Common Grounds - our mission
Unity Draws People to Jesus
Our mission is to promote and pray for unity within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement through the development of local groups that gather routinely over a shared meal. We aspire "to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3) in recognition of Jesus' prayer that we "may all be one" (John 17:21).
Common Grounds - Our why
That the World May Know
"That they may all be one... so that the world may know" (John. 17:21, 23 NASB)
We believe unity is the will of Jesus and that unity strategically advances the Great Commission. Moreover, we believe that unity contributes to the health and spiritual development of our fellowships. And, to this end, we will reflect Jesus and thus draw people unto Him.
Common Grounds - Our how
Breaking Bread in Local Meetings
We share a common heritage within the Stone Campbell Restoration Movement, and yet, we have fractured over many non-essential issues of doctrine or methodology. We believe that local relationships are indispensable to unity, mutual respect, and love. And, that our lack of unity weakens our ability to win the world for Jesus. Moreover, unity does not require us to worship under the same roof or in the same exact way. The well-known slogan says it well, “We are free to differ, but not to divide.” God’s Spirit is moving as we routinely gather over a shared meal. May we continue to grow in our love and appreciation for one another - as we learn to learn from each other.
Guiding Principles for
One in Christ
We believe in the Stone-Campbell Movement / Restoration Movement motto which says we are "Christians only, not the only Christians." Thomas Campbell wrote "That the Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of all those in every place that profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things according to the Scriptures."
Unity of the Spirit
We believe unity based on doctrinal positions and methodology will most likey lead to division. But, those who balance “unity of the Spirit” with biblical truth are more likely to understand God’s will and find unity among the Lord's people. Scripture calls us to "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Eph. 4:2-3.
We believe our efforts toward unity will be more successful when we are locally focused. We value global efforts - past, present, and future. However, we believe that proximity is a key component that allows us to break bread, visit services and events, pray together, and even share our pulpits. Proximity gives us consistent opportunities to "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Eph. 4:3
We embrace the following idea: "The goal of the gathering is the gathering, but the outcomes belong to God." We are not creating a global organization, but rather, encouraging something organic led by the Spirit of God. We are not promoting mergers, planting new congregations, or cooperative events. God may work in ways that bring about the above, or something else, we leave those outcomes to Him.
Doctrine and Practice
Sound doctrine and practice are crucial for protecting against progressive and secular trends in Christianity. We recognize our role as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) and that we should "regard no one from a worldly point of view" (v. 16). However, we do not consider ourselves judges or the spiritual police (Rom. 14:1-4). The Lord's church is well served when we limit control to ourselves and our own congregations. We hold to the Restoration Movement motto, “We are free to differ but not divide.”
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). We are not made right by perfect obedience to the "Law of Christ" or by a continual search for an ancient order of worship or practice. We are, however, justified, sanctified, and made righteous by our faith in the work of Jesus on the cross (Rom. 1:17; Col. 2:12). Rightness does not produce righteousness. However, “The righteous will live by faith.” As we live by faith let our attitude be filled with grace and humility as we bear with one another in love (Col. 3:12).
Early in 2018
A few Christian leaders came together from different branches of the Stone-Campbell Movement / Restoration Movement to help serve someone who had connections in both the Church of Christ and the International Church of Christ.
The question was posed, “why are we so divided when we have so much in common?” And, the idea that “unity starts with a cup of coffee” was discussed.
As a result of that meeting a breakfast was organized, then a quarterly meeting was formed, and from that, a communication campaign was developed to promote the idea locally and elsewhere.
We adopted the name Common Grounds and the motto “Unity Starts With A Cup of Coffee.” Furthermore, we aspire "to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3) in recognition of Jesus' prayer that we "may all be one" (John 17:21). This is our reason for seeking unity among our fellowships.
Jesus' prayer, demonstrated in our lives, is strategic to accomplishing the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), and therefore, the will of our Lord.
We are praying for God’s Spirit to move in amazing ways as we seek to do His will.
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