NEO Xenos Invades Servant Team Retreat

April 28, 2010 in News

We handed out Revolution Cards to everyone in sight

We were excited and ready to enlist some help in starting a radical Christian movement. Our team of college and high school leaders donned skull caps and ragged revolutionary clothing to represent the new movement. Our mission was to hand out “Revolution” cards that pointed fellow Xenos leaders to our online publication: The Neozine.

High school leader Adam Esterle said “The spontaneous decision to rock the skullies made me more excited to spread the Jesus revolution!”

The enthusiasm with which our leaders went about handing out cards and talking about revolution was surprising to Columbus Xenos Junior High Blowout Leader Marc Johnson.

“They had Revolution cards popping like maggots fried in hot grease.” Marc explained. “With their coordinated skull caps I knew they meant business.

“I don’t know what the doo-rags were all about, but the cards looked really good,” Dr. Joel Hughes said

The theme of this year’s retreat was our identity in Christ. Many Christians do not realize that becoming more Christ-like involves putting yourself to death and letting the spiritual life that the Holy Spirit imparted take over and rule the heart.

The elders at Xenos Columbus explained that putting yourself to death does not mean trying to be a better person through works, but it involves trusting everything in the Lord. Cell group leader Mike Hudock said the teachings hit with a heavy impact.

“Before this, I wasn’t trusting God to be fulfilled,” Mike explained. “I was trusting in my own abilities.”

Senior Pastor Dennis McCallum kicked it off Friday night with 36 provocative questions Christians should ask themselves. Some questions included: Do I worry? Am I unhappy? Am I envious of others’ success?

He said if any of these questions made you blush, then this retreat is the place to be. Many of the high school leaders were as red as cherries by the end of the teaching.

The next morning, Ruth Welsh delivered a powerful teaching as a testimony to the spiritual authority God exercises through women. She taught on the historical account of David’s courage when facing the giant hulk of a man called Goliath.

Dennis asks us 36 questions Friday night

Her point was that, like David, Christians have no need for fear or cynicism when we have the backing of our creator, God. Fear is saying nobody will help me. Cynicism is saying no one sees the situation like I do. Ruth used the passage in 2 Cor 3:4-5 to proclaim God as the source of our confidence.

“I really struggle with fear,” high school leader Anele Howell said. “Her teaching helped motivate me to take steps of faith.”

Next on the lineup was Scott Risley who taught on different sources from which we take our identity. He said it is easy to take our identity from ministry success or failures instead of from the significance we already have from Christ.

“It’s not that we matter because we minister,” He said. “We minister because we matter!”

Gary Delashmutt, another senior elder at Xenos Columbus, explained the verdict of approval. His point was that we often live for the approval of others rather than from the approval we already have from God. The attitude we have is reflected in evangelism, teamwork and parenting: We either work to impress or please others, or we go with the understanding that God already approves of us through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thes 2:4)

NEO Xenos gathers to share communion

Jim Leffel wrapped things up later that night with an ingenious teaching on where our identities can be rooted. We can either take on our identity as children of God, or we embrace our identity as what Ephesians 2:3 calls “children of wrath.”

After the teaching, our Deacon Ministry Team gathered in the nursery to share one of the only two rituals God commissions us in the Bible to practice: Communion. It was an emotional experience where the people expressed gratitude for everything God has given us. After that, the party started.

Xenos members were throwing parties in every other hotel room, it seemed. We handed out Revolution cards to everyone in sight as we bounced from party to party. Elli Morscher, an 11th grade cell group leader said she received a mixed reception from people about the cards.

“I think some people were confused,” she said. “But a lot of people were into listening after hearing ‘revolution.’”

Our group had a great time meeting fellow radical Christian leaders, and relating. Marc Johnson says the relational

Marc says"When I told Kyle I already had a card he asked 'Where did you get it?' I said 'From your mom...' This was true,"

bonds NEO Xenos has are unique

Neil Brooks gets enthusiastic about handing out Revolution cards

“They have the kind of fun that comes from taking each other seriously.” He said. “It isn’t dull, cold or demeaning. It is warm and welcoming and full of joy.”

Cards were strewn about everywhere: In hotel keycard readers and refrigerators; on beds, tables, chairs and backpacks; and even in the outstretched hands of sleeping people in the halls. The mission was a success.

“I like these people.” Marc says. “They are the kind of people restaurant patrons complain about because they wish they were having as much fun.”

(Photos courtesy of Rick Yoerger, Darlene McCallum and Marc Johnson)

3 responses to NEO Xenos Invades Servant Team Retreat

  1. Looks like a great time, I’m sad I missed it. It looks like the Spirit descended upon the communion seen.

  2. Absolutely hilarious, Kyle.

  3. Great article, Kyle. I agree that the teachings and fellowship were sweet, especially communion.

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