Recent News

Xenos Workers Celebrate Successful Barn-Raising

It hasn’t been the typical barn-raising—a skilled crew putting up a barn in a matter of days. But a group of folks from Xenos is celebrating the completion of a months-long labor of Christ’s love for the family of a deployed soldier.

A crew of workers from Xenos—some skilled in construction and some not—has been putting up a barn in Stoutsville, about an hour south of Columbus. A man there had purchased materials for the barn but was then deployed. Without their efforts, the materials likely would have gone to waste. Today a 30’ x 32’ pole barn stands, thanks to the crew’s work over several months.

Doug Patch says he first heard about the need from a man named Jason. Xenos members have been serving Jason and his family since May, mowing his lawn and taking care of other needs at his house. While in Kuwait Jason emailed Doug about Jake, the deployed soldier who had the unfinished barn materials. Jason asked Doug if there was anything folks in Xenos could do to help Jake and his family, knowing it was a huge project and big “ask.”

Doug talked with a few people from Xenos, including Phil Yensel and Steve McNabb, who had construction experience, and together they went to Stoutsville to scope out the situation. There they spoke with Jake’s father-in-law (who had started the project) about the feasibility of the job, and Doug and Phil started to recruit volunteers.

In late July volunteers started working on the barn. Early each Saturday morning since then 5 to 10 people from Xenos have been making the trip from Columbus to Stoutsville, working on constructing the barn. Doug says it has been a massive job, digging and setting support poles, lifting pre-built roof trusses, fastening those trusses, and many other physically demanding tasks. Former contractor Dave Merker also joined Phil and Steve in contributing his expertise to keep the project moving.

Despite the time invested and the hard work, Doug says it has been wonderful to be a part of, getting to serve a family whose husband and father is serving us by his military commitments. “Among the volunteers there is an appreciation for the sacrifice that military personnel make on our behalf. Whether stationed abroad or deployed or here at home, I think most people appreciate the sacrifice--and the sacrifice for the spouse and family when the husband or wife is deployed.”

Doug says their works are done in the name of “adorning the Gospel” (Titus 2:10), drawing people’s attention to Christ’s love, which is a message they have communicated to Jake’s family.

Please Pray for Xenos Partners in Haiti

By Dave Glover, Xenos Mission Division Coordinator

Over the last few months, turmoil in Haiti has been escalating, and they are now in a real crisis. Roads are blocked by fires and armed criminals, and hospitals are shutting down, people are afraid to leave their homes, they are hungry and losing hope.

The church in Haiti is not exempt from this extreme suffering either. Many people are unable to travel to work or get proper nutrition. They have had a tough time being able to meet for home church since many people cannot go out after 5 pm.

Our partners at Beraka church wrote to us, saying, “In this difficult moment that we are living in Haiti today, I must put great emphasis on perseverance in prayer in our church and reinforcement for the house churches… The house churches are not operating well, and there is much discouragement, traumatization, and hunger that is keeping people from persevering. We need consolation and encouragement."

At the end of their correspondence to us, they affirmed that “God has not abandoned us. The Haitian church is strong, and the Lord is still at work, but they desperately need support and comfort. Please pray for them! Pray for peace in the country, for the home churches to meet, for the electricity to come back to the church so they can have their evening meetings.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for our brothers and sisters.

Support Group for Those Living with Mental Illness

Twice a month Xenos offers FAITH, a Bible-oriented support group for people with mental illness. Together they offer hope, community, and progress.

During the meetings there's a Bible study and discussion with topics related to mental illness, as well as prayer, sharing and fellowship.

FAITH Ministry leaders say people are not defined by their mental illness, and that there is no shame in having a mental illness. Life can be more challenging but with God's help, they can learn from these challenges and lead godly and productive lives.

People with FAITH also say it's not a therapy group or intended to replace professional counselling. But if you have a mental illness and it is interfering with your everyday life or your relationship with God, FAITH can offer some extra support and encouragement.

If you'd like to be a part, FAITH meets the first and third Sunday of the month at 2:00 pm at the Warehouse location (600 Oakland Park Dr., 43214), room E. For more information you can email FAITHMinistryLeadTeam@gmail.com or call Andy Cafaro at 614-262-4525 (landline no text messages).

New Class Addresses Issue of Male Passivity

Xenos is offering a new class starting this month addressing a difficult cultural trend. “Leading Passive Men” will look at the root causes of passivity--what is keeping men from taking the initiative to love.

Doug O’Malley is teaching the 4 week class. “I hope that people come away from the class with a clearer perspective on why certain things cause men to be passive,” Doug says. “Also, I want people to leave with some helpful tips for motivating men who are stuck in either their discipleship ministry, home church leadership, or personal relationships.”

Doug says the class will examine the issue both theologically and sociologically. And he says they’ll look at some mentalities to address and some practical ideas for helping men. “There will be advice that's tailored towards specific ages—like the way you'd motivate an 18-year-old boy to build a discipleship ministry is different than the way you'd motivate a 40-year-old to love his wife.”

College Central Teachings Start Series on Mental Health

Next week all four Xenos college Central Teachings will be starting a short series on the subject of happiness and mental health.

Xenos elder and college CT teacher James Rochford says God's perspective on these issues is an extremely relevant and critical topic for young people these days. "We felt led to pick this study because depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide are at an all-time high on college campuses today, making it somewhat of an epidemic for young people."

James says the teachings will be helpful to both Christians and non-Christians.  "Since all people want to be happy and find emotional health, we really hope this series will speak to all those who come out to listen--especially those who are hurting on campus today."

The series will last 3 weeks. The audio will be available on the Xenos website in the coming weeks.

High-Schoolers Sample What's Next at College Connection

The transition from high school to college is a time many Christian students abandon their involvement in Christian fellowship. That fact is one of the main motivators of College Connection, an annual event to give high school juniors and seniors a taste of the Xenos college ministry. This year the event runs the week of November 4th, and allows high-schoolers to attend college meetings, spend time in a ministry house, and make new friends within college home churches.

According to researchers at the Barna Group most high schoolers involved in a church—around 70%—drop out of their church involvement when they transition to college. College Connection gives them a vision for following God during their college years and beyond, and motivates them to choose that path. Historically, it’s helped persuade hundreds of high school students to pursue their walk with God in college.

The impact of the week goes beyond students who are currently involved in a high school home church. Xenos College-High School Administrator Brian Adams says, as a high-schooler, the College Connection meeting was one of his first experiences with Xenos. He says he was hostile toward the church but found people were sincerely committed to God’s work, and developing deep, loving relationships. Brian says, “I was sold from going to College Connection that I wanted to continue coming to Bible studies, which lead to me coming to Christ and choosing to follow God. I’m really thankful our church practices this. That first meeting was a huge part of my salvation and my decision to follow God.”

Brian says students in the college ministry often enjoy more depth in their relationships than in the high school ministry since, especially for those in the ministry house, they are able to spend more time together, beyond the twice-weekly schedule of the high school meetings. College Connection gives them a chance to see these deeper relationships in action, motivating the high schoolers toward including God in their plans for their future.

During the week juniors and seniors can attend a college Central Teaching and home church, and are encouraged to spend the weekend staying at a ministry house. They can take part in the Friday night cell groups and then enjoy hang out time with the college home church their high school group feeds into. The college groups come up with fun activities to engage the students—camping, scavenger hunts, dance parties—which gives them a chance to make friends and feel more at home. The time and opportunity is there for great conversations.

Finding Holiday Joy after the Death of a Loved One

By John Montgomery

The end-of-year holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) can be the most wonderful, joyous, and hopeful time of the year. But since our relationships give the holidays special meaning, holiday celebrations after the death of a loved one can go from joyous occasions to tedious events that must be survived.

On Sunday, November 10th, the Xenos Grief Ministry will provide a two-hour workshop, Grief & the Holidays, utilizing the GriefShare videos. This workshop will help you not only to "survive the holidays," but to find strength, healing, and tools to move forward through the deep pain of grief. The workshop starts at 1:30 pm at the Warehouse (600 Oakland Park Ave., 43214).

This event can be a great opportunity to reach out to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members who are in grief. It allows people in the local community to be aware of the kind of practical care they can receive from our fellowship. If someone you know would benefit from this workshop, please consider coming with him or her to support them.

There is no cost. To RSVP or ask any questions, please email xenosgriefgroups@gmail.com.

While no simple guidelines exist that will make your holidays painless, this workshop provides many practical, hope-inspiring ideas to help you deal with the many challenges that come this time of year. You will learn ways to minimize stress and lessen the likelihood that you will be caught off guard by difficult situations. The workshop presents a Biblical perspective on grief, suffering, and trust in God. It features practical suggestions and reassurance through interviews with counselors, grief experts, and others who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one.

Grieving takes energy and you may not be up to the physical and mental challenges of the many activities in which you usually participate. You may find yourself in social situations that now are uncomfortable because of your different circumstances.

If you’ve suffered a loss, you should feel the freedom to allow yourself a different holiday from your norm. Do what comforts and nourishes you; what you are capable of doing. Simplify what you customarily did in the past. You might decorate but on a smaller scale. You might reduce gift giving or decline some party invitations. Do what you can and let that be enough.

New Class Brings Biblical Grammar to Life

A common problem with Bible study is understanding passages written centuries ago, to an audience living in a different time. There’s a new class at Xenos with a bold title--The Thrilling Study of New Testament Grammar—designed to help you better understand the accurate and full meaning of Biblical passages.

Ryan Weingartner will be teaching it, and says he put the class together after talking to home church leaders about the challenges of doing inductive studies. “Most American Bible students are weak in English grammar and completely unaware of Greek grammar. It became evident that a little work in grammar could go a long way in enriching our Bible studies.” 

In this class, you will learn the different Greek noun cases and verb moods, tenses, and voices as well as other parts of speech. Ryan says you’ll then look at dozens of examples of the author’s choice of words to try to determine the nuances he desired to communicate.

Ryan says you don’t need to be a Biblical scholar to take the class, nor an expert in English grammar nor be familiar with Greek. “You simply need to be willing to slow way down and think through why the author chose the words he chose. I hope those who take the class will gain a new excitement for their personal study of the Bible and ‘all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding.’”

The class starts November 6th and runs for 5 weeks. You can register online at xenos.org/classes/register.

Xenos Volunteers Support Unique Program for Human Trafficking Victims

By Kathy Sherry, volunteer with Xenos' Freedom ministry

Freedom a la Cart is a local non-profit that provides supportive services to local survivors of human trafficking.  It strives to bring hope to survivors so they can build new lives of freedom and self-sufficiency. Freedom does this by running a catering company that gives women practical job skills and helps them develop a strong work ethic in an environment where they feel safe and experience restoration. We provide women the opportunity to heal, learn, and grow as they prepare for sustainable employment within the community. 

Freedom also partners with CATCH Court, a specialty court docket in Franklin County, where survivors of human trafficking have the opportunity to get treatment for addiction and trauma. Freedom a la Cart organizes lunches for CATCH Court, helps with monthly outings, graduation retreats, provides mentors, and provides support to the CATCH graduates through their butterfly program.

Several volunteers from Xenos have been working with Freedom for years, mentoring survivors, providing meals, and volunteering in the Freedom kitchen. We have also hosted the annual Halloween party at Building X for the past several years. It has been amazing in this ministry to see God glorified through the relationships we have the opportunity to build with these resilient women. I’ve had the privilege of praying with several women in Freedom a la Cart over the years to receive Christ and have brought many out to Xenos CTs.

There are always volunteer opportunities with Freedom, primarily working in the kitchen with the women and helping to provide transportation for survivors to events and meetings on occasion. You can read more about Freedom and these volunteer opportunities on its website: freedomalacart.org.

An immediate need we have is the unique opportunity for MEN to volunteer by helping our Freedom women move. Often the ladies need help moving out of treatment facilities and into their own apartments (often their first on their own!). These can come about rather quickly with limited advance notice so ideally we would love to assemble teams of men that could be mobilized through e-mail when needs arise. These moves typically take place on a Saturday morning and usually involve limited furniture pieces and boxed and bagged personal items. With several men most moves can be completed within 3 hours. 

If you are interested in volunteering and want more information feel free to email Kathy Sherry at ksherry592@gmail.com.
 

Thousands Enjoy the Xenos Community Festival

An estimated 2,500 people came to the Xenos Community Festival last Saturday, enjoying a day of music, food, games, and the warm welcome of Xenos hospitality.

Many Xenos regulars say it gave them a way to introduce friends and family to Xenos, and connect them with Xenos ministries and activities. Many in the college ministry brought their parents, and say they came away with encouragement about their involvement, with some even deciding to visit an adult Central Teaching.

A big thanks goes out to the people who made it possible--the over 350 volunteers who smoked meat, flipped burgers, hosted kids games, sold tickets, directed parking, and handled many other activities. 

Fun facts from the event:

  • Believe it or not, this was the first time we have put on this festival!
  • So many kids played the games that volunteers ran out of prizes and had to use candy instead.
  • The Gracehaven silent auction raised $276.
  • Visitors bought over 2,000 plates of food.
  • The people staffing the lemon shake-up stand served so many that they ran out of lemons--over 200 used--and had to send someone out to buy more. 

Watch a video of some highlights at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF4nvz1d3q8

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