Churches throughout the Tampa Bay area united on April 13 for a night of worship at the Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center.
The Common Ground Movement event aimed to unite Christian youth in the area so they would know they were not alone in schools and in society. Churches from Ruskin, Brandon, Tampa, Lakeland and more all piled into the converted worship hall to mingle and listen to uplifting music and sermons.
“When you look and see what’s going on in schools today, lots of kids are ostracized and feel alone,” Pastor Joe Kelley, president of Common Ground Movement, said. We hope through this event they’ll be able to see there is a community there to support and love them.”
Common Ground Movement also has recently started a ministry called Campus Encouragers. It places pastors and youth pastors in schools where they begin to minister to the teachers, principals and staff at the location. He said following Parkland, you hear a lot about the students and what after-effects they are struggling with.
The goal is to unite the community via the Common Ground Movement because they are “stronger together.” At the event Friday evening there were two speakers, a diverse band set list, a Christian mime and a drama presentation. In the lobby section several churches and organizations had set up booths to connect with attendees.
Summer Rains, children’s minister for First Baptist Church of Durant, was attending the event for the first time. Her husband plays for Dark Horse and is the youth pastor at FBC Durant. After hearing him share how phenomenal Common Ground Movement was she knew she couldn’t miss out on this year’s event. She said denomination, race and background too often divide the body of Christ and events like this help to bridge the gap that “man, not God, created in religion.”
Rains said everyone coming together under one roof and putting aside their differences for a night of worship will go a long way toward fostering unity in schools and the Christian community as a whole.
As the night progressed attendees raised their hands together while singing in an act of unified devotion. Churches mingled and the youth chatted while exchanging cell phone numbers and quietly discussing some of the lyrics.
“I just think people want to worship together,” Kelley said.