What is the state of Xenos Christian Fellowship?
Each year, with the goal of understanding the present and guiding the future, the elders assess the status of the church as a whole, and share that in a church-wide meeting, along with their vision for the future.
As we start 2018, the elders shared that we are entering into a time of transition and change—a time for which God has prepared Xenos through a new generation of gifted and committed leaders. In the months and years to come several older leaders will be retiring or moving to part-time hours, and new leaders and leadership structures will be taking their place. But Lead Pastor and Elder Dennis McCallum says God has raised up outstanding people to carry on their work.
Lead Pastor and Elder Gary DeLashmutt will be stepping out of sphere leadership by the end of next year, to allow him to reduce his hours and focus on teaching. Senior Sphere Leader Doug Patch will also be leaving his role to narrow his scope and hours. One of the ways these changes will be accommodated is a new sphere model, mixing college and adult home churches in a sphere, under the leadership of Conrad Hilario and Kate Mizelle. Also in 2019, Mike Sullivan and Brian Runk are expected to step into sphere leadership.
As for the current state of Xenos, Elder Ryan Lowery notes that while people in the adult ministry are evangelizing and inviting as many people as they did when the adult side had greater growth, many of these new people are not sticking around, so there is little growth. To that end, elders are making plans for raising home church quality, offering better pastoral care, working to improve home church teachings, and recognizing the importance of fervent prayer.
Ryan also says Xenos has improved unity between different generations within the church and improved the transition process from college ministry to adult ministry. It now better understands the challenges adults face as they move through different life stages, and has better recognized and encouraged the outstanding, diverse ministry being accomplished by people in the adult spheres.
In the student ministry, the elders note a lack of growth in the high school years, despite well-trained, competent and sacrificial leadership provided primarily by those in the college spheres. Some of this is demographic—fewer Xenos families with children in this age group—but the current culture also presents a difficult challenge to those seeking to reach and win teens to a life of commitment to Christ.
Ryan notes a very bright note—the generosity of people in Xenos, showing a dramatic change in the last few years. After a few years of giving falling short of an already conservative budget, giving in the last two years has exceeded the budget. In 2017 the Fiscal Support Team even voted in an ambitious pledge drive goal, which was quickly met with pledges. By the end of the year these more aggressive pledges were met and surpassed, with donations exceeding the budget by $300,000.
You can access a recording of the State of the Church meeting at the Study Center (1340 Community Park Drive, 43229), as well as the following day's Vision and Stewardship meeting, which gave more details on the proposed 2018 budget.