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Jazz Missionaries

Jazz Nativity 2012 105 copyA few years back Oîkos was leading an evening jazz vesper service in Claremont California. At the end of worship a young man came up and expressed his excitement about having jazz in worship—something he had never experienced before. Then he told me, “I’m a bassist and I play jazz gigs all over the area. It’s a spiritual thing for me and sometimes the music really feels like prayer.” He went on to say that he was a Christian and attended church regularly, but his church had never asked him to play his bass in worship. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I dig the organ . . . for what it is. But it doesn’t swing!”

The young bassist then said he had seen our flyer about jazz vespers and was intrigued by the concept and just had to come, even though it was a different denomination from his church. He then got to the point. “Man, I was blown away by the service tonight. It opened up a whole new world for me. I never knew jazz was okay in worship . . . at least in my church.” He said he was so inspired that he was thinking about asking his pastor about having his trio play in worship. I encouraged him to follow through and share his music in worship. “Yeah,” he said. “I definitely will.”

We flew home the next day and I never heard from the young bassist again. But I hope he followed through on his mission, because we need more jazz missionaries in church.

Blessings on your mission,


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