On a recent flight from Boston to NYC, I had the privilege of sitting next to, who I later found out, a Vice-President with Warner Brother music. After the pleasantries that most share when seated next to someone on a plane, I did the unthinkable, I actually started a conversation with this fellow passenger. Normally, I refrain from such activities. Quite frankly I have been burned by such conversations in the past. I’m sure you can relate to being trapped on an airplane with someone you have startup a conversation with and you realize all too late that your views on the world were not quite aligned. Nothing is worse than listening to someone go on and on and having no way to bow out gracefully. I however digress, as this was not the case with this conversation.
Over the hour-long flight we talked on politics, our work, our family, even the weather – a particularly sensitive subject since the national expert, Al Roker, was sitting across the aisle from us. After sharing the basics of our experiences and looking for the commonalities that would not only carry the conversation, but also a way to solidify the new friendship, we started to discuss the role of a salesperson. You see, in both of our jobs there is an element of sales. Selling our products and services to further the missions of our organizations. In comparing our notes, we both agreed on two things that make individuals effective at selling themselves and the services they want to provide – passion and depth.
Passion I think we can all relate to. Passion implies purpose and fulfillment in our work and through the various activities of life. Whether in a job or in personal efforts, I believe passion must be found by the individual. Perhaps through education, coaching, or lived experience, passion can be honed and developed, but ultimately it’s up to a person to find the passion that both sustains and drives the work they do. Depth is the intentionality behind knowing someone – truly knowing someone – not as a someone that has the power to bring new business, but as someone created and loved by God. It is through the shared experiences – a marriage, death, birth of child, a personal struggle or triumph – the list could go on – we truly connect with each other.
Over the past several months, the Deacons have been implementing our congregational care plan – Agape in Action – God’s love in action. It seems to me the success of our efforts has the same two components as being an effective salesperson – passion and depth. Passion is found and is realized through the love that God has for each of us. A love so profound, it is beyond measure. It compels us to the second – to go deeper. To move beyond the superficial, to a deeper love for God’s creation and all of humanity. Finding our spiritual passion is a personal journey certainly supported by the church. The act of depth or being Intentional is as well. As a faith community, I believe we all are called – not just deacons – to be the passion of Christ, seeking to form “depth-connections” with our members and visitors that come are way. As we seek to “build this inclusive community of grace”, seek to really know those around you and to intentionally seek out those you have not seen. As you do, remind them that God’s passionate and depth-filled love can be found in the heart of Birmingham at Southside Baptist Church.
May the peace of God be your guide,
Chair of Deacons