can register for the conference at xenos.org/xsi. Pat says he hopes you’ll enjoy what a gold mine XSI is for Xenos members. “It could be tempting to allow ourselves to be spoiled by the fact that our organization hosts such a special event. We should fight against this temptation.” He says comparable conferences cost at least $150, but for folks in Xenos, it’s $20 at the most, thanks to the church subsidizing much of the overhead.
The conference depends on volunteers to fill many roles. All volunteers get free registration, so consider getting involved. You can sign up at xenos.org/xsi.
You can also stay updated on XSI events through its Facebook page.