Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Common Ground Update

A Holy Hangover and A Christmas Store            Nov 2009
Holy Hangover

        We have now had 4 days to consider the ‘hangover’ significance of our Grand Opening. I asked myself, “What happened? How important was it, really?” I am convinced that it was and is one of the most important milestones I have ever personally been a part of. The meaning, for me, lies in the fact that so many people, from different races, economic backgrounds, family backgrounds, and other life experiences came together on the property that itself was a picture of ‘resurrection’ to celebrate it’s opening. The presence of those who participated, though it was powerful and a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God was even small compared to the actual amount of people who gave of themselves to see this building come together. So many people who reside inside and outside of our ‘hood gave of their abilities, sweat, blood, financial resources, leveraged their relationships, and kept showing up together time and time again over the last 9 months. We would pray, and the right people would continually ‘show up’. Some would come consistently and chip away, like small armies (Sunday School classes, fraternities and sororities, campus groups, singles groups, persistent individuals, youth groups, etc.) Others would show up with heavy artillery when needed. But, the constant theme was that God brought the right people, at the right time. He multiplied resources. We were able to celebrate what God was doing among us together. The building gives us the space to be creative and invest in our community in ways we had been dreaming of and in ways have yet to dream of. I look forward in the coming weeks to inform you of all the encouraging initiatives going on in the building daily. This week alone we will have just under 150 kids and young adults participating in bible studies, tutoring, and job skills training. The importance of our ‘party’ was that it represented all of our coming together to practice ’resurrection’. Nothing short of our coming together would have glorified God this way. I was able to look into the eyes of kids from all over our city and see joy. I was able to look into the eyes of so many adults from all over our city and see strength and excitement. Thank you for celebrating the opening with us, whether you were physically present or not, we know you celebrate together with us what our Father is doing among us. 

Our Christmas Store 

        This year will be the third year that we will have our annual ‘Christmas Store’ in the neighborhood. Will you consider being a part of it? We took some wisdom from others who have gone before us in other urban contexts and decided that we would open up a Christmas ‘store’ rather than ‘give away’ free toys to kids. Rather than going around the parents forChristmas, we decided to allow parents in our neighborhood the same joy that you and I get when we get to see our children open the gifts that we were able to contribute towards for them. Knowing that many of our parents are not able to provide much and still pay the bills, we open up a store where toys are sold at 30 to 40 percent of the retail values. We take in donated toys, money, and toy store gift cards and set up our store in the ‘hood. The ages to be bought for are 1 year old through 15 year olds. This year it will be at our new building! You can help in a lot of ways. You, and any social or business group you are a part of, can either donate money, buy toys, or donate gift cards from Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, to Common Ground Montgomery and we can stock our shelves accordingly. You can also serve by helping stock and re-stock shelves, price toys, help us go and buy the toys, help us ‘gift wrap’ toys during the store after ‘check out’ and help carry the toys out to people’s cars. Sorry, but we already have two or three feisty neighborhood ladies who run the cash registers! Trust me… they are best suited for the job. 


Christmas Store Quick Facts:
Store dates and hours: December 14th-18th from 4-7 P.M.
Location: 1516 Mobile Road, Montgomery, 36108.
Drop off dates: From now till the 17th of December (please call for coordination)
Number to call: 657-7049 Kevin King
Thank you for your prayer and partnership. I am humbled to be on your team.
Bryan Kelly Founder, Common Ground Montgomery 

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party Over Here!

I totally STOLE this post from Nicole, but I wanted you all to know about this and simply don't have the time to do my own post.  (sorry, nic! love ya! lol)

Outside the gates of our ministry building is a huge sign my that reads:

Common Ground Montgomery Block Party 
Food * Games * Entertainment * Open House
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Tour of Building and Neighborhood Block Party!

I am sure I can speak for the entire staff when I say, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to the LORD and all HE has done, is doing and will continue to do in our neighborhood! Its hard to believe just three years ago, we,(the Kellys and the Kings) were only thinking on such things to happen. We never imagined it would happen this fast. There has been a lot of trials, but the LORD has remained FAITHFUL, GOOD, and TRUSTWORTHY! What a honor and joy it has been to serve HIM!

Please pray for our time TODAY. Pray that many in our neighborhood will witness the glory of the LORD and long to have a relationship with Him. Pray as well that the LORD would bless our ministry financially so that we can continue to do the work of the KINGDOM!


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prayer requests

It is very common in neighborhoods like mine for there to be homes with no electricity or water. I must confess that knowing that precious friends and their children are going without these basic things is VERY hard for me.  

There are 4 children coming to my house tonight to bathe.  

How did water become unaffordable?  

I am sure there are many answers to that question. But regardless of your opinion, please pray for me that I will know how to help in these very difficult situations. I need wisdom and creative ideas!  

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keeping the main thing, the main thing

After attending our annual conference with our entire staff team, I came home so encouraged.  One of the biggest encouragements was the extended time I got to spend with our staff - I really felt part of a team and was reminded that I am part of this amazing ministry.  I know that sounds kind of funny, but when I am home all day with my boys and my house duties, it is easy to forget the big picture.  My neighbors are my neighbors and the kids that come over are my boys friends.  I have wonderful neighbors and my kids have great friends - so using the word ministry seems like work, when really I have been so blessed and ministered to by the people around me.  Now, 85 kids in an after school program - that is WORK!!!  Don't get me wrong, we are all called to be ministering to the people around us, no matter where we live.  So I hope my neighbors sense the love of Christ, and his grace and mercy when they are around me.  It's just that I hope those who are looking in from the outside can see how blessed I am, and that I am not just slaving away in a place I don't want to be.  

Don't worry, I am getting to my point :)  

I have a friend who offered to babysit for me on Tuesday mornings so I can attend the staff meetings ( and then run a few needed errands).  I really think this will be a great way for me to weekly be reminded of the big picture.  I was able to attend my first one today and I can already tell what a blessing it will be.  My favorite part is the devotional time that Bryan leads at the beginning.  Let me tell you, I was SO convicted!   We read in Hebrews about the atoning sacrifice of Christ.  Bryan wanted to remind us of this truth - the cross of Christ is our CENTER.  It is what separates us from being just social services.  There is no hope for redemption of souls or this neighborhood apart from His power and His work on the cross.  Another main point, is that we can do all these wonderful, biblical things for all the wrong reasons.  We can do them to boost our own egos.  We can do them, but have no love.  We can live each day without drawing on Christ's power, thinking we can do it in our own strength.  

Will you please pray for us, that we would show Christ AND preach him?  That our motives would be pure? That we would rely on Him alone?  We would really appreciate it!

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Monday, November 9, 2009


Since I started my new memory blog about my boys, I am going to try to keep this blog more ministry specific.  I know sometimes stories will overlap, but generally this will be about ministry, and the other blog will be for all the pictures, stories, and videos that involve my kids.  Just so you know. :)

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Common Ground Update

We are in our new building!................

After over 11 years of dilapidation, abandonment, and literal darkness and inactivity there is ‘life’ on the corner of Mobile Road, Early Street, Terminal Road, and Hugh Street again. Our building, which has been a beautiful picture of resurrection, is teeming with children, volunteers, our staff, and teenagers and young adults. We finished most of the renovation and opened the doors a few weeks ago. Please come and visit us. We opened up our doors for after school tutoring and had over 100 kids show up the first day! We have now settled in with around 85 kids that are enrolled in tutoring Monday through Thursday (and Friday fun days!) and who participate in Wednesday night bible study after tutoring.
We have 5 different bible studiesthat the kids break up for by age and gender. The bible studies are going very well. Tutoring, on the other hand, needs some attention and help. We REALLY need you and/or others to come one day a week for an hour and a half or so. Engaging with our neighborhood kids will do a lot in you and to you. They are wonderful kids. Many of them are more than a couple grade levels behind in reading and math. Please consider this investment in our community and in their lives. We tutor from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday through Thursday.
The redemption of a young family………..

Charles and Yashika were deeply committed to and involved in gang-life for many years. I met Charles a few years ago and we began to get to know one another. A few months into our friendship he was shot in the stomach. He lived. Later I found out he had retaliated in like manner. Both Kevin and I have been involved in their lives for a few years now. Back in January, Both Charles and Yashika received Christ. It has been overwhelming to see their lives change in front of our eyes. They have been baptized, joined a church, and have led other family members to Christ. Charles is in incredible street evangelist. He is fearless. He recently told me, “I spent all of my life ‘going hard’ for the streets and have led many people the wrong way. Now I will lead them to God”. I have never seen anything like it. God has redeemed and gifted this man. After living together for years Charles and Yashika will be getting married this weekend! They are deeply committed to seeing their relationship continue to be redeemed as they seek God’s blessing in marriage. This marriage will be a powerful example and picture in our community. This is exactly what we have been praying for years. We are committed to andtrust God to raise-up leaders like Charles. Charles and Yashika’s reception will be held at our new building and we are going to celebrate this beautiful picture of restoration with our community! 

Grand Opening………..

Our Grand opening for our new building will be held November 19th from 5-7 p.m. You will receive an invitation later this week. Please make plans to come celebrate this defining event with our staff family and neighbors. Danny Wuerfful (former Heisman Trophy winner) will be joining us as well as many others from around our city. 

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