UberGenius

Columbus, OH

#770 Mar 5, 2014
I would not be opposed to Xenos if they came clean. If they said that they had a long and storied history of manipulation and abuse stemming from Senior Pastor. Told their leaders to start respecting the individuals under their supervision. Further if they would tell people that they are monastic in their approach requiring attendees to commit 16+ hrs a week in meeting and event attendance. But those things are unlikely.
Why

Columbus, OH

#771 Mar 6, 2014
Why does Xenos spend so much time talking about other churches? Especially at their leader meetings. I remember when tapes of those meetings were circulating...(Martha told you not to tape them) Do you have a public position or paper repenting from that behavior on your sits.
It's only a matter a time before someone posts the recordings on line.
Why

Columbus, OH

#772 Mar 6, 2014
"site" rather than "sits"--Please excuse the typo
Why

Columbus, OH

#773 Mar 7, 2014
silence is deafening
alpha

Columbus, OH

#774 Mar 8, 2014
UberGenius wrote:
I would not be opposed to Xenos if they came clean. If they said that they had a long and storied history of manipulation and abuse stemming from Senior Pastor. Told their leaders to start respecting the individuals under their supervision. Further if they would tell people that they are monastic in their approach requiring attendees to commit 16+ hrs a week in meeting and event attendance. But those things are unlikely.
Love shouldn't hurt. It seems like going to this church is comparable to being in a controlling and abusive relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend. Curious, do people seek counseling after they leave this church?
Hitler

Grove City, OH

#775 Mar 8, 2014
I love Xenos.

Come Join Us!
Right

Columbus, OH

#776 Mar 9, 2014
alpha wrote:
<quoted text>
Love shouldn't hurt. It seems like going to this church is comparable to being in a controlling and abusive relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend. Curious, do people seek counseling after they leave this church?
&fe ature=kp
ExeterGirl

Westerville, OH

#777 Mar 12, 2014
jjj wrote:
My daughter has been lost to me for years, and I have been trying to find another parent that has had the same experience and for former members. I wanted to know if I was the only one that feels that somehow Xenos poisons these people againest their families. My daughter hasn't spoke to me for 3 years and her husband was mean and disrespectful to us from the beginning. I hope to hear from some parents and maybe an ex member so that I know it isn't me, that they are turning these kids away from their parents.<quoted text>
I don't think it's you. Of course I am just now beginning my research on this subject, so I am by no means an expert. My 17 year old step son has stopped all contact with us since attending Xenos. At first we thought this was harmless; a phase so to speak. He has now decided to join a ministry house after graduation this year and was baptized into the Xenos church recently without his parents knowledge.

Our greatest concern was after a visit this weekend with his younger brother, who is now attending meetings with him. The negative comments regarding Catholics and Jews coming out of his 13 year old mouth, were shocking.(We are Catholic and thinking this is why the older child has ceased communication).

I'm not sure what your relationship with your daughter was before Xenos, but I can tell you that my husband is a great father and spent every moment of his free time with his sons before they joined Xenos. He is devastated. And I'm sure you're feeling the same. Please keep me updated on anything that you learn and I will do the same.
wow

Columbus, OH

#778 Mar 12, 2014
Anonymous wrote:
<quoted text>
Nearly all the people from this church on the forum seem rude and defensive. Not very christian. I'd recommend your daughter stay away.
Now I think we are just not picking at each other. Some of us may sound rude because we are probably getting get up with how people talk about us and have no real backing for their issues. And what if we have a mean streak or a rude moment. We ALL have them. Just because we are Christian doesn't mean we are perfect.
boof

Columbus, OH

#779 Mar 14, 2014
ditto!
Carol

Columbus, OH

#780 Mar 15, 2014
It is clear the posts on this web site are all from individuals who have never attended a meeting at xenos! Before making a judgement I would recommend attending a few meetings and seeing for yourself that the entire church is about reaching out to those in need, both physically and spiritually! Their ministries are wonderful! I attended xenos previously but have been relocated and unable to attend now! I keep in touch with friends, attended some of their classes when possible and miss the entire community.
Anonymous

Westerville, OH

#781 Mar 16, 2014
One has to wonder why an entity that brainwashes other people's minor children, without their parents' consent, is permitted to receive a tax-exemption. And vouchers for their schools.

Why is there no class action lawsuit available to the parents of these children?

“animis opibusque parati”

Since: Oct 12

Location hidden

#782 Mar 17, 2014
Anonymous wrote:
One has to wonder why an entity that brainwashes other people's minor children, without their parents' consent, is permitted to receive a tax-exemption. And vouchers for their schools.
Why is there no class action lawsuit available to the parents of these children?
Xenos sucks.
But unemancipated minor children remain under their parents' authority.
Only you can stop your minor child from attending.
UberGenius

Columbus, OH

#783 Mar 23, 2014
Carol wrote:
It is clear the posts on this web site are all from individuals who have never attended a meeting at xenos! Before making a judgement I would recommend attending a few meetings and seeing for yourself that the entire church is about reaching out to those in need, both physically and spiritually! Their ministries are wonderful! I attended xenos previously but have been relocated and unable to attend now! I keep in touch with friends, attended some of their classes when possible and miss the entire community.
Carol... It is clear that you have not read the posts. I don't doubt your good experiences. But over a dozen individuals who have attended Xenos have posted here and you are trying to make their sharing of their experience illegitimate. This is typical disrespect for the individual that makes Xenos stand out as a faith-based organization. Some have seen the inner workings of leadership which you clearly have not. 1 Peter 5:3 tells leaders not to lord it over those entrusted to you, yet at cell groups, home groups, ministry groups, there is gossip and manipulation. Leaders are taught how to manipulate at leaders meetings. Further the arrogance (Xenos is the only bible-based church in Columbus for "serious" Christians) and sichophancy (what would Dennis do?) still predominates. If you are easily controlled (codependant) and an extreme people pleaser you will be fine in any culture, especially church cultures and especially Xenos. In fact this is why so many immature believers become leaders within a year of becoming saved. Even though they don't know scripture, have no Christian life experience, no maturity they just need to agree with the elders and Dennis and mimick everything they do and you will be move into leadership.

Read my posts and you will see I give Xenos their due but refuse to turn a blind eye towards the bad behavior that has marked this group since the mid-70s. If they had ever come clean I would leave them alone. But the deeper you go the scarier this place becomes. I have purposely not shared the most damning sins that were common place with home group leaders and elders and impervious to reform. These were not new Christians but people who had been in Christian ministry for 10-15 yrs! These weren't members but leaders. They would mock me when I would tell them that being addicted to porn was a sin they needed to confront. They would stack rank the women's in the home group in terms of who they would commit adultery with if they had their choice. Some of these events took place during leaders meetings!

I will not share the bad stuff but the list above was common across the male leaders from late 70s through late 80s.And friends that are still there say some of these spiritually callous practices still remain in leadership.
Former Member

Hilliard, OH

#784 Mar 24, 2014
Ummm. There are MANY people who have attended posting here. Your comment is typical of a Xenoid. Dismissive! You are also proving the point of the people that cry cult by blatantly ignoring what people are saying.(No, Xenos isn't a cult. It has issues, but it's no cult.) I'm glad you have a good experience. But not all of us have.
Carol wrote:
It is clear the posts on this web site are all from individuals who have never attended a meeting at xenos! Before making a judgement I would recommend attending a few meetings and seeing for yourself that the entire church is about reaching out to those in need, both physically and spiritually! Their ministries are wonderful! I attended xenos previously but have been relocated and unable to attend now! I keep in touch with friends, attended some of their classes when possible and miss the entire community.
Why

Detroit, MI

#785 Mar 24, 2014
Dennis publicly trashes people and privately apologizes. Apologies should happen in the context the of fence was committed.

Did they ever recant their position regarding psych meds from the late 80s early 90s-- I remember they pushed a kid with the las name corn(I forgo his first name)

He agreed to stop taking his meds, and committed suicide shortly after.

How about dealing with accusations of sexual abuse internally, and not involving authorities... Xenos leaders-ask Dennis to his face and see how he reacts.
Former Member

Hilliard, OH

#786 Mar 26, 2014
Interesting. No, they don't pressure people not to take meds. However, they do push prayer, bible studying, etc for stress, depression before considering meds. And often the counselors people are sent to are employed by Xenos and NOT psychiatrists. I never heard of someone killing themselves. As for handling sexual abuse internally, they say not too. However, there was a rumor that something had happened years before. Supposedly the rumors were unfounded , but that was what Xenos leaders said.
Why wrote:
Dennis publicly trashes people and privately apologizes. Apologies should happen in the context the of fence was committed.
Did they ever recant their position regarding psych meds from the late 80s early 90s-- I remember they pushed a kid with the las name corn(I forgo his first name)
He agreed to stop taking his meds, and committed suicide shortly after.
How about dealing with accusations of sexual abuse internally, and not involving authorities... Xenos leaders-ask Dennis to his face and see how he reacts.
UberGenius

Columbus, OH

#787 Apr 2, 2014
The real grind I have with Xenos is that people can develop a great knowledge of doctrinal truth at Xenos. But when someone is led to Christ and then discipled the individual leading them becomes their spiritual parent. When this parent-figure then manipulates and abuses them many seem to transfer this view directly to their view of God.

I attended a church where over 1000 people migrated from Xenos. And time after time in the mid-1990s I would pray for people who would share that they imagined God as an abusive bully. Although none of these individuals would represent him that way on a basic doctrine test. The impact of the spiritual parenting by an abusive spiritual parent had a lasting impact on their view of who God was, much the same way a abusive father impacts a child's view of God.

I don't think there was intent by the leaders at Xenos to destroy these people's view of God. I don't think they realize the how deeply the image of God is rooted in our early spiritually formative experiences.

These images however have a more powerful impact on our emotions and behaviors than our doctrinal knowledge about God. And I spent the better part of the 1990s cleaning up the mess of immature abusive leaders at Xenos. And once again have been pulled back into that task in the last 5 months.
UberGenius

Columbus, OH

#788 Apr 2, 2014
Method of manipulation didn't become apparent to me until I became a home group leader. At my first Leander's meeting we questioned in detail about lives of newcomers by Dennis and sphere leader. Non-Christians were to have multiple people "reach out" to the, and invite the, to group activities. We would review the decision continuum ( a document that describes an individuals's path from non-believer to believer and coordinated events and discussions to get them to believe).. I didn't have a problem with the continuum per se but if someone spent too much time and was determine by Dennis, sphere leaders or others to be stuck, we were encouraged to move on. All of a sudden ten people were no longer calling to get together with you. The same thing would happen if someone did accept salvation. They were then expected to be on a ministry continuum. Questions like attendance at CT (central teaching)' workers meetings, cell group meetings, who was discipling them, who were they discipling, what classes were they taking at Xenos, who were they reaching out to evangelistically, who were they dating, what were their suspected sin problems, were asked. The was a dossier approach filled with gossip. I felt like I was in the KGB or the mob at these meetings. These took place on the Weber bldg in the second floor conference room monthly.

Larger monthly leaders meetings run by Martha, Dennis, Gary, or Keith or occasionally other elders, would drill down into method. I think any evangelical church would have found these meetings helpful especially one whose lay leadership was growing so quickly!

The reason people felt love-bombed over the decades is because they were. When you have numerous people coordinating invites made to look like natural relationships it is rightly labeled cultish behavior!

I quickly lost my taste for gossip that occurred at Weber rd Bldg and permeated every aspect of leadership. Dennis seemed to know about everything that was going on in my personal life within weeks of me discussing it with so-called friends. These were things like new job or where I was living or dating(not sleeping with so no sin and no appearance here of so no reason he should know). When I missed a large(250 person leaders) meeting other leaders, elders sphere group leaders and even Dennis would ask what I had been doing that was more important than Leaders meeting?

Yep, you guessed it, at every level there was a plan for you life and puppet-masters gently, covertly manipulating your actions. Nothing is as it appears here and you don't get the full experience until you become a leader.

If you have 16+ hrs a week to spend on church and have a people-pleasing nature, and have are insecure, you just need to follow the Xenos way and strap on your What Would Dennis Do bracelet and you too can be a leader in 12-18 months whether you have leadership ability or a heart for the lost or not. I left after 7 years with some life-long friendships. The majority of people were great people but homegroup leadership and above were largely hirelings. Their willful manipulation of those under their care made them so!

John 10:12 says:
12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

What the Pastors and Elders at Xenos don't realize is that people can sense this manipulation and it comes across as disingenuineness. Like talking to a politician or used-car salesman. They leave and most can't quite put their fingers on why. My contention is it is not flesh and blood that reveals it to them but the Holy Spirit saying "you are being led by hirelings"!

Haven't had that feeling in a church since leaving Xenos in 1987, thank God.
UberGenius

Columbus, OH

#789 Apr 2, 2014
Also the first time I ever heard the how to address the cult accusation was at a larger leaders meeting taking place at bldg4 in a warehouse off of Sinclair rd in the early 1980s. Martha Mccallum was leading the meeting and she encouraged us to:

1. ask for the details of who was being manipulated and how (they won't know the details unless they attended the home group leaders meeting which were always held behind closed doors)

2. Claim that you were unaware of any such behavior (this was known by a few of us as the Big Lie because these claims were common and 6-8 per year per home group or 250-400 complaints per year across Xenos)

3. On the rare occasion someone knows the details and knows you were aware of the behavior suggest that you needed to be involved due to sin in people's lives.(This was a red herring due to the fact that sin problems could have been handled by home group leaders without involving sphere leaders let alone sr pastors and more importantly most of the claims were of ungodly manipulation and gossip by leaders SINNING against members)

4. When 1-3 fail,(lead people away from actual cause ...sr leadership) claim that the problem comes from young leaders in college ministry houses due to rapid growth. And repeat steps 1-3.

5. Admit to abuses in the past but suggest an analogy ... as Christians mature in Christ so too can Christian ministries mature in Christ and abuses occurred when we were immature ( albeit 10-20 years old in Christ) Also in the 1980s Dennis and Gary were very clear that there had been abuses in the Fishhouse days. But their point was they knew how they had arisen and had fixed the problem. The fact that they have now come back and openly admitted to abuses in the 1980s seems like more of a methodology.

I remember one elder who claimed to have been gossiped about by Martha. When he confronted her she lashed out with all sorts of false accusations. I was stunned by the exchange. Moments later while I was talking to this elder and trying to calm him down. Dennis came up got in his face and threatened his life if he ever talked to his mother(Martha) again. Dennis was in his 30s at the time and had been leading Christian Ministry for over 12 yrs by then. These sorts of temper tantrums were common place back then and demonstrated the hireling aspect of spiritual leadership that remains at Xenos.

In the 1980s the leaders were held in high-regard by those who didnt know them and low-regard by those who knew them well and had matured in Christ outside of Fishhouse (Xenos). When I would raise any character feedback to any of my other leaders one-on-one I would be met with extreme derision "You are legalistic" was the common reply. Whether it be addiction to porn, addiction to alcohol, filthy coarse descriptions of the women in the homegroup, or gossip and slander, "You are being legalistic," was the refrain. Dennis on down through the elders and homegroup leaders would all say this like some mantra.

Xenos leaders didn't seem to recognizing the difference between salvation and sanctification. Sanctification was about attendance in meetings, conformity and growth of homegroup numbers at Xenos. I was openly mocked by Dennis for stating that I wanted to work my unwholesome speech and coarse jesting called out in Ephesians 4:29, 5:4! When I turned off a soft core porn movie that had been playing at a Xenos recruting party for non-believers an elder threatened me if I didn't turn it back on immediately. When I refused he took a swing at me and we had to be pulled apart. To be fare to him he had had 6 beers by then and was a mean drunk, so it wasn't surprising to me that he attacked me.

I encourage posters to look for the 5-step approach above when looking at posts defending Xenos manipulation of members. Also remember that I have recently had two friends leave Xenos in the last 3 months both due to manipulation. Also remember if you aren't a Xenos leader you will be unaware of these tactics.

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