Five churches from the CRC and the Reformed Church in America have come together to start Common Ground Church, a new congregation that is preaching the gospel in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Common Ground Church is employing a new approach of church planting developed by Doug McClintic, the Great Lakes Regional Director of Church Planting for the RCA.
Through partnership between Christian Reformed Home Missions and the RCA, this model, called Luminex Collaborative, gets churches working together to reach people for Christ and for renewal through the Great Commission.
Chet Carlson, the newly appointed lead pastor of Common Ground Church, arrived in August 2014 after moving to Kalamazoo with his wife and children.
He immediately began connecting and recruiting people from the five parent churches: RCA churches The Bridge Church, First Reformed Church, and Voyage Church, and CRC congregations Southern Heights and Westwood.
Planting churches is tough, but Carlson believes in the mission of God: “I give my time and money to start new churches because the community takes notice and considers the power of the gospel.”
Common Ground Church is currently focusing on community outreach by leading small groups, networking through events, and holding worship services. So far, they’ve been blessed with success.
At these outreach events, Common Ground Church has been able to connect and form relationships with those who may not be frequent churchgoers or even have a relationship with God.
One recent attendee stated, “Capture this moment, because this is the first time I have set foot in a church.”
Carlson has observed the interest people have in the fact that churches and denominations are working together.
“People will say, ‘Wow—it’s amazing that churches are working together. This must be a big deal!’ to which I respond, ‘You’re right, this is a big deal.’”
Being able to connect and plant the seeds of the gospel in the people of the community is vital to the growth of Christianity and a mission that both denominations and all five churches can get behind, he says.
Looking forward, Common Ground Church hopes to grow and provide outreach to those around their community and beyond.
Carlson describes their efforts as, “A regional church striving to make a global impact, transforming thousands of lives in Jesus Christ.”
They pray that the community takes notice and considers the power of God’s word.