Recent News

Annual Pledge Drive is now Underway

Teaching the Bible to people young and old. Sharing the gospel with people who have never heard about God's abundant grace. Training faithful Christian workers how to lead others in love.

God is working through the people of Xenos to bring love and truth to folks from Central Ohio to the ends of the earth. Along with the time and energy of many volunteers, there are also, of course, financial costs to these efforts.

The annual giving campaign is underway, a time to consider how you will financially participate in Xenos ministry. Your generous donations provide power for Central Teachings, pizza for spiritually significant high school events, and time and resources for teachers preparing to share the truths of the Bible.

Please consider how you want to join in the effort this year. A yearly pledge helps Xenos carefully plan its spending. You can enter a pledge or donate online at xenos.org/give. You can also get periodic updates on the pledge campaign on the Xenos website. At xenos.org/give/budget.

Xenos to Transition to a New Name


Xenos elders are excited to announce that our church will be changing its name to Dwell. This was first announced at the annual Vision & Stewardship meeting on 2/7/2020.

Our church began in 1970, when a group of college students founded a Bible study called Fish House Fellowship at a home in the Ohio State University campus area. Since then, we have evolved into a dynamic network of house churches centered on mainstream evangelical theology but often bucking against modern church traditions. Our attendance now exceeds 5,000, and our ministry has expanded to include three schools, an internationally renowned summer conference, medical and community development work around the globe, and more.

We adopted the name Xenos in 1982. Xenos is an ancient Greek word for “stranger” or “alien.” It was intended as a conversation-starter and a way to emphasize that Heaven, not Earth, is a Christian’s true home. But explaining the meaning behind the name succinctly has proven difficult. It sounds weird and off-putting to the modern ear.  The name has become a distraction to some hearing the good news about Jesus Christ and the Bible’s offer of salvation as a free gift. We have been exploring the possibility of changing our name for many years. Now, in our 50th year, with a new generation of elders in place, the time feels right for a change.

This name change does not represent any kind of mission drift. It’s actually at the core of our mission to remove unnecessary barriers to people’s spiritual interest. 

Register Now for Xenos Summer Camps

Summer is a few months away, but now’s the time to make plans for your child to attend one of Xenos’ summer camps—camps that are fun, but can also serve as a spiritual turning point in their lives.

TNT Camp is for 4th and 5th graders and runs from June 22nd-26th. Middle-schoolers can go to Blowout Camp July 1st-6th. And Epic is for high-schoolers, and runs June 28th-July 4th. Registration is open now for Epic and Blowout Camp, and registration for TNT Camp will open later this month.

Student Ministries Director Joe Botti says getting kids away from distractions helps them turn their focus more completely on God and consider His role in their life. As kids hear challenging Bible teachings, there’s time for them to think and respond, and they’re given the chance to trust their lives to God.

Joe says the camps also offer a great opportunity to build healthy relationships with their peers. Because they spend a lot of time together, new friendships have a chance to start and existing friendships have a chance to deepen. Sometimes the time together creates conflicts, and kids learn to work these conflicts out.

TNT Camp, for 4th and 5th graders, is built around discovering what God is doing around the world--with a unique focus on world missions. It’s a full-day program at Building X, including one optional overnight. 

"Getting Grounded" Class Offers Doable Step Toward Greater Learning

John Ross will be teaching the Getting Grounded class starting February 22nd. John shares his thoughts on the class, and what he hopes to accomplish through it:

Something amazing and supernatural happens when a young believer starts to connect with God through the means of growth. It's like an amp getting plugged into an electrical outlet. Getting Grounded offers a quick-hit introduction to the means of growth, helping the young believer get familiar with the ways God grows our faith. Our church offers amazing classes for workers who want high-level equipping. Those aren't going anywhere. In my mind, this class is a stepping stone to prepare people for more advanced materials, possibly the first stage in a life of spiritual learning. The content is lean and straightforward, with a lot of group discussion, so people can share their experiences and insights from the Lord. 

One of the coolest things about the first run was seeing people from home churches take the class together, using the morning as another time of fellowship. Established believers were taking the class as a refresher alongside younger members, then heading out as a crew for brunch. There's so much opportunity with a quick, low-impact class like this. 

You can get more information and register at xenos.org/classes.  

Vision & Stewardship Meeting February 7th

The annual Vision and Stewardship meeting is Friday, February 7th at 7:30 pm, giving you a chance to learn more about how Xenos manages its money, and its financial plans for the year ahead. Current Fiscal Support Team (FST) members also have a chance to vote on items proposed for 2020.

Because of the large crowd expected, the event will be simulcast to the Warehouse. Please plan on attending the event at the location to which your sphere is assigned:

  • Main Campus: All adult home churches, plus Hilario, Risley, and Hearty spheres
  • Warehouse: Trident and Rochford spheres

This year the meeting is being held a bit later than it has been in the past, and is happening on a Friday night, instead of a Saturday morning. Operations and Administration Division Coordinator Steve Bauer says the timing allows us to avoid bringing up financial talk while hosting many guests during the “Above the Noise” series at Central Teaching. In the past the pledge drive process has lasted well over a month, and this year it will be more limited, running from February 7th to the end of the month.

The Vision and Stewardship meeting will feature highlights of 2019 and a review of planned initiatives for 2020. While the focus is on finances, it is also an exciting presentation on how God is working through Xenos ministries in Columbus and around the world.

The pledge process will be a bit different this year as it will make use of “The Rock,” a new database that Xenos developed over the last 2 years. The process will be further explained in the coming weeks.

 

Xenos Veterans Share Gospel & Community Through Call-Sign

Over the last year Xenos has launched a new ministry called Call-Sign--a weekly Bible study hosted by veterans, for veterans. It hopes to give veterans the chance to experience a relationship with God and enjoy His healing grace. Since it’s led by vets the teaching and discussions are very relatable, and while it is not designed to be a long-term provision for fellowship (like a home church), it provides a gateway to approach God for veterans who may find it difficult to talk about their experiences with people who can’t relate.

If you know a veteran who might benefit, please consider inviting them. It meets every Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the Main Campus Atrium (1390 Community Park Dr., 43229). You can contact Kim Downs if you have questions at meanderclan@aol.com

Organizers say when people from the military community gather, they experience instant camaraderie, even if they're from different branches. With that unique atmosphere in place for Call-Sign gatherings, it can help make it as easy as possible for veterans to interact with the Bible and ask serious questions of God’s Word.

Tim Downs is a retired USAF captain and one of the volunteers helping with Call-Sign. He says they hope to reach veterans of all ages with the gospel, offering them answers to the isolation and lack of purpose many experience after leaving the military. They also hope to offer friendship and hope as they transition from their time as warriors back into everyday life.

Bolain Home Group Shares the Hope of Christmas with Parkinson’s Group

By Sharon Rich

For many years the Bolain home group has had a heart for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) because we have seen the challenges faced by one of our members, Dave Hesse. God has graciously given us opportunities to serve a particular group of people with PD, including the chance this month to boldly share the gospel with a large group at a Christmas party. We were amazed to see 30 people join us for dinner, music, games, and a talk on the hope that Jesus has brought to our friend Dave.

Dave was a non-Christian when he was diagnosed several years ago, and he started participating in an experimental program to see if rigorous exercise could help people with Parkinsons. While the program “Delay the Disease” (DTD) offered help with Dave’s symptoms, it could not answer the spiritual questions raised by a difficult chronic condition. Dave also began an earnest consideration of the claims of Christ, and eventually received Christ a few years after diagnosis.

“Delay the Disease” holds a 5K each year to help provide free exercise classes for people with PD, and our home church started helping with planning and race day support. While we enjoyed the opportunity (and continue to help each year), it did not really give us a good chance to share the gospel.

When the Xenos Adult Ministry started challenging home churches to take on a ministry as a group, our home church gathered to consider what ministry we might pursue. We threw out many ideas, but when Dave proposed we dive in more fully on serving the PD community, it was clear this was God’s plan for our group.

We started providing rides for people no longer able to drive themselves to the exercise classes, and started helping in the classes themselves. This opened the door to loving relationships and service.

State of the Church Meeting Gives Big Picture

It’s almost time to come together for the annual State of the Church meeting, Friday, January 10th at 7:30 pm. The event gathers people from all ages and ministries to discuss the successes and challenges facing Xenos. Plan on setting aside this evening to see how God wants to engage you with the work He has for Xenos in 2020.

Unlike previous years, the Vision and Stewardship meeting will not immediately follow the State of the Church. Instead it will be held Friday, February 7th, due, in part, to plans for a shorter Annual Pledge Campaign this year. 

At the State of the Church meeting, Xenos elders will discuss the big picture, allowing people to see beyond their particular circle—the ministries and age groups—they travel in. The meeting started in the early 1980’s as a way to celebrate God’s work and see the road ahead more clearly. As in years past, the elders have been pondering trends and concerns, and those attending will get ideas for how they, and the home church they’re a part of, can contribute to improvement.

Because space is limited at the Main Auditorium, the State of the Church meeting with be simulcast to several venues. Please plan on attending at your sphere's assigned venue:

  • 4th St.: Risley, Woods, and Kate (adult) spheres
  • Main Campus: Lowery/Runk, Trident (including Eastside), Conrad (college), and Hearty spheres
  • Warehouse: Rochford, Sullivan, and Foust spheres
  • 40 Chicago Ave.: Westside sphere

Operations and Administration Division Coordinator Steve Bauer says the State of the Church meeting is the culmination of weeks of planning and contemplation. Every year church leaders participate in fall planning and budget retreats. Steve says, through this planning process, “God works us through the highlights of the last year and then where He wants to see us take new ground in the coming year, and beyond. This process, bathed in prayer and reflection, culminates with a message that’ll get shared with the church at the January meeting. In light of God’s great mercy, we will humbly share a vision of great hope for the Christ-focused work set before us.”

"Navigating your Grief" Offers Biblical Hope

By John Montgomery

Over the past 12 years, the Xenos Grief ministry has grown and expanded, offering various workshops and support groups to help those in grief.

Beginning January 8th, 2020, the Grief Ministry will offer a workshop called “Navigating your Grief” at the 4th Street Pavilion, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. This is a 10-week workshop designed to encourage, educate, and equip individuals who are grieving the death of a loved one. It utilizes select GriefShare videos as well as group discussion to help individuals at all stages of grief understand their grief experience and obtain the tools to move through it.

The workshop presents a Biblical perspective on grief, suffering, and trust in God. It also offers comfort and support to those grieving as well as practical suggestions through interviews with counselors, grief experts, and others who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one. You can register at xenos.org/classes.

While grief is normal and natural, and one of the most powerful of all emotions, it is probably one of the most neglected and misunderstood experiences, often by both grievers and those around them.

Class Starting in January on Spiritual Confidence

Jessica Lowery will be teaching the class "Spiritual Confidence" starting January 8th. Jess shares with us her thoughts on why she developed the class and what she hopes to address:

In the early days of college group, people were very sensitive about anything potentially boastful. Many used (and I would now argue misused) the verse about our “righteous deeds being like dirty rags to God.”

As I started to study the Bible more, I was surprised by the ways that New Testament authors talked about boasting as a positive thing. This got me thinking, and started a lot of interesting conversations. Then I read "God's Strategy in Human History." The authors argued that the verse about our righteous deeds being like dirty rags was being misinterpreted by many Christians. The authors went on to make all sorts of interesting arguments about human agency and the providence of God. This really helped me get some more clarity about a confusing part of theology.

Eventually, these studies and discussions led to the formation of this class, the "Spiritual Confidence" book I wrote, and a yearlong study in my challenge group on this topic.

In this class we seek to explore confidence in a way that goes beyond the worldly idea of self-confidence or "self-esteem." But at the same time, we want to really understand how to have the boldness and the good understanding of human agency that the biblical authors had. This class would benefit anyone who wants to understand these ideas more. In the class we'll have some interesting discussions about “super-spirituality” and man-centeredness, about human agency and the providence of God, and about how we as Christians can be boastful and brave in the right context. Students will look at some examples of devotional writings from modern Christians and evaluate them based on what we learn. I hope in the end that students will come away with a good appreciation for God's part and our part in ministry.

Some parts of our church still tend toward super-spirituality while others have the opposite issue and try to build a personal ministry or kingdom by force. Misunderstandings in this area of theology really affect our daily lives and interactions with people.

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