Episode 22: Wine and Words (and Nuggets) – Interview with the Uncommon Good Team

What happens when a group of church leaders stop asking “How do we get people to come to church?” And instead start asking, “How do we create spaces people want to be?”

Today we hear from a team that has spent the last year wandering outside the church walls trying to answer that question. And along the way they have discovered a huge gap between church and culture.

Call them a church, or a faith community, or maybe just call them weird… but whatever you call them, Uncommon Good is working hard to bring the kingdom of God to the community by making spaces at parks, restaurants, and wineries in really Uncommon ways.








  • The Uncommon Good team is Cody Vermillion, Ryan Ross, and Dawn Neldon.
  • Cody designed the logo for Spiritual Life and Leadership.
  • The most formative book Dawn has read is The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile.
  • The most formative book Ryan is currently reading Awaken the Sleeping Self by …. But the most formative book he has read is Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus.
  • Cody is currently reading Get Weird: Discover the Secret to Making a Difference by C.J. Casciotta.
  • Ryan doesn’t like to call Uncommon Good a “church.” The word carries too much baggage for the people Uncommon Good wants to connect with.
  • Uncommon Good creates non-threatening spaces where people can realize their connection with God and one another in community.
  • How does Uncommon Good actually do this? How do they help people realize their connection with God and on another in community? Here are a couple of examples of how they do this:
  • The Uncommon Party: Simply a fun get-together where people can have fun together and enjoy being together and getting to know one another.
  • Wine and Words: Usually held at a winery where they teach and speak about life, faith, and being human. They have conversation that you can’t have in “temple,” but you can have it in the living room.
  • Their goal is to address the kinds of questions people are afraid to ask or talk about in church.
  • Uncommon Good doesn’t feel the pressure to have to answer everyone’s questions.
  • Dawn shares a story about someone with a church background who risked saying, “I don’t know if I believe this.” Tough to hear, but authentic.
  • Cody shares about how he wants to help people understand themselves.
  • Ryan shares about how his self-identity was challenged when we stepped away from his former ministry position.
  • Dawn shares about how hard her spiritual journey has been the last few years.
  • Leading such an experimental ministry has led the Uncommon [Good] team into deeper dependence on God for their sense of security.
  • Dawn says her last few years of spiritual formation have been lonely and intense.
  • You can find Uncommon Good at https://uncommongoodsd.com/
  • Find them on Facebook and Instagram by looking up UncommonGoodSD.
  • (Don’t Google search Uncommon [Good]—there are a lot of Uncommon Goods.)
  • Markus shares about his journey out of the wilderness back into church ministry.
  • Markus longs to help people discover their true selves so that, with all their gifts and passions, they can participate with God in bringing healing and wholeness into the world. Not from a place of obligation of duty, but from their inner life.
  • The gift of self-awareness allows us to live into our calling.
  • All is wilderness.



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