Archive for January, 2014

How did we get here?

Posted in Church Planting, Thank You on January 6, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

article by: Gregg Jennings, Minister at Common Ground Christian ChurchDJH_3288 - 2013-11-17 at 06-46-16

Common Ground Christian Church celebrated its 10th anniversary this Fall! And yes, this is amazing!

Sometimes VEF churches have financial problems, pride issues, broken leadership, or huge sin hurdles that need to be handled in a very delicate way.  There are times when these churches struggle so much that they actually close their doors forever.  So it is absolutely a miracle that Common Ground, having struggled with ALL the above issues is still around.

And just to be clear, we are not out of the woods on any of them.  We are kind of like your ‘now sober uncle’: everyone knows he had a problem, that he could relapse at anytime, and that you need to be really careful around him. Everyone is pretty much amazed that his liver hasn’t completely fallen out of his body. Yep. That’s us.

DJH_3271 - 2013-11-17 at 05-59-30It was because of this truth that this tenth anniversary really felt more like a “10 Year Sobriety Celebration”.  Trust me; just ask Dave Hileman, who was there. It was… different. It was raw. It was full of stories of redemption and hope, followed by a time of worship that had most of us in tears for all that God has done.  The beauty of this though, is that God has trusted this faith community with more adversity, mingled with joy, than anyone can imagine.

Before you cry “FOUL,” we know church work is hard, some of the hardest stuff anyone can do, so how is our suffering any different than yours?  We concur – it’s not, it’s just that everyone knows ours.  Kind of like that Uncle again.  Yep, we are the church in town that has “that problem” and, sure enough, people talk. But we haven’t let the talk disrupt our ongoing worship of the Holy Spirit, who we believe still raises the dead.  And it is in this spirit of brokenness and restoration that we have grown by nearly 100% in the last year.  God simply will not give up on us and the community of believers here at CG will simply not give up on God.

Paradoxically, it is in recognizing and vocalizing our vulnerability that we have found our strength in Christ. His strength being on display in our weakness kind of stuff.  Funny how biblical truths of confession, community, and Eucharist really do bring down the Kingdom of God to earth, right now.  So much so, that we get to talk of unspeakable joy, unfathomable grace, and unprecedented hope for the upcoming 10 years at Common Ground. As a community, we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear!  Christ has become our hope and stay, and around that hope he is building a very unique church in downtown Fredericksburg.  DJH_3277 - 2013-11-17 at 06-43-15

That night, Dan Lemelin, a new member, summed up Common Ground in a way that gave me goosebumps:

“We’ve only been here for four months, but we knew on the first Sunday we had come home.  All of our hearts are looking for a home with God, and where His presence is, there our hearts will be at home, and that is what we found here—the presence of God.”

This summarizes everything that we have worked so relentlessly to obtain in Christ.

DJH_3282 - 2013-11-17 at 06-44-38We work our tails off every single Sunday.  Teaching, singing, children’s ministry, coffee, diapers, food, greeting, chairs, set up, tear down… You know the drill. But all of it is worth NOTHING if God doesn’t show up.  We have been committed as a church to create an ecosystem where God and his Spirit are welcomed, and then trust that he will be the one who will transform hearts and lives. In the five years that I have had the privilege to be called a minister at Common ground, He has never failed us.
We owe a huge thanks to the VEF for their support and leadership.  Also to so many other area churches in Virginia who believe in us, and to everyone who has supported us through the years with wisdom and prayer.  Thank you so much!

May God truly bless you and your work.  I know there are several factors that have gotten us here and your love has gone far in our endurance toward the cross. We are lucky to be a part of such a wonderful network of churches.