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Pagan Christianity, Classes, Buffalo, and a Rainbow Coalition

January 12, 2011 in News

Pagans Galore!

The Erie winter wasteland depicts the evangelistic activity of Evangelicals.

For those who kept pace, the retreat covered an amazing breadth of issues ranging from Bible classes to “Pagan Christianity,” the latest iteration of Outlaw Faith (a.k.a. Revolution, a.k.a. Church Without Walls, a.k.a. the Persecuted Church). Keith stunned retreat attendees by demonstrating the New Covenant is nothing less than Pagan Christianity, contradicting the famous 2008 book by Barna and Viola called Pagan Christianity. Barna and Viola bemoaned the long, corrupting influence of pagans (non-Christians) on Christianity, but Keith proved “the mystery of the church” revealed in the New Testament was intended to be populated by a tremendous influx of pagans, as Paul describes it:

When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:3-6 (NASB)

“The Gentiles” Paul mentions were, of course, pagans in the truest sense of the word, worshiping pagan deities and and idols. The growth and expansion of the church was always dominated by “filthy pagans” and Gentiles, Keith said, even to the present day at NeoXenos. Mark wretched violently again as he left the room, but again it was uncertain exactly why. Despite the unknown potential for similar reactions, the Elders are determined to present this material at the upcoming 2011 Fiscal Support Team Retreat.

Bible Classes

LTC teachers collate grades

Grades were also finalized for the 2010 Leadership Training Class (LTC), another factor which greatly exacerbated Mark’s nausea, or so it was presumed. Although Greg Morscher has the final grades, he seemed somewhat reluctant to notify the students as a result, especially since Greg is notoriously gun-shy in the face of such violent reactions. Still, students can use the messaging system at Basecamp to lobby Greg to receive their grades.

Keith’s urgency and bold call for movement was concerning the batch of classes which begin next week, January 19th. Both LTC and Basic Doctrine will be held every other week on Wednesday evenings at 7:30. The LTC class will be held at the Howell’s, and Basic Doctrine will be taught at the Morscher’s. LTC will meet for 10 sessions and end on May 25th, while Basic Doctrine will be five classes and one week for the final exam.

Buffalo Scouts

Conference call over Skype

The Elders reviewed the recent NeoXenos query for planting home churches in Buffalo, then held a lengthy conference call with Jim and KJ Swearingen in Buffalo using Skype. The complications described earlier in The Portal news (see Shooting Fish in a Barrel) still remain, but the Swearingens identified more doors opening soon at the University of Buffalo (UB) through Columbus Xenos kids enrolling there. The Swearingens are not only enthusiastic, but quickly becoming our advanced scouting party for invading the UB.

Swearingen

The Swearingens are currently trying to find three solid NeoPagan-Christians ((NeoPagan-Christians—a technical term for the radical, lively Christians who were once “pagans”, commonly found at Northeast Ohio (NEO) Xenos.)) we need for launching a fellowship at UB. Please pray for the Swearingen’s protection while they continue scouting the “forward edge of the battle area” (known as FEBA) for NeoPagan-Christians.

Splits and Recombination

The new, middle-age (and near-middle-age) ministry groups called “Stow” and “Double Rainbow” were a topic of considerable debate at the retreat when the Elders tried to learn exactly how and when new Discovery Groups could be launched. These groups were formed by recombination shortly after the fall Deacons Ministry Team (DMT) retreat, but the holidays delayed action until now. The Michaleks and Morschers are temporarily working with the leadership in these groups to launch Discovery Groups, so news will be available soon on the exciting opportunities fomenting beneath the surface in these groups.

The student ministries were of paramount interest, largely because the High School ministry successfully split this fall. Elders were interested to compare that successful split against the unsuccessful split in the Identity Project, wondering how it was that high school kids could out-perform, out-grow, and overpower their college-age spiritual siblings, but someone pointed out such an analysis was unfair and misguided, albeit attractive.

More details on all these ministries and many other discussions covered at the Elders retreat will be published soon and presented at the FST retreat in February.

A lengthy, exhausting agenda - no wonder Mark was distressed!

The SLUM Gives Birth to Elders

January 12, 2010 in News

Greg Surveys

Greg surveys the spiritual landscape

For the first time in years, NeoXenos trustees gathered at an Elder’s retreat rather than a Sphere Leader’s Under-shepherd Ministry (SLUM) retreat. The Michaleks and Hughes’ were trustees, but at the the October Body Meeting they were appointed Elders by common consent. The difference is not small, because the Bible says it should be those with Elder character qualifications who lead Christian ministry (See 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1).

Together with the McCallums and Morschers, who were already Elders, the group met for two days on the shores of frozen Lake Erie to survey the spiritual landscape and get a fix on future directions.

As we see in Acts 6, Elders should focus on “the Ministry of the Word” and prayerful leadership. The challenge of an Elder’s retreat is discerning God’s leadership, understanding how God’s Word applies to NeoXenos, and discussing how “to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)

The Ministry Landscape

The ministry in 2010 looks considerably different than last January’s SLUM retreat when we were faced with such tremendous persecution and opposition. Not only did Jesus lead us into vindication and protection, He also brought us tremendous spiritual victories:

  1. All ministries are reporting salvations.
  2. All ministries are seeing new and competent leaders and teachers.
  3. We saw unprecedented growth (nearly 25%) across our ministries.
  4. We were blessed with 12 new qualified Deacons and two new Elder-teams!
  5. We expanded our support to include the Meeting House in Canada and Ray Stedman’s people in California.
  6. We were blessed with free (and quite exquisite) meeting facilities at the KSU Chemistry labs!
  7. And two student Home Churches split!

All of these advances are quite astonishing, considering that NeoXenos was a renegade, vagabond Christian fellowship last January. It seemed the whole world was set against NeoXenos for no reason anyone could identify!

For 2010 please pray that Jesus will continue to provide for us! Even with all these great advances, we are still a church “with only a little power.” (Rev. 3:8)

[flagallery gid=3 name="Retreat Pics"default]

Issues for the 2010 FST Retreat

Despite all this good news, we are facing tremendous hurdles for 2010:

  1. Financial shortfalls continue to limit our future prospects.
  2. We desperately need to hire part-time student  interns in order to sustain our growth and take advantage of new ministry opportunities opening up to us.
  3. We cannot lose our zeal for spiritual revolution, now that we are no longer facing persecution and opposition.
  4. The expanding ministries with new leaders and teachers desperately require equipping in the Word.

These hurdles are significant, because we must also expand into these new and exciting ministry opportunities:

  1. We must spread and export the Jesus Revolution we enjoy so much; what a tragedy it would be if this ministry remained bottled-up in Ohio while spiritual decline spreads across the rest of the country!
  2. We must do more to “remember the poor” and suffering that surrounds us. New opportunities are under consideration.

The Elders emerged from their weekend with an exciting list of prospects to meet these challenges, however. And this will be the topic of the upcoming Fiscal Support Team Retreat (FST) in February!

Stay tuned for more…and fill out a Pledge Form for the FST retreat!

Outbreak!

September 15, 2008 in Innovation, Leadership

God’s power unleashed in Northeast Ohio — new groups, new people, new leadership, and unusual results – Greg, Joel, Keith and Mark discuss the amazing new ministries underway this Fall in a “Roundtable Discussion”. Let us know what you think of the Podcast!
[podcast]http://neoxenos.net/podcasts/roundtable_sept_2008.mp3[/podcast]