I LOVE music. I have an extremely diverse taste in music. I gravitate to the process of creation and expression above the final result most of the time. I love music that falls under the ‘classical’ genre. I love all the greats from Beethoven and Mozart through to the most modern composers. I really love Jazz as well. Honestly, if all of my listening was graphed it would reveal that the majority of my listening is Jazz. There are many similarities and differences between the two genres. Today I want to draw your attention to one main difference.
Generally speaking, classical music (think Bach and Beethoven) is very planned leaving very little room for interpretation. There is the slightest room for interpretation from the performer or conductor. However, a composer of this genre is usually meticulous as to exactly when, how loud, and with what feeling he wants every single note played.
In comparison, the basic distinguishing characteristic of Jazz is that it is improvised music. Let me explain… when you hear one of the great jazz musicians play a tune (think Miles Davis and John Coltrane) they are only following a set of boundaries and a prescribed melody. Therefore, the same song (ex. My Favorite Things) could sound entirely different from any artist who has performed the tune. They all do not sound like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Further, it is not only about the variation of melody and harmony but it is also that a significant portion of every single tune is a unrehearsed and unplanned conversation between the musicians that takes shape spontaneously.
At Crossings Community we worked through a short series titled Gospel Engagement: Getting Practical. We affirmed the reality that each of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ carry a responsibility to be those who are sharing the gospel story throughout our days. It is not a commission that allows for some personalities to say, “That’s just not me.” It was extended to all of us. At the same time, we would be dismissing the great creativity and intention of our Creator if we did not affirm the fact that God has equipped each one of us uniquely.
I’ve found that God usually gifts people in their missional calling to be either a little more classical or a bit jazzy. Those who take a more classical approach are the ones who find great value in using the various memorized approaches like Evangelism Explosion, F.A.I.T.H., or Four Spiritual Laws. God has opened many hearts to His love through these tools. Personally, I’ve found myself a bit more jazzy. I enjoy opening a conversation and then engaging in a dialogue that allows another person to ask questions and move in specific direction while I follow them in that direction continuing to speak the gospel into those areas of the conversation.
Both classical musicians and jazz musicians are phenomenal at their craft and they produce mind-blowing music. They just tend to approach the dots on the page a little differently.
Questions: Do you know how God has uniquely wired you to engage those around you with His gospel story? Are you trying to be someone else? If you have embraced your unique gifting then are you growing and challenging yourself in that area?