Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Not the kind of crowd I normally see!"


On Monday evening of this week Central Dallas Ministries hosted our annual "A Night to Remember" celebration in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the premier performance hall here in Dallas.

The audience of almost 2,000 seemed to thoroughly enjoy the music, inspiration and comedy provided by Gladys Knight, her band and her brother, the only remaining Pip! It was a rare and wonderful evening!

During the sponsors' reception prior to the concert, the Executive Director of one of our city's largest philanthropic foundations approached me to say, among other things, "Larry, I attend many events every year. And, I must tell you, this is not the kind of crowd I normally see at events like this here in Dallas."

She referred to the amazing racial and ethnic diversity of those in attendance at both the reception and the performance that followed. She was thrilled to see an audience together for an artistic performance that mirrored the reality of our city as it is day-to-day.

Her observation stuck with me.

Why was our crowd so unique in a city like this?

Another community partner and friend called on Tuesday to congratulate us on the success of the event. He made a similar observation as my foundation friend and then asked me, "Larry, how in the world did you get that crowd of people to the event?"

My answer was super simple: "Well, we invited them!"

That, of course, is why our crowd was so unusual and why such groups don't gather more often.

We don't invite people different from ourselves very often in this city. We don't enjoy the richness and power of such experiences because we don't intend to have them happen!

Community connections across all of our well-known barriers is nothing if it is not an intentional art.

Church, theater, education, housing, fund-raising, name the community sector or event or venue--diversity comes intentionally or it usually doesn't arrive at all.

We aim to bring our community together. That is our intention.

So, count on it, we'll keep inviting everyone to the party!

1 comment:

Terry said...

Larry,

What a great and powerful blog today. If our churches could only understand this concept. INVITE THEM and THEY WILL COME! This will stick with me this evening as I teach tonight. Thanks for a wonderful reminder.