Since commonGood was formed in early 2009, I’ve been looking forward to this day.  I’m proud to announce that Christopher Bates has assumed the role of executive director for commonGood.  Chris has been a coach and a church planter, working with teams of leaders to form strong lives and healthy souls.  He has a resilient vision for serving the neighborhood and being a force for good in the urban center.

Chris, along with his wife Chantel, and their three children: Chris, Jr., Clarity, and Corban Duke, are a new generation of urban servants, making a significant sacrifice to serve the Magnolia Center, Ramona, and Casa Blanca neighborhoods, the City of Riverside, and the Santa Ana Watershed.


Passing the baton of leadership for commonGood to Chris doesn’t end my involvement in asset-based community development.  I’ll still be around as pastor at Madison Street Church, and chair of ViaShalom, the nonprofit entity with oversight of commonGood.  But the appointment of Chris frees commonGood to become much more than a church-related entity.  The months ahead will be full of transitions and new initiatives.  Stay tuned for more…

The Bates have stepped out in faith for this assignment, raising much of their own support for the next few years.  If you would like to assist in fund-raising for support of the Bates family, contact us by email at


Family, Friends, and Fellow Co-laborers of commonGood, Mad St. Church, the Madison Street Corridor and beyond,

Wow!  My family and I are keenly aware of God’s hospitality, grace, and challenge to us through the invitation and welcome into the works and service of viaShalom and commonGood.  We recognize this role of Executive Director as one of service and leadership, and we plan to utilize our strengths and abilities to learn, adapt, and connect in a manner that will continue to regard the coming of God’s kingdom within and through our local community of the Madison Street Corridor and beyond.  We look forward to engaging with our most immediate objective which has been and continues to be that of a listener and learner, engaging in dialogue with those already at work through and in support of commonGood.

As a formally trained practitioner in both the allied health and coaching professions, a couple of critical best practices I’ve learned and continue to refine are assessments and inventories; which give clarity of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we hope to go.  Another way my family and I have come to understand this is by considering “What is?”, “What Can Be?” and then “What Will Be”? This will be the strategy pursued within the first few weeks and we’re looking forward to the process.

I can barely restrain myself from diving into the work ahead, knowing that it will be both exciting yet challenging; exhausting and rewarding.  As my wife Chantel and I continue talking about and preparing our family and friends for this assignment, a verse comes to mind and resonates deeply.  It says:

“And seek the welfare (or peace) of the city I deported you to.  Pray to the LORD on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”  -Jeremiah 29:7

So it is with honor, humility, and gratitude that my family and I say thank you for the warm welcome thus far, and we look forward to seeking the welfare of the Madison Street Corridor and the greater Riverside area with you, because when it prospers, so will we!

Grace and Peace!
Christopher Bates & Family

Posted by Debbie Wright