Over the course of the last 2 years, I have been asked about the s
ignificance of the X. I wanted to repost a blog post explaining the orginination, purpose and vision behind the "X".
In the winter of 2006, I was having coffee with my brother-in-law Adam Breckenridge, who had just made the transition from graduating from Mid-Western Seminary to working with a new church in the mid-town district of Kansas City. It was in the middle of the holiday season and we were addressing the recent angst on social media regarding the alleged "removal of Christ from Christmas," manifested by the use of the term "X-mas." He explained to me that this phrase did not remove Christ, but rather illustrated Christ in shorthand. The X simply represented the Greek letter Chi and was used by the early church as a marker to represent followers of "The Way" (Acts 9:2, Acts 11:26). Chi is the first letter of Christ and was often used to signify one's relationship to Christ as a disciple, or "learner." During the time of severe Roman persecution, disciples of Christ would use X as a signal to other Christians that they too were a part of this movement. In fact, it is believed that the people of God living under Eqyptian bondage probably put this mark on their doorposts using the sacrificed blood of their most pure lamb in order to avoid the death of their firstborn when the death angel passed through the village (Exodus 12:23). This is also believed to be where the "ichthys" (Jesus fish symbol) originated as one would not lift the pen when drawing the X quickly.
In short, X is the mark for Christ. In the dreaming/vision stage prior to the launch of City Church, Carson Bray told me about this near-secretive group of Jesus followers who were blessing people with random acts of kindness and, when asked who they were and why they were doing this, would simply reply "we are of Christ." We decided to take this idea and run with it. We begin to ask the question "what if we planted the kind of church that served their city and avoided sharing our names or the name of an organization?" So that's exactly what we did. Then and there, the vision for the X was birthed. We a Christ-centered communities cultivating compassion for our city. We give out red stickers to everyone we serve and invite them to share the vision at every given opportunity. It is our dream that these "markers of Christ" infiltrate every dark corner of our city, our state, our nation, and eventually, our world.
What does the X mean? It means there is hope. Hope for our broken condition, hope for sin-marred men and women who feel hopeless, hope for broken families, broken relationships, hope that all things are being made new, hope that the God who set it all in motion has sent his son to redeem and restore a fallen world, and hope that Jesus will take all of his followers with him to live in paradise one day.
That's why we put X 's on the end of our names on social media. That's even why my oldest son's middle name is X. Yeah, just the letter X. (Don't worry, even our baby doctor was confused when we filled out the birth certificate). When people ask what it means, we get to share the name that brought us all to a life of joy, significance, and purpose and desires to do the same with all who would trust in him.
Would you consider joining in on such a task?? We are not seeking to build a personal kingdom, we want to lift up the name of Jesus. We long to see His kingdom come.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Do you live in Central Arkansas? Learn more about how to join the movement LIVE at citychurch.tv or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll even send you some X stickers to help kick start your own Jesus movement beginning in your hometown!