Sacred vs Secular

– Dawn Neldon and Cody Vermillion

If you’ve been following on this Uncommon journey for any amount of time you know that we are in the business of reframing and reclaiming truths about life, faith, and being human. Because we are certain that there are things that we, as a culture, have believed and are believing that need to be tweaked (and some that just plain need to be thrown out).

This month we want to tackle the false dichotomy that exists in our culture between the sacred and the secular. See, we tend to give in to the belief that there are places, spaces, times, things, and people that fall into the category of “sacred.” Those might be things like church and….church…and church music….and things and people that operate in church. And in general all things church.

But the problem with this belief is that we neatly package God into the box of religious activity that happens in churches and remove Him (in our minds) from all sorts of places where God is fully present. Because God is in churches AND in businesses, doctors offices and grocery stores. He is in worship music and pop radio. He is in missionary work and the 9-5 workplace.

God is over all and through all and in all. He created everything and holds it together. Granted, we as humans have a tendency to inject our own brokenness into the good He has created. But if you really pay attention, you can find God in the ordinary things of life. From the birds chirping before your alarm, to the cup of coffee that gets your day started, to the face of the barista who made it.

Church isn’t the only place to find God. In fact, you are made in the image of God. So He is with you always. You don’t have to be at church, you don’t have to be a pastor, or missionary, or Sunday school volunteer to experience something sacred. Those things are all great! But you can live in to the sacred calling God has given you in your every day experiences.

This weekend, try looking for the ways in which God is present in the every day things of life. And on Monday, as you head to work – or as you get the kids ready for whatever you’re doing to stay sane while they’re not in school – try to find the sacred moments. The times when God shows up in the ordinary.

Then join us on July 7th to talk more about it…






How To Have A Great Summer

– Ryan James Ross

I love sitting at tables with people I admire and just asking them about living a good life. I really love getting to do this with good food too. So…
Partner Margie and Ken Blanchard up with some breakfast soufflé and parfaits, and we get one awesome morning!

Many of the best Blanchard family stories and memories (and books) have come from summer adventures. So before they took off on their next trip, we asked them “what is the key to a great summer that is remembered forever?” And here’s what they shared…

Invest in creating experiences.

More important than buying stuff, or even just getting stuck in an summer rut, use your energy and resources to give your kids and friends a memorable experience. Experiences are the source of life’s stories and lasting memories, not stuff. Go try to build a raft that may or may not float. Get out there and gather up the people to ride bikes, go on a hike, take a road trip, or eat a burrito on a lifeguard tower at sunset. It takes energy, but it’s worth it. 

Create rituals.

Margie and Ken weren’t suggesting religious tradition here, but they were challenging all of us to create some unique things you do with your kids and friends that you can repeat monthly or annually. Make a unique food around a campfire. Go see fireworks from a boat. Walk to the store and back in crazy hats. Do that “burrito in a lifeguard tower” thing above… but do it a few times! When we have unique and creative rituals/traditions that we repeat a few times, those often become the best times. These rituals become the best moments with friends too. I’ve heard it said that even if you do a unique family ritual just three times with your kids, they’ll remember that “we did it all the time” when they’re adults! It takes effort to create a cool ritual, but it’s worth everything you put into it.

One cool ritual that the Blanchards have created is a “Breakfast with the Ancestors”. Every summer they get the whole family together and throw a potluck party in a cemetery. [Yes, we reacted to that too!] Weird as that sounds, they gather together and share stories of their ancestors and all the people that have shaped the family. They even share about the pets that they loved and lost, and all the fun stories about them. The first time they did this, not everyone thought it was a good idea… but now, years later, everyone loves and looks forward to this very unique Blanchard ritual.

Ask this question regularly: “What makes our family unique?”

When you’re together at a meal or one of these experiences you create, ask yourselves what makes your family (or your group of friends) unique… special… different. This question brings out appreciation and builds up identity. You may even come up with some cool family values and traits that you could creatively put up in your living room to further build the unique identity of your tribe.

So, here is our hope for you this summer…
Go invest your time and energy in creating unique experiences with your loved ones. Make up a new ritual that you can repeat — it will become a life long memory. Always ask what is special about your family and friends… it will form the beauty and appreciation of your little tribe of goodness.

May your summer be full of life, love, and enjoying the people that God has placed around you!

And if you want some ideas for great experiences, check out the Uncommon summer haps…






Words on Wine & Words

– Ryan Ross

We couldn’t have had a more beautiful night to talk about hard things.

God gave us the perfect break in the rain to talk about how we reason through the concept of a good God in light of evil and suffering in the world (not to mention pain in our own lives too). It was such a gift to have Jared Herd from Church at Rancho Bernardo join us in this conversation. He brought us his heart, his wisdom, and his laughter!

All together – with good wine and food – we shared about seasons of pain and reasons for hope. We shared, we cried some, and we laughed a lot. We are so happy to create these spaces in our community to have real and powerful conversations. Conversations about doing life together all while walking with a God who loves us and gives us freedom to choose our next steps in life.

Thanks for joining us! You can check out photos from this event on our Facebook Page. And be sure not to miss our next Commune event on June 2nd.

Also, check out our podcast with Rabbi Mendy to continue the conversation on dealing with darkness in the world… and being the ones that get to usher in the light.

God bless!

Uncommon [Cast]

In the midst of tragedy and darkness, the light shines brighter than ever…

We are so glad we got the opportunity to sit down again with Rabbi Mendy from the Chabad of Poway for part two of an incredible conversation! (let’s be honest, it was a part one do over…) Rabbi Mendy’s wisdom, perspective, and humility is such a privilege to experience! We’re so excited to share this episode and the message that God has for all people!!!

You can find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify by searching Uncommon [cast]. Or click the link below to visit our podcast site.



Sunday, June 2nd, 4 PM, Rancho Guejito Vineyard, FREE

What if communion looked more like a meal at a table where all are included? What if something as normal as eating together could be something… sacred?

You are invited to rediscover what communion is all about at the beautiful Rancho Guejito Vineyard.

We will provide some wine and bread. There will also be food tickets from the amazing Smoking’ J’s BBQ as well as drinks available to purchase. Kids are welcome! We’ll have a bounce house and fun activities available. Plus there’s plenty of room for them to run amuck.

We can’t wait to see you there!

RSVP to Commune

Join the 100…

100 for 100 is moving along nicely! We are getting close to one of our smaller benchmarks of 20 monthly gifts of $100.

So exciting!!!

This campaign is all about keeping the [good] going. We are hoping to get 100 people to give $100 a month to help make the work of Uncommon [good] sustainable for the future.

If you are one of the amazing people giving to the [goodness]…


If not, and you have found yourself blessed in any way by Uncommon [good], we want to invite you to join 100 for $100. If you’d like to know more, please click the button below and join the 100.


Watch our NEW VID

100 for 100 will help us invite people into conversations where we reclaim truths about faith, life, and being human.

Join the 100




When Bad Things Happen

One thing has been on my mind for the past few weeks – what do we do with faith when bad things happen?

I mean rewind it all back! Rewind back to before the diagnosis came in, before the relationship fell apart, before the company went under, before the tragedy struck – what did your faith (by the way both belief and unbelief in a higher power are forms of faith) have to say about tragedy?

In our normal, smooth-ish sailing, mostly-unruffled life – many of us don’t consider our faith too deeply. We believe platitudes like “everything happens for a reason” or  “God has a plan” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear,” without thinking about what those phrases actually mean in the face of real tragedy. 

But once the boat (and your life) has been rocked a bit, suddenly the platitudes don’t hold up.

We start wondering:  
How can God be good if terrible things happen?
How can God have a plan that allows for such tragedy? 
If there is such a God, why would I want to be a part of his plan or be in relationship with Him? 
If there is no God, why is hope possible in the face of hopelessness?

All of these are excellent questions. Questions that we shouldn’t be afraid of. Questions that we shouldn’t push away. Because if we don’t have a faith that makes sense in tragedy… we probably don’t have much of a faith to speak of. 

That’s why this Sunday, at Wine and Words we are going to dive head first into these hard questions. Nothing is off the table. Let’s lean in together and wrestle with this question:

“What do we do with faith when bad things happen?”


Sunday, May 19th, 6:30 PM, Espinosa Vineyards, $25

We are. SO. EXCITED. for this Wine & Words! Not only do we have Pastor Jared Herd from The Church at Rancho Bernardo joining us… but we’ll also return to our friends at Espinosa Vineyards!

Have you ever wondered where God is during the hard times of life? How do we navigate that? Pastor Jared and the Uncommon [team] will lead a conversation around this very topic.

There will be wine. There will be words. $25 gets you said wine and even some delish charcuterie.

So call up the baby sitter and get ready for another great conversation about faith, life, and being human… while drinking amazing wine. [responsibly, of course!]

RSVP to Wine and Words

100 for 100 – PROGRESS!

100 for 100 is moving along nicely! Since we launched last week, we have already had 13 monthly gifts of $100 committed to Uncommon [good]. That’s pretty awesome!

We’re so excited!!

This campaign is all about keeping the [good] going. We are hoping to get 100 people to give $100 a month to help make the work of Uncommon [good] sustainable for the future.

If you are one of the amazing people giving to the [goodness]…


If not, and you have found yourself blessed in any way by Uncommon [good], we want to invite you to join 100 for $100. If you’d like to know more, please click the button below and join the 100.

Join the 100

Or… Watch our NEW VID

100 for 100 will help us invite people into conversations where we reclaim truths about faith, life, and being human.

Join the 100




After Easter

Are you recovered from the Easter/Spring Break coma? Have your kids come down from the sugar high? How many plastic eggs did you throw away? Don’t tell our kids, but Jen and I miiiiiight have eaten a bunch of their candy. Ya know… cause we want them to say healthy… 😉

Seriously though, we love Easter. 
Not just in the Vermillion house, but also on the Uncommon [team]. Easter represents the moment when History changed. What seemed like an end, was only a beginning. Jesus’ followers thought it was all over. Then He came back! And because of that miracle, Easter is the single most significant event in all of History. It was the clearest expression of the work that God has always been up to: bringing life out of what was thought to be dead. A beginning out of what seemed like a pretty clear end. But it’s what happened after Easter that makes it truly great. That’s when the movement started. That’s when Jesus’ followers went about the work of sharing the Good News of a God who loves people. The work of building a community that was a taste of the Kingdom of God. A hope of experiencing life to the full in THIS life andthe next… So yeah… we love Easter.

And our love for it was solidified all the more after our Easter event. If you came, thank you! If you didn’t, that’s okay! Because we plan to have a lot more events like that in the future. Like Jesus’ early followers, we are energized and excited to keep going! Because after a year and a half of creating community, the thing that has never gotten old is hearing people say things like:

“We brought friends who don’t really connect with ‘church’ and they said they would definitely be a part of this.”


“I’ve never been big on the religious holidays. But now Easter is my favorite holiday because of what you talked about… Life coming from death… beauty coming from brokenness… beginnings from endings.” 

That’s the [good] we are going for! 
People finding new perspectives and a place to belong in the Uncommon [community]. It’s so exciting that we (and that includes YOU) get to be a part of bringing people the Good News of a God who loves them and designed them for community. People who may have otherwise had no experience with faith. People who may have thought that the Church had nothing to offer them. We want to keep THAT [good] going…

That’s why we are starting something exciting in May. It’s called… 

100 FOR 100

This campaign is all about keeping the [good] going. We are hoping to get 100 people to give $100 a month to help make the work of Uncommon [good] sustainable for the future.

As we mentioned above, events like Uncommon [Easter] have provided a place for people who would never set foot in a church to hear the good news of a God who loves them. We’re able to do this because everything we do is intentionally open, inviting, and meets people in real life… At wineries, restaurants, parks, and even homes… providing, fun, party, life, belonging, and real conversations about faith.

We try to make these gatherings free, or as cheap as possible for those who attend. And meeting in these public spaces – doing what we’re doing – is only possible because of the generosity of the people who make up this Uncommon [community]. Maybe you’re already one of the amazing people giving to the [goodness]. If so, THANK YOU. 

If not, and you have found yourself blessed in any way by Uncommon [good], we want to invite you to join 100 for $100. So, if anything we said above sparked you and you’d like to know more, please click the button below to learn more and become one of the 100.



Returns to Espinosa!

Sunday, May 19th, 6:30PM, $25

We are. SO. EXCITED. To return to Espinosa Winery for conversations about faith, life, and being human… while drinking amazing wine. Now that the outdoor life of San Diego seems to be returning, it seems like the perfect time to revisit our friends who have become family. There will be wine. There will be words. $25 gets you said wine and even some delish charcuterie.





We Just Got [inspired]! 🙌

Our team just got back from the Catalyst West conference on Friday and we left super inspired to charge on with the [goodness] we are all creating. If you don’t know, Catalyst is a conference for leaders who love the local church. They have great speakers, activities, music, and resources for people who are serving in leadership (paid or volunteer). In the past it has inspired us to move towards what we would eventually do with Uncommon [good]. This year was a huge affirmation of our vision to create community for people in a unique way.

On top of that, we loved the theme for this year: Fully Alive. Drawing from the words of Jesus who said He came so that we may “have life and have it to the full,” Catalyst took this theme to a really cool place. Many of the speakers talked about self-care and mental/emotional health. The importance of which is huge if you ever hope to lead others well. And we all lead someone at some point, right? Even if it’s just ourselves. So we want to share with you some of the most impactful nuggets from the conference. Read each of these through the lens of leading and caring for yourself or others…

“People who lack self knowledge react to life rather than respond to it.”
– Ian Morgan Cron

“We become better leaders by becoming better human beings.”
– Miles Adcox

“If you want to experience a better life with Jesus you must adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.”
– John Mark Comer

“You’ve got to lose what you know about yourself in the past to figure out what God knows in the future.”
– Sarah Jakes Roberts

“We find God’s will for our lives in our limitations”
– Pete Scazerro

“When you spend your day looking at others, you lose your purpose”
– Jamie Ivey

“There is a gap between the promise God has given you and the process it’s going to take to get there. You have to go through the process to make it to the promise”
– Bianca Olthoff

“God chose you for where you are. Serve where you are!”
– Jamie Ivey

“We are kept from our goals, not by obstacles, but by a clearer path to lesser goals.”
– Ben Hardy

In regards to that process of living into what God made you to do: 

“The more it takes out of you, the more it will make out of you”
– Bianca Olthoff

“The best thing you bring to leadership is your own transforming self”
– Ruth Haley Barton

We hope all of that was encouraging to you. It sure was for us! Now, keep going to see what you’re invited to next…

Uncommon Party at Chicken Charlie’s

Tuesday, April 9th, 5PM, Chicken Charlie’s in Rancho Bernardo

We love creating community for the sake of community. We call it the Sacrament of Party. This time, we’re taking over Chicken Charlie’s and we’d love to see you there.

RSVP to Party

For more info, contact us at

Save the Dates

Uncommon [easter]
Saturday, April 20th

We are having a Pre-Easter shindig for the whole family.
Stay tuned for more info!

Seal’s Faith and Family Night
Saturday, April 27th, 7PM
We’re joining up with the Seal’s Faith and Family Night for fun, community, and life. Your $20 ticket gets you fun and games on the Seal’s turf, pre-game pizza party, a message about faith from two of the players, and of course the game. Click the link below, scroll down the Seal’s page, and select “Uncommon Good” to get your tickets.

RSVP to Seal’s Faith and Family Night

For more info on upcoming events check out




🦃 Thanksgiving Already? 😮


This year flew by so fast! How?!

November signals the one year birthday of Uncommon [good]! We teased our one year mark a couple of months ago… But now it’s official…


A year of beginnings and learning.

A year of community and party.

A year of stories and freedom.

A year of people engaging faith in new and different ways.

One year ago we cast the vision to bridge the gap between church and culture. We had great ideas about how we were going to do that and we were anxious to start the journey. And now, our Uncommon [community] has a whole year of experience adventuring towards the vision God is calling us to!

This year has felt like a flower blooming. Or a picture coming into focus… slowly revealing the beauty that God knew existed all along. And it’s not over – the journey is still unfolding. But every good journey requires a pit-stop or two where you pause and admire how far you’ve come. Our team has done that in the video at the end of this email. And we will continue to reflect and share stories in the coming weeks…

But for now, here’s what we know: this journey has truly only just begun. The adventure of figuring out how to reclaim truths about life, faith and being humanis just getting started. And all of this – ALL OF THIS – has only been possible because of you – our Uncommon [community].

You, who believed that we could create something new.

You, who believed that it was possible and necessary to re-envision the conversation around faith in our community.

You, who believed that we could create a space for people to belong before they believed.

This year is because of you. And we want to thank you for joining us on the journey. We have big plans for 2019, and – y’all – God is on the MOVE!

We’d love to ask you to continue to partner with Uncommon [good] as we take this next year by storm!

As we all enter this season of giving – give to what God is doing through Uncommon [good]. Literally every donation makes a huge impact towards helping us accomplish the vision that God has called us ALL to!

But we have goal… Cause next week is Giving Tuesday which is a huge fundraising day for non-profits. And we think our Uncommon [community] can make a huge impact on bridging the gap between church and culture. So what’s the goal? Drumroll please…

Let’s raise $10,000 by Giving Tuesday!

That’s 100 people giving $100, or 200 people giving $50.
Yeah, we can do maths!

Will you help us reach our goal? 😁 🙏 👇


If you need another nudge, check out this little video we made at one of our favorite spots. In it, we reflect on the year and look forward to the next…


Oh, and be sure to save the date for what’s next…

Uncommon Christmas

Sunday, December 2nd, 4 PM
Maderas Golf Club

Adults: $25  //  Kids: $10

Cost covers delicious food and all the Christmas fun!

Christmas is the time when we celebrate a miracle. But it’s also the time we enjoy fun traditions that have nothing to do with said miracle. And guess what… that’s okay!

At Uncommon Christmas, we’ll celebrate the miracle of Jesus and have all the Christmas fun (including Santa) at one time. In one place.

And we have a special musical guest joining us!! You won’t want to miss it.

See you there!

RSVP to Christmas



You are loved
You are valued
You belong





💓Loving to Life🌱


We’re coming into week three with our uncommon [rhythm]. Worship night was awesome. Wine & Word and Zombies was SO GOOD! And the next two weeks hold even more goodness…

But first, here’s a little inspirational thought for your day…

Ok, Cody here…
I gotta tell you guys about this week. I think God was sending a message to me through a variety of sources. A simple message about loving others. [You’d think I would’ve gotten that right by now, huh?]

You see, this past Sunday we had an event where we watched a movie about a Zombie dude who falls in love with a living girl. And how the simple act of love and acceptance from the “living” can bring the “dead” back to life. So, as I watched the movie 800 or so times to prep for the event, the message was loud and clear: love can bring people back to life.

But that wasn’t the only thing.
See earlier in the week, my friend Lauren Herrington posted this gem:

“When people love each other, we inevitably and subconsciously become a little bit ‘less’ in order to create space for one another.”

YES!  🙌  Love creates space for one another!

THEN! There was this…
Our very own Dawn Neldon put out an awesome post about her time in Guatemala that ended with this nugget:

“Don’t be overwhelmed by the brokenness – just do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

But wait! There’s more…
If that wasn’t enough, my friend Meghan Freund dropped this wisdom in my face:

“You don’t have to be there for the world, just be there for one person. Big change is not done by big actions. It’s done by millions of people making small easy changes that have a huge impact when multiplied.”

Wow! Right? I fully believe God was speaking an important message through multiple people this week. Honestly, I think He does that a lot. But this time was especially encouraging for me. Because in a time when everyone seems so divided and at odds with one another… when the bad news seems to get worse and worse… and the world seems like a dark place… changing things seems insurmountable. But I think God is whispering to us that we don’t have to try and change the world. Instead, we can make small changes where we are. We can make space for others. The ones who are right in front of us. We can love them to life. And that simple act will create the ripple effects needed to change… everything! This is how we join what God is doing in the world. And what he is doing in the people around us.

Love them to life.

Now, speaking of loving others, we wanna invite you to do that around the table this weekend. Check out what’s coming up…


This Sunday

The Common [table]
October 21st, 4PM

Common [table] is a way for us to practice hospitality and shared life in the most authentic way possible: gathered around tables in homes. And it’s not too late to join in!

If you’re interested in joining a table group click [here]


Next Sunday

October 28th, 4PM

We are SO EXCITED about this event!! Simply put, it’s a giant Halloween party in the middle of a beautiful avocado grove. And it’s gonna be awesome!

Learn more about it by clicking this fancy button below…



A Look Back…

Wine & Words and Zombies was so awesome… Click the image below to see the magical pics from the night



you are loved
you are valued
you belong



What Is Worship? 🙌

– cody vermillion

This week, we have been thinking a lot about worship. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that our first worship service is only a few days away!!!

Ok, it’s definitely that.

But also because we have been thinking and praying about this day for at least a year, probably longer, and now it’s here! And as we have been planning, learning, talking, and ideating about what it will look like for Uncommon [good] to do “worship” regularly, we have come to some conclusions…

Worship is Weird

Lemme ‘splain… For some, the typical idea of corporate worship is strange. Maybe even intimidating. People coming together to sing some songs that everyone seems to know, raising hands, standing up and sitting down all together, and at the right times… I mean, to an outsider, that’s weird. *Pause* – I wanna be clear in saying that there’s nothing wrong with that way of worship. I personally do those things when I worship. And we welcome it! But we also want to make our uncommon [worship] night a place with no expectations for those who might not be familiar with the typical patterns of worship. Because…

Worship is For Everyone

We mean that in the sense that, all are welcome to worship. But also, all are created to worship. That’s right. We were made to give glory to God. Not just with singing and raising hands. But with everything we are. And God invites all His creation (even rocks) to worship Him. Regardless of where you are in your faith, you are welcome to worship. You are created to worship. But what we want to help you understand is that worship is so much more than singing songs together…

Worship is a Lifestyle

Many of us are conditioned to think worship is some event that we attend once a week. But, a weekly gathering to sing and hear someone talk was never meant to be the end-all-be-all worship experience. Each and every day we are given the opportunity to worship the One whose image we were created in. Whether through our work, as a parent, as a student, as a friend, as a human trying to muddle through the rhythms of this life… No matter where we are, or what we are doing, it can be an act of worship to God. How, you ask? Well, we’ve gotta save something to talk about at the worship night. 😉

Speaking of… are you coming?!

Rhythm: A Night of Uncommon [worship]
Sunday, October 7, 4 PM
Poway Community Center

Rediscover what worship is all about as we do “church” in an uncommon way.

13094 Civic Center Dr, Poway, CA  92064

Kids programs provided for ages 1 through 10 years old.






We welcome your help to continue this uncommon [adventure]!

you are loved
you are valued
you belong




We’re Going Weekly 🎉

In case you missed it… Uncommon [good] is beginning a new weekly spiritual rhythm in October. And it’s kind of a big deal! 

We’re reimagining church. Both for people who want nothing to do with it, and those who want to see something new from church. Each event below will happen once a month. Our hope is to give everyone an entry point to this uncommon [community], regardless of where they are with faith or Jesus… and that includes you! So save the dates and keep an eye out for locations.

The Schedule

Uncommon [worship]
October 7, 4 PM
A monthly opportunity for us to gather in corporate worship… In both familiar and uncommon ways.

Wine & Words
October 14, 6:30 PM
A monthly version of the crowd favorite! We will continue to reframe and reclaim truths about life, faith and being human!

The Common [table]
October 21, 4 PM
A monthly family style small group gathering – centered around the good old fashioned art of eating and conversing. Join a Common [table] group to take part in the rhythm of deep, intentional relationships. This is where you dive deep into the things of life and faith.

Taste of Community
October 28, 4 PM
We will continue to create gifts of community for the community. We call it the sacrament of party! A chance to invite friends and neighbors to gather together – a place where people can belong before they believe.


You Can Help…

As we mentioned last week, we would love your help to make this happen. And we are so grateful for those of you who gave!

If you didn’t get the chance, please consider setting up recurring giving or sponsoring one of the items below:

Wine & Words – $500
Worship night – $1,500

Taste of Community – $2,500
One Staff Salary for a month – $3,000

Push the button below to help this uncommon [adventure] continue!

you are loved
you are valued
you belong