It was a great day. It wasn’t the size of the crowd. It wasn’t the glitz and glamour of the event. It wasn’t the status and credentials of the attendees. It was the heartfelt purpose of men gathering from different backgrounds to discuss how do we best support one another to address a divided society that does not appreciate the population that believes there is power in unity.
On September 9th, I was asked to facilitate a men’s conference at Ebenezer Baptist church in Charlotte North Carolina where men from Ebenezer Baptist Church, a predominantly black church, invited men from Universal Community church, a predominantly white church, to discuss what’s possible if we unite to make a difference in our community. The two churches are on the same street 2 miles apart but in many ways their lives feel divided by much more. Not on this morning.
When men respectfully unite and discuss what’s important to make our nation great, our society great, our cities great, our community great, our neighborhoods great, our churches great, our families great and our personal lives great, power illuminates from the group. I have been consulting in the field of Diversity and Inclusion for almost 30 years, this day was one of the most powerful to exhibit why I do the work. Our theme was, “We are Better Together”. The visible difference between the men was race but through our dialogue many differences and similarities surfaced, all of which was utilized to bond this group of men.
There wasn’t a 30-point plan, that is to come, but there was an opening of the heart that you had to be there to experience. Men frequently operate from a place of pride, “one up-man-ship”. That was eliminated. We focused on what’s possible through our unity, what challenges might exist and the concept that we need we each other to make a difference. 1 + 1 = 3 was a foundation for our dialogue. You share I listen, I share you listen, respect and love exists in our heart, God blesses the conversation and the outcome is something better than we ever could have imagined.
I believe the key to achieving this dialogue came from a focus on the big picture but also the men’s love for Christ. If there is true love for Christ, love for your fellow man becomes easier. So often and many times justifiable so, the Christian community is seen as a community of judgement vs a community of love. We subtly emphasized the fact that we are individually flawed in many ways but if we unite, we can manage our flaws and empower our strengths. You had to be there.
An action plan is crucial, but unified hearts is the foundation for real change. I see these type of events as a major part of my future. Please join me in the “We are Better Together” Movement.
Thought Leader & CEO, The Kaleidoscope Group