Boasting in the Lord: 50 things I love about Xenos

“Boasting in the Lord” comes from Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:31: “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” God has led us along a circuitous path throughout our history. At each turn in the formation of our church, he’s introduced us to famous Christian thinkers who have shaped our thinking. The influence of Francis Schaeffer, Catherine Kroeger, Gene Getz, William R. Newell, Donald McGavran, Howard Hendricks, Larry Crabb, Rebecca Pippert, Watchman Nee, Miles Stanford, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, R. Laird Harris, Chuck Smith and Tim Keller (who are all over the place on the theological spectrum) have given us a truly unique outlook and ethos. Outsiders marvel when they see how God has molded our church.   

We’re approaching our 50th anniversary. Xenos, originally called the Fish House, started in 1970. Throughout our history, we’ve tried to deviate from who God has made us to be. Each time, it had mixed or disastrous results. After nearly 50 years, God has fixed the DNA of our church. In the same way, our genes determine our our physical form, our personality, etc., God has hard-wired who we are. That’s not going to change. But in the same way that environment affects gene expression, what we are may look different in the future based upon changing cultural trends. But we’ll still be the same, in terms of our core values because they’re biblically-based.   

Let’s look at the list I compiled.

  1. We preach God’s grace (2 Timothy 2:1).    

  2. God has given us a robust equipping ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).

  3. We teach every member ministry (Romans 12:5-6).   

  4. We challenge sins of omission (Matthew 23:23).

  5. Our website provides resources to Christian leaders and workers throughout the world.

  6. The majority of people attending our church actually met Christ here (58%).[1]

  7. Our community resembles the kind of koinonia in the New Testament church (Acts 2:42-27)

  8. We practice discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2).

  9. We take God’s discipline seriously (Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5).

  10. We don’t have a nitpicky, sin-police ethos.

  11. We don’t subject unchurched people to churchy things (1 Corinthians 9:22).

  12. We teach the Scriptures expositorily (1 Timothy 4:13).

  13. Our church loves the poor (Matthew 25).

  14. We take a stand against materialism and careerism (Luke 12, 1 Timothy 6).

  15. God has instilled a simple living ethos in our church.

  16. We’ve got an amazing missions department and give more than a third of our budget to oversees missions (Matthew 28:18-20).

  17. We’re seeing traction with urban ministry, which includes an emerging urban leadership.

  18. We practice plurality of leadership at every level (1 Peter 5:2).

  19. Our church isn’t famous.

  20. We aren’t man-centered.

  21. God has instilled in us the value of succession.

  22. We allow and encourage women to serve at the top step of leadership in our church.

  23. We’re winning men from our culture (45% of our church consists of men), at a time when many American churches are losing men.[2]

  24. Our church doesn’t drive a political agenda.

  25. We value change and reevaluate our wineskins (Luke 5:37).

  26. God has drawn incredibly talented, gifted and dedicated servants to this church.

  27. We champion apologetics (1 Peter 3:15).

  28. We allow loyal dissent.

  29. Ministry Houses

  30. We teach our new identity’s role in sanctification (Romans 6, Ephesians 4-5).

  31. We aim to understand culture and preach the Gospel in culturally relevant ways.

  32. We commend an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity in ministry (i.e. ministry teams, bush groups, etc.).

  33. We’ve got amazing student ministry that has reinvigorated our church (66% under the age of 25).[3]

  34. We believe in hiring from within the church.

  35. God has placed incredibly generous people in our church.

  36. We value a grassroots approach to ministry over a programmatic approach to ministry.

  37. We teach the biblical perspective of worship (Romans 12:1-2).

  38. We fight against becoming an ingrown church.

  39. Servant Team

  40. Xenos Summer Institute

  41. Epic Summer Camp

  42. God has placed us in a thriving city where students can attend a great college and find a career in Columbus.

  43. Our top-level leaders aren’t rich.

  44. We value transparency and accountability.

  45. Our church doesn’t go “beyond what’s written in Scripture,” valuing and protecting our freedom in Christ.

  46. We practice an “open books” policy (2 Corinthians 8:21).

  47. We’ve got an excellent pastoral counseling staff.

  48. Our church does an incredible amount of community service in the Central Ohio area (Titus 2:10).  

  49. We’ve got an awesome substance abuse ministry (i.e. Never Alone and Hope).

  50. We have a vision for broken people and the worst sinners, of whom I’m one of the worst.  

[1] According to a survey I sent to adult members of our church (18+ years old), 58% of respondents came to Christ in Xenos. This doesn’t include Jr. high or high school students, which I believe would put us around 70% or more.

[2] According to Cathy Grossman of USA Today, “Women outnumber men in attendance in every major Christian denomination, and they are 20% to 25% more likely to attend worship at least weekly.”

[3] 66% of our church is under the age of 25. That’s over 3,500 people in our church under the age of 25.