The Common Good
February 2009

How To Start Your Own Common Security Club

by Chuck Collins | February 2009



The first step in starting a Common Security Club is to bring people together to discuss the current economic crisis and how it is touching them personally.

Think of two or three people you know who are facing different challenges as a result of the economic crisis. With this core group, reach out to others for an introductory meeting.

Many CSCs are formed by people who already have some relationship through a religious congregation, union, community organization, or friendship. The culture of each group may differ. Work with your core group to develop a culture and language that will be most meaningful to the people coming together.

It is important from the beginning that the group set a positive tone, reflecting the possibilities of learning together, mutual aid and shared action. For example, some may have a shared culture of ritual, prayer, song. Others might prefer a secular inspirational readings. Everyone loves to gather around food, so perhaps organize the first gathering around a potluck dinner.


The first meeting should give people a sense of how a Common Security Club might be useful to them. There should be no sense of obligation to continue.

After the introductory meeting, participants that wish to continue should make a commitment to meet for four more facilitated sessions. Each of these sessions will give participants a glimpse of the potential benefits of continuing to meet together and strengthen their common security.

Suggested Agenda for an introductory meeting:
Download a detailed agenda with suggested talking points HERE

Opening/Gathering/Welcome (10 min)
Reading/activity appropriate to group

Introductions and Agenda Review (10)
Have participants briefly introduce themselves (Name, Home)
Review the agenda


  • Give context of club and overview
  • Personal sharing
  • Discussion formation of the club

Brainstorm: What Signs of the Times Do We See? (5 min)
What are the signs of the times that you see of economic insecurity?
Listing activity without a lot of conversation

Mini-Presentation: Context for a Common Security Club? (10 min)

  • Brief description of Club
  • Economic and Ecological Changes

In Pairs: Sharing with another person (20 min)
Introduce yourself more in detail to another person

  • What is important to you?
  • How is the economic crisis touching you and loved ones personally.
  • Personal hopes and fears?

Sharing Back –Highlights (10 min)
Invite shorter responses

Mini-Presentation: Forming A Club (10 min)

  • How will it work
  • Overview of agendas
  • Realistic expectations
  • Respect, safety, confidentiality (other ground rules)
  • Tools available to us

Discussion (10 min)
Some question/discussion about organization, purpose

Business (10 min)
Future sessions; volunteers to coordinate.

Closing Prayer or Reading (5 min)


After the introductory session, a Common Security Club agrees to meet for five sessions to learn together, build security, and take action together. This is an outline of the first five topics.

First purpose of Common Security Club: Learning Together
The Economic Crisis: How did we get here?
Watch video together or guest speaker and discussion
Homework: Readings, video resources and comic book

Looking together at the dramatic economic and ecological changes we are facing
How do we deal with change? What does it mean for me?
What makes us secure? What do we have together?
Homework: Assess my real security in light of these changes

Second Purpose of Common Security Club: Mutual Aid –Acting Locally
How is the economic crisis touching each of us personally?
Personal worksheet to share in pairs/trios
Sharing and identifying areas of common ground
Homework: Three examples of things people are doing together to increase personal economic security

Examples of things people are doing together
Video clips and examples
Brainstorming ideas to increase security, reduce risks
Identify mutual aid actions that the group could imagine doing.
Homework: What is missing? What do we need from local government?
What policies have to change at the national level?

Third Purpose of Common Security Club: Social Action
What rules and policies must change to increase our common security?
Share Information on current legislative action and policy changes
Identify 3 social actions the group could imagine taking
Discuss continuation of the club and review list of possible next topics


After the first five sessions, a Common Security Club can draw on resources from the Common Security Club network and identify additional topics and activities they can undertake together.

To learn more about Common Security Clubs go to

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)