Common Grounds Unity
Nick Zola - CGU Board
Nick is an Associate Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Nick is a founding Board Member and Vice President of Common Grounds Unity. He grew up in San Diego, CA, and has lived in Massachusetts, Germany, Texas, Illinois, and Switzerland. He is happy to call California home again. He was part of the first graduating class of Olin College of Engineering, after which he took the natural step of pursuing biblical studies. Nick earned an MA in New Testament from Abilene Christian University and a PhD in New Testament from Baylor University. His teaching and research interests include biblical manuscripts, the development of the biblical canon, the Gospels, and Tatian's Diatessaron (a second-century harmonized gospel). He is passionate about sushi, dark chocolate, and running (so that he can eat more sushi and dark chocolate). Nick is married to Joy and they have two growing boys.
Alicia Crumpton - CGU Board
Alicia D. Crumpton, Ph.D., is married to Jon, and together they are passionate about supporting public art efforts, local businesses, and leadership education. She serves as a management consultant within the utility sector, where she focuses on strategic planning, performance management, operations optimization, and leadership coaching. She recently co-authored a book in 2022 Architecture and Leadership, which explores the built environment's role in shaping organizational culture. She holds a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, an MA in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life from Pacifica Graduate Institute, an MS in Information Science from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Education from Lincoln Christian University. Alicia serves on the board of the Stone Campbell Journal, and Global Christian Connexion (formerly World Convention).
Javier Monzon - CGU Board
Javier grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and New York City, USA. He became a disciple of Jesus at 14 years old during 9th grade. He has always been interested in science and earned a BA in Biology from the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University. Javier is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Infectious Diseases and Dept. of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Stony Brook University. He is now serves as a professor of biology at Pepperdine University, where he teaches zoology, ecology, animal behavior, and conservation biology. Javiier's YouTube channel is devoted to his love of aggressive inline skating. He loves skiing and spending time with his family in the California outdoors. Javier, his wife Patricia, and daughter Sofia live in Malibu, CA, on the Pepperdine campus where he teaches.
John Teal - CGU Board
John has been a member of Stone-Campbell Movement congregations for more than forty-four years. He graduated from Central Christian College of the Bible with a BS in Biblical Studies. John is a founding Board Member and the President of Common Grounds Unity. John served in vocational ministry in the late 1980s and early 1990s and returned to a corporate career in 1995. John retired in 2021 and enjoys a post-corporate career as a Realtor in Raleigh, NC. He and his wife, Danna, have two adult daughters and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. John is passionate about advancing the mission of Common Grounds Unity; creating spaces for Christians to gather so that we can recognize Jesus in one another. John loves coffee, the outdoors, reading, and becoming a better guitarist.
Keith Whitney - CGU Board Emeritus
Keith was a founding Board Member of CGU. We are ever grateful for his vision, friendship, and leadership in helping us launch this ministry. Keith retired from the board in December 2023. We will continue to recognize his contributions as a founder on this page. Keith is a Professor Emeritus of Business Ethics and Law at Pepperdine University. He attended Harding University, Freed Hardeman University, and received a B.S. & MBA in Finance from Eastern Illinois University, and holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Texas Tech University. Keith has practiced as a lawyer and served as a minister, elder, and professor. Keith is married to Karen, and they thoroughly enjoy serving the church and loving up on their grandchildren.
Drew Baker - Associate Executive Director, Podcast Producer, and Cohost
Drew Baker of Lewisville, North Carolina is ridiculously blessed to be married to Sarah and to have his son Jude and daughter Rowan. He is grateful and excited for the opportunity to serve CGU as the Associate Executive Director. He is a part-time minister at New Story Church, adjunct professor for Abilene Christian University, and is a photographer. He has also recently published a book on church leadership titled, The Duct Tape Letters. Drew hold a BS, MDiv, and DMin from Abilene Christian University. Drew is a native of West Texas, he loves all the outdoor activities North Carolina has to offer along with indoor activities such as reading, writing, and eating.
Kevin Withem - CGU Podcast Cohost
Kevin Withem is the co-host of the Common Grounds Unity Podcast. Kevin is the Senior Minister at North County Church of Christ in Escondido, California. He's a native of San Diego, is married to Karen, has three sons, and has been in full time ministry for over thirty years, just over eight of those in Austin, TX. He received his degree in Bible and Religion from Harding University and has done graduate studies at Abilene Christian University. He has spoken at Christian University lectureships, men’s retreats, spiritual growth retreats, and has been published in various Christian magazines. Kevin’s sermons have been broadcasted on the radio, and he hosted the “Know Your Bible” television program in San Diego for thirteen years.
Tina Bruner - CGU Podcast Cohost
Tina Bruner is the co-host of the Common Grounds Unity Podcast. She is the Executive Director of Global Christian Connexion (GCC), formerly World Convention. Her career has been devoted to international missions work, leading the missions department of one of the largest Christian Churches in the USA for more than fifteen years. She has been instrumental in establishing and leading numerous nonprofit organizations. She co-authored the book The Hope Factor: Engaging the Church in the HIV/AIDS Crisis. She helped establish the Global Missions Health Conference. Recently, Tina has been working in Poland serving Ukrainian refugees. Tina sits on the Board of EPEK International, a nonprofit serving Afghans in Kabul and NYC.
Chuck Ramseur: Producer and Cohost
Chuck is a professional Instructional Writer and Podcast Producer. He and his wife, Brianna, live in Virginia Beach, VA with their wonderful four children. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from the Bear Valley Bible Institute International, a B.S. in Management from Amridge University, and an MBA from LSU-Shreveport. He spent 13 years in full-time ministry but now enjoys teaching and preparing members to be more serious Bible students. When he isn't working or studying, he is finding the best coffee in town to take to the beach, playing pickleball, playing bass or reading C.S. Lewis.