our own membership in the spring of 2005. We were pleased and a bit surprised to find that 82% of Xenos members claim they were not involved in any church at the time they began
coming to Xenos. Over 60% of our members reported that they met Christ at Xenos.
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Elders Limited in Income and Assets
Some of the elders at Xenos (leaders.htm) work
full-time for the church, some part time, and others in secular careers. But they have all agreed to limit their incomes and assets, whether from the church or from other sources, including spouses' incomes. Our reason? First, we believe materialistic avarice
is the curse of American society, often including the American church. As elders, we want to set an example for the church that says we can live at the need level, not at the greed level. Notice Paul did this by working hard and living simple in Thessalonica"We
did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow." (2 Thess. 3:9)
The level to which elders' incomes are limited
is very comfortable so this is hardly asceticism!
We also observe that many churches are controlled by the wealthy, and are insensitive to the poor and even to students. When wealthy
people get the church to commit to expensive options, the church ends up in debt and even more beholden to the wealthy.
Wealthy church members often want to pay others for doing ministry
they should be willing to do themselves. For a number of reasons, we feel it's good for elders to live at an income level similar to, or below most of our membership.
Wealth can easily
develop into an attraction that competes with the Lord for our attention. We want only elders who would gladly disown their wealth in order to have the opportunity to serve God. Those who refuse to divest themselves may be signaling a problem. We want our
elders to have their attention focused on spiritual matters, not on the playthings of the wealthy.
Not only elders' incomes, but also their assets, come under scrutiny. In American
culture, it is not unusual for adults to receive an inheritance from a wealthy relative that could unbalance their lives. A man or woman who hardly thought about money before, may become fascinated by money after receiving a million dollar inheritance. Therefore,
we call on elders to disclose their assets, and if they are excessive (beyond a home and some modest savings or retirement), we agree to divest ourselves of the excess.
feel our policy on this matter is somewhat soft, we think it is in general harmony with 2 Tim. 2:3,4, where Paul urges Timothy, "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday
life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."
On more than one occasion, the elders' limited income and assets have served to dissuade would-be elders from joining
the board on more than one occasion in the past.
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