Response to “50 things I love about Xenos”

In December, the Columbus Dispatch ran an article in which Xenos Christian Fellowship was described as controlling. Many who have experiences within the church, and are now out, claim the article was pretty tame. The church has responded internally very defensive, claiming the article was unjust and unfair. To the public, they claim to be making strides in how they will improve, but privately, they are claiming this is persecution and is expected due to their brilliance in church planting. In fact, head elder Conrad Hilario has published on his blog the 50 things I love about Xenos. self congratulatory marvel is what we in the resistance have learned to expect from this church. Therefore, we present a response, compiled from former members to share with the world.

Leading with the humility of Jesus: 51 things to change in Xenos (A response to Boasting in the Lord: 50 things I love about Xenos)

  1. There is no confidential/anonymous means to report leadership abuse despite this being a common practice in most corporations.
  2. The church has minimized issues related to mental health and does not employ licensed clinical counselors due to liability and insurance costs.
  3. Adult gossip is dismissed as “conferral.” The group members will know everything you share.
  4. Women are graciously “allowed” to serve but are not equally fit to servant lead in marriage (complementarian).
  5. People who identify as LGBTQ and choose to live or participate in an “active” lifestyle as such will be brought before the entire home church and excommunicated.
  6. Leaders believe satan is always attacking and may even use christians against them. This leads to perpetual spiritual paranoia.
  7. If you are an introvert, you will likely be accused of sinning via omission at some point. If you are an extrovert, you will likely be accused of sinning via self-centeredness at some point.
  8. Growing groups through christians “transferring” in is not preferable and affects the conversion metric. Christians may be informed they were not a real christian to begin with in order to preserve the statistic.
  9. Members are told they are not to speak with people who are excommunicated, even family and close friends.
  10. Two children died on a college group beach trip and leaders do not acknowledge that it was Xenos planned or sponsored. A lawsuit is still pending.
  11. Leaders may bring straight couples engaged in adult, consensual, premarital relations to the front of the home group and provide explicit details of the “sin” before the home church in an act of public shame.
  12. Leaders may excommunicate members who smoke weed.
  13. Leaders may split ministry houses and groups irrespective of natural friendships to make the numbers work in the growth model.
  14. Every person in every group is tagged and categorized. They are counted with numbers and personal information reported up to sphere leaders (N – New 1st timer; RN – Returning new; T – Transfer; OM – Original Member, etc).
  15. Kindergartners at the christian schools are taught about satan, hell, and demons and asked to convert.
  16. If you do not produce a disciple after a certain amount of time, you may be interrogated and accused of secret sin that is hindering you from “bearing fruit.”
  17. Leaders interpret “bearing fruit” as making disciples rather than the bearing of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  18. Home groups in the church that do not grow are seen as negative, whereas home groups in the church that grow are seen as positive. The connection of spiritual health to growth in numbers leads to charismatic, abusive leaders who are meeting numbers remaining in power for far too long.
  19. The church is infamous for its aggressive evangelism tactics and arrogant behavior among other churches in the city.
  20. Leaders removed the organic disciple-making grass roots movement in Urban Concern and instead built a revenue generating school with little community support beyond its walls.
  21. The church is more Paul-centered than Jesus-centered.
  22. If you spend too much time with friends that do not want to mature in Christ, you may be told you are throwing “pearls to swine.” The swine are your friends and the pearls are the truths that you have to share are unconditional love and grace.
  23. Radical commitment means not even being attached to family. Leaders have used Jesus’ example of forsaking his own mother to justify excessive time commitments at the expense of family dynamics.
  24. Xenos counselors have encouraged women to stay with abusive men, stating that even Jesus suffered at the hands of those he loved. The leaders have established their own definition of “abuse.”
  25. Women have not been believed when they come forward with abuse stories and sent back to abusive husbands.
  26. If you leave, you will likely be gaslighted. If you stay, you will likely be pressured to gaslight those who leave.
  27. Any form of criticism, either theological or within leadership, is open to questioned of satanic influence and/or attack.
  28. Leaders use the idea of holding to “mainstream evangelical theology” as a defense when attacked more so than as an act of solidarity. Members openly mock other churches, such a larger evangelical church around the corner from the main campus, for being feelings focused and healing.
  29. Leaders do not identify low-commitment community and may rebuke those wanted only one/two day commitments per week.
  30. Criteria of ‘essential’ and ‘nonessential’ issues are defined by the leaders themselves resulting in the dismissal of “hot button” relevant cultural issues.
  31. Aspiring leaders are “inbred” in the theology and dissuaded from attending seminaries or pursuing education outside of approved programs and texts.
  32. Non-christians are placed on a decision continuum and members prescribed specific action items to address at each point along the way in conversations.
  33. In many groups there is a nitpicky, sin-police ethos.
  34. Leaders illogically conflate materialism with pursuing a fulfilling career and, therefore, pressure teenagers to not pursue worthy but time consuming careers such as lawyers, doctors, and/or rigorous education.
  35. Leaders claim if God brought you to their church, the burden of proof is on the member to say why they should go. There no category for God calling someone away from something and into the wilderness.
  36. The group think leads to false dichotomies of good versus evil and circular reinforcement of positions devoid of external thought injects.
  37. Leaders speak the same vocabulary and may even have the same tonal fluxuation as the senior leader in the group.
  38. Dissent in theology may lead to attack of character.
  39. Ministry houses are often left in poor conditions. Unlike a leaders in a previous article suggests, houses routinely have more than 10 students before “splitting” and many kids live in unsanitary and/or inappropriate conditions.
  40. The church been losing numbers in middle school ministry but maintain a large percentage within the student ministry because leaders have intentionally targeted such vulnerable population.
  41. The church frequently goes beyond scripture with conservative applications and literal interpretations as it deems fit. For example, “model the first century church” but women need not wear head coverings.
  42. Leaders tout one income households which leads to women idealizing stay at home motherhood as the most noble of careers. It can be for some, but is not for others. The point is it should be every woman’s own choice and the resistance to two career households is an egregious example of moving beyond biblical essentials.
  43. To be on servant team, you must provide your physical signature pledging 5% of your gross income.
  44. The church openly questions the salvation of catholics and attacks “faith plus works” while at the same time ascribing to critical christian doctrine established by the catholic church.
  45. Nearly all members of the church are zionist but claim to not be political.
  46. Abortion as a member of the church is an excommunicable sin but the church claims to not be political.
  47. Divisiveness is excommunicable and may be something as simple as disagreeing on nonessential theology or with a particular leader.
  48. College age students, identified as leaders, ride with high school and middle school age students unaccompanied by an adult from the youth groups and speak with them about becoming more committed to god among other things.
  49. The vision for correcting brokenness in humanity is myopic and narrow as there is a singular correct path and to deviate may result in social pressure, isolation, and eventually confrontation and separation.
  50. Ex-members who have left indicate that it was among the best decisions they made reporting the overwhelming freedom in becoming the authors of their own life once again.
  51. Senior leaders have never actually apologized for any specific abuses or the pain and suffering they directly caused to some and indirectly caused to others through negligent leadership. Such leaders have been informed of specific names and/or specific situations. The leadership should apologize. Actions of humility and graciousness speak louder than boasting in Xenos works.