Home > Church Hunt > Church Hunt Week 2

Church Hunt Week 2

We had a rare sunny day for winter in Central Ohio which may have had an impact on my spirits as my youngest daughter and I drove to a Xenos gathering this morning.  The gathering takes place in a school which is in our neighborhood.  I love the idea of going to doing church where one lives because, ultimately, the hope is to be Christian Community with the people who are part of your physical community.

My wife and oldest daughter stayed home this morning because we had guests coming over for lunch and Heather still had some preparations to tend.  (Don’t worry, we are going to attend again next week as an entire family so this installment will come in two parts.)

As I said, the sun may have had an impact on my spirits because as we pulled into the parking lot of the school, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were several dozen cars already parked which added to my hopes of having a good experience.  I had expected the gathering to be quite small from the reading I had done on the internet about the Xenos small groups.  Brianna and I walked inside and were immediately recognized to be visitors and made to feel welcome.

One of the greeters helped me find the right place to take Brianna for her age group and I walked around the lobby where they had some books and refreshments set up.  One thing I noticed was that they had NLT (New Living Translation) bibles on display so I asked the person manning the table if that was their translation of choice and she was very cordial in her explanation that there are several translations used and it mostly depended on who was teaching that day.  She asked me which one I preferred and my response was that there were several I trusted but I mostly relied on the NASB (New American Standard Bible).  She said that was her favorite as well.  I decided to like her .. 🙂 (Don’t worry, I don’t always decide who I like based on biblical translations.. I also decide who I don’t like by that method)… just kidding… just kidding!! Let me have some fun with my post, will ya?! 🙂

From there I entered the auditorium and found my way to a metal folding chair (if you are counting, that is two weeks in a row for the first seat being a metal folding chair .. I kinda like that).  There were varying ages of people in attendance and I would guess that there were probably 60 -80 people in attendance.  ‘Dressy blue jean’ was probably the predominant attire.  Everyone looked quite comfortable in their metal chairs. ( I should mention that I did accidentally kick the empty one in front of me twice during the lesson.  They are noisy when met with a size 13 shoe.)

The teacher stepped to the front and proceeded to give an awesome exegetical presentation on Chapter 2 of the book of James.  He did so humbly and with care AND from the NASB translation (I decided to like him as well).  His lecture/presentation was conducted with the help of a PowerPoint presentation and lasted around an hour in length.  With the teaching of the passage, the leader also took time toward the end to go over application. They opened the last half hour for questions from the audience and for a time of prayer.

It was during that time that they also passed the offering plate and the leader was careful to instruct visitors to please let it pass by.

This is not a typical church ‘structure’ for a worship service.  There was no time of music or altar call.  The best way to imagine it would be a Bible Fellowship class or Sunday School class.  I felt welcomed and encouraged by this group’s dedication to the word.

I spoke with an older gentleman after the class and he filled me in that this gathering was made up of 5 or 6 home churches that met in the area during the week but came together as one body on Sunday.  He took my email address and invited me to be part of a home church experience and a men’s bible study.

I am going to leave it there for now because I want to bring in my family’s responses next week to complete this post.  So come back for week 3.

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  1. February 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Tony, I have been “lurking” for a few weeks here. I enjoy the honesty in your writings. The church in which I serve is also in a school. Now it is different, because we do have worship. But something that I have enjoyed about the experience is that I believe their is a strong sense of fellowship because of this. Every Sunday we have to meet at the school at 7:30 to set up and after service we have to tear down. This has been an awesome experience in which some strong bonds have been formed. I also appreciate the fact that they did not want visitors to give. We tell our visitors that they are not expected to give, but to receive. Any rate, just thought I would actually stop by and leave a comment this time. Sorry so long…just enjoyed this one…

  2. February 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks, Michael!

    I really like the stewardship aspect that using a public facility like the school entails. I don’t know what the cost is to rent the space on a week-to-week basis, but I believe it has to be much less than costs incurred in maintaining a dedicated building that goes unused much of the time.

    Glad you stopped by.

    • February 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      Don’t get me wrong…we know that eventually we will have a building…but the intention is to have “points of light” around the city…The costs are a lot less and this has enabled us to do some things that having a building (especially an old one) limited us from doing…

      • February 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

        This gathering has a main campus as well which is in a church owned building, but they are able to accomplish that “points of light” example that you gave via these home and/or school house meetings.

        And I am not against church buildings but I do question high debt and the cost to carry that debt for a structure that is not being utilized to it’s full potential. We can all be better stewards whether we are meeting in our homes, school buildings, or fixed structures.

        Glad you emphasized that point.

  3. February 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I just realized this…we are called “The Gathering @ Midland A Church of the Nazarene.” Not sure it adds to the conversation, but interesting none the less:)

  4. February 2, 2010 at 3:02 am

    i’m looking forward to your next post, tony. i am fascinated with the story behind, and polity utilized by xenos. i am eager to get an “up close” perspective.

  5. Cathy
    February 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Tony, I am a member of Xenos and attend the eastside sphere as we call it which is in the Licking Heights West Elementary School. I must have been teaching in the infant/toddler Oasis (sunday school) class and did not get to meet you. I came from a traditional church background too. I found Xenos to be very welcoming and family oriented meaning that we are all a part of a big family. I say it’s a “teaching” not a “preaching” church. I never feel preached to but taught about the Bible. I have been a member for 5 years. I found them at the lowest point in my life and the whole home group lifted me up and amazed me. So thankful to God for bringing me to these people. I hope to meet you and your family.

    • February 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Cathy. I am looking forward to visiting again this weekend – hopefully we will get a chance to say hello.

      Funny how small of a world we live in that you would find this posting just after I visited.

  6. Amy
    February 17, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Anxiously awaiting your next post! I’ll keep checkin. We have been attending a church that sounds much like the church of your first church visit. The people are warm and welcoming, the church seems to try to reach the local community (gotta love the outreach vs. inreach thing). So far the kids really like it, it’s a small church probably 100 folks there this past Sunday, many more older than our agers. Same material used in Sunday school “Life Truths” is it? I am still finding that material to be milklike. We have been 3 times and have only heard the Pastor once. Guest speaker one week, vacation the next. We shall see what happens next. Tell us about your family’s experience.

    • February 18, 2010 at 4:05 am

      My apologies, Amy. Work has been killing me lately – too many hours. Hopefully, I can get caught up with where things are.

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