Common Grounds Unity
Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24:35
Something amazing happens when we come together and break bread or share a cup of coffee! We have seen it time and again in our local CGU Gatherings. God's Spirit is uniting the various streams of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and beyond - young and old, men and women, and multi-racial.
We are inviting you to join a local gathering - or to start a local gathering. You might think, "Oh my, this is a major undertaking!" Well, be assured it is not. In fact, it only takes two or three meeting on a quarterly basis. So, don't be shy, call or email someone and you are on your way. For more info contact Russ Kirkpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or see the below information and resources.
How do I get Started?
A CGU Gathering is simply a few unity-minded followers of Jesus deciding to gather and embrace the following:
Common Grounds Unity creates spaces for Christians to gather, so that God may be revealed in us and among us.
At Common Grounds, we believe unity starts with a cup of coffee. We foster gatherings of Christians around the table, from within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and beyond. A gathering provides a space for us to welcome one another, as Christ has welcomed us (Rom 15:7), and to recognize that Christ is present when we come together (Matt 18:20).
The following are some practices that we encourage:
Quarterly meetings create a rythum without creating a burden on one another's schedules. People will make some meetings and miss others, and we think that is just fine. We what this to be a blessing and a joy for those who choose to participate.
We also encourage sharing a meal (or at least a cup of coffee). We encourage a casual atmosphere where we eat together, share a short message, and leave lots of time for discussion and sharing.
Something amazing happened on the road to Emmaus! The disciples recognized Jesus among them as he broke the bread (Luke 24:35)! We believe something similar happens as we break bread with a Spirit of unity and love.
We are not seeking to minimize the importance of teaching, and yet, we believe relational unity can flourish when CGU Gatherings highlight "fellowship... breaking of bread and... prayer" (Acts 2:42).
Successful gatherings will require shepherding voices to call people to gather. Starting a gathering requires consistent communication, but it does not require a major time commitment or large amounts of preparation.
Jesus sent his disciples two by two. You can get started by simply finding another unity-minded follower of Jesus from a different stream of our movement. Get together and share time over a cup of coffee - or any beverage. Start there and you will begin to see God's Spirit at work among us. If you need help connecting with someone in your area please reach out to us - we are happy to help. Please reach out to Russ Kirkpatrick at email@example.com .
Videos About Gatherings
Click the picture below for a video about gatherings.
What is a Gathering Video
Starting a Gathering Video
Spokane, Washington: An Inspiring Story/Video
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Starting a Gathering
These are suggestions and not requirements. Gatherings are independent groups, and CGU is here to help, support, and provide resources.
1. Work with the Spirit of God: God’s Spirit is moving among his people, inspiring unity-minded Christians to pray as Jesus prayed for a spirit of unity to exist among his followers (John 17:21-23).
2. Conversations: Begin a conversation with those who are like-minded. We are not seeking to convince those who do not have the same heart for unity as we do - we are simply asking those who desire to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3) to gather with us.
3. Communicate: We suggest that key leaders create a shared Google drive/folder for contacts. Here is an example Google Sheet template ( CLICK HERE ). Use the contact sheet to communicate by email, Google calendar, Facebook events, Evite., etc.
4. Build Your Crowd: Here are some links for to find churches and leaders within the Stone-Campbell Movement
International Churches of Christ (ICOC): https://www.disciplestoday.org/find-us
Disciples of Christ (DOC): https://disciples.org/find-congregation/
5. Do a soft launch meeting: A soft launch will likely involve key individuals and those most interested in forming a gathering. A soft launch could be in person, via Zoom, or otherwise.
6. Launch Initial Meeting: Organize the first gathering. This could be done digitally or in person - Covid-19 has changed the world we live in.
If you meet in person we have found restaurants to be good venues. Friends and family meet in restaurants. Meeting in church buildings takes more organization to make it excellent and somehow restaurants tend to create common ground.
We find restaurants where you order food and then sit down tend to create less confusion and interruptions. These venues are generally more time efficient and keep meetings flowing and on time.
Breakfast or lunch meetings during the weekdays are typically better for vocational ministry leaders - evenings and weekends are typically better for the average church member. You will need to decide the best time for your attendees and their schedules.
An Important Note: We are seeking to serve the church and its leaders. We are not seeking to start a movement, house churches, or do anything else to undermine existing church leadership. We believe in unity based on our common relationship with Jesus and others. Therefore we have often started with like-minded church leaders and then work outward toward the populous. We are seeking to be a healthy, positive, life-affirming resource for the future of the Lord's church and for our movement!
" I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Eph. 4:1-3)
GATHERING DEVELOPMENT TEAM LEAD
Please meet Russell Kirkpatrick who is the Common Grounds Unity Gathering Development Team Lead. Russ and his wife Carmen live in San Diego, CA where they are raising two precious children, a boy and a girl.
Russ is a founding member and servant leader of the San Diego CGU Chapter. Russ is passionate about unity and has been very effective in bringing brothers and sisters together from the different streams of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.
We have attempted to provide a self-help guide in the above information. However, we understand the value of coaching through the start up process and beyond. Please reach out to Russ at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com to learn more about joining a gathering or starting a new gathering.