Meet the Elders: John McKewen

In our Meet the Elders series, we’ve gotten to know many of the other elders including James Rochford, Scott Risley, Gary DeLashmutt and Jim Leffel. Now we turn to John McKewen, owner of a local investment management firm, leader of many financial stewardship workshops and elder.

John McKewen was raised in a Catholic home and found the idea of unconditional grace hard to understand. He came to know Christ in a Bible study that met in Upper Arlington in the early 1980’s. This group of friends met once a week to read and study the Bible. Gary DeLashmutt would come and teach once a month. John and his wife Jayne Ann wanted to continue being in a group that studied straight from the Bible so he and several others from the Bible study group ended up at Xenos. “I felt my questions about grace were best answered in the Bible and the way other Christians were living out their faith, and I saw that strongly at Xenos,” says John.

Over a series of years John became more and more involved in Xenos, “I was in leadership training in 1984 - this was a real turning point for me as I was challenged by Keith McCallum and Joe Guzzo to chose to follow Christ wholly. My wife was committed to following Christ earlier...and she prayed, prayed and prayed some more... The prayers of my patient, loving wife made a huge difference in the course of my life.”

Prayer Concerts: Another Opportunity for Fellowship and Prayer

by Caris Post

A quiet murmur of prayer filled the room on Sunday evening, September 13 as the 11:30 am Patch sphere met for its monthly prayer concert.

An opportunity for praising God through petition, praise, thanksgiving and singing in a group setting, a prayer concert emulates the heart of the New Testament church as seen throughout the book of Acts, with the hope of making a true impact on God’s Kingdom. The monthly time is filled with members of the sphere communicating what God is doing all over the globe and providing specific prayer points for engaging with God through prayer during and after the meeting.

High School Outreach Events a Sweeping Success!

On September 1st, instead of their Tuesday night teaching, South CT High School sphere held an an outreach event. Students were encouraged to invite their friends out to the occasion, which was held at Xenos Christian Fellowship’s new building, The Warehouse. The event was a huge success, with over 500 students attending!

Almost one and a half times the usual number of students came out, going from the normal turnout of 360 students to 520! “There were so many new people that night! I could tell because every seat in the auditorium was filled up for the teaching,” said a student in Tomahawk home church, Tylea Taylor. The 3,000 wings that were ordered from Roosters for the night proved to be extremely popular, and over $700 in voluntary donations were raised for Fountain of Hope (a ministry working with the poor in Cambodia).

Meet the Elders: Jim Leffel

Jim Leffel has been involved with Xenos for 40 years now. He's a sphere leader, a long-time home group leader, and a CT and class teacher.

Jim came to Xenos - then called the Fish House - in the early 70's because of his brother and sister. Jim is proof that persistence in evangelism matters, "I did not become a Christian until 1976, but the witness of the Spirit through my siblings kept me coming back. When I was ready, I knew just where to turn."

Jim has been impressed with the commitment to genuine community that he sees at Xenos, "It's like what Paul describes in Colossians 2:2, being 'knit together in love.' I've been around a lot of Christian groups over the years and I've not found anything like Xenos. And it's not a self-serving closeness, but a fellowship with the outward purpose of representing Christ to our peers and throughout the world."

Reading Buddies Needed at Harambee

Harambee Christian School is looking for Reading Buddies available to come in during lunchtime on Tuesdays every week to help 3rd graders.

Reading Buddies are paired with one student for the duration of the program year and work on helping students develop reading fluency and comprehension in the context of a personal friendship.

This program runs in partnership with Central Ohio Youth for Christ's Columbus Tutoring Initiative. Harambee piloted the program last year with 8 volunteer/student relationships, and a great time was had by all.

Behind the Scenes Servants: Tim and Lindsey Tobin

by Chris DeVille

Considering all the time and effort Tim and Lindsey Tobin pour into ministry, you'd think it was their full-time job. God has grown the couple - lifelong friends who met in kindergarten at Calumet and recently celebrated three years of marriage - into a great example of radical commitment to God.

"Tim and Lindsey are the ideal co-leaders," says Bret McCallum, the Tobin's sphere leader and former co-leader. "They are super hardcore about the things of God."

The Tobins have been serving faithfully in the college ministry since graduating from Whetstone High School in 2008. They senior-lead a college home church together. Tim also senior leads a high school group, a ministry where Lindsey also served for half a decade. Lindsey currently disciples five young women; Tim works with four disciples and is planning to pick up another high school freshman this fall. Their discipleship ministry has been quality, not just quantity. They've each raised up two disciples into home church leadership.

Behind the Scenes Servant: Bob Graham

by Chris DeVille

This is the first in a series about people lovingly serving outside the spotlight at Xenos.

Bob Graham is the kind of guy who'll tell you he loves you the first time he ever speaks to you, and he really seems to mean it. His actions through the years have certainly demonstrated it. Bob has been serving in Xenos for more than two decades, both co-leading and hosting a home church and helping people break free from drug abuse and alcoholism in the Never Alone ministry. Those who’ve served alongside him insist he’s the kind of man who merits recognition.

“Bob is a man that God has transformed into a wise, humble, and compassionate blessing to many people,” explains Paul Alexander, one of Bob’s sphere leaders. “He has faithfully offered his retirement to God, hosting and leading home church, leading in the Never Alone ministry, and mentoring several men. His example is inspiring.” Bob’s home church co-leader Rosy Talarzyk adds, “He got sober and started to walk with the Lord late in life, and when he realized his personal relationship with Christ, he took it quite seriously.”

Twenty Years of VBS

Twenty years ago, 40 kids met in Calumet school for Xenos' first Vacation Bible School (VBS). Elaine Reading, who has been involved with VBS ever since said, "It was incredible to watch God pull together all the people and parts needed to begin this journey! And every year He repeats his glorious work to reach children."

This year, 357 kids packed into Main Campus to enjoy music, drama, crafts, games and Bible lessons. They learned that Jesus is the ultimate superhero and that God can use anyone to impact this world.

"One of the exciting things about this year's curriculum is that it was originally written by several Xenos students: Cate, Anne and Jennie Messenger, Kaleigh and Abbey Bott and KC Johnson," explains Kim Downs, VBS Director. "Many of our student teachers commented that as they taught lessons to the kids, they were built up in the process! We are so thankful for the 166 students who volunteered to help out with VBS. We couldn't do it without them and their enthusiasm is contagious! We are also grateful for 16 Nepali volunteers who helped us teach three classes of Nepali children."

Epic 2015 –God’s Power and Love on Full Display

Twenty-one students now have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!  The high school ministry’s annual trip to Spring Hill Camps, Indiana, was an incredible week. Over 700 students attended Epic 2015. God’s power and love were on full display during this week of fellowship and fun.

“I'm struck by how clearly God answered our prayers for Epic this year,” said Nick Hetrick, leader of North CT. “Epic is unique because students are focused on spiritual things and away from most distractions for a whole week. Hearing a high-quality teaching each night and discussing biblical content each morning heightens their spiritual awareness and opens opportunities for God to move powerfully. That sense of focus is especially important for non-Christians who are open to starting a relationship with God. We asked that many non-Christians would come on the trip and that God would reveal himself to those people. His answer was to lead 21 people to receive Christ! What makes that answered prayer even more exciting is that, in many cases, other students played a direct role in leading their friends to Christ. Thank God for how he uses Epic to give believing students a chance to do significant ministry and also to transfer non-Christians from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of his son.”

The topic of the week was the Proverbs. Students read every morning from authors such as Ajith Fernando and Watchman Nee, and would hear a teaching every night on the Proverbs from some of the best teachers in our fellowship.

“It was nice to have some of the top teachers in the church give very detailed teachings,” says Trevor Rich, a student in the high school ministry. “I was able to get a fresh perspective on the Proverbs.”

Study Center Launches eBook Library

Can’t track down a copy of a Christian classic? Looking for something to listen to during that upcoming beach trip?

The Xenos Study Center has partnered with leading e-book provider OverDrive to offer dozens of e-books and audio books by C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, Bill Hybels, Ken Sande, Lee Strobel, Francis Schaeffer and other leading authors.

The service is easy to use and totally free, Study Center director Caitlin Kleinpaste says.

“Our collection of books at the Study Center is amazing, but sometimes people just don't have the time to get to Main Campus or wait for a book to be delivered,” reports Kleinpaste. “Having e-books available means that you can download one from home and start reading immediately. Having audio books available for download is also huge.”


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