StorieS (5/22/2019 Onwards)
Stories will now be posted one at a time in this section to give equal space to each story, thank you to everyone who has shared.
Story One: They basically roasted me in from of about 50 people until I cried, it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I wanted to send you a message because I’m at [ Coffee Place ] and there are 2 girls sitting next to me that I was suspicious are apart of Xenos, I swear I have a 6th sense for people who are apart of that cult. They are talking about how they are trying to recruit people into the church and they are angry because a girl is prioritizing taking her SAT’s/ACT’s and that they are going to keep pestering her to put Xenos first and put school on the back burner.
I swear I know when they are apart of Xenos before they even talk!! It’s crazy. If people are overly nice to me and ask me for my contact info or act like they want to be friends right off the bat, I’m 100% sure they are Xenos folks
That cult is so disturbing, I have literally lost friends to them because they don’t allow their members to hang out with anyone outside of their organization. It’s sad. Thanks for spreading awareness!
I lost my best friend to Xenos, she can’t go anywhere without a member of the church. I invited her to a yoga class and she had to bring someone with her and then they both pestered me to believe in god and come to their “taco Tuesday” at their ministry house. I was like PASS. I have already been a victim of being recruited by them!
She just says she has to be with someone from the church. I had a coworker in 2012 ask me to meet up with her for lunch, she asked me to drive her back to her house, I knew nothing about Xenos at this point. Her house was on campus off of indianola, she invited me in and I met her room mates, all seemed like nice people. I was on the fence about my religious beliefs at that point. They invited me to an event at the central teaching building off of 4th street, I went and met a ton of nice people, again completely unaware that I was being recruited, everyone just seemed like nice normal college kids. They drank, smoked, partied. I went to a few home church meetings and just sat and listened, attended some other events with the group, they didn’t pressure me to talk about god at first.
Then they started to get angry if I couldn’t make it to the 5-7 events a week they scheduled, the summer was ending and school was starting again, they asked me what I was going to give up now that school was starting- my job, my family, etc. they told me I needed to move into the ministry house, I told them no. I tried to stay friends with the people because I had low self esteem and not a lot of friends at that point and I liked the social aspects and they kindness of the people. I attended a home church meeting and one of the members told me that god puts me on the back burner because I’m not dedicating my life to Xenos, that I can’t just come and go as I please, I’m not allowed to sit and observe or just listen to their central teachings. They basically roasted me in from of about 50 people until I cried, it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. My friend that originally brought me there just sat there and didn’t say a word. I just got up and left and I never talked to any of them again.
Story Two: “We were put on display in front of our home church and made to confess embarrassing details of our sexual experiences (in our current and previous relationships). We were voted on like we were participants in the worst kind of reality TV show ever, the church members deciding whether or not we were sincere in our repentance. “
My experience in Xenos is similar to many others’ in the college group. I attended from 2001-2005.
After becoming increasing active in my home church, I decided to move into a ministry house after receiving some pressure from leadership. Even though it meant that I could only attend school part-time (ODU had a weird policy about off-campus housing), my discipler (who was pretty much making all of my decisions for me at this point) convinced me it was the "right" thing to do. This was on top of my Xenos principles classes, CT, home church and cell group. I was devoting pretty much all of my free time to Xenos, effectively forgoing any non-church relationships and activities. I was put in charge of finances for the house and [ House Leader ] (the house leader) was put on the account as well. As an account holder, I started to notice strange things happening with the statements -- a large purchase at the CSCC bookstore, movie tickets at AMC theatre, etc. When I brought this up with [ House Leader ] (the only other person who had access to the account) she seemed surprised and said only that she was planning to pay it back. Then I noticed that some of my personal items were also missing. A pair of socks, a scarf, little things like that. She denied taking them. Her father, also a leader in the church, was arrested around this time for soliciting prostitution from a man in a public park.
Also around this time, I started dating [ . . ], against the will of the home church leadership. They would question me about our relationship constantly, giving stern advice and direction. I remember my discipler would drive around looking for my car and calling my cell phone to check in on me. Eventually, [ . . ] and I fell into "sin." Because we were both living in ministry houses, and because of [ . . ]'s "history," we decided to keep it a secret. After all, we knew we could get excommunicated. I had no family in town, and had alienated my non-Xenos friends long ago. I decided to move out. [ House Leader ] threatened to take me to court.
Eventually, plagued with guilt, we admitted our "sins." We were put on display in front of our home church and made to confess embarrassing details of our sexual experiences (in our current and previous relationships). We were voted on like we were participants in the worst kind of reality TV show ever, the church members deciding whether or not we were sincere in our repentance. [ . . . ] was excommunicated. I was not, but chose to leave anyway. After spending a few weeks in more or less isolation, I decided to come back to the church and was given a number of assignments to prove my sincerity (even though I hadn’t been excommunicated). One of the leaders invited me to a church dinner. I attended. While I was at the dinner, the leaders were on a retreat and found out that I was at the dinner. They asked to speak with me and told me that I had been wrongly invited and shouldn't be there. And I could stay if I wanted now that I was already there. It was humiliating. But more than that, it was the last straw. I threw out my half-eaten meal and left immediately. And that was it. A while later, I heard one of my housemates had been pregnant while living there.
I did not feel loved, appreciated or accepted. I had given my all for years to a faith and to a group of people who were willing to cast me and the people I loved out of their lives. I know no church is perfect, but the blatant hypocrisy and unloving actions at Xenos made it clear to me that I wanted no part of what it had to offer.
Story Three: “Xenos is nothing but poison. They will shame you for having raw human emotions and yet behind your back they have the same feelings about something going on in their lives. They act like they are saints and can do no wrong, and try to deny their actions even after admitting them to you. They take pride in their wrong-doings and shame people who are not like them. Pure, pure snakes. They are about equal to those you see screaming "FEAR GOD!" on the corners of the streets. “
I attended Xenos for about 2 and a half years. Everything that I've read so far on this website is spot on. The false friendship, the shame, the pressure, the gossip.
I was invited by someone I met in Art History my second year of college. She invited me to go to the art museum downtown, and I happily accepted because I was having a hard time making friends on campus. We talked and had a great time, and she brought up Home Church. She said it was a small gathering of people that hang out and go over Bible verses. It sounded interesting so I went with her the following week. I'm not religious, but it seemed like something new that I hadn't done before. Vinyl, is the name of the group. The greeting was warm and welcoming and I met so many people that I had great conversations with, was exchanging numbers with and planning hangouts. After a few months I had really started to feel like I was making friends.
About a year into me attending, I had broken up with my emotionally abusive ex boyfriend. It was hard, and I felt lonely and in pain. There wasn't much support; only the usual "Have you tried talking to God?" Which, I understand that that may work for some people, but it didn't work for me. I wanted to talk to someone face to face, in person, that I could poor my heart out to. But no one was willing to listen. I was only met with Bible verses and cold shoulders.
I had spent the next 6-8 months going on a couple dates and becoming too attached to the few guys I dated. Being in an abusive relationship does that to you. You long for true love and compassion and someone that doesn't use your mental illness against you. I spent some time crying over the failed relationships and tried talking to my "friends" about it. But again, no one would listen. I was met by my "friend" with a harsh comment, and she didn't even look me in the eye when she said it: "Do you really think you can be happy work someone who's not a Christian?" The amount of insensitivity in her voice was crushing. I went home right after.
Fast forward the next few months towards the end of the year, around mid September. I met someone. Someone that I am going to be celebrating 3 years together with this year. A great, loving guy that helps me with my anxiety attacks and ASD. Someone who actively is looking for ways for me to be comfortable. I was excited to tell my "friends" and they appeared to be happy for me, but the falseness in their tones was deafening. Never the less, I pushed it to the back of my mind. A year goes by and my boyfriend and I plan to move in together. And this is when my "friends" repeatedly pulled me outside the ministry house to tell me that I am a sinner for doing this and "there can't be a bad seed in the church, because it dismantles everyone." (Or something like that). They immediately assumed that because we were moving in together before marriage that we were having sex. I never told them anything about our private life but they came to assumptions. GASP! Moving in together? Before marriage? Because we want to see what living with each other is like before we even think about getting married? And I was dating someone who wasn't part of the church? THE SIN!
The dating part is 100% accurate. They don't date outside of the church, they don't marry outside of the church, and they aren't friends with anyone outside the church. I remember when my "friend's" sister was getting married. I went to her bridal party and they played a game where she had to answer a question about her soon-to-be husband before she could open a present. Questions like his favorite color, hobby, movie, place to visit, etc. The only thing she could say was, in a slightly irritated tone, "I don't know!" I left and went to hang out with my family after that. It was so cringe-worthy. You're going to marry someone that you don't know anything about, but it's ok because he's "part of the church"? I can name my boyfriend's favorite EVERYTHING, because those small details are what make a relationship so beautiful. They were shaming me for my relationship, but their own was failing right before their eyes.
I remember learning that my "friend" was talking about me behind my back, saying that I was a sinner and that "I wasn't my own person without a guy with me". It hurt me deep, because I had told her so many things that I never told anyone. My abusive relationship, the lying and the mistreatment of other guys before I met my boyfriend. I trusted her. She didn't understand and refused to try.
It wasn't even just me she was talking about. Two other girls who I can proudly say have left the church with me, who were there longer than me, who have become my best friends, were also victims of this horrible two-faced snake. One of them is from Ghana, and my "friend" accused her of sleeping around when she was in her home country because she saw a picture of this girl with her boyfriend. The other has a lot of mental health issues like me, and they basically kicked her out of the house because they didn't want to deal with them. I confronted someone about it after learning what they did. I said, "What you guys did to *blank* and *blank* was absolutely disgusting and shameful." His response? An embarrassed chuckle, followed by, "Yeah, we can talk about it later..." And he never did.
And when I confronted them about why they weren't being the friends I thought they were? One of them said, "If you think this is the place to make friends you're wrong." They straight up told me I wasn't in a place to make friends. The hangouts, the road trips, the shopping together; I was just part of their plan to keep growing their Church. I was just a number, nothing more. And when I asked about why they we're kicking one of their own, original members out and abandoning her? My "friend" said, "Because it's what God wants us to do, and honestly I don't even feel bad about it."
Xenos is nothing but poison. They will shame you for having raw human emotions and yet behind your back they have the same feelings about something going on in their lives. They act like they are saints and can do no wrong, and try to deny their actions even after admitting them to you. They take pride in their wrong-doings and shame people who are not like them. Pure, pure snakes. They are about equal to those you see screaming "FEAR GOD!" on the corners of the streets.
Those two girls that had the same problems as me? We couldn't be closer. My boyfriend? We moved into our first house together last October. Leaving that group was the smartest decision I have ever made. If I could give anyone any advice as to whether or not they want to join a home church, I would say this: There's a great church called Cypress. They are pro-LGBTQ, pro-love, and start every session by telling people to turn to those around you and introduce yourselves to someone new. They sing amazing songs, and the atmosphere is truly warm and welcoming. The battle real life issues and are an amazing community of people.
STAY AWAY FROM XENOS.
Story Four: “It just felt icky and I felt embarrassed about how excited I was to have these new friends, who turned out to have an ulterior motive”
I was out with classmates in 2017 at a bar when a couple people started chatting with me and were very friendly. I remember being really excited because of how open and cool they were. They asked to be friends on Facebook and then a week later invited me to a "birthday party" at one of the ministry houses. It was really weird. There was alcohol and snacks but in the middle there was a bible study that they hadn't told me about. It was all of the sudden like being at a multi-level marketing meeting that you thought was going to be a fun party. It just felt icky and I felt embarrassed about how excited I was to have these new friends, who turned out to have an ulterior motive.
Story Five: “I didn’t stick around long enough to get in deep, but I can certainly say that everything people say about this “church” is true.”
I lived at home in the spring of 2017 after dropping out of my freshman year of college, before I moved to off campus housing at OSU to start school up again. My high school was absolutely laden with xenos kids and I’ve known since I was very young that xenos was a cult, I had a family member who was active within the church throughout my childhood. Living at home during my off semester I was somewhat lonely and wanted to have more friends, so I was the perfect candidate for xenos members to attempt to recruit. I knew from the first day I hung out with 2 xenos girls that I had previously known, that they were deeply into the church and wanted to recruit me, but being in my position I decided to go along with it for a while to firsthand experience xenos and see if all the tactics and cultish ways were really true.
I didn’t stick around long enough to get in deep, but I can certainly say that everything people say about this “church” is true. From the absolutely overkill cigarette smoking to the love bombing to the very weird and generally uncomfortable bible studies followed by people you hardly know asking you afterwards what you thought of the “teachings”, I was uncomfortable very quickly. Within maybe a month I was invited to meetings very frequently and shown around a ministry house and told about how cool it was, only to be totally ghosted by these girls once I finally very nicely told one of them to stop inviting me to bible study as I am an atheist and would never ever attend. All around weird stuff, just wish that I hadn’t gone to a xenos Christmas shindig in 2016 while super trashed, that’s definitely written down on a xenos record somewhere
Story Six: “There was a video posted of the large group torturing gold fish in 2-liter bottles of soda and then actually eating the goldfish for shock value.“
I attended one home church event in high school with my friend who were all members. Immediately it felt uncomfortable and I was cornered being asked if I believe in god. I didn’t answer the question and a member told me that it’s sad that I will be going to hell. I never attended an event again.
I did stay friends with the girls at my school who remained in Xenos. They began to change, and performing extreme acts to get people’s attention. This meant wearing crazy outfits to school like morph suits, sumo suits, painting their bodies so people would always have a conversation with the individuals about something. One summer, the girls went to a summer camp with Xenos. There was a video posted of the large group torturing gold fish in 2-liter bottles of soda and then actually eating the goldfish for shock value. I believe the group utilized disgust, talking about harming animals and doing extreme acts to draw emotion out of people- making people feel like they were missing out on something by not being apart of the group.
Story Seven: “They don’t care about what you want or what you believe because they won’t respect it . . .”
“My best friend is still in Xenos and recently had a party with friends and also members of her home church(college), I was invited an a part of me was wanting to go so I decided to go but also bring my boyfriend who may I add is not a believer. I respectfully asked her to mention to her group to NOT mention or talking about god of any kind in any way possible. Not even 30 minutes being there people come up to us talking about god asking why we don’t come out to a meeting an why he doesn’t believe in god. An in that moment it just reminded me on why I left Xenos bc they don’t care about what you want or what you believe because they won’t respect it and the minute you tell them your not interested they interrogate you into making you feel bad for what you believe an that’s not a church. That’s not the way god intended for his word to be spread.”
Story Eight: “So they had 17 year old girls trying to convince my 8th grade self to break up with my boyfriend then they asked about him for months after we broke up. “
I started going to xenos in 8th grade because my friend invited me out and said it was really fun, i was the youngest kid besides him in the group because it was for highschoolers. I thought it was fun at first, but i refused to go to teachings at the church. I would only go to homechurch. My first time i went they all knew so much about me already because they had my friend tell them stuff about me, they were love-bombing me and saying how sorry they were for my dad and stuff, but i didn’t even know these people yet. After a couple months i was pushed to go to one central teaching and during that i felt so strange. Nobody was really paying attention, people were on their phones, and it was just overall weird. My boyfriend at the time didn’t come to xenos and my homechurch didn’t like that. So they had 17 year old girls trying to convince my 8th grade self to break up with my boyfriend then they asked about him for months after we broke up. After awhile i genuinely just got bored of the church because i thought the teachings were stupid and the people were strange and passive aggressive. After i left, they texted me on instagram for months asking if i wanted to come back. one of them found my old twitter and direct messaged me on there. They still snapchat me at least once every couple months and it’s been 3 years.
Story Nine: “The first bandage was to finally admit to myself that I was in a cult. That was really the hardest step.“
I was in Xenos from about 2005 to 2009.
I was introduced through a co-worker of my mother. I was still fairly new to the city, and mom encouraged me to go make some friends at this “church.”
After some coaxing, I finally went and fell victim to the “love bombing.” Despite growing up in Baptists churches, I never felt comfortable there. I was a free-thinker and didn't take everything so literally, and Fundamentalists tend to frown upon anything that isn't specifically and to the letter written in the KJV.
I now found myself in a place where even if people didn't agree with me, they would at least listen to what I had to say and counter-argue, not just dismiss my questions and ideas.
I started to be invited to central teachings, then cell groups, then I was asked to move in to the ministry house...
...and then my home church dissolved. It didn't split. It just went away. I found out a couple years later that my home church was so disorganized and corrupted that it was nicknamed "Corinth" by the Eldership.
It hit some of us hard, and I felt pretty lonely for a while. My biggest group of friends were now scattered. Some moved on to different groups, and were now so involved in them that they no longer had time to spend with me. Some became "of the world" and I could no longer speak to them.
Finally, a friend from my old group hit me up on facebook and asked what group I was in. I told him none, and he immediately invited me into his new group. And a couple more of us stragglers. We fit right in.
I became enamored with this new home church. They were even closer than the my old one, they were more supportive, they were into the same nerdy culture. They were also a lot more manipulative.
Let’s skip ahead a few years. I was very involved, despite the fact that I don't like commitments. I don't like commitments because I don't like to break them. So I never officially moved into the ministry house, but I did attend house meetings, I had a key, I did chores, I helped the others move in, I hung shelves, I patched drywall, I supplied food. I was also perpetually broke.
I had a really hard time keeping employment. Not any fault of my own, I got laid off just before Christmas, it was a recession, and all I could find were temporary positions and I did a lot of odd jobs for a couple years. During this time of hardship, the group split and I was helping some guys from the other side of the split move into their new house. There was a window-unit air conditioner on the top floor that they wanted moved, and I asked one of the guys to hold it while I opened the window. He grabbed hold, then let go right as I raised the window. It fell, hit the concrete, and ruptured. I went to the house leader and offered to help replace it, as I felt partially responsible. They wanted $150 for it. I rarely got that much in a week, and I still had a truck, gas, and insurance to pay just to make sure I could get to the next job that came up. After several months of trying really hard to come up with the cash, I finally went to the house leader and told him I just couldn't afford to replace it. He told me not to worry about it, that they would take care of it.
Life went on, but I noticed several women (wives of the leaders, mostly) in the group were getting more and more hostile. I began being singled out in games, I began receiving accusatory comments, and I noticed the girls I was closest to were being picked off one by one. Now that they were “of the world” I could never find out why. Not really because I respected the whole shunning culture, but because when I would reach out, I would usually be ignored.
Something that really hurt me was during my last beach trip. I was sitting in the living room while a few of the other guys were talking about one of the girls. A girl I considered my friend. They were complaining that she had come, and the house leader literally jumped to his feet, pointed out the window in the direction of the girl’s house and screamed; actually screamed! “WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE EVEN DOING HERE?!” then began a several minute-long rant.
After we returned home, she was gone permanently. I sent her a message a few weeks ago saying I was thinking about her and I hoped she was doing okay. Nothing other than the ‘seen’ notification.
My closest friend and a woman I still call my sister was next to the gallows. Luckily we have still remained close. She had a breakdown and was immediately kicked out of the ministry house. I was called up and asked to meet with her house leader. She told me that because she knew that I and the now removed were so close, she wanted me to be the first to know what happened, and told me a bullshit damage-control story. I wasn’t supposed to talk to her again. I bought some of it, for a while. I wrote and mailed a letter begging her to forgive the girls in the house and to confess to the group so she could come back. She didn’t, she wouldn’t have been allowed back anyway. I still regret to this very day writing and sending that letter. The guys in my group kept telling me I needed to forget about her, that I needed to focus more on “my walk” and not about other people.
Her boyfriend called me and told me she had attempted suicide and checked herself into a hospital, and asked if I would come visit her. Of course I did. I would again.
Can you guess who was next to the chopping-block?
I still lived at home, but my parents were now separated. Nothing I was really worried about because I figured it was their business and not mine, but my dad didn't see it that way. He wouldn't leave me alone about it. And all the negative energy and attention he laid on my mom for the last 30 years, now got directed at me. Then, my batshit-crazy aunt decided she was going to move in without invitation so she could have her beloved brother all to herself. This incestuous bitch has tortured and abused me my entire life. She now had free reign on me. I was not in a good place. I needed support, and my Xenos family was supposed to be there for me, right?
I asked nearly everyone to spend some time with me that I really needed someone to talk to. Nobody had time for me. For weeks, I begged, all the while being beaten down at home, and nobody would give me a half-hour.
A couple times I had cornered someone and make them listen to my concerns. Mostly about how I was being ignored and hostilities I was getting from other members. I was told several times that either it was all my imagination and that everyone genuinely cared about me, and I had nothing to worry about. Or, that my feelings were plain bullshit. (side story; for two months I worked a job that I didn’t really want and knew I wouldn’t be good at, but was pressured into taking because I would be working alongside one of the guys in the house. After seven or eight weeks I wrote a letter to the president of the company explaining that the entire time I was there I was in a hostile work relationship with this guy, and I was tired of being belittled and abused. I told him that I had gone to the doctor for chest pains, and I could just no longer handle the stress, wished him and the company the best of luck, and immediately terminated my employment. This letter was brought up in a house meeting and my now former co-worker looked me in the face and said, “everything you said in that letter is bullshit!” I didn’t realize I had written an open letter and didn’t know how it was any of the church’s business. I also to this day can’t figure out how one person has the right to tell another that their experiences and feelings are ‘bullshit.’)
What they did have time for though, was for the leader of the guys’ house to pull me aside and tell me that I was bringing everyone’s mood down. Not only that, but he even had the balls to list everything they had done for me, and despite the fact that I mowed the lawn, did dishes, took out the trash, cooked dinners, and I didn’t even actually even live there, he told me I was a stagnant freeloader and I had to leave.
Three months later, I get a call from the guy that took his hands off the air conditioner. Since the old leader of that house got married, he became the leader and he wanted that $150 I owed HIM for the unit WE broke. I told him I had been forgiven of that debt, I wasn’t a member of his church, and I didn’t owe him shit. He told me I did owe, that he was right there when I said I would pay for it, and that he was going to come “take it out of my face.”
The elders got notified. They got notified by several people, and they were informed that I was filing a police report.
I got a call from the little shit the next day. He left me a frantic voicemail, not apologizing, but to tell me I wasn’t going to hear from him again and to please not go to the police because we couldn’t let the church have any negative publicity.
I regret not going to the police.
I finally landed a job as a two-way radio tech a few hours away, and worked there for many years. I haven’t hard from anyone from Xenos in all that time besides my one friend that I mentioned before. Out of the blue I get a FB message from the guy that kicked me out saying he heard I knew about radios and had questions about setting up a low-power FM station.
I don’t regret blocking him.
It has been ten years, and I still feel hurt and betrayed and abandoned. For the last decade I have been able to fill the void in my chest they opened, but I am finally starting to heal.
The first bandage was to finally admit to myself that I was in a cult. That was really the hardest step.
The reason it is so hard is that I didn’t want to come to terms with the idea that I fell into that trap. Nobody wants to admit that they were a victim, or that they were duped. Nobody wants to look back and think, “how did I fall for that.” But once you do, you will realize that you were a victim, and it isn’t your fault.
Xenos is an organization that has honed their spears and trained their scouts to find targets and exploit their weaknesses. I just happened to have my chink exposed.
If you are in Xenos and you are reading this, it is because of one of two reasons:
1) You are reading the propaganda that “Satan is using to attack us.”
2) You are seeing the signs, and are looking out of curiosity or seeking validation.
If you are of the former; I’m sorry that you feel that way, but it isn’t a personal attack against you. This is a story of me. I hope you someday realize fact that you feel so personally defensive about such a large organization shows how deeply affected you are by the brainwashing, and I hope you start questioning everything. If not, then I wish you the best, and pray deeply that you never experience the pain so many of the rest of us have.
If you are of the latter, then the good news is your mind is beginning to break the programming. You should never be told what to think, you should be taught HOW to think. Question everything! Question Xenos, question this story, question this website! If someone tells you the sun is shining, then go outside and look for yourself. Never take anyone’s word for anything!
Now the bad news; if indeed you are on your way out, you are going to have some tough times ahead. When you leave Xenos, you are severed from Xenos. They have spent a lot of energy making the congregation terrified of “the world” to try and keep you under control. When you break that, you will lose your friends, your support group, your family. Just remember that you still have friends and family. And those friends and family you may have abandoned so you could focus your life on Xenos; they are going to be a lot more understanding and receptive to taking you back than Xenoids will. There are also plenty of us ex-Xenoids out here in “the world” you can seek out for support. Most of us didn’t have anyone to fall back on when we left the church. Don’t believe you don’t either.
Story Ten: “God is bigger than Xenos. The mistake many of us made was putting Gary and Denis on a pedestal as I now see them retiring I hope they find their peace too bc they seem to struggle in their own examples in teachings.“
I learned alot about sacrificing my life for others. Even though my life was in turmoil emotionally I remember being told that if I just focus on others the flesh wont win the battle inside me. Good for others bc people felt loved but I was operating out of an empty vacuum trying to work my way into a place of security with God. I eventually broke down and left bc I was burnt out and looked at as not being “on board” with the main focus of leadership. I had a really hard time getting my batteries recharged with Gods peace and grace bc I was always shuffling to study for my next teaching or meeting. Xenos definitely helps a type “A” personality flourish bc there are many meetings and activities. The sad part is if u become a leader the expectations are overkill. I think the paid leadership would have benefited in humility if they returned to secular jobs bc asking all the requirements of volunteers looking back seemed naive to me to keep doing it all CRAZY!! I am amazed at how much work we did for Xenos in the name of the Lord. Now divorced and hesitant to get back into any organized church I blame myself for not saying NO more often to meetings and pressures to move up the ladder of leadership and discipleship. I recently watched “The Path” on hulu and cringed as I saw people worship man. Xenos teaches the bible but the under current definitely is bent towards “hows ur ministry”? Using Gary and Denis as examples to follow as volunteer lay people. Imitating them was contributing to losing myself.
Once I shook off the chains of “working the ministry” and just loving people in everyday life I have had more peace in my life than ever 30 years later which I believe is why people come to God. Xenos had a place but it never owned my heart through the 20 years as a leader taking stats on my disciples and groups of people. I knew I needed to simply love people and forget about how many meetings they made that week or who they are “working” with themselves.
God is bigger than Xenos. The mistake many of us made was putting Gary and Denis on a pedestal as I now see them retiring I hope they find their peace too bc they seem to struggle in their own examples in teachings. Maybe some down time will bring a deeper love experience of the Creator, I sure hope so.
Imo, Xenos needs to get rid of the inbred paid employees and have them go work secular jobs. It seems cultish by nature of so many people become employees and then throw expectations on volunteer leaders. This high pressure environment wouldnt happen imo if they were all in the same boat working outside the church in the world like 99% of members. The temptation with large churches with alot of money is to keep hiring employees bc more ministry sphere leaders need supervision . Instead of highering employees pay your home church leaders. Maybe then the revolving door will finally stop and Xenos will be that mega church they seem to keep all those stats in their computers churning each annual meeting.
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