Common Ground Basics
What time do you meet?
Common Ground is a part of Pender United Methodist Church. We meet at 9:30 am. Our worship center is in what we also call the "Fellowship Hall" and it is mid-way between both entrances. Signs mark both inside entrances to this worship place. Childcare is always available, and one of our greeters will be glad to show you where that is.
How do people dress?
People dress in a wide range of styles - from jeans or shorts to a dress casual style and some a little dressier. Most people are not "dressy." We do not view worship as something we need to wear a suit or special clothes to in order to participate. We are more interested in a heart desiring to worship.
What if I haven't been to church much?
Many of our folks started coming to church more recently as adults rather than as children. Some of our people have come all of their life. Some seem to know a lot about the Bible and faith. Others are just beginning that interesting journey. We want to be the kind of church where there's a comfort level to earnestly explore, ask questions, and discover new pieces about God throughout a lifetime. None of us "have arrived." Some can help others; some need the "basics" explained. Common Ground worship strives to explain things from a "real life" basis, including a basic understanding of what the Bible says and how that applies to life.
What better way to relax than with a cup of java? It's across the hall in our "Coffee and Snack" room. Please bring it along with you.
What can I expect?
You'll find genuine and warm people of all ages - from children to young adult to older adult. Our worship is led by an awesome band with a strong rock and roll style. This is a place to connect with Jesus for the first time, as well as to continue growing more deeply in knowing Him. Experience laughter and joy along with the awe of soul-deep mystery. And finally, be challenged to make a difference in the world - just like Jesus.
Will I like this church?
There are three values we hope you'll notice soon after arriving.
First, we are friendly and people genuinely care about you.
Second, we are known as the church with a heart for mission - meaning we sincerely care about people of all ages, ethnicity, and genders, both here in our community and across the world. We believe Jesus has called us to make an actual difference in the world. The largest part of our budget intentionally goes to help people the world over, and is called our "faith promise" budget. In addition, we want the name and love of Jesus to be spread to hearts that do not know Jesus, and then for this to be a place where children, youth, and adults can grow in their faith, serve Christ, and live out in real life what we experience of Jesus together.
Third, we believe every person should strive to become involved with a small group community who will help and encourage their growth in faith.
Our staff for Common Ground are Rev. Dan Elmore, associate pastor (usual preacher), Rev. Kenny Newsome (senior pastor who preaches periodically and helps lead), Sean Niehoff, our worship leader; cg Worship Band (varies week to week with drummer, bassist, guitar, keyboards, and sometimes more); Ralph Sordell, sound technician; and several servant volunteers who take care of our media needs. You can see our entire church staff here.
How long has Common Ground been going?
Pastor Chad Herndon began the Common Ground worship time in 2005. Since then we've grown and adapted in various ways as God leads us. One thing we hope you won't hear in this worship setting is, "But we've never done it that way before!"
How do I get to know anyone here?
Small groups or Sunday School is the best starter to finding some meaningful relationships here. Let us help you find a good fit right away!
Why the name "Common Ground" - and why do you call it modern rather than "Contemporary"?
Common Ground was the brain child of a dreaming group when it all started. They saw it this way: We are still part of Pender United Methodist Church, but we're different than what's been around here. Our "common ground" is still and always Jesus Christ - the same today, tomorrow and yesterday. It spoke to this initial group as an alternative gathering place for worship in a different way - with the same Jesus.
Modern vs. Contemporary? Common Ground is partly what's become known as a "contemporary service" - but it's more too. Some days we're very music and band centered, like most contemporary services. Other days we're more experimentally centered and "all of the questions aren't answered neatly." Thus, "contemporary" seemed like a mis-nomer to founding pastor, Chad Herndon. And the term "modern" was adopted and stuck! We seem to be a bit of both worlds.
Can you tell me about how someone is baptized or joins this church?
Sure. We understand that both baptism and membership are important. Baptism is an affirmation by parents and/or individuals in accepting Jesus Christ as their leader and forgiver (Savior and Lord). It signifies the willingness to repent of sin and be active in a journey of following Christ. We know that this is all God's doing - the invitation to follow, the ability to follow, and the love given freely.
At Pender, we can offer baptism on most Sundays. Baptism is offered to both children and adults. It is a public act and so we plan it within our worship time together at any of our three worship times: 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 am. Pastor Dan or Pastor Kenny will want a little bit of your time to talk about baptism and the words that will be said prior to the date for baptism. Although Pender does not have a way to provide baptism by immersion, if that is desired we can often make arrangements to use a baptismal pool.
Membership is offered to any baptized person willing to commit to Pender United Methodist Church in terms of prayers, presence, tithes and offerings, and service. Membership is also offered on most Sundays and in all three worship services.
Please speak with a pastor about either baptism or membership.
How do I find out where I could best serve Christ through Pender?
Pender holds a few values around service. First, we are committed to helping the people of God find "their niche" and the appropriate place to use the gifts God has given them. We understand that using our spiritual gifts is necessary for our growth in Christ. We also believe that as many people should be involved in every ministry possible, but that no one should be consumed or "used up and spit out." We also believe God continues to call us to brand new ministries - some we've imagined and others we have not -- until you bring it up as a place you would like to be involved!
Our "Serve God" core area is a good place to start asking questions. This team has gathered information from across the church about ministries and needs, and can provide you with valuable information. Also, we offer classes in Spiritual Gift Discovery with the aim of helping your discern where God may be calling you.
We are blessed to serve God together.