Xenos Christian Fellowship
Xenos Christian Fellowship is a non-traditional, non-denominational, institutional cell church system in Columbus, Ohio. Each cell, called home church, contains 15 to 60 members. Unlike traditional churches, Xenos is centered on home church activities rather than traditional Sunday morning services. Xenos does have weekly multi-house church gatherings called central teachings. As of February 2009, Xenos has approximately 5,000-members and 300 home churches.
Symbolism of name
The church's name comes from the Greek word, Xenos meaning "stranger" or "alien". The primary use of the name Xenos in the New Testament denotes sojourners in a foreign land, a biblical description of Christians whose ultimate home is in heaven. A secondary usage of the word xenos denotes "one who provides hospitality."
Xenos originated as an "underground" Christian newspaper called "The Fish" first published in the 1970s around Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio. The newspaper sparked the formation of bible study groups around the university. Up to 1991, home churches were allowed to "do [their] own thing". Some members refused to accept the church hierarchy, and its interpretation of the Bible. Around 1,400 members left the church in this three-year church conflict.
The remaining leaders added accountability mechanisms and structures to standardize church doctrine and regulate house churches. House church leaders are required to meet what the church feels as biblical qualifications, the character qualifications given in I Timothy 3. Leaders are also trained in classroom settings and given examinations.
In 1991 Xenos launched Urban Concern, a Christian inner-city charity recognized by President George H. Bush in his "Thousand Points of Light" awards. Together with Columbus city government and business leaders, Xenos continues to expand Urban Concern and contributes the majority of its financial and volunteer resources. In 2007 Xenos constructed a Christian school and community center in the inner city. Xenos also provides two free clinics for the underprivileged in the Columbus area.
Schools and sister churches
Xenos runs three private schools in the Columbus area: Xenos (pre-kindergarten–5th grade), Calumet (pre-kindergarten–8th grade), and Harambee (pre-kindergarten–8th grade). The Harambee campus recently added a middle school, with future plans to expand into high school, while the Xenos campus was announced to be closing, due to low interest and attendance.
In July 2009, the father of Fathima Rifqa Bary mentioned that his daughter had attended Xenos meetings. Rifqa Bary had run away from her parents, allegedly fearing for her safety after converting to Christianity from Islam. Xenos Christian Fellowship claims to not be involved in her flight to Orlando, Florida to the home of Christian pastor Blake Lorenz. Also there is no evidence that Fathima Rifqa Bary ever attended any meetings at Xenos Christian Fellowship.
Xenos is considered to be a cult by many in the Columbus, Ohio area. The loss of privacy, along with the communal living aspect do in fact reinforce this.
Xenos Summer Institute
The Xenos Summer Institute was founded in 1996 as the Crossroads Project. It was originally a 9-day apologetics conference, but has since transformed into a 3-day conference regarding a broader scope of interests. Each year, one of the guest speakers hosts a course in conjunction with the conference that can be taken for college credit through Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In 2013, there were 3,300 attendees at the conference. The Xenos Summer Institute has hosted many scholars, theologians, philosophers, and pastors as speakers:
- Leith Anderson (2001)
- Kay Arthur (2010)
- Gerry Breshears (2008)
- Bob Briner (1998)
- Jill Briscoe (2006)
- Stuart Briscoe (2010)
- Mike Bullmore (2010)
- Clive Calver (2004, 2016)
- D.A. Carson (2000, 2008, 2017)
- Bruxy Cavey (2005, 2013)
- Neil Cole (2002)
- Joel Comiskey (2005, 2007)
- Larry Crabb (2007, 2016)
- William Lane Craig (1996, 1997, 2013)
- Mark Dever (1999)
- Mark Driscoll (2008)
- Ajith Fernando (2009, 2016)
- Dale Galloway (2001)
- Gene Getz (2003, 2011)
- Os Guinness (1999)
- Howard Hendricks (2003)
- Bill Hybels (2005)
- Bill Lawrence (2002, 2007)
- Gilbert Lennox (2004, 2005, 2013)
- John Lennox (2013, 2017)
- Mike Licona (2015)
- Craig McElvain (2012, 2013, 2014)
- Erwin McManus (2000)
- Mark Mittelberg (1997, 2008, 2013, 2014)
- Waylon Moore (2003)
- J.P. Moreland (1998, 2011)
- Randy Newman (2014, 2015)
- Greg Ogden (2006)
- Grant Osborne (1996, 1997)
- John Perkins (2004)
- Bruce Powers (2002)
- Thom Rainer (2006)
- Hugh Ross (1996)
- Ken Sande (2011)
- Samuel Stephens (2004, 2012)
- Ed Stetzer (2012)
- Tom Stipe (2005)
- Lee Strobel (2014)
- Ben Stuart (2012)
- Douglas Stuart (2017)
- Joni Eareckson Tada (2009)
- George Verwer (2005)
- Lance Witt (2002)
- Yount, William; Barnett, Mike (2007-01-01). Called to Reach: Equipping Cross-Cultural Disciplers. B&H Academic. p. 200. ISBN 0-8054-4066-6.
- McCallum, Dennis. "Home Groups: Why? What? and How?". Xenos.org. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- Boren, M. Scott (May 2007). How Do We Get There From Here (Revised ed.). Touch Publications. pp. 52, 63. ISBN 0-9788779-1-8.
- Heagney, Meredith (2009-02-13). "Church within a church". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "History of Xenos". Xenos Christian Fellowship. 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Page, Frank; Perry, John (2008-03-01). The Incredible Shrinking Church. B&H Books. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-8054-4661-3.
- history of Urban Concern.
- "Xenos Annual Reports". Xenos.org.
- Xenos Free Clinics Archived June 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hoover, Amy (2008-10-15). "Clinics offer affordable care". The Lantern. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "Xenos Christian Schools". Xenos.org. 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Xenos Cincinnati
- Xenos Christian Fellowship of Dayton Ohio Archived April 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "NEO" Xenos Christian Fellowship
- "The Xenos Summer Institute Practical Affordable Home Church Conference". Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "FAQs". Xenos Christian Fellowship. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "TEDS Wrap Around Course". Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- Trinity Evangelical Divinity School http://divinity.tiu.edu/extension-site/columbus-oh/. Retrieved 5 October 2016. Missing or empty
- Dillon, Pamela. "Xenos conference offers multiple focal points for outreach". Dayton Daily News. Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- Appearance via video